One of the major problems with religion reporting is that there seems to be no skepticism when it comes to a story they want to report.
Recently it was the totally invented story of the Vatican’s campaign to reform Judas that spread through many news outlets from one source without any of them questioning the validity of the original source of it.
The new one is that Pope Benedict XVI asked for the Vatican tribunal to issue ‘rapid’ rulings on annulment requests at a recent speech to the Roman Rota.
demonstrated from his translation from Italian that the Pope said no such thing.
The Guardian had reported.
Pope Benedict signalled a dramatic break with the past yesterday when he acknowledged the plight of divorcees who are banned from taking communion after remarriage and appealed to a Vatican tribunal to issue ‘rapid’ rulings on annulment requests.
It was the second time this week that the newly elected Pope has displayed strong liberal leanings, confounding his critics and the world’s Catholics and showing another side to his previously stern image, which has been unfavourably compared with his predecessor, John Paul II.
First off there is the silliness of the new encyclical having strong liberal leanings. I guess they would expect a conservative would issue God is hate. Why in the world is love defined along political lines? And what exactly was the stern image of John Paul II? It must be the fact that he was actually Catholic and taught Catholic truth.
In Rome yesterday he directly addressed a central tenet of Catholic doctrine that has caused distress to many followers of the church, which states that remarried divorcees are regarded as being in a permanent state of sin and cannot receive communion.
The 78-year-old pontiff, in a speech to the Roman Rota – the tribunal that decides annulments – acknowledged that there was ‘pastoral concern’ about the predicament of these Catholics.
He told the panel that its decisions should come quickly for the sake of the faithful. An annulment means that a marriage was invalid, leaving the faithful free to remarry and receive communion.
The Catholic Outsider says his speech actually said:
“The canonical process for a marriage annulment is essentially an instrument to define the truth about the conjugal relationship. Its objective, therefore, is not to uselessly complicate the life of the faithful and even less to exacerbate the conflict, but only to serve the truth (…) In fact, the objective of the process is the declaration of a truth from an impartial third party, after offering both parts equal opportunities to present their arguments and proofs within an adequate space for discussion.”
…“The principle of marriage indissolubility, reaffirmed by John Paul II with great strength in this same place, is an integral part of the Christian mystery. Unfortunately, today we can see that this truth is frequently forgotten in the conscience of Christians and people of good will.”
…“Pastoral sensibility must make us try to prevent marriage annulments in the process of admission for weddings and try to help the spouses solve possible problems and find the path to reconciliation.”
But somehow the press inserts rapid and calls this a "dramatic break with the past." Any good religion reporter would have immediately smelled a rat in a story like this and would have tried to have the report confirmed instead of just passing it along.
It’s just a lot of wishful thinking.
Nobody who has actually read the encyclical, or anything Sweet 16 has written, could say he was “soft” on homosexuality or whatever. Just because he didn’t make it a tirade against something that has been “settled law” (to borrow a phrase from the Alito nomination hearings) doesn’t mean he is not as orthodox as ever.
I don’t know what to make of his supposedly dubious choices of Archbishop Levada and his successor in San Francisco, I haven’t really heard of them before. But in any case I trust the judgment of the Pope more than a bunch of armchair QBs or journalists.
I suppose it’s no use to tell reporters that anyone barred from the sacraments for marriage reasons got there entirely of his or her own accord. It isn’t a sin to have been unwillingly subjected to divorce, and a person in that position is as welcome to receive Communion, under the usual conditions, after suffering that injustice as before. The sin comes in contracting another marriage while a former, validly married spouse is still living.
Journalistic tick: whenever a pope makes a move the journalist finds antiquated, he prefixes the Pontiff’s name with his age, e.g. “The 78 year-old Pope said…”
The convoking of Vatican II, however, was by “Beloved and baby-faced pope John XXIII.”