Annulment “reform” seems to cultivate “change” of culture

Annulment “reform” seems to cultivate “change” of culture

[The “Francis effect” on marriage: “Catholic divorce” filings skyrocketing again]

by Dan Morris-Young
National un-Catholic Reporter

After nearly 30 years of watching a decline in the number of Catholics applying for marriage annulment, diocesan officials are reporting increases following Pope Francis’ 2015 reform of church law on nullity procedures.

Regardless of whether the apparent turnaround is a short-term phenomenon spurred by the canonical changes or not, some marriage tribunal staff and canon lawyers say the revised process is cultivating a “real change of culture.”

While more precise numbers will not be known until required reports to the Vatican can be tallied later this year, several dioceses responding to NCR inquiries reported growth — some remarkable — in annulment case filings for 2016 compared to 2015.

Indianapolis, San Diego and Alexandria, Louisiana, for example, received 70 percent and higher increases in the number of new requests in 2016 over 2015, even while having to set aside time to retool tribunal procedures in response to the reforms.

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