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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Ed Peters

Oh dear. A truly terrific article, featuring several terrific people, and I'm reading and saying to myself "Right on! Yes! Right again..." and then, bam, I run smack into the "it-must-be-true-cuz-everybody-sez-it" ubiquitous phrase "the annulment scandal". Annulment scandal?

What annulment scandal?

The article itself claims that one-in-four (American) Catholics are divorced, and that only 15% of them have (only sought?) annulments. So, at most, about 3% of American Catholics have annulments. Where's the scandal in that? How many annulments should there be to keep us under the "scandal-level"?

Z's article rightly points out the LEGION (npi) of assaults on marriage being endured by real people marrying today, and we're supposed to believe that such forces have NO impact on those people marrying? That they somehow approach marriage blithely immune to such evil and pandemic dysfunction and false teaching and worldly allurement? Gee, whoddathunkit?

If the canons on nullity cannot account for even 10% of actual broken marriages today, then, by golly, matrimonial canon law must have no relevance to real marriage. And we should chuck the whole thing. Which I refuse to believe.

If "the annulment scandal" really has "led to a great deal of cynicism regarding Catholic weddings", then maybe, just maybe, some of the blame rest with those, including those who should know better, who keep repeating the "annulment-scandal" mantra. The reality is, thins are more complicated than they appear.

Anyway, folks who prefer to THINK about these things might want to check my article:


When Christendom College's Dr. Timothy O'Donnell refers in the linked article to an "annulment scandal," he appears to have papal backing. In a 1987 address to the Roman Rota, Pope John Paul II said that "the arduous task of the judge" in matrimonial cases "is a ministry of charity towards the ecclesial community which is preserved from the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage being practically destroyed by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity of marriage in cases of the failure of marriage on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness on the part of the contracting parties."

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