Canon Law

From Catholic World Report:

Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On love in the family,” has been one of the most widely anticipated papal documents in recent years, following the closely watched and sometimes controversial Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 2014 and the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in 2015. It is also one of the longest and wide-ranging papal documents in recent memory, touching on a host of theological, spiritual, practical, moral, and pastoral questions about family, marriage, children, sexuality, and related matters.

In these essays CWR contributors offer their reflections and analysis of the document, drawing upon their knowledge and experience as married people, priests, theologians, scholars, and journalists.

Francis’ sprawling Exhortation a marriage of profound and muddled | Carl E. Olson

In Amoris Laetitia, who is admonishing whom? | James V. Schall, SJ

The Joy of Love in the Hands of the Clergy | Dr. Leroy Huizenga

The Mystery of Matrimony and Amoris Laetitia | Michael J. Miller 

Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia and St. John Paul II | Eduardo Echeverria 

In Amoris Laetitia, the family is an opportunity, not a problem | Stephan Kampowski 

Make sure you read these passages from Amoris Laetitia, too | Catherine Harmon

The Trending of the Pope | Mark Brumley

The Two Synods and the Exhortation that Followed Them | Mary Jo Anderson

The Shape of Repentance: Reflections on Amoris Laetitia | Adam G. Cooper 

Amoris Laetitia: Another Nail in the “Overpopulation” Coffin | Dr. Samuel Gregg 

Accompanying, Discerning, and Integrating—in the Way of the Master | David Paul Deavel

“Amoris Laetitia’: The Good, the Disturbing, and the Torturous | Dorothy Cummings McLean

First thoughts on the English version of Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia | Edward N. Peters 

The law before ‘Amoris’ is the law after | Edward N. Peters 

First thoughts on Amoris Laetitia | Bishop Robert Barron

Watch: Ignatius Press editorial staff members discuss “Amoris Laetitia” 

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The world is a flurry with commentary on the Pope’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Seems to be understood very differently by different people with differing perspectives and agendas. 

Cardinal Burke wrote an interesting piece on the Pope’s exhortation and John Jalsevac wrote an interesting critique of Burke’s column. I post this because it a very good summary of the whole matter. You can read it here.

There will be weeks of digesting this sprawling exhortation but these two items seemed to sum it up well, along with Dr. Ed Peter’s piece (The Law before ‘Amoris’ is the Law after

A few others reactions here: George WeigelUS Bishops. Bishop Barron. Cardinal Schönborn. Cardinal Burke. Read the full document.

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Traveling home from Israel with no time to read this yet. Here are the thoughts of Dave Armstrong 

Below are the thoughts of my trusted friend and canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters.

First thoughts on the English version of Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia.

by Dr. Edward Peters

There are as one might expect in a document of this length and written with access to the kinds of resources a pope commands, many good things said about marriage in Amoris. Whether those things speak with any special profundity or clarity is better left, I think, for each reader to decide individually

That said, however, one must recall that Francis is not a systematic thinker. While that fact neither explains nor excuses the various writing flaws in Amoris, it does help to contextualize them. Readers who are put off by more-than-occasional resort to platitudes, caricatures of competing points of view, and self-quotation simply have to accept that this is how Francis communicates.

Some juridic issues that were widely anticipated include:

Holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Francis does not approve this central assault tactic against the permanence of marriage, but neither does he clearly reiterate constant Church teaching and practice against administering the Eucharist to Catholics in irregular marriage situations. Speaking of ‘irregular marriage’, nearly every time Francis uses that traditional phrase to describe what could more correctly be termed pseudo-marriage, he puts the word “irregular” in scare quotes, as if to imply that the word is inappropriate and that he is using it only reluctantly.

Internal forum. Francis makes almost no commentary on the so-called “internal forum” solution. What little comment he does make on the internal forum in AL 300 is not controversial.

Canon law in general. Francis makes almost no use of canon law in Amoris. What few canonical comments he does make not controversial.

‘Same-sex marriage’. Francis leaves no opening whatsoever that same-marriage can ever be regard as marriage. AL 251.

Some problematic points (in no special order) include:

1. Speaking of divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, Francis writes: “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy [i.e., sexual intercourse] are lacking ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Gaudium et spes, 51).” AL fn. 329. I fear this is a serious misuse of a conciliar teaching. Gaudium et spes 51 was speaking about married couples observing periodic abstinence. Francis seems to compare that chaste sacrifice with the angst public adulterers experience when they cease engaging in illicit sexual intercourse.

2. Speaking of “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church”, Francis writes “Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way.” AL 292. This simple phrasing requires significant elaboration: forms of union that most radically contradict the union of Christ and his Church are objectively adulterous post-divorce pseudo-marriages; forms of union that reflect this union in a partial, but good, way are all natural marriages. These two forms of union are not variations on a theme; they differ in kind, not just in degree.

3. Speaking of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2384 describes as “public and permanent adultery”, Francis writes that some post-divorce marriages can exhibit “proven fidelity, generous self-giving, [and] Christian commitment”. AL 298. Many will wonder how terms such as “proven fidelity” can apply to chronically adulterous relationships or how “Christian commitment” is shown by the public and permanent abandonment of a previous spouse.

4. In AL 297, Francis writes: “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” To the contrary, it is precisely the logic of the Gospel that one can be condemned forever. CCC 1034-1035. If one meant, say, that no one can be ‘condemned for ever’ by earthly authority, one should have said so. But, of course, withholding holy Communion from those in “public and permanent adultery” is not a “condemnation” at all, so the point being made is not clear.

5. In AL 280-286, directly discussing sex education for youth, I did see not any acknowledgement, indeed not even a mention, that parents have rights in this important area. Perhaps that is to be gleaned from comments about parents made elsewhere in AL.

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Pope Francis, Donald Trump, Nuns Using Contractives, Zika Virus and more on the Pope’s Comments to the Press

February 18, 2016

Seven quick thoughts on the most recent papal presser by Dr. Edward Peters Frankly, I don’t know how he does it. When I fly to Europe I have to sleep all the way over.  Not Pope Francis. Anyway, may I offer some comments on some topics mentioned in the latest mid-air papal presser? 1. Pope Paul [...]

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A Quick Reply to Question about Cremation and Scattering the Ashes

January 29, 2016

I was asked a question about Catholics, cremation and the scattering of ash. Here is my brief answer: The whole issue of cremation goes back to the Romans. They denied the bodily resurrection so they often burned the body and if they were rich they put the ashes in urns and put them in the [...]

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Canon Lawyer Ed Peters’ Concerns about New Revions regarding Annulments

September 9, 2015

Read his article here. Jimmy Akin also weighs in with his “Nine Things you should Know and Share“    

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Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share

September 2, 2015

The article below is written by Jimmy Akin and available on his blog. Pope Francis has just released a letter in which he made several announcements concerning the upcoming Year of Mercy. This includes absolution for those who have procured abortion and the ability to go to priests of the Society of St. Pius X [...]

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Okay, what about Catholics and the Death Penalty?

March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015 By Dr. Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer   (see also The Stream’s: “Should Catholics Oppose the Death Penalty?“) “Dr. Steven Long beat me to it. His rejoinder to the “Capital punishment must end” editorial of America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, andOur Sunday Visitor is essential reading even if, in some places, Long’s essay, “Four Catholic [...]

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What is the Earliest a Mass can Start on the Preceding Day to Fulfill the Obligation for a Sunday or Holy Day Obligation?

December 10, 2014

A question on Mass-start times that warrants attention by Dr. Edward Peters Recalling, in the wake of a some recent discussions of Mass obligations, that I had promised some time ago to set out some materials for use in reasoning through another Mass attendance question, I offer some of that now. This question concerns, What is the [...]

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Heretic for Desiring Women’s Ordination?

October 31, 2014

Since, you asked, Walter, no, you are not a heretic, but… by Dr. Edward Peters Walter Sandell. … “I wonder if I’m a heretic for believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women. I would be a hypocrite if I kept silent about this issue …” I don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who “Walter [...]

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Cohabitation, Canonical Form and Marriage

September 12, 2014

Cohabitation and canonical form by Dr. Edward Peters The latest tizzy is over Pope Francis’ plans to preside at the weddings of several Roman couples, including some couples who have been cohabiting for lengthy periods. There are two perspectives from which to look at this news, one canonical, one pastoral. Canonically, this is a non-issue. No [...]

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Divorce and Remarriage: Platitudes, Principles, Mercy and Canon Law

March 14, 2014

  When faced with practical problems, rely on principles not platitudes by Dr. Edward Peters The line between principles and platitudes is a narrow one. Both sorts of assertions are true and both can put into a few words concepts that otherwise require many paragraphs to explain. But principles and platitudes are not the same thing; [...]

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Canon Lawyer Ed Peters: “The Legion of Christ Disaster Drags Inexplicably On”

December 13, 2013

New post on In the Light of the Law. Dr. Edward Peters, advisor to the Vatican. My comments are below. Dr. Peters writes, I have long held that nothing can rehabilitate the institution known as the Legion of Christ nor any of its affiliated works, and I’ve seen nothing in the last three years that [...]

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Before Mass: 1 or 3 Hour Fast?

August 29, 2013

Interview note from my friend Dr. Edward Peters (his opinions are not necessarily mine; I post this for information and discussion only) This afternoon at 5:15 Eastern, Drew Mariani (Relevant Radio) and I [Ed Peters] will be talking about my suggestion that the fast required for holy Communion be re-extended to three hours (up from [...]

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“Please Pray for Tom Peters” from his Dad, Canon Lawyer Ed Peters

July 18, 2013

Please consider invoking Felix Cappello, SJ, for Thomas Peters by Dr. Edward Peters I tell my kids what my mom told me: to pray for the sick and the poor every day if only because any of us can find ourselves being either or both at any time.

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In Light of the Zimmerman Acquittal – Self-Defense?

July 14, 2013

There will be many opinions and the discussion and wrangling will go on for quite a while, I suppose. Unhappily, this promises to further divide our country, especially along racial lines. However, I am not getting into that discussion here. Rather, it is important to understand the teaching of the Church on the matter of [...]

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