Percentage of granted and rejected annulments

Do we have any statistics on the percentage of annulments granted or rejected? It seems hard for me to believe that there are so many marriages out there that are not truly valid.

The percentage of annullments granted is very high. What they don’t mention is that if your marriage doesn’t fit the criteria, they tell you that and you don’t apply.

Since one of the criteria is going in thinking you can use abc, there probably are a lot of non- sacramental marriages out there, but they are assumed valid until ruled otherwise, so married pepole don’t need to worry.

I doubt that using ABC is a criteria unless it proves that you married intending never to have children. As long as you intended to have children at some point it would not be an impediment to a valid marriage.

The Judicial Vicar once told us that very few are rejected. If there is not a solid case the party is advised to withdraw it. That way it is easier to reopen if they get additional evidence than if the marriage was formally declared to be valid. Also many go dormant and are never acted on.

Here’s a link to an article from 1996.

Here’s a paragraph that (more or less) answers your question
In 1991 some 48,600 petitions were considered as presented to American tribunals. Of those, only 43,900 were accepted for adjudication and, of those, only about 39,100 were decided by formal sentences. Assume that almost all of these sentences were affirmative. That is still only an 89% affirmative rate among cases actually accepted, and barely 80% for those cases officially presented. Moreover, the affirmative rate drops even more when one recalls that additional weak cases are weeded out at the parish level or perhaps presented only in part to the tribunal.

Needless to say, the statistics are 20 years old. It won’t give an accurate picture of what’s happening today, but I think it’s safe to say that the statistics would be at least similar.

Those numbers don’t indicate how many would have been petitions from Protestants seeking a decree to marry or convalidate their marriage to a Catholic. Since the understanding on divorce is not the same in most of the Protestant churches as it is in the Catholic Church, it stands to reason that a high percentage of petitions would be granted. I wonder too, if that number includes those that were not judicial matters, such as Lack of Canonical Form cases.

Don’t Canadian tribunals handle lack of canonical form cases? I know they’re simpler and straightforward but they still need to go through the tribunal.

But they are administrative processes, not judicial. It’s not even technically required that they be submitted to the Tribunal, our former Bishop just let the priest deal with those: no marriage registered with the Church = no valid marriage.

Why? Our culture is oversexed, immature, irresponsible, and dysfunctional. That’s not exactly fertile ground for valid marriages…

There is also the issue of very poorly catechized Catholics entering the Sacrament of Marriage without a clue of what the sacrament is about.

And also, it seems that there is an analogy in secular law. When looking at the percentage of verdicts for the plaintiff (civil case) or convictions (criminal cases), it reflects the fact that certain “alleged incidents” either never make it into court in the first place (case never filed) because the plaintiff/prosecutor realizes that they don’t have a good case and don’t want to waste resources or make a fool of themself, or they withdraw once they realize that the evidence is against them.

So saying that “80% of criminal cases end in a guilty verdict” doesn’t include the incidents that were reported to or investigated by police and a decision was made not to prosecute.

Doesn’t seem like any of these are reasons for invalid marriages. If two people enter into a marriage accepting and understanding the normal vows agreed to at the altar, such as understanding that you are forsaking all others, coming together as one, etc… than what else is there?

One must have the ABILITY to form proper intent. Family dysfunction and other circumstances have a direct affect on a person’s ability to form the intention of a lifetime vow.

This is an extremely important point.

With 25% of American males addicted to porn, many men enter into marriage as a means to satisfy themselves sexually and thinking that it will solve their problem. I happen to have had experience with a group of about 150 sexually addicted men and every single one of them says, “I thought that my problem would be solved when I got married.”

But it is not just porn. The root cause of most of this dysfunction is contraception.

Contraception has created a culture where recreational sex and immediate gratification are rights akin to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And this culture of immediate gratification made possible by contraception breeds selfishness, increases the demand for abortion, and has created a whole society which views marriage as something you do to get sex, get help with the laundry, and get more income. Lust is mistaken for love and sacrificing yourself for another is ridiculed.

Many people today, especialy sexually addicted men, promiscuous women, and anyone who supports abortion or contraception probably has no business being married, and further, clearly has no understanding of the sacramental nature of matrimony - that it is modeled on the example of self sacrifcing love within the trinity.


Even if someone shouldn’t get married, or shouldn’t have gotten married that does not make the marriage valid or invalid. The vow is “for better or worse” so, even if it was a mistake b/c of preconceived addictions or behaviors, as long as you understand the vows you are taking it seems the marriage would be valid.

Marriage is not an agreement one makes with another in front of an altar. Marriage is an indisolluable sacramental bond whereby a man and a woman are permanently united, with the trinity as the model for their unity.

God the Father loves God the Son. God the Son loves God the Father. The perfect interchange of perfect self sacrificing love - the love of Christ on the cross - is what produces the Holy Spirit. We testify to this in the creed at every Mass.

I belive in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.
Who proceedes from the Father and the Son

Just as the perfect interchange of love between God the Father and God the Son produces the Holy Spirit, it is the pefect interchange of selfless, self-sacrificing love - holding nothing back - which produces a child. The Trinity is the model for matrimony. It is not just an agreement two people make. And it is exactly the mindset - that it is an agreement - which leads many to enter into matrimony when they really shouldn’t, because to them, it is just an agreement. It’s nothing more than a civil contract. They have no clue what marriage is supposed to be, what it is modeled after, and how they are to live it - in the self sacrificing image of Christ on the cross - in the image of the Trinity.

God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)*

In the divine image… that is what marriage is. That is what you are doing when you marry - you are nailing yourself to the cross for your spouse - dying for her if you need to. Anyone who does not understand that has no business entering into it and definitely lacks the understanding of how to make it work.

As an aside, that is why it is so important that our children date and marry good Catholics. Because this is only taught within the Catholic faith. Nowhere else.


Right. Most of the annulments I am personally acquainted with fall into this category. They’re not just people previously married in Protestant churches, but also getting findings on purely civil marriages. If you’re going to marry a Catholic in the Church, you have to get your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed.

I also unfortunately know a lot of Catholics who have non-canonical marriages. That would be the same story, if they were to divorce and want to establish later that they are free to marry in the Church. :frowning:

From my experience that is the easiest case.

Yes, lack of canonical form is simply “Prove you were married outside the Church without a dispensation”. That usually means providing either the completed marriage license/marriage certificate (depends on which one provides the necessary info) and a recent certificate of baptism that doesn’t show a marriage.

There is also a very extended questionnaire on your own and “spouse’s” life, which I hear many just give up on. Plus the statements of three or more witnesses, who pretty much get a similar questionnaire. On top of that, there is an analysis by a church-appointed psychologist who interviews the applicant.

And it’s not unusual for a former spouse to fight the annulment, especially where kids are involved.

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