Progress in juridic science
Juridic science must progress, just as any other science. Otherwise it stagnates and loses vitality. By means of continuous reflection it needs to seek deeper insights on major questions that have always been at its very basis, such as the relation of truth and justice; or on the juridic treatment to be given to what may be considered new but are certainly not secondary themes, such as the definition and legal protection of human rights; or again on lesser but still important topics, such as the way of accelerating legal procedures without violation of due process or detriment to justice.
[Conference at Catholic University of America, Dec. 2004 (Position Papers, Dublin, 2005)]
Bear with me if I start with some ideas which may not seem very much to the point of our topic, but which are in fact.
As my title suggests, I propose to look at several aspects connected with the topic of annulments, none of which has to do directly with canonical procedures. But a prior word may not be out of place on two questions that I am at times asked. One is, if I am in favor or against annulments? Perhaps a somewhat naive question, since naturally I am in favor; very strongly so, when a proper judicial process shows that a declaration of nullity corresponds to the facts. Then one is dealing with a matter of justice, of the upholding of ecclesial rights.
The Mass Explained
To judge the "quality" of the Christian life of a community is always a difficult task, and perhaps a foolhardy one. There are so many factors that should be taken into account. And the most important of them are hidden!
Nevertheless, if the Holy Mass is the central act of our Catholic life, then Mass-going must surely remain one of the most indicative of these factors. With good reason therefore we consider the number of people coming to Mass, not only on Sundays but also very specially on weekdays. With even better reason we try to assess the "quality" of their participation in the Mass; their understanding of its nature and their application to their own lives of what it should mean for them. And we often think of the ways in which we can help them.