Thursday, September 10, 2015

The New Rules on Annulment: Problems!

There's a go-to guy, a Canon Law prof named Ed Peters over here.  He read the new Canon Law regarding marriage, and there are a number of difficulties here (although the exact legal language has yet to be written.)

Article 14 of the Ratio lists ten or twelve factors that enable an annulment petition (to which the parties agree) to be heard in a fast-track process. Note that the factors listed are simply examples of things enabling an annulment case to be heard quickly. Clearly, it is expected that other factors will also suffice.
The factors listed so far are (my trans): lack of faith that results in simulation of consent or an error that determines the will; brevity of married life; abortion procured to prevent procreation; stubborn persistence in an extramarital affair at the time of or just after the wedding; improper concealment of sterility or of a serious and contagious disease; concealment of children from a previous relationship; concealment of incarceration; entering marriage for reasons completely foreign to married life; unplanned pregnancy of the woman; physical violence inflicted to extort consent; lack of use of reason proved by medical documents; and so on.

Understand this:  the "ratio" is NOT 'the law.'  But, as Peters points out, all of these are legal questions and it is entirely possible that non-lawyers will handle every single step in the process.

Some of the above examples are....ahhh....questionable, to say the least. Aside from those, the process is now limited to only 45 days, which is damn quick, and can lead to erroneous judgments.

The law is not yet in effect, and the Pope can be persuaded to change some of his writings.  I'd suggest that he might want to reflect a bit before casting this in bronze.

1 comment:

GOR said...

I fear this will open a can of worms. Yes, the annulment process is often prolonged unnecessarily, but scattershot solutions are not the answer. Pope Francis is not known for legal exactitude and often shoots from the hip. When dealing with issues like marriage impediments or defects, there is a need for strict legal terms and definitions.

Critics often term annulments as ‘Catholic divorce’. This will add to that perception. I doubt that Cardinal Burke would approve.