Sunday, April 20, 2014

The annulment crisis in the Church

The Catholic Church does not accept divorce. Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble (Mt 5:31-21; 19:3-9; Mk 10:9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-11). However, the Church can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., declare that the marriage never existed (Code of Canon Law, #1095-1107; see also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under "Divorce"). Last October Pope John Paul II, meeting with a delegation of US bishops, expressed his dissatisfaction with the number of annulments being granted to Catholics. US Catholics receive a disproportionately greater number of annulments each year.

The Holy Father said that annulments should be a last resort. "The indissolubility of marriage is a teaching that comes from Christ himself, and the first duty of pastors and pastoral workers is therefore to help couples overcome whatever difficulties arise. The referral of matrimonial cases to the tribunal should be a last resort."

The author of this book is a sociologist. After he had been married for fifteen years, he was notified that he was the respondent in the case for annulment of his marriage, which he was perfectly sure had been valid. In order to oppose the annulment he had to spend all his spare time reading about annulments and fighting to save the validity of his marriage. He has now become an expert in this matter and has decided to share with others what he has learned. He examines every aspect of annulments in the United States.  (more...)

What God Has Joined Together: The Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism


Annulments in Toronto

"Marriage enjoys the favour of law, according to canon law, that is, marriages are presumed to be valid: Canon 1060. Given the track record of the Toronto tribunal, one has to conclude that they are more of an administrative assembly line aiming to grant every annulment possible, rather than a judicial tribunal which genuinely seeks to investigate marriages based on the presumption of validity for them. For the Toronto tribunal, all failed marriages are invalid ones. They seem incapable of contemplating the possibility that a valid marriage may fail. And the same can be said for the appeal tribunal in Ottawa."

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