Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Addition to our important message


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In accordance with our aim to better render the service we do, we have altered the copyright, terms, contact procedures and details, disclaimer, permissions procedures and details, and possibly other aspects of this service which you are making use of. We ask that you view the new copyright system, terms, contact procedures, disclaimer, and permissions details on our main site. They apply to all the aspects of this service.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

What the Pope wants your annulment to look like


(Tridentine South Africa)

Analytical Article by Marc Aupiais

An issue which recently caused some concern, and which resulted in our service being contacted for comment, is the papacy's recent comments about annulments. The Pope believes tribunals have not been strict enough in applying the law. We were corresponded with due to concern over his comments and their effects on valid annulment cases.

Firstly, the pope's comments:

"JUSTICE, CHARITY AND TRUTH MUST GUIDE THE ROMAN ROTA

VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the dean, judges, promoters of justice, defenders of the bond, officials and lawyers of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, for the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year.

In his address the Holy Father focused his attention on the role of that institution, from the triple perspective of the justice, charity and truth which must inspire it.

"It is necessary to take account of the tendency - widespread and well-rooted though not always obvious - to contrast justice with charity, almost as if the one excluded the other", said the Pope. "Some people maintain that pastoral charity justifies any measures taken towards the declaration of nullity of the marriage bond. ... Truth itself ... would thus tend to be seen in a functional perspective, adapting itself to the different requirements that arise in each case".

"Your ministry", he continued, "is essentially a work of justice, a virtue ... of which it is more important than ever to rediscover the human and Christian value, also within the Church. Canon Law ... must always be considered in its essential relationship with justice, maintaining an awareness that the Church's juridical activity has as its goal the salvation of souls".

"In this perspective it must be borne in mind that, whatever the situation, trial and sentence are fundamentally linked to, and at the service of, justice", said Benedict XVI, and he went on: "Apart from this 'objective' dimension of justice, there exists another dimension ... which concerns the 'operators of the law'; that is, those who make law possible. ... They must be characterised by their exalted practice of human and Christian virtues, in particular those of prudence and justice, but also that of strength".

This latter virtue "becomes more important when injustice seems the easiest path to follow, in as much as it involves giving in to the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment".

"Everyone who works in the field of the Law, each in his or her own role, must be guided by justice", said Pope Benedict. "I am thinking in particular of lawyers, who must not only take great care to respect the truth of the evidence, but also to avoid taking on ... cases which they know in their conscience to be objectively unsustainable.

"The action of those who administer justice cannot neglect charity", he added. "A charitable perspective and charitable measures will help us not to forget that those before us are always people marked by problems and suffering. The principle whereby 'charity goes beyond justice' also holds good in the specific field of the work of 'operators of justice'".

"Our dealings with people", the Pope explained, "must take account of each specific case in order, with delicacy and attentiveness, to facilitate the parties' contact with the tribunal". Likewise, "it is important that effective efforts be made, whenever there seems to be hope of a successful outcome, to encourage the spouses to convalidate their marriage and restore conjugal cohabitation. It is also vital not to stint efforts to establish a climate of human and Christian openness between the parties, founded on the search for truth".

The Holy Father then highlighted another important question, "that of avoiding pseudo-pastoral demands which place the issue on a merely horizontal plain, in which what counts is satisfying subjective requests in order to achieve a declaration of nullity at any cost, with the aim of overcoming, among other things, the obstacles to receiving the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. ... It would however be a false advantage", he said, "to ease the way towards receiving the Sacraments, at the risk of causing people to live in objective contrast with the truth of their own individual state".

"Both justice and charity require love for truth, and essentially involve the search for what is true. ... Without truth charity slides into sentimentalism. Love becomes an empty shell to be filled arbitrarily. This is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth".

This can happen, the Pope went on, "not only in the practical activity of passing judgment, but also in theoretical studies which have such an influence on concrete judgements. The problem arises when the essence itself of marriage becomes more or less obscured. ... Examination of the conjugal bond in existential, personalist and relational terms must never be undertaken at the expense of indissolubility, an essential property which in Christian marriage has, with unity, a special firmness by virtue of the Sacrament".

"Marriage enjoys the favour of the law. Hence, in case of doubt, a marriage must be held to be valid until the contrary is proven. Otherwise we run the serious risk of remaining without an objective point of reference for pronouncements of nullity, transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice - the indissoluble bond - is thus effectively denied".
AC/.../ROMAN ROTA VIS 100129 (850)"

Having noted the comments of the Pope, we must note, he is talking about the case where Canon law is ignored out of empathy or sympathy for those seeking annulments. The Pope desires that marriages be presumed rebuttably to be valid first and foremost, and for annulments to only be granted when it is reasonable to believe there was not a valid marriage. His comments have no bearing on a valid claim. One must simply remember to argue correctly and to present the truth with the correct evidence if need be. I am not a canon lawyer, and one follows my advice at their own risk. I do not see any serious change in the way canon law should be viewed.














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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Pope explains that he plans to visit Scotland, to the Scottish Bishops


(Tridentine South Africa)

Article By Marc Aupiais

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, recently confirmed that he does plan to visit Scotland during his visit this year to the United Kingdom. He did so, during the Ad Limina visit of the Scottish Bishops to Rome. Ad Limina visits are compulsory visits of Bishops to Rome, in which they answer to and report back to the pope on matters in their jurisdiction. Following his recent pattern in which he attacked Venezuela, where the church is in danger, and more recently Great Britain, where he indirectly alleged human rights abuses by the Labour government against Catholics, the Pope warned against Euthanasia, as Scotland is preparing to mull over a controversial Euthanasia bill. He also told faithful Catholics to fight against secularism.

The Pope has, in his address to these same bishops in their Ad Limina visit, recently emphasized that faithful Catholics must obey the magisterium on every single point, much as Jesus said that not a mark would be taken from the law of God, the pope has emphasized that the Catholic morality, is about hope, and that the don't do's are in fact not simply sanctions, but a way to live the fullest life in Christ, gaining life through faith. He asked that the Scottish bishops focus on evangelism, and the position of the laity.

Once again playing the chess game Benedict XVI has become known for, he warned of a need to grapple with the secularist tide attempting to rise over Scotland. The Pope's efforts at outreach towards the SSPX, and Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, as well as his efforts to dialog with Islam, all show his emphasis of ridding the world of the secularist influence he sees as gripping much of Europe. While Ad Limina visits can tend to accompany papal statements against secular powers, the statements of the Pope about the United Kingdom, have certainly gotten more attention than other statements. One would get the impression that the papacy now views the small democracy, much as he does other parts of the world where the very foundation of religious freedom is at risk. He further asked the bishops to defend the right of Catholics to continue to practice their faith in Scotland.

Editorially, it does not seem that the serious rebukes of the Bishops of England and Wales were present in his speech to the Scottish Bishops, but without a source from Scotland, I cannot confirm there was no subtle message, though it seems less likely. Either way, the pope has noted Euthanasia suggestions by Scottish politicians as a serious threat to the gospel: once again seemingly believing it necessary to get directly involved in the politics of the United Kingdom. The Catholic principle of Subsidiarity, also present elsewhere in law and politics, demands that the local authority deals with an issue unless unable to do so. Papal interference, means that the United Kingdom's situation is viewed quite intently by the pope.











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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pope, Labour, the English Bishops, and a traditionalist, conservative newspaper linked blog



(Tridentine South Africa)

Analytical short article by Marc Aupiais

Recently, it has been confirmed, that the pope does in fact plan to visit the United kingdom, an influential European country. The visit, will probably happen around September this year. What has caused a lot of attention in the public domain recently, is the pope's comments on the British government, considered by local media in Great Britain: to be a direct or indirect attack on Great Britain's ruling Labour Party.

Catholic media, has additionally noted Pope Benedict XVI's statements, which were made to the Bishops of England and Wales to be a rebuke of the Bishops themselves. The issue of concern is a clash between homosexualist interests and those of the church. Great Britain recently forced Catholic adoption agencies to choose between adhering to Catholic principles which put the interests of children first, by denying homosexual couples adoption rights: as a child preferably needs a father and mother: and closing down their operations, or allowing homosexuals to adopt children in Catholic orphanages, famous for the extra work they do for society. More recently, the Labour party has attempted to introduce a bill to force the Catholic church to allow homosexual and women priests and bishops, and to not discriminate against homosexuals as youth workers or school principles. The bill, due to ardent campaigning has failed as yet to pass.

The Pope firstly congratulated Great Britain on its pursuit of equality, as he claimed was perceived as its reputation among many in the world, and then claimed that Great Britain was violating the right to religious freedom. He claimed that pushes by the British legislators via equality legislation, in fact violated natural law. In context, all of this was said to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales: on their compulsory Ad Limina visit to the Vatican, in which they were to report to the pope and confer with him about their mission in Great Britain. In further context, while secular media has mostly focussed on the pope's attack on the Labour party, Catholic analysts specializing in these matters, have clearly noted the pope's statements in the context of an open public rebuke of the British bishops.

The Pope called efforts by the British Labour lead government violations of "natural law", which he noted as the basis for equality among men. Unlike secular services who have largely misunderstood the concept of natural law as used by Benedict XVI, as a foundation block of South Africa's common law, and of Catholic thinking, I might note that the pope was not simply calling British legislation against the church, or sin. He was in fact calling it against natural reason, and against basic human rights, and legal concepts. Natural law is not seen as a theological law, but rather as the law binding all men, essentially, as reason and reasonable behaviour. Natural law, is in fact, as the pope attests indirectly: the basis of human rights and we might separately note, it is a basis of the concept of the United Nations. The pope's attack on the legislative campaign of the Labour party, was in fact much more serious an attack than reported in press. He was essentially calling the legislative scheme criminal.

Labour recently caused the closure of many catholic adoption agencies, due to their refusal to give homosexual couples the children they had in their care. According to an editorial by a homosexual in the Daily Mail, the British Government adoption houses give homosexuals first pick of the children needing adoption, and there was no logical purpose in forcing religious specialist adoption agencies, known for their extra efforts, to close down. Labour, effectively made it illegal to discriminate against adoptive parents, due to their incompatibility with Catholic morality. The Bishops of England and Wales, however, did not put up a united front on the issue, as with many other issues. Many in Catholic media view the British bishops' conference, as one which is not entirely loyal to either the Vatican, or the magisteriam of the church. Some have seen many bishops as complicit in the campaign Labour has already launched against the Catholic Church and religion in general.


Damien Thompson, blogs editor of the telegraph group, and widely considered the best source on British Catholicism, despite his, or perhaps due to his conservative attitude, seems to believe that the pope in fact was noting the views one bishop in particular, who had criticized his fellow bishops. We at South African Catholic News Service, have often observed Benedict XVI directly or indirectly quoting local bishops in such circumstances, and think this may well be the case.

According to Damien, writing on his Telegraph Media group blog, the pope was basing much of his commentary on the views of Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, who he says criticized the Bishops of England and Wales for failing to uphold orthodoxy. Their seemingly divided response on issues that the papacy considers non-negotiable, may well be partially the focus of an address which did praise the Bishops and Britain a bit, but not much, and which was unusually blatant for a papal address. Often these statements in general are veiled quite deeply, but the intentions of the pope are here quite clear.

Even the Guardian, known for its intense dislike for Catholic religion and morality, has published criticism of the British government, and much of the British press, believed to have turned on Gordon Brown, have come out opposing the recent attempt to even further limit freedom of religion in great Britain. The pope's statements on morals, which affect public life and politics have certainly also made a splash, perhaps one which will stifle the legislative attacks of Labour's leadership death throws before the next election. Determining how social activist or religious groups, societies for the common good and democracy govern themselves- so far as social issues are concerned, has been seen by some as a severe violation of freedom of association, and therefore of principles of freedom of thought and participation in democracy.

In accordance with the concept of subsidiarity, it is unusual for the pope to directly intervene with legislative schemes. Abortionist, pro-homosexuality and feminist and secularist groups who were already going to protest the papal visit planned to Britain, are now noting even more so that they will be protesting. Included in the protests: films about Catholic sex abuse, which will certainly cheer up these sexual revolution protesters. Also being protested by secularists, is the bill for the papal visit. Not noted by the BBC and the like, is the fact that the pope is a head of a European state, due all pomp and ceremony. What is also not mentioned is that the pope has decided to cut back on what pomp and ceremony he is offered when he visits Britain.

As a front line between practical religious secularism, and secularists, Great Britain is certainly an important place to watch. In a world, where leadership is increasingly more important than mere titles and positions in governments, the Pope's statements have been able to reignite important debate in Great Britain. His rebuke of some of his bishops, who he has stated, he desires to united behind orthodoxy, and whom he has said must continue to debate public issues in a civilized and respectful manner will also not go unnoticed. We may well begin to see some thorough debate in the catholic Church in England and Wales, where it has often been reported that those desiring to better obey the Pope, are stifled by the local church hierarchy.














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