Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

A canonist's critique of the new 'fast-track' annulment process

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 09, 2015

As soon as the Pope’s annulment reforms were announced, knowledgeable observers began watching for the commentary from that invaluable canon-law expert, Ed Peters. It’s here.

(Actually Peters posted a quick response almost immediately after the papal documents were released. But that first merely noted that most of the changes were not dramatic. Peters promised yesterday that he would have more to say about the one quite dramatic change, the “fast-track” option. Again, it’s here.

The danger, Peters argues, is that the accelerated process tends to downplay the fact that the inquiry must be a legal proceeding, leading to a finding of fact as to whether or not a real marriage took place. That danger is complicated, Peters continues, by the fact that in offering reasons for the shorter process, Pope Francis lists some factors that would be grounds for annulment, and others that would not.

Read the whole post. It’s an antidote to confusion that’s already widespread, and likely to spread further.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Aug. 03, 2016 1:42 AM ET USA

    Some people can get away with hyperbole, some can't. Hopefully that's what's going on here for if Bishop Flores truly believes in their equivalence, he needs help.

  • Posted by: feedback - Sep. 11, 2015 1:41 PM ET USA

    Thanks for the links to Ed Peters blog. The new addition that allows formal objections to the annulment of one of the already civilly divorced parties actually does add an element of human dignity to the process. Paradoxically, it will extend and potentially complicate the procedure instead of "streamlining" it. Personally I like it; it says that the Church is a loving Mother who listens to all, and I hope that it will prevent some people from abandoning the Faith after a divorce and annulment.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 09, 2015 2:33 PM ET USA

    Moving forward perhaps prayers might redoubled against confusion. The life of the Christian, that of faith, involves confidence. Not confidence looking horizontally: "Pull together and WE can do anything!" The baptized might realize a vocation to confidence by living the life of grace so abundant through the Church's sacraments. "Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini." Humility involves confidence. Confidence enables humility to be a joy. We're called to be humble, confident and joyful.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 09, 2015 2:04 PM ET USA

    I have bookmarked Ed. Peters' blog. Thanks.