I don’t get this one. A priest left his ministry and was laicized in 1972. But before the laicization came through, he married a woman and they stayed together for 20 years and had two children. Then one day, he decided he wanted to be a priest again, so he divorced his wife and children, left her without alimony, and asked to be allowed to return to the priesthood. And the Vatican accepted! He is now a pastor in Puerto Rico while his wife remains behind with the children he abandoned and struggles to pay off the debts they accumulated in their marriage.
And what is the excuse of his bishop and the Vatican? Since the marriage occurred before his laicization came through, it wasn’t sacramental and therefore annulled. But that still doesn’t justify what was done here.
The man has an obligation to this woman and their children, but like other cases, a clericalist culture absolves one of its own of such mundane obligations.
What of the faith of his family? Doesn’t the Catechism teach that a man has obligations to his family? And what does this do to the Church’s teaching on annulments? People already think of it as Catholic divorce and the Church saying that no wedding ever happened and that the kids are illegitimate in the eyes of the Church. This case does nothing to dissuade people of that notion. Just when you think you can’t find anything more bizarre from the bishops, they surprise you.