From Aleteia.org, an article that obviously hits extremely close to home and to which I felt compelled to respond. Click the link to read the entire article, excerpted below, and my posted comment following that:
I remember one priest involved in annulments – if I can ever figure out how to do this I will nominate him to be a saint. His name was Fr. Bill Murphy and he was a Franciscan friar of the atonement. His ministry, supported by his religious order, was to work with the Separated, Divorced, and Remarried (SDRC) groups which were fairly common in the Church at the time. He taught himself canon law and offered his services freely and fully to help people complete their annulment statements and see the psychologist. He served as their advocate through the entire process. I suspect that he helped bring hundreds if not more people back into the Church as well as closer to God....
Professor Van Ornum's reply to my comment:
william van ornum 7 hours ago
You are correct in the points you make. Now that they are up here others will become aware of these problems. The issue of certain petitioners using the process to "start over with a new Prince Charming/Princess Charming" is a real one, one needing examination. Unlike civil divorces, there is no one who serves as an "advocate for the children" during the annulment process (as it is in divorces where "the needs of the children" may be considered); in my understanding, this is not addressed at all in canon law.
Perhaps if Canon Law had much more input from la persons there would be a wider examination of the entire situation; unfortunately, as I've mentioned, it doesn't seem, to me at least, to be a career offering a great deal of financial security or advancement--a person, especially a young person, would much rather opt for a legal career which (even in these times?) would offer more.
Thank you for writing with this example and I hope its specificity will be understood by all who work in this process.
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