I have more than a few issues with the article that was cited. The first is, who wrote it? The article would have more credibility if we knew the name of the person, and what their background or credentials are.
The author names two canon lawyers who support the initiative and its contents. If you bothered to check the actual petition, there is a section at the end that gives the legal basis for the actions. Go ahead and download/read the petition and the explanation. You might be pleasantly-surprised at its contents! Moreover, the petition and its support materials (53 pp.) is being offered for free. The author is obviously gaining nothing by placing it in the public domain! [Why be so negative/demeaning toward this rare effort toward exercising Hebrews 13:4?] If you want an "expert" opinion, read the articles of Steven Baskerville (or his Book) on how no-fault divorce is in reality unilateral divorce. Any faithful spouse wishing to resist or exercise their conscientious objection to it is thrown under the bus!
By the time a wedding issue gets to the annulment stage the couple is already civilly divorced. In other words, in the eyes of at least one of the people (usually both) the marriage is over and they have begun a new life apart from their spouse. Refusing to grant them an annulment is not going to have them rush to reconcile. The time to try to save a struggling marriage is before it gets this far.
Now I am the one deeply-disturbed by your comments, Effie. AND: I question your credentials to be spreading false information -- even as a "master member". I have heard many spouses tell (my own included) that their mutinying-spouse was given the private opinion of a pastor that their marriage was likely-invalid. Further, I've heard many folks tell that they are also informed that obtaining a divorce is not sinful and that one WAS REQUIRED BEFORE A PETITION FOR AN ANNULMENT COULD BE SUBMITTED! Canon law 1060 presumes validity of all marriages until proven by TWO tribunals that it is not. There is NO CANON LAW requiring divorce before petitioning for an annulment but most-all USA tribunals do it anyway.
No one is entitled to an annulment. Divorce does not end a sacramental marriage. People date and remarry all the time because no one tells them not to. When was the last time you heard anything from the pulpit about the Church's marriage laws or doctrines?
Whoever wrote the article said the following:
The Catholic Church, our culture, and the civil laws used to recognize that keeping these vows was a good thing, but with no-fault divorce, that has all changed. Don’t we all know a faithful spouse and good parent who had been a defendant in a no-fault divorce? These faithful spouses are separated from their own children most of the time and ordered to pay child support for a second household in which they are not even allowed to live.
The author claims that the faithful spouse is usually the one separated from his/her children and forced to pay child support. Where does he or she get their facts and figures from? Here in the US the wife usually get's custody. If this individual is accurate, then most of the husbands are innocent victims and the wives are all lousy people who forced them to leave. Reality doesn't back that up.
Statistically, 8-out-of 10 divorces are initiated by wives. Also, statistically 80% of the time, one spouse wishes to reconcile/preserve the marriage/nuclear family. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that that usually ends up being the husband.
While there are situations where one person bears all the blame, there are far more where both sides contributed to the hurt and the problems. As I said earlier in this post, if we want to save marriages, the time to do so is before, long before, the couple gets to the point where they think of the word divorce. Reducing the rate of annulments won't save many (if any) marriages.
FYI, an author interviewed over 200 wives from marriages of 15-70 years in duration and found: "My biggest shock is how many outwardly cheerful women who have been married forever think about divorce if not weekly, at least once a month." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iris-krasnow/the-fine-line-between-mar_b_959372.html?view=print&comm_ref=false
I hate to rock your world Effie, but divorce is an ever-present option, even in the longest of marriages. God understood this when He gave St. Paul His marital commandment to write down (1 Cor. 7:10-11). He gave spouses two options: living singly and reconciling. I think it's high-time the Church's ministers started informing its members of the marital commandment and teaching them how to observe it, several times a year
. If divorce is an ever-present option (at least in the minds of wives) weekly-to-monthly, then wives and husbands need to hear THAT OFTEN what their sacramental responsibilities entail. Wouldn't you agree? How about the Church teaching that canon law requires spouses to approach their bishop for permission before even separating from their spouse? How about bishops teaching that only legal separation is permissible, since divorce opens legal channels toward civil bigamy? Statistics, again, prove that many Catholics who divorce go on to remarry civilly or outside the Church, endangering their eternal souls! If they were taught to ONLY legally separate, remarriage wouldn't be a temptation to them to ignore reconciliation with their first spouse or to commit adultery!
So, how do we encourage people in troubled marriages to get help? And what kind of help is out there for couples who truly want to save the marriage? Those are questions that the Church could address.
Well, here's some folks with real-life experience, credentials, and tried-and-proven means to save marriages. March 05, 2012, "Marriage and the Catholic Church: We need a counter-revolution" By Hilary Towers, Ph.D. and Mike McManus. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2056
Given that the USCCB has been working their marriage initiative for several years now without any equivalent measures, I hope they've signed-on with Marriage Savers' plan last week!