Canonists and Madmen

by Michael Sean Winters

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Yesterday I was discussing, with my favorite conservative priest friend, canon lawyer Ed Peters' latest post, in which he pours cold water on a suggestion from Milan's Cardinal Angelo Scola about potential ways of reforming the annulment process. +Scola is not enamored of the proposals from Cardinal Kasper, but he is clearly seeking a way forward, a bridge between the two sides, which is a good thing for a bishop to be doing. My priest friend said, "The problem with Professor Peters - and Cardinal Burke for that matter- is this. You remember what Chesterton said about madmen? The problem with the madman is not that he is illogical but that he is only logical. Mutatis mutandi, the problem with Peters and +Burke is not that they are canonists but that they are only canonists." This, I think, hits the nail on the head.

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