Gem of thoughts

An eleven-man panel of theologians and canon lawyers was recently appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis to study ways “to make annulment of Catholic marriages simpler.” The Vatican disclosed further that while the commission will try to “simplify and streamline the annulment procedure,” it will safeguard the principle of the indissolubility of marriage. Feared to open the floodgate of divorce in places where it is not yet lawful, Catholics across the globe are apparently divided on this stance, though.
This issue that is stirring reactions among Catholics who either live as couples outside the ambit of law or are enduring a miserable thorny relationship is likewise believed to create debate at the synod on the family called by Pope Francis at Vatican on October 5-19.
While civil courts grant annulment of marriages or divorce, when recognized, on not quite stringent grounds, the Roman Catholic Church allows this annulment on certain circumstances such as in situation of marriages called void ab initio or invalid right from the very beginning. Even if the Catholics who marry under Roman Catholic Church rites have obtained a decree of divorce in civil courts, such annulment is not automatically recognized by the Church. Thus this necessitates another annulment procedure in the Roman Catholic Church’s matrimonial tribunal.
Absent the Church decree of annulment, the couple who has earlier obtained a same decree from civil courts is considered married in the eyes of God, thus considered living in sin if they eventually remarry without a prior annulment of their marriage by the church. And this could be one valid ground for said couple to be denied reception of the Holy Host during communion.
This sanction, nevertheless, is more in the breach than compliance as it is too cumbersome for the priests, nuns or Eucharistic ministries to determine who to discriminate during communion. Worst, discriminating communicants is rationally opposed to the Church call for mercy and compassion. This is reason for the clergy to just the same feed the communicants with the “body of Christ.”
Pope Francis’ position in relaxing the rules for annulment of marriages in the Catholic Church is at this early time anticipated by some Filipino Catholics as unlocking the portal to divorce in the country and all its effects, including the unholy and anti-social ones. The clergy in the Philippines, primarily the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, are strongly against divorce. The Catholic Church earlier failed to thwart the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law. It advanced the apprehension that what will come next is divorce.
Such apprehension however valid is yet premature at this moment especially with the Vatican’s pronouncement that vis-à-vis the relaxing of the rules, as broached by Vatican Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Roman Catholic Church will still uphold the dogma of indissolubility of marriage.
Marriage, in the Catholic Catechism, is the “matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Vatican web portal)