What Happened to God Old Internal, Supernatural Conversion? by Abraham V.Llera
I’M ONLY HUMAN, and, like every other human being, my heart cries out to be authentically good, and to be recognized as such.
Perhaps not surprisingly, much of this kind of recognition have come from my family. Okay, I lied: ALL of such recognition have come from my family. It has come from my wife, who, without being asked, prepares for me my favorite pre-dinner fried eggs and coffee, a stamp of approval as valuable as any. It has come from my children. My daughter Teresa, for instance, gifted me with a 101-word masterpiece which still resonates in my heart months after Father’s Day; it’s not for something I did to save the world, but something cherished just as much for the way it tells me how she appreciates the things I have done.
Priceless though these recognitions are, there’s an accolade that will even be more treasured: God’s, if and when I’d be blessed enough to reach the finish line with Him. “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:23). Or “Come, O blessed of my Father” (Mt 25:34).
Of course, it’d be a very good thing to go to heaven a snow-covered dung heap, able to see God face-to-face simply because God DECLARED me righteous. But wouldn’t God’s love for me and my love for him be sweeter were I to correspond closely to God’s grace, obeying everything that he tells me to do rather than breaking every one of the Ten Commandments, certain that my Lord will simply turn a blind eye on all my iniquities when my number comes up? Wouldn’t it be better, way, way better if I come before the Lord washed as white as snow, rather than as a snow-covered dung heap?
These thoughts came to my mind as I ponder on the implications of the latest “motu proprio” from the Vatican “on the reform of the canonical process for causes of the declaration of the nullity of marriage.” These two legal documents promise to turn the wheels of justice faster for couples now groaning for years to see their request for the declaration of the nullity of their marriage handed down by Rome.
The masterpiece of an ad hoc group of a dozen canonists Francis tasked to study the matter and come up with recommendations in August last year, the two documents are called Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (“The Gentle Judge, The Lord Jesus”) for the Latin Code of Canon Law, and Mitis et misericors Iesus (“The Meek and Merciful Jesus”) for the 1991 text governing the Eastern Churches.
Noteworthy is the secrecy, the surprise announcement, and the speed with the two documents were prepared. The blog ”Whispers in the Loggia,” for instance, notes that it took Benedict XVI’s tightened-up global norms on sex-abuse three years to prepare compared with the these two’s one year.
In his address to the Roman Rota at the start of its term, Pope Francis ordered its judges to “not close the salvation of people inside a juridical bottleneck,” a not-so-veiled reference to the backlog of cases that had burdened estranged couples with interminable wait for the wheels of justice to turn. Another reason is the need to come up with the final canon of the Latin Code —1752– which demands that “the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the church, is to be kept before one’s eyes.”
The Tribunal Apostolicum Rotae Romanae
(Latin, “Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota”) often simply called the Roman Rota is the highest appellate tribunal of the Church. It may surprise many, but the Church has a complete legal system , the oldest still in the world.
The “motu proprio” will make it easier for Catholics to secure a declaration of nullity for their marriages that at least one of the spouses think:
(1) Had not been conducted properly, i.e., before a priest and two witnesses,
(2) Suffer from some sort of ”impediment,” as when, for instance, the couple are too closely related, or
(3) That the marriage suffers from “defective consent,” as when one spouse proved to be against having children, or was not in his/her right mental faculties at the time.
Readers may already be asking: how is this development from the Vatican related to the beauty of having oneself truly made righteous and not merely declared righteous spoken of earlier?
Well, it’s because of the possibility that this move will not only clear the backlog of cases, but more significantly, open the floodgates to abuse.
What, for instance, would keep a couple who—because of neglect –have not been putting Christ in the center of their marriage—what would keep them from seeking from a liberal bishop a declaration of the nullity of their marriage on the basis of fabricated evidence simply because they’ve become tired of each other and now want to have new partners?
What will happen to good old internal supernatural conversion or transformation, in other words? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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