Kim Davis is Out of Jail

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

There really ARE two kinds of people in the world: those who will go to jail rather than do what’s wrong and those who will send them there. Robert George, McCormick Professor, Princeton, Charman, US Commission on International Religious Freedom

Kim Davis has been released from jail. Judge David Bunning, who ordered Davis jailed in the first place, says that he is satisfied that her deputies have fulfilled their obligations to issue marriage licenses to gay marriages.

His order releasing Mrs Davis requires that she cannot interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to “all legally eligible couples.” The implication is that if Mrs Davis does not perform her duties as a dully elected official to the judge’s liking, he will imprison her once again.

I am going to repeat something I said earlier: The judge is over-stepping his authority. Mrs Davis is an elected official and his purview does not extend to telling elected officials whether or not they are performing their duties in a satisfactory manner.

If an elected official does not perform their duties in a manner that the courts deem necessary, the courts have a certain latitude for redress, but this does not include summarily imprisoning the elected official. Perhaps the most clear-cut case of this in American history was when the Supreme Court ruled that the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their hereditary lands to Indian Territory (what is now the State of Oklahoma) was unconstitutional, and President Andrew Jackson ignored the Court.

Impeachment and the election process are how this nation has dealt with elected officials who do not perform their duties properly. When courts begin to imprison elected officials based on how they perform their duties, they are overstepping the separation powers which is one of the primary guarantors of our freedoms.

I realize that those who favor gay marriage will not allow themselves to see this. I also realize that the concept of separation of powers has become increasingly weak due to judicial overstepping of its clear boundaries by using its power to issue rulings to create and pass legislative initiatives of revolutionary proportions without any reference to representation of the people. But the courts must be stopped from overstepping their boundaries by imprisoning elected officials for not performing their duties in the manner the court decides they should.

There is a lot more at stake here than the recent judicial fiat on gay marriage.

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Pope Changes Annulment Process. What Does it Mean?

Sometimes, it's obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

Sometimes, it’s obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

My ignorance of canon law is showing.

Pope Francis issued two Apostolic letters, which are edicts affecting the entire Church this morning. These letters reform the process by which members of the laity — and those wishing to enter the Church who have  marital baggage from the pasts — can obtain an annulment.

I have questions out to canonists so that I can give you a more exact and accurate understanding of exactly what the Holy Father did, but there are a few things I can say, just from reading the documents. One critical reform that he has instituted is that the process of obtaining an annulment should be offered to the faithful without charge.

The diocese in which I live does not charge for annulments. That is the way it should be, everywhere. The reason I feel so strongly about this is that a complex marital arrangement can block people from entering the Church, and it can also keep them from taking Communion. That makes the annulment process a roadblock to Jesus. There should never have been a charge for someone seeking to partake of the Body and Blood of Our Savior.

If I understand what I read correctly, the Pope has put the annulment process in the hands of the local bishop, who has been given the option of appointing one person to act on his behalf in this matter. Pope Francis calls this person “a single judge under the responsibly of the Bishop.” One of the things I need to learn more about is how this would affect the existing tribunals.

The important point is a bit further down when the document states clearly “the bishop is judge.” I interpret that to mean that the local bishop is the first voice of appeal if there is disagreement about his designee’s decisions. It also means that the bishop is always directly responsible for the annulment process in his diocese.

The letters says that “a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed — in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use.” This simplified process “is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of martial nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments.” I interpret this to mean that this shorter process is for cases cases in which the facts say on their face that the marriage was not a sacramental marriage. That would probably include things such as common law marriage, forced marriage, child marriage, or marriages performed by atheists/pagans/justices of the peace/ship’s captains, etc.

As I said, I’ve asked people who are Canonists to help me understand what these changes will mean to the people in the pews. My guess is that these new rules will be abused by some, but will also help many people who are shut away from the sacraments by a past they cannot change. I think they will also remove what has been unmovable barriers to people who have messy marital pasts and who have converted and changed and are now following the call of Christ to enter the Catholic Church. I personally know people whose conversion to the Catholic church was blocked by their inability to fill out the paperwork required by the current process.

Marriage is a vastly important commitment. When you marry, you chose this one person as your life’s partner. You will create other people with them, people that are part of each of you, but are uniquely themselves. Your spouse is the one who stands beside you in life’s trials, the one who shares your future.

We have degraded and damaged marriage to the point that family itself has lost its meaning to many people. In many ways, these changes in the annulment process are a recognition of the fact that Western society has fallen into such deep and widespread marital sin that the necessity of reconversion means that we must accommodate these things in order to bring the converted to Christ.

Western society has fallen into depravity that has become the norm. But the message of the Gospels is unchanged. That message is simple and straight foward: Jesus Christ the Way to eternal life.  Not only that, but there is no sin we can commit that is greater than His forgiveness.

That’s what I think these changes are about. They are a way to telling people that no matter what kind of mess they’ve made of things, nothing they’ve done is greater than Christ’s mercy.

Here, from Vatican Radio, is the summary of the Apostolic Letters Pope Francis issued today:

  1. That there be only one sentence in favor of executive nullity – It appeared opportune, in the first place, that there no longer be required a twofold decision in favor of marital nullity, in order that the parties be admitted to new canonically valid marriages: the moral certainty reached by the first judge according to law should be sufficient.

  2. A single judge under the responsibility of the Bishop – The constitution of a single judge in the first instance, who shall always be a cleric, is placed under the responsibility of the Bishop, who, in the pastoral exercise of his own proper judicial power shall guarantee that no laxity be indulged in this matter.

  3. The Bishop is judge – In order that the teaching of the II Vatican Council be finally translated into practice in an area of great importance, the decision was made to make evident the fact that the Bishop is, in his Church – of which he is constituted pastor and head – is by that same constitution judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is desired that, in Dioceses both great and small, the Bishop himself should offer a sign of the conversion of ecclesiastical structures, and not leave the judicial function completely delegated to the offices of the diocesan curia, as far as matters pertaining to marriage are concerned.

  4. Increased brevity in the legal process – In fact, beyond making the marriage annulment process more agile, a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed – in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use – which is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of marital nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments. In any case, the extent to which an abbreviated process of judgment might put the principle of the indissolubility of marriage at risk, did not escape me [writes Pope Francis – ed.]: thus, I have desired that, in such cases the Bishop himself shall be constituted judge, who, by force of his pastoral office is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline.

  5. Appeal to the Metropolitcan See – It is fitting that the appeal to the Metropolitan See be re-introduced, since that office of headship of an Ecclesiastical province, stably in place through the centuries, is a distinctive sign of the synodality of the Church.

  6. The proper role of the Bishops’ Conferences – The Bishops’ Conferences, which must be driven above all by the anxious apostolic desire to reach the far-off faithful, should formally recognize the duty to share the aforesaid conversion, and respect absolutely the right of the Bishops to organize judicial power each within his own particular Church.

 

 

Deacon Greg offers an excellent news summary of the letters here.

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Pope Francis Goes to Local Shop to Buy New Glasses

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

He went himself to buy new glasses. He saved money by using the old frames. I imagine it was a great treat to him, being able to go out for this ordinary errand.

Love our Holy Father.

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Pope Francis’ Virtual Papal Audience with Americans Full Version

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

If you missed Pope Francis’ virtual papal audience with America, here it is, without editing.

This is an incredible event. I cried like a baby when the single mother with the two little girls spoke to the pope about her life and her feelings. I think the reason why so many of these people cried when they were talking is the healing power of telling their story to the Vicar of Christ.

This is the power that all priests have, if they will just use it. They can heal or wound as no one else can. It depends on their willingness to suffer with other people’s suffering.

We have a wonderful pope.

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For a more in-depth reaction, check out Deacon Greg. 

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The Woman Behind Pope Francis’ Visit to the United States

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

This video is a couple of months old, but the information it contains is timely.

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Dying to Keep a Job … Freedom of Conscience and Abortion, Euthanasia

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Do you support forcing doctors and nurses to violate their consciences by killing their patients with abortion and euthanasia?

How does this overall concept apply to the questions raised by the jailing of Kim Davis?

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Mentally Disabled People Visit the Pope

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: "Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes." (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency.
Their website states: “Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes.” (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Our black-shoed pope: Love him.

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When Chickens Trump Babies … Time to Re-Prioritize?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

I think this is something that only a Harry Truman Democrat could write.

I take on the moral inanity of poseur liberalism, something that will probably get the hide ripped off me all over again in certain circles. You can read it all at CatholicVote. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Mother Jones is a venerable liberal magazine. It’s named after a labor organizer who was — you guessed it — Mother Jones. Back in the day, liberals were all about things like a living wage, social security and good jobs. I was, and still am, that kind of liberal.

Then, somewhere alone the line, liberalism drifted. Nowadays, “liberalism” is largely the property of the decidedly illiberal world of politically-correct group-think. It is no longer concerned with working people, and in fact, often supports positions that run counter to the deeply-held beliefs and best interests of working class Americans. Today’s liberalism walks right past jobless people who suffer for lack of a hope and a future to focus its energy on comical trivialities.

Today’s “liberal” is not a liberal. They are poseurs who have absconded with an honorable name and appended it to what is in reality a socio-political movement of nihilism.

Enter the latest issue of Mother Jones.

Mother Jones, in direct contrast to the deep working class roots its name evokes, has fallen face-forward into the faux liberalism of espousing trivialities while supporting massive human rights abuses. The human rights abuse I’m referencing is the well-documented practice of Planned Parenthood of killing millions of unborn children, then selling their body parts for profit.

Unlike much of the “legitimate” press, Mother Jones has not ignored the videos in which Planned Parenthood personnel engage in this grisly commerce. In fact, it is not the least bit shy about writing about the videos and the Center for Medical Progress which produced them.

Go here to read the rest.

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Guess Who Didn’t Go to Jail?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

How about when the shoe is on the other foot?

From Daily Mail:

An openly-gay judge has said she is refusing to perform marriage ceremonies until same-sex couples can wed.

Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker says she won’t use her power to perform legal marriage ceremonies in her court because would be ‘an oxymoron’ for her.

Speaking to a meeting of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, she said: ‘I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away.’

Judge Parker said if asked to perform wed a couple, she would say: ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105958/Openly-gay-Judge-refuses-marry-straight-couples-sex-couples-rights.html#ixzz3kmfU4wf6
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Court Clerk Kim Davis Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same Sex Marriage License

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan Country, Kentucky, was jailed for contempt of court.

This is a rather interesting situation, since Ms Davis is an elected official. Normally, elected officials who are considered to be failing to perform their duties are dealt with by the voters, or, if the Constitution of their state allows, impeachment proceedings.

The question that comes to mind in this situation is simply whether or not the court is over-stepping its standing in this matter. That is a rather large question which may surface in actual practice if these law-making court decisions keep on coming.

Our Supreme Court has taken on a legislative role in many of its rulings in the past few decades. Each time it has done that, it has gone further than simply taking legislative powers onto itself. It has also taken on the role of a dictatorship by tribunal, since members of the Supreme Court are not elected.

I am interested to see if anyone raises the question as to whether or not the court has the power to imprison elected officials for what it deems a failure to perform their duties. That kind of action broadens judicial powers exponentially.

Right now, the issue is being dealt with as a simple contempt of court. I question whether or not a court can issue an order requiring that elected officials perform their duties in specified ways. In some jurisdictions, where the county clerk is entirely an officer of the court, there would be no question as to the court’s authority to order them to comply with court orders.

But Ms Davis stood for election. So, is she entirely an officer of the court? She is, after all, directly answerable to the people.

For instance, back in the 1980s, the federal courts issued orders about certain requirements concerning population density and facilities for the Oklahoma prisons. There was a riot at one of our prisons and we had to rebuild the prison. During the planning for that, we took the court order into consideration.

But if we had not, the court would not have been able to put any member of the legislature in jail for non-compliance. The federal government could have punished the state of Oklahoma by a withdrawal of funds. The courts might have issued draconian orders putting the prisons under direct federal oversight. There might even have been an attempt to fine the state in some way.

However, none of us who voted on this legislation worried that soldiers were going to come on the House floor and cart us off to jail for non-compliance if we failed to adhere to that court order. Courts don’t — and shouldn’t — control how elected officials do their duties. It is a gross expansion of court powers for them to try.

I realize that the order concerning Ms Davis was directed at her alone. But there is a principle here that I don’t think anyone is looking at carefully enough.

From ABC News:

A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed today after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but five of her deputies said under oath they would comply with the court’s order to issue the licenses.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled against the Rowan County clerk before deputy marshals removed her from the courtroom this morning, and later said he expected the deputies to comply despite Davis’ refusal to authorize them to do so.

Bunning said Davis could be released from federal custody if she complies with the order to resume issuing licenses in the county. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, arguing that such a move was a way around discriminating against same-sex couples.

The ACLU had asked that she be fined but the judge said he didn’t believe that was enough to force her into action.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said in a statement, “Everyone is stunned at this development. Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she cannot violate her conscience. While she may be behind bars for now, Kim Davis is a free woman. Her conscience remains unshackled.”

 

 

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