The annulment crisis in the Church

There is a crisis bigger than the selling of indulgences and it is big especially in the USA :

The United States has 6% of the world’s Catholics but grants 78% percent of the world’s annulments. In 1968 the Church there granted fewer than 600 annulments; from 1984 to 1994 it granted just under 59,000 annually. But more than 90% of the cases which were appealed to the highest matrimonial court, the Roman Rota, were overturned.

the above quote is taken from a very good article

That article is 10 years old.

In looking over the article, I found one glaring omission.

The article lists off all these reasons for the increase in the number of annulments, but they all pertain to diocesan marriage tribunals and the annulment process itself.

What it misses is the obvious one: Many more Catholics today contract invalid marriages because they don’t understand or accept the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

Not to say that the increase in the number of annulments is a good thing. But I think the best solution is to properly catechize Catholics before the get married rather than crack down on marriage tribunals.

Interesting read, maybe more people are working to clean up their marriage messes? Divorce rate does not suggest a 100 times increase in divorces.

Year Divorces per 1000 marriages
1950 2.6
1960 2.2
1970 3.5
1980 5.2
1990 4.7
2000 4.2

I certainly would rather see the marriages done correctly from the beginning.

A lot of the nullity petitions in our diocese are non-Catholics.

They are either a non-Catholic wanting to come in to the Church through RCIA who has prior marriages or a remarriage situation or a previously married non-Catholic wanting to marry a Catholic.

Another great point that the article overlooked. 40 years ago, RCIA did not exist as it does now.

Just a minor quibble here, but I really don’t see the fact that 90% that are appealed to the Rota as being relevant. Naturally if one party is going for an appeal, they believe that in some way, the process up to this point was unjust.

I would say that the biggest problem with marriage in America amongst Catholics is the fact that few of them really are looking to have a fully authentic Catholic marriage. The fact that well over 90% of American Catholics use artificial birth control is indicative to me that many Catholics entire marriage without being fully willing to embrace the the sacrament.


“That there is an annulment crisis in the Catholic Church is made as clear as can be in Robert Vasoli’s careful, complete, and devastating look at court procedures. The work of a sociologist, this is a book whose objectivity cuts like a knife into the questionable assumptions underlying the wholesale granting of annulments. risk adjustment coding invoice factoring But Vasoli is also a Catholic who is deeply shocked and scandalized by what he has found. His book should be an enormous benefit to the Church he loves.”–Ralph McInerny, Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies, University of Notre Dame

A very good point!

What I find interesting is the enormous differences between dioceses in the policies of their respective tribunals.

Canon Law is Canon Law (or certainly should be) but I find the wide variance in policy to be a bit problematic. I see extremes on both sides: those dioceses who have a reputation for being “annulment mills” (whether fairly or unfairly) and those dioceses which require far more in documentation than is required or even reasonable.

I find this odd.

If people meet the requirements for filling an annulment, and follow the procedures then what is the problem? Where is the crisis?
Personally, I find the whole process to be a bit much to accept and I would likely just not comply and leave the church. I’m just glad I don’t have a past marriage to have to “clean up” like so many others do. I can imagine others feel the same way. Your past should remain in the past. I doubt the woman at the well had to go through “annulment” if she did in fact end up a practicing christian. I think this is the largest problem with the catholic faith system.

Outdated source, and not apologetics topic, so thread closed.

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