|"Press 4 for our Marriage Annulments Service..."|
Press 1 for Banking Loans
Press 2 for Holiday Insurance
Press 3 for Loyalty Clubcard
Press 4 for Marriage Annulments.
You have chosen 4, marriage annulments.
Is this your first marriage?
Press 1 if this is your first marriage..."
That a female voice from a computerised self-checkout could one day utter these words may sound unrealistic or even absurd, but Cardinal Kasper, the high ranking Churchman with the ear of the Pope has been floating the idea of 'Annulment Self-Checkouts' in Rome in the days running up to the opening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. And if things go the way of the controversial Cardinal with the 'Kasper Doctrine' - often confused with that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Founder of the Catholic Church, your local supermarket and weekly shop will become a great deal more interesting - especially if you are married.
|Cardinal Muller is said to be 'disappointed' by the Kasper proposal|
Several in the inside circle of the Pope's other important advisers and a host of internationally recognised supermarket chains, including Sainsbury's, Tesco's, Wal-Mart and Iceland claim interest already in the proposal. Other leading global brands are said to be interested in the proposal which could even receive sponsorship from other global companies not usually associated with the Catholic Church, such as Planned Parenthood, Stonewall and Durex. It is thought by these companies that reconciliation with the Catholic Church in a new era of pragmatism, openness to new ideas and accommodation to evil could be underway.
"Under my proposal," said the Cardinal in the media limelight, "marriages that suffer the pain of breakdown and separation, that lead to divorce, and in many cases, remarriage, can find healing by the process of annulments in the Catholic Church. At the moment there is a rigorous procedure in place but this takes often a long time."
"This is a healthy and merciful way of re-examining whether a true marriage existed in the first place. It is becoming more clear that anything between 51% and 99.2% of all Catholic marriages are not valid, due to a number of circumstances, too detailed to go into in one hardback book alone. So you'll have to wait for my next one. Remarriage prevents many couples from putting their hands out for communion. They want communion and we want to give them communion. The only problem is the words of Our Lord Jes-, sorry, the Catholic Church's dogmatic and harsh doctrinal position.
|Cardinal Burke has made no formal statement yet|
Others have suggested that this need not be seen as a 'demotion' or in any way an insult to the talents of the Cardinal, but could be exactly what the Falconry Centre Network needs - the sturdy arm of a man of the Church to steer it into a more radical Catholic flight. While it is viewed by some that Francis has 'frozen out' the Cardinal, possibly from the Synod, privately Pope Francis is said to admire Burke's intelligence and knowledge of Church law and discipline, which are useful skills in heading a network of falconry centres throughout the world.
The news of the 'annulment self-checkout' model, however, has some Catholic commentator suggesting that it is possible that Cardinal Burke may be moved precisely so that no legal framework of the Church could be applied by his Court to the potential unrolling of the software to self-checkouts in supermarkets across the world.
It is reported that Kasper crossed his index and middle fingers at this point in the interview to stress his point.
Concern has been raised that the investigation by Church authorities into the validity or invalidity of a marriage may not be in depth enough and that questions could easily be answered incorrectly after shopping in a rush to get to the car, and that the scanning device for relevant documents could fail to work. It is thought by many that the self-checkout annulments could be 'open to abuse', sometimes unworkable without a supermarket supervisor and that 'annulment receipts' could easily be lost or discarded accidentally as normal receipts, but this hasn't stopped news of the idea spreading around Rome and the boardrooms of all the supermarket chains across the world, who sense a long-awaited financial deal with the Vatican that will draw customers into the supermarket on their way home from Church.
More news on this story when we have it, once the work of the new Commission established by Pope Francis to find a simplified solution to marriage annulments has come back and announced its conclusions in a dossier to be released at some point during October.