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Need for SpeedToday we pick up where we left off in yesterday’s post. If you recall dear reader, in our  previous post titled Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, we laid out the arguments for what is behind the CIVIL WAR that is raging behind the Sacred Vatican Walls. On an aside, I would also like to mention that other commentators “on all things Vatican”, are also using the term CIVIL WAR. Remember where you read about it first!

But back to the subject at hand. As you recall, we left off yesterday’s post explaining the two FORCES driving the TRUE AGENDA behind the upcoming Stealth Sex Synod™ of Bishops of 2015 and more importantly, the entire Francis pontificate. We explained these FORCES as follows: (see here)

The Francis pontificate “has been until now more a media papacy than a real one”. This situation is creating problems since “the media have been anxious from the beginning to credit Francis for revolutions that never took place or for changes that came to be during his pontificate only thanks to the huge amount of work carried out during the previous pontificates”.

On the other hand, the Francis pontificate has become very unpopular in REAL TERMS among the Catholic Faithful. This last OBJECTIVE FACT can be observed through the attendance figures of the FAITHFUL, who come to the various FRANCISEVENTS. Figures obtained from various independent sources indicate that the Francis pontificate is approximately 20% as popular as the previous Benedict XVI pontificate. This OBJECTIVE FACT has been confirmed by official Vatican figures. (see here) This OBJECTIVE REALITY is causing much consternation for the media and in turn for FRANCIS’ MEDIA OPERATION. Please recall that Francis abandoned the Curia reform in early April and instead created a MEDIA COMMISSION. (see here)

It is with respect to this above described situation, that the proper context of the release of the Moto Propio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus needs to be understood.

With respect to the specifics, please recall that background to the release of the this moto proprio that we have outlined in the previous post titled Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting. Furthermore, the following observations need to be taken into account when assessing this BIGGER PICTURE. Below I provide two commentaries via the Fr. Z blog:

Kurt Martens, canonist and professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America had the following to say about this MP: (see here)

The changes move the church away from a set of 18th-century safeguards meant to make sure that the annulment process wasn’t subject to abuse, Martens said. (…) “Sometimes you want to go so quickly, you miss elements and make mistakes. Procedure law takes time to unfold.”


Martens said the way Francis changed the annulment process was unusual, because he did not go through the Synod on the Family, as expected, in October. (…)“It’s a bit strange and even a sign of contradiction that a pope who is big on consultation and collegiality seems to forget that on something like this. It’s highly unusual for legislation like this to get through that way.”

Notice the importance of the “SPEED” element to the detriment of all else, including making mistakes. Think about it for a second, we are talking about the annulment of the Sacrament of Marriage.

In turn, canonist Edward Peters had these observations. (see here)

At the pope’s request, a tiny group of experts, most from just one country, developed these new canons and explanations in a very short time.

Simply amazing! But I digress again…

I find, however, the implications of some of these norms for marriage law in general, and for diocesan bishops in particular, stunning, and I join Dr. Kurt Martens of CUA in wondering how bishops must feel at having such significant burdens thrust on them just in time for Christmas with, as far as one can see, virtually no prior consultation.

First, and most importantly, the vacatio legis (a delay period before new laws go into effect per Canon 8) indicated for Mitis should be extended from this December until well into next year at the very least. If, as some assert, Francis’ annulment reforms are the most significant in the last three hundred years, a considerably longer period than three months is needed to prepare for them

Second, a much wider consultation about annulment reform should be conducted, a consultation that would involve, at a minimum, many identified diocesan bishops (identified precisely so observers could forward remarks to them) and canonists from several countries, especially from countries with extensive tribunal operational experience.

But other aspects of Mitis, especially the fast-track annulment option, need, I suggest, considerably more study. I only hope sufficient time is accorded the wider Church to make such studies feasible.

When looking at the above comments, one is again struck by the: NEED FOR SPEED. Hence the title of this post. But I digress… So the logical next question is: why the NEED FOR SPEED?

The most likely answer and the one provided by our Peirce/Ockham pragmatic methodology (see here) is the one provided in yesterday’s post. Once again, here is the relevent passage:

In order to generate “buzz” and get people back into St. Peter’s Square and Francis’ audiences, Francis and his advisors are trying to grovel to a “special interest group” who they seem to think is quite large. This group is the public adulterers. This “special interest” group is needed to put bodies into the Francis events so that the media can continue their artificial narrative of Francis, the popular Pontiff of Mercy.

Numquam Ponenda est Pluralitas Sine Necessitate!

However, upon further analysis, i.e. further iterations of our Peirce/Ockham pragmatic model, your humble blogger has uncovered another element behind the TEAMFRANCIS strategy with respect to the promulgation and form of the Moto Proprio Mitis Iudex. This lead came via an article published by L’Osservatore written by the Dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto. (see here)

First of all, what we have in this article is confirmation that it is exactly this issue, i.e. the need to put bodies into FRANCISEVENTS that is the PRIME motivation behind the NEED FOR SPEED Moto Proprio. In the article, the following is the relevant passage from Msgr. Pinto:

So, with this fundamental law, Francis makes a real beginning to his reform: by putting the poor at the center, that is, the divorced and remarried, considered set apart and distant, and asking bishops for a true and proper metànoia. That is to say, a “conversion”, a change of mentality which convinces and sustains them in following the invitation of Christ, present in their brother, the Bishop of Rome, to pass from the restricted number of a few thousand annulments to that immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullitybecause of evident absence of faith as a bridge to knowledge and thus to the free will [necessary] to give sacramental consent — but are left on the outside by the current system.

What is simply amazing about the above passage, for our purposes here, is the part which indicates that Francis want’s not just a “restricted number of a few thousand” annulments, but annuments for the  “immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity”.

And just in case there are no immeasurable [number] of unfortunates presently in need of a FRANCISANNULMENT, Francis is willing to help his co-religionists out. One manner in which Francis wants to GENERATE this new immeasurable [number] of unfortunates is by CREATING a NOVELTY so that those “unfortunate” bishops can really crank up the volume. Yes sports fans, did you know that now you could get  a quicky Catholic divorce annulment simply by claiming to your local ordinary the following:

because of evident absence of faith as a bridge to knowledge and thus to the free will [necessary] to give sacramental consent

But that’s not all. Just in case a local ordinary would consult his Catholic Church Catechism or Code of Canon Law to determine what exactly constitutes the “absence of faith”, he will not be able to find this term since…. it does not exist.

But mayhem is assured, if not intended!

Even if Francis can’t get those Faithful back to the FRANCISEVENTS, he no doubt will try to get those immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity into the local bishops chancellories. Give them some work to do for a change, aye? Which appears to be the second FORCE driving this NEED FOR SPEED Moto Proprio. But more about this in tomorrow’s post.

I will finish here since I am running long. Without belaboring the point, here is the post from Ed Peter’s blog In the Light of the Law A Canon Lawyer’s Blog (see here) that is a must read. What is key in terms of this post, is all the forms that the cause for a quicky annulment can take. This is where I will pick up tomorrow.

Concluding, the situation that we find ourselves in is as follows: Francis, whose popularity is waning among the Catholic Faithful is desperate to find a way to get those same FAITHFUL to start coming again to his FRANCISEVENTS. The reason that Francis needs bodies at the FRANCISEVENTS is that his papacy is a VIRTUAL PAPACY, i.e. one that has been until now more a media papacy than a real one. The media is anxious for revolution “reform”, otherwise it will pull the plug on the Francis pontificate. One can say that the media is very anxious by looking at the breakneck speed with which TEAMFRANCIS has produced and promulgated the Moto Proprio Mitis Iudex.

Therefore, there is a NEED FOR SPEED on Francis’ part. The text above clearly demonstrates this point. So it would appear that Francis and his advisors are pulling out all the stops. They have created a catalogue of “causes for annulment” that are very wide. They appear to be willing to do anything in order to generate this “immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity”.

And they need to do it fast.

Very fast.