One of the criteria for an annulment is if either of the couple did not understand or commit fully to what the marriage entails. So, it could be annulled if the husband never intended to be faithful.
So, say a couple wants an annulment. Isn’t it possible for the man to lie and say he didn’t never intended to be faithful? Or more likely, he could have been sincere in his promise to be faithful on their wedding day but, later when seeking an annulment, sort of forgot how he felt and say never intended to be faithful? (How we remember the truth and our intentions can change through time, it does happen that we conform and distort the truth to suit whatever we currently want.)
It seems easy to abuse, yet we know it isn’t. For example, even Cardinal Mahony’s own brother couldn’t get an annulment, and for sure he would have access to good canon lawyers to help him navigate through it since his brother was an important prelate. So how are annulments safeguarded against that?
Another criteria of annulments is if it’s a shotgun wedding. Why, then, do priests allow shotgun weddings anyway? I can think of several cases where marriages happened because the brides got pregnant. In those cases, it could be easily argued that neither party freely entered into the union, even though they of course will claim it’s a free choice at the time they are preparing for marriage since, to save face, they’ll never admit even to themselves that it’s something they’re doing because they had to. Shouldn’t the priest have prevented a union like this from happening?
And the last one isn’t just hypothetical. I’m the godfather of the son of a guy whom I was friends with at the time, it was a shotgun wedding. He cheated on his wife months after and they’re essentially separated. I know their marriage wasn’t really free choice even though at the time of their wedding they claimed it was. I doubt this is a rarity, and priests are surely aware of that. So if it can be reasonably doubted that a marriage would be valid, isn’t it imprudent for the priest to give the green light?