Even priests can be confused

I couldn't believe my ears this morning when the priest who's doing all the paperwork and interviews for annulments asked me this morning why a person whose annulment process he's working on has petitioned for a decree of nullity since he's a member of the Salvation Army and therefore not baptized.

I looked at Fr. confused and replied "Well, his natural marriage is presumed valid. So even though he's divorced the Church still considers him married. He can't marry Y if he's already married to X."

"Oh, really, I didn't realize.":eek:

This guy has been a priest for 36 years and didn't know that.:confused::confused::confused:

Do you think he was yanking my chain?

no I think either he genuinely did not know all the circumstances, or he did, but wanted to make sure you and he were both on the same page

[quote=Phemie;6158977
]

He could have been joking but more than likely it was just a “brain fart” (as the kids say). There’s times when under a mountain of paper work and meetings that we all temporarily forget things we would normally know/remember.
[/quote]

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:182785"]
no I think either he genuinely did not know all the circumstances, or he did, but wanted to make sure you and he were both on the same page

[/quote]

Oh he knew all the circumstances, knows the guy is hoping to get married in the Church in December. He was honestly surprised that he required a decree of nullity in order to do so. He figured being divorced was good enough since he wasn't Catholic.

The other reason he may have been asking is because if the unbaptized person was married to another unbaptized person and then he later becomes baptized he could apply for a Pauline Privlige instead of a decleration of nullity, it is a much simplier process. It is what I am using to have my previous marriage dissolved.

Not knowing (or wanting to know) the details, this would seem to be a case where Petrine Privilege or Pauline Privilege (depending on the particulars involved) could be invoked. Granted, the petition and paperwork still has to go through and be acted upon, but in such a case it's really not a matter of an "annulment" in the standard sense. Perhaps that's what confused the priest?

Well, when I was in Catholic high school, I thought that the priests there were USUALLY confused. Now of course I know better.

I wouldn't be too hard on the priest, he probably had a lot on his plate that day and had a memory lapse.

Got to admit, tough, 'brain fart' is a new one on me.

I don't mean to be uncharitable to priests but...

I think there are plenty who don't know that sort of thing. My guess is that priests in large dioceses with large parishes don't necessarily ever get closely involved in the rules and regulations on marriages. They may have always delegated the task ascertaining whether someone was free to marry in cases where it's not crystal clear.

Now Phemie, I realize you are not in a location swimming with priests who are canon lawyers so all priests ought to be familiar with the rules on marriage. But I think the principle still stands.

I had no idea priests had to be perfect:confused:

All priests now are required to have a Masters of Divinity. That is a four year masters degree program. It is 102 credit hours. It contains theology, pastoral studies, scripture, spirituality, liturgy, and some church history.

There is only one 3 credit hour class on Marriage Theology and Canon Law.

You can not expect every priest to know and remember it all. I believe at the theologate I am attending this is a 3rd year class.

[quote="ByzCath, post:10, topic:182785"]
All priests now are required to have a Masters of Divinity. That is a four year masters degree program. It is 102 credit hours. It contains theology, pastoral studies, scripture, spirituality, liturgy, and some church history.

There is only one 3 credit hour class on Marriage Theology and Canon Law.

You can not expect every priest to know and remember it all. I believe at the theologate I am attending this is a 3rd year class.

[/quote]

Thank you, at least that probably explains why he was confused.

[quote="Ralph4454, post:9, topic:182785"]
I had no idea priests had to be perfect:confused:

[/quote]

Who said anything about perfection? I was just surprised that a priest who has been involved in doing the interviews and the paperwork for petitioners (this is far from the first) didn't have at least a basic knowledge of the process.

But as a poster explained, they don't study marriage and canon law much before they are ordained so I guess if they've had no interest in the subject and no reason to look it up it's not surprising that they don't know.

[quote="ByzCath, post:10, topic:182785"]
All priests now are required to have a Masters of Divinity. That is a four year masters degree program. It is 102 credit hours. It contains theology, pastoral studies, scripture, spirituality, liturgy, and some church history.

There is only one 3 credit hour class on Marriage Theology and Canon Law.

You can not expect every priest to know and remember it all. I believe at the theologate I am attending this is a 3rd year class.

[/quote]

True. But, I can hardly imagine a Priest working on a marriage tribunal and not having a JCL. And I can hardly imagine anyone with a JCL not having a firm understanding of all the canonical ins and outs of marriage.

[quote="JMJ_coder, post:13, topic:182785"]
True. But, I can hardly imagine a Priest working on a marriage tribunal and not having a JCL. And I can hardly imagine anyone with a JCL not having a firm understanding of all the canonical ins and outs of marriage.

[/quote]

This guy is not working on a marriage tribunal, he's just a pastor who has several of his flock petitioning for decrees of nullity and he's doing the usual pastor's work: getting the interviews and the paperwork done to submit to the Tribunal. There's no one else to do this work at the parish level.

[quote="JMJ_coder, post:13, topic:182785"]
True. But, I can hardly imagine a Priest working on a marriage tribunal and not having a JCL. And I can hardly imagine anyone with a JCL not having a firm understanding of all the canonical ins and outs of marriage.

[/quote]

Depends on the diocese. Also this priest does not necessarily work on the tribunal, it was stated that he was processing paperwork and setting up interviews.

I know that some dioceses use guys fresh out of the seminary for this kind of extra work.

[quote="ByzCath, post:15, topic:182785"]
Depends on the diocese. Also this priest does not necessarily work on the tribunal, it was stated that he was processing paperwork and setting up interviews.

I know that some dioceses use guys fresh out of the seminary for this kind of extra work.

[/quote]

In this parish the priest does his own footwork on this. He doesn't have the luxury of having anyone else around to do it for him.

[quote="Phemie, post:1, topic:182785"]
I couldn't believe my ears this morning when the priest who's doing all the paperwork and interviews for annulments asked me this morning why a person whose annulment process he's working on has petitioned for a decree of nullity since he's a member of the Salvation Army and therefore not baptized.

I looked at Fr. confused and replied "Well, his natural marriage is presumed valid. So even though he's divorced the Church still considers him married. He can't marry Y if he's already married to X."

"Oh, really, I didn't realize.":eek:

This guy has been a priest for 36 years and didn't know that.:confused::confused::confused:

Do you think he was yanking my chain?

[/quote]

No, I think he was genuinely confused.

[quote="Phemie, post:14, topic:182785"]
This guy is not working on a marriage tribunal, he's just a pastor who has several of his flock petitioning for decrees of nullity and he's doing the usual pastor's work: getting the interviews and the paperwork done to submit to the Tribunal. There's no one else to do this work at the parish level.

[/quote]

I misunderstood -- I thought the Priest was on the tribunal.

[quote="ByzCath, post:10, topic:182785"]
All priests now are required to have a Masters of Divinity. That is a four year masters degree program. It is 102 credit hours. It contains theology, pastoral studies, scripture, spirituality, liturgy, and some church history.

There is only one 3 credit hour class on Marriage Theology and Canon Law.

You can not expect every priest to know and remember it all. I believe at the theologate I am attending this is a 3rd year class.

[/quote]

Our diocese has 8 credit hours on Canon Law alone, including a 3 c.h. course on Marriage law in specific. That is not even including the Sacramentology (which in any seminary should be pretty extensive.)

If the person has never been baptized a Pauline or Petrine Privilege may be quicker and easier that a full up investigation for a decree of nullity. These dissolve a non-sacramental marriage; so are not an annulment. Is this what your priest was thinking of?

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