Pope Francis announced new procedures on Tuesday to make it easier for Roman Catholics to obtain marriage annulments, a change intended to streamline a process long criticized by many Catholics as too cumbersome, complicated and expensive.
Under the new rules, the process will be much faster for cases in which a couple is not contesting the annulment.
Such cases had required two separate judgments from a diocesan tribunal. Now, the process, overseen by local bishops, will require only one judgment. Moreover, the new rules require that the hearing process be held within 30 days of application, eliminating a longer waiting period.
Obviously, this is fine with me. But it’s difficult to understand theologically. The Bible contains virtually nothing on the subject of abortion, and yet the church considers it a grave sin. Conversely, Jesus could hardly be clearer about his disapproval of divorce, and yet the church is making divorce easier.1 Aside from the fact that men often want divorces, while abortion is limited to women, what accounts for this?
1And let’s hear no nonsense about annulment being different from divorce. Even church leaders admit that there’s usually little substantive difference.