Is annulments just a way to get around Divorce?

I was talking to my aunt and she was telling me that with the Second Vatican Council we had umm… wussed out (to put it in better terms). That up till that time The catholic church had stood firm in not allowing divorce and remarraige on the biblical grounds that we shouldn’t and that see admired that in us. But, with the annulment issues she says that for all points and purposes became a “Good” divorce by a diffrent name to people could get out of what would have previously been a forever binding valid marraige. I not being anywhere close to being married by any strech of the imagination and never told anything about annulements except that it is a decree that a couple was never really married in the site of the church. Could someone give me an adiquite explaination for her? And I was also wondering how do invalid marriages get past the church (I heard that in the U.S. there was an exremly high annulment rate and is the church doing something about this)?

[quote=Montie Claunch]I was talking to my aunt and she was telling me that with the Second Vatican Council we had umm… wussed out (to put it in better terms). That up till that time The catholic church had stood firm in not allowing divorce and remarraige on the biblical grounds that we shouldn’t and that see admired that in us.
[/quote]

I’m not sure I would put the blame on Vatican II as I would the unfortunate misinterpretation of the documents that came out of that council. It wasn’t too long ago that either John Paul II or it might have been Benedict XVI advised the American Catholic diocese to tighten up their annulment procedures.

Divorce is a civil matter of the government and by no means ensures that a nullity of marriage can be justified. Your aunt was likely expressing her own frustration with the seemingly lax approach some diocese might have taken toward this. I don’t know if America’s annulment rate is higher than other countries…I suspect it is. What I also don’t know is if that rate is higher due to a less stringent examination of marriages or if there have just been that many more Catholics in America engaging in non-sacramental marriages. Probably, it’s a combination of the two.

[quote=Montie Claunch] But, with the annulment issues she says that for all points and purposes became a “Good” divorce by a diffrent name to people could get out of what would have previously been a forever binding valid marraige.
[/quote]

I agree with your aunt on this. I think wht she says makes a lot of sense. Consider the following:
In 1930, there were 9 annulments granted in the whole USA
In 1989, US Tribunals issued 61,416 annulments.

According to a site which specializes in the preparation of papers for an annulment:

divorcehelp.net/annulment.html

“**A spouse’s extramarital affair(s), …, etc. serve to demonstrate that the spouse exhibits an antisocial personality which would prevent him/her from fully understanding or carrying out the obligations of a lifelong relationship and therefore evidence that the spouse lacked the due competence required to form a sacramental marriage” **
“Many people believe that virtually any failed marriage can be annulled on the basis of incapacity and immaturity.”

Hi Montie,

A declaration of nullity is not a divorce in disguise… It comes after proof has been made that there was no marriage to begin with.
immature to give real consent. No marriage.

Marriage, to be valid, has certain conditions. For example, you have to give consent. If you go into a marriage through fear or pressure, the consent may not be genuine. Or you may be too
For marriage to be valid, you must not exclude children. Someone may go into a marriage with the intent of never having children. No marriage.

For marriage to be valid, it has to be seen as permanent. If someone says, “We’ll try it out, and if does not work, then we’ll split.” No marriage.

Why are there more declarations of nullity than there used to be?. For one thing, maybe people are going into marriage less seriously. They are thinking more of the dresses, the music and the flowers than about the marriage. Everything is for show today.

For another thing, psychology has made a lot of progress, and it has become easier to gauge the state of mind of people at the time they married.

Thirdly, the ecclesiastical courts may have become lax. There has recently been a directive from Rome to correct this.

Asking for a declaration of nullity has a positive aspect to it. A divorced Catholic could simply marry outside the Church and be done with it. There is a certain amount of faithfulness to the Church here.

Verbum

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.