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How to Fix the “Annulment Mentality”

Just remember—Pope St. John Paul II said it first. On January 28, 2002.

After saying “One cannot give in to the divorce mentality,” our Holy Father tells us this:

When one considers the role of law in marital crises, all too often one thinks almost exclusively of processes that ratify the annulment of marriage or the dissolution of the bond. At times, this mentality extends even to canon law, so that it appears as the avenue for resolving the marital problems of the faithful in a way that does not offend one’s conscience. There is indeed some truth to this, but these eventual solutions must be examined in a way that the indissolubility of the bond, whenever it turns out to be validly contracted, continues to be safeguarded.

So, when I claim that we need to confront—and correct—the pervasive “annulment mentality” in our Church, I mean it in exactly the same way that he meant it in 2002.

We can hardly be surprised that the divorce mentality has infiltrated both the general Catholic mindset and the specific practice of canon law in the annulment process. After all, we read in the Catechism (#2385) that divorce has a “contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.”

With respect for those oases of fidelity found among both married couples and marriage tribunals, it still must be conceded that the plague of divorce has infected the annulment process. The errors of the “divorce mentality” are also the errors of the “annulment mentality.” However, we can take steps to restore the necessary “awe” we need for a process that touches directly on the indissolubility of the marriage bond.

 Read more at Crisis. 

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