I have said it before on this website, that I believe Teresa Benns of BetrayedCatholics to be a cult leader. At the time, and afterward, I thought it somewhat hasty even for myself to assert such, since there really was scant evidence to claim it. Now, without a shred of doubt on my conscience, I am quite certain that Benns is a cult leader of a non-Catholic sect.
Benns has doubled down on her claim that marriages performed before Traditionalists are invalid according to c.1094. I have already shown that c.1098 is the exception to it, providing that, if, after a month has transpired, an authorized priest is not available, a couple may validly and legally exchange vows before two witnesses.
Now, Benns has claimed in her most recent the following:
“…Who alone were able to administer or witness the Sacraments? Those who can be rightly identified, of course, as lawful pastors, rightly commissioned by the Church as such. Does the Church consider marriages between Catholics, (or where one party is Catholic at least), by one not delegated by the Church sacramental? Not according to Can. 1094. Therefore even if consummated, it is still not considered valid. And this same Canon offers the exception of Canon 1098. But how could Can. 1098 be invoked unless one first realized there are no lawful pastors left and they must invoke it?”
The quick and concise answer to this blathering nonsense is that, yes, the Church does consider marriages between Catholics sacramental and valid and licit, even before a non-Catholic minister, provided the conditions of law of c.1098 are fulfilled. And, no! Knowledge of the law need not be invoked like a spell book charm in order to come into effect. Law doesn’t work like magic spells. Law is the universal regulatory principle of order in a community which is effective quite apart from our knowledge. The legal maxim everyone and their brother knows–except, it would seem, Teresa Benns–is that ignorance of the law does not excuse.
Thus it is quite impossible for a marriage to be invalid which took place even before a non-Catholic minister but before at least two witnesses, when during the past several decades no authorized priests have been available.
But don’t take my word for all this. I know about as much canon law as astrophysics, which goes for the vast majority of people today. The law, and especially the body of ecclesial law, is a science which demands training and years of study under the direction of masters of the law. Teresa Benns is a hoax and a fake. She has no legal training whatever, and is so outrageously wrong on this point of c.1098 as to be sinfully wrong, because she is quite literally leading souls to Hell by her ignorance, which, if she doesn’t correct after having read what follows–which I hope you, gentle and just reader, shall share with her and blow up her email with–all may reasonably conclude is not ignorance but malice toward truth and intentionally deceiving.
These are the rotten fruits of a cult leader. If, after what I present below does not convince you of this, you might as well throw your head back and down the cyanid Kool-Aid, because, imbibing Benns one is liable to imperil their very soul to eternal death and hellfire, as one reader commented some have already done, trying to dissolve their own valid and Catholic marriages based upon the raving idiocies of BetrayedCatholics.
So, here is the evidence. It comes from an excerpt of The Jurist, a pre-1958 Catholic canon law review journal, a scholarly publication which demanded the highest legal research and expertise in the world on ecclesiastical law and jurisprudence. It was the source by which legal professionals understood more fully the laws and commentaries written on canon law. Here is what one entry said on c.1098:
“It is not necessary that those going to marry should know about c. 1098, or think of it when they marry without a priest, or know that an exception of this occurs in law. The law takes effect as soon as all the prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, independent therefore from the parties knowing it or a priest declaring it. For in these circumstances nothing more is done than applying the general principle which says: In order that someone may be said to obey a positive ecclesiastical law, it suffices that he posits and action such as is prescribed by the law. Moreover, if it is a question of a ‘lex irritans‘, the ignorance of the law has no effect on the action. Just as ignorance does not prevent an action in opposition to a ‘lex irritans‘ from being null and void (c. 36, par. 1) so there is nothing to prevent an action which complies with the demands of the law, from being valid. It suffices for the validity that the parties wish to contract a valid marriage and that the conditions of c. 1098 are fulfilled, even though the couple and others ‘ex conscientious erronea‘ imagine that they are committing a sin, or even blamed for living in concubinage. For according to c. 1085 ‘Scientia aut opinion nullitatis matrimonii consensum matrimonialiem necessario non excludit.’ It need scarcely be remarked that in these circumstances the parties are justified in going to a justice of the peace, or any other official of the government who is entitled to witness marriage, so that marriage may have the recognition of the civil law. They can also marry before a non-Catholic minister, not as a minister of religion but as official entitled by civil law to witness marriages; they must not allow him to use any religious ceremony, as may be seen from Canon 1063.”
The Jurist. “The History and Application of Canon 1098.” John De Reeper, M.H.F. (1954), p. 168-169).
Anyone of good will can see the glaring contradiction between what the legal scholar De Reeper says in the The Jurist concerning c.1098 and what Teresa Benns says, a mere high school graduate without a shred of university education to her name, let alone post doctoral research expertise in ecclesial law like De Reeper.
It is high time people start heeding the warnings I have made on this website about BetrayedCatholics and Teresa Stanfill Benns. She is a false prophet, a false teacher, and a false Catholic, since she promotes what one friend and reader of this blog has called a pharisaical approach to canon law. I do not claim knowledge of canon law or even theology for that matter. I do, however, have extensive training in philosophy at the graduate level, which makes me capable of identifying error and of making proper distinctions. Armed with a catechism, I am simply applying what I am expected to know and defend against those who dilute or distort the teachings of the Church.
Benns is distorting the law, adjudicating cases she has utterly no business adjudicating, and cunningly like a Pharisee trying to use law in the service of lawlessness–and divorce is lawlessness, because it denies the bonds of law, both civil and Divine. Just as much as a thief denies the rights of property, just as a murderer denies the rights of person to live, so a divorcee denies the marital rights of his or her spouse. The fruits of BetrayedCatholics is self-evident to anyone who has eyes to see: lawless license and eternal death.
May Heaven have mercy on the Cult Leader Teresa Stanfill Benns.
For those who are struggling with their marriages, and are in need of some advice or counsel, or just an ear to talk into, I am more than willing to be there for you. I speak with some authority, as my wife and I have sustained a happily marriage for almost fifteen years, are raising six children, have endured chronic illnesses, and a host of battles both spiritual and temporal which try any family of faith, and have emerged thus far happier than ever and are solid in our Matrimonial life together. If you are a woman needing to talk to a woman, my wife Laura would be willing just as I to be a shoulder to lean or cry on.
The answer to marriage difficulty is not to escape, not to run away to start a new, happy life with someone else, but to stand firm, to hold the line and fight for your family. The war Satan wages is not only against the hierarchical Church, but also against the domestic Church. Don’t let him win. The battle is hard, and talking to a fellow Catholic for moral encouragement is very helpful. Please reach out if you need help. God bless you and keep you in your marriage!