So we now have the Motu Proprio Motu Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus.
I have my initial first reactions, but first a few caveats. I am supportive of ‘streamlining the process’ so that undue wait and complexity could be removed as long as the sanctity and indissolubility of marriage was protected.
In the Motu Proprio, Pope Francis several times makes point that these reforms are in no way to mitigate against the indissolubility of marriage, which is good. But I think there is a real danger that these reforms will undermine marriage.
In advance of the issuance of this motu proprio, I said on social media “If the Pope does away with automatic appeals of declarations of nullity, it will do more damage to marriage than the gay marriage movement. Ending in Catholic Divorce.”
Well, the Pope did away with the automatic appeals process and all power is now placed in the Bishop and his appointees. This is so incredibly dangerous and the removal of the automatic appeal will predictably make for considerable mischief in many places, even as the Pope cautions against abuses.
Cautions aside, it is the predictability of what will happen in many places that is at issue. The Pope cautions against abuses, but we know they are inevitable, predictable, and in some places desired. This opens up the possibility of Catholic divorce in many locales.
I have a great deal of concern about this. A great deal. But I must admit that my first impression of the document is rushed and through a translator, so it will take more time to digest and even more time still to see how this is actually implemented. But I have fear that cautions aside, the barn door has just been propped wide open and the horses know it.