"With God and Jesus Christ excluded from political life,with authority derived not from God but from man,the very basis of that authority has been taken away,because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated.The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation." (Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas, December 11, 1925)
Mary’s Advocates, an advocacy group based in Ohio, hopes to have its position represented at the upcoming Extraordinary Synod to be held at the Vatican. According to a release from the organization, dozens of manuscripts were sent to Pope Francis, as well as bishops and cardinals to point out what it calls “discrepancies between pastoral care actually occurring compared to care described in the Canon Law and Catechism.”
Rev. Chuck Zmudzinski, a canon lawyer, has recommended the observations offered by Mary’s Advocates. He hopes that they succeed in their efforts to find Catholics bishops willing to speak up for the rights of spouses who want to protect their marriages from divorce and uphold the validity of their marriages in nullity proceedings conducted by church tribunals.
Mary's Advocates quoted Fr. Zmudzinski as pointing out “the possibility that the Church is actually promoting divorce by ignoring the canonical requirement that a spouse obtain the bishop's permission before approaching the civil forum for a decree of separation or divorce.”
In the Observations’ introduction, BaiMacfarlane of Mary’s Advocates writes, “From a layperson’s point of view, there is a notable difference between the pastoral care described in the Catechism and the Canon Law, in contrast to the prevalent pastoral practice in the United States. Simply put, many of the faithful believe that divorce is a morally neutral occurrence, and many diocesan staff personnel seem to agree—separation of spouses, the break-up of marriages, and divorce are things that ‘just happen.’”See Observations here.
Macfarlane also wrote “Chanceries appear to have no system to assist bishops in weighing the special circumstances of a marriage before a spouse files for divorce or separation in the civil forum. This weighing of circumstances is required by canon law as described herein. Numerous faithful do not know or do not care that forcing divorce—outside of specifically limited circumstances—is immoral, contravenes the moral law, and is a grave offense against the natural law.”