Some of you are here to escape the latest news out of Rome. Some of you are no doubt curious to read what I have to say about it.
Nic nowego. Nothing new. Well, one thing: I am sure sorry for the bishops. I am reminded of the story of Paul VI trying to cope with the snowstorm of laicization requests on his desk in the wake of Vatican II. That will be nothing compared to the coming blizzards about to hit bishops.
How to stop Catholic divorce? Stop Catholics marrying. But Catholics have the right to marry if they are above the canonical age and have no impediments, e.g. being married already. Besides, we'd rather Catholics reserve their sexual activities to marriage, the best state for children to grow up in, and so raising the canonical age to 30 (my favourite armchair solution) would raise a few eyebrows, to say the least.
If I had access to the documents--and who does?--plus funding, I would research why it is that Catholics divorce, and then what it was that prevented their marriages from being sacramental. I would then make recommendations based on my findings to the Holy Father, or at very least my national Bishops' Conference, on how to catechize Catholic children so that they are properly prepared to enter into Catholic marriages.
Based on my own experiences of 1999, I do think the annulment procedures needed fixing. These would have been my recommendations, had anyone asked:
1. Stop the climate of secrecy about the procedure. Be very clear, when you make the Catholic take an oath of secrecy, that you tell them what parts are secret and why. Is it okay if they tell others how traumatized they now feel, or is that supposed to be a secret, too? Can they tell others the grounds?
Incidentally, the Tribunal secretary (i.e. typist, etc.) knew my grounds long before I did. When I went in to ask, she just read it out to me like it was my mediocre Grade 11 math grade. It's been 16 years, so I don't remember exactly, but I am pretty sure an emergency appointment with my therapist happened.
2. Speaking of secrecy, what happened to the tapes of my interviews? Where are they? Are they under the seal of the confessional? Are canon law students listening to them for kicks? Have they been destroyed? (Please someone write in to tell me what happens to the tapes.)
3. Stop employing sisters to do the interviews. You might as well employ space aliens, for all divorced women think they have in common with sisters, no matter how hip the sister. There are a million of underemployed female Catholic non-sister M.Divs, many of whom know firsthand what an unhappy sexual relationship is like. We will also work for crap pay. Employ us instead.
Oh, as for our supposed inability to keep secrets, there's nothing like listening to a marriage tribunal sister rant, "Are these women STUPID?!" some years after you have had an annulment yourself.
4. Don't send people home distraught. Pastoral fail.
Update: I'm not satisfied with this post, which strikes me as quite beside the point in the face of the new motu proprios. I read Father Z on the subject; he's not happy. When B.A. comes home, we will listen to Cardinal Burke's lecture at Steubenville. But so far B.A. isn't happy either. He keeps wandering around shouting "Forty-five DAYS?"
Well, my own blogging goals haven't changed. I don't want you girls to marry whomever, get divorced and get annulments. I want you to find so much satisfaction in your Single lives and mature so much as adults (hopefully much faster than I did) that you never settle for less than the right man (or religious order), having become the right woman.