Marriage Annulments

Why does it take so long for people who request marriage annulments to get them? I know a couple of different people who have been waiting for an answer for over a year! They’re not all from the same diocese, either. One of them is really anxious for an answer soon because he wants to get married to somebody else in the Church, and he can’t do that without the annulment. -Christopher

A: Unfortunately, the people whom Christopher mentions are not unique. There is no question that when a Catholic petitions the Church for a declaration that his marriage was null, he ordinarily should not expect a quick response. This is not a problem that is particular to the United States, nor is it a brand-new phenomenon. In his very first annual address to the Roman Rota-which is the Church’s highest court that deals with marriage cases, as we’ll see later in this column-Pope Benedict XVI urged marriage tribunals to provide decisions with “speed and efficacy.” Pope John Paul II had likewise made similar comments to those who handle marriage nullity cases in the past.
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