When the processes of investigation as to whether a marriage is valid or is to be declared null from the beginning were recently revised by Pope Francis, some “conservative” canon lawyers were critical of what they considered to be tantamount to some degree of a denial of due process for defending the bond which is, then, injurious to the sacrament of holy matrimony, so much so, they say, that marriage is being treated as a temporary job, not that which lasts until the death of the spouses.
There are many good arguments on both sides, and plenty of known unknowns and unknown unknowns concerning especially the role of the bishops and those assisting them, those who are to bear the smell of the sheep. Some of these effects might well be the creation of smaller dioceses and a massively increased marriage preparation as the decades fly by, with both of these being good for the Church. Imagine more bishops like Saint Augustine.
But there is a rather hard question to be asked of those who are so prompt in their criticism of what Pope Francis has done, being eager, as they say, to defend the sacrament of marriage by insisting on due process: Where were you, and where are you to defend by way of due process the sacrament of Holy Orders — whereby priests are married to the Church in the Sacrifice they offer — when priests are denied due process upon being accused of sexual misconduct, when the sacrament of Holy Orders, lasting into eternity, is being treated more and more like a temporary job?
When a priest’s throat is slit by a denial of due process, the chancery officials and bishops become instant heroes in their own eyes: they are “tough” in saying that priests are guilty by the mere fact of ordination, and no one is to be allowed to attempt the impossible of proving that one is innocent. All accusations must be true and settlements are to be made in all cases so as to save the thirty pieces of silver that would otherwise have to be spent in litigated cases. The National Catholic Risk Retention Group went to far as to say that all accused priests, just because they have been accused, are to be treated as terrorists.
So, what is the reason for the inconsistency in treating marriage nullity cases (often brought because of spousal abuse and the abuse of the children) and accusations of abuse against priests who are married to the Church? Why insist that a particular marriage is more than likely to be valid even while insisting that a particular priest must be guilty in all cases?
The answer, I propose, is that such “conservatives” are not orthodox, but are simply opportunistic sycophants of political correctness. It is politically correct to offer due process for a marriage case and politically incorrect to offer due process to priests who are married to the Church. It makes one dirty to be in solidarity with accused priests, like Jesus when He was falsely accused, right? So, that dirty solidarity is to be avoided at all costs by those who have no faith and whose aim in life is to obtain merely human respect. I have to wonder just how sincere it is for these same “conservatives” to insist on due process for marriage nullity cases. Can they really nullify the Pope’s motu proprio? It’s a pretty safe criticism. Things are worse than ever when there is an insistence on a fundamental difference between the justice of due process owed to the marriage of a priest with the Church and the marriage of a man and a woman. This anti-clerical attitude is actually clericalism at its worst, offering to top clerics the right to self-hero worship even while appearing to be “conservative”, the new fad. Look for more hiding of abuse by those top clericalistic clerics, and more bankrupting of the Church, with next to no one getting married because of the obvious insincerity in treating all marriage, whether between a man and a woman or a priest with the Church.
*** And if you’re wondering why this article is entitled with a reference to the Synod on the Family, Instrumentum laboris §130 — which is about same-sex unions and the benefits of abusing children (see: 001 Gay “Families” & Abuse of Children – Synod on the Family – Instrumentum laboris §130) — well, that is the subject matter of another article. But, start thinking about it. There are those who would like to hurt the Church, and it has everything to do with the insincerity which is hinted at in this article. And, by the way, it is because I was writing about all this that I was silenced in 2013, and why I was UN-silenced by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in mid-2015. See: 015 [Updated] Pope Francis saves trashed victim of omertà – Synod on the Family – Instrumentum laboris §130. Stay tuned.
— Father George David Byers