BASIC R.C. BELIEF
An annulment is a declaration of the Church that no marriage bond existed
in the first place. An annulment might be given if the partners of the
marriage never intended to enter a permanent union, intended never to have
children, if one partner substantially deceived the other in relation to
the marriage, marriage only to legitimatize a baby, or if a Catholic were
to marry without permission (of the Bishop) before a justice of the peace
or non-Catholic minister.
An annulment is granted when it can be shown that there were sufficient
psychological reasons present at the time of the marriage to prevent one of
both parties from entering into the kind of contract with one another which
would in fact be sacramental. The emotional disturbance involved need not
be completely incapacitating. These two particular people, while they may
have been able to contract valid sacramental marriages with the other
persons, could not contract them with each other.
From THE QUESTION BOX, Rev. Bertrand Conway, page 332. "In five years
(circa. 1925-29), 98 decrees of nullity (annulments) were granted by the
Roman Catholic Church."
POST VATICAN II
March 1972. Pope Paul VI's new law to make marriage annulments for Roman
Catholics faster and cheaper took effect today. Under the revised
procedure, annulment is expected to take an average of seven months.
Quote from Rev. Dennis Burns, presiding judge of the Boston Roman Catholic
diocese on 10/9/75. "The church is granting more annulmments than ever. We
used to hear 10-20 cases a year. Now we have heard 160 in Boston alone.
The Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) has charged that proposed revisions
in Canon Law will destroy the US marriage annulment system. Almost 2,000
marriage annulments were granted in 1969 under the old canon law system.
"If we are forced to work under the new system," said Rev. Dillon, outgoing
CSLA president, "the entire marriage tribunal system in the US would fold.
The canonists explained that the new proposed revisions would invalidate
the American proceedural norms adopted in 1970. These norms facilitate
marriage annulment processes in the U.S. Since adopted, the number of
annulments granted in U.S. has risen dramatically. With the repeal of the
norms, the amount of red tape would drastically increase and greatly reduce
the number of annulments that could be considered, the CSLA explained.
Some modern priests say that since mutual love is necessary for a
sacramentally valid marriage, if either party did not love the other at the
time of the ceremony, it could be annulled.
From TIME, 5/24/76. "Diocesan marriage tribunals have been examining an
increasing number of broken marriages, and last year granted almost 10,000
annulments - declarations that a valid marriage never existed. Says Msgr.
Marion Justin Renhart, judge of the Brooklyn tribunal, `If two people
really cannot live togetgher, there must be a reaosn why not, and it should
be up to us to find the reason. If we find it existed at the time of the
marriage, then that marriage must be null and void. Nobody must oblige
himself to do what he cannot do,'"
From CATHOLIC VOICE, Oakland, CA (2./1/81). "Pope John Paul II said there
had been an alarming increase in marriage cases and warned against `easy
and hasty' annulments. Papal criticisms seemed directed to U.S. church
courts which have been responsaible for more than 3/4 of the yearly
decreews of nullity (annulments).
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