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When we consider why so many annulments are granted in the USA, we must keep in mind the following reasons:
1) The USA has the benefit to have functional tribunals with qualified people in Canon Law able to run sound procedures and careful investigations in each case.
2) The fact that the USA has the larger RCIA program in the world creates the need to facilitate canonical procedures for those who wish to be received into the Catholic Church and find themselves with an irregular marriage situation.
3) Many of our dioceses have qualified canonical advocates and advocacy programs that help people to access canonical procedures in a very efficient manner.
4) USA Catholics are by description very militant and devout; they generally want to live their lives according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. These type of Catholics make every possible effort to be in good standing with the Church and foster healthy families with active participation in the life of the Church, socially and sacramentaly.
On the other hand, we should consider the following facts:
1) Many couples enter marriage under very irregular circumstances such as unexpected pregnancy, military circumstances, social conflicts, etc. The Church, through sound canonical procedures, offers a pastoral and juridical solution to their situation.
2) The changing situation of the world, the mobility of people, the advances in technology, etc., are requiring to improve Catechesis and marriage preparation in order to strengthen the union of many couples.
Finally, we need to recognize that in our American culture, there is a significant trend to identify annulments with the concept of Catholic divorce, which is absolutely wrong. Experts in Canon Law, canonical advocates and different canonical institutions throughout the United States are making every possible effort to instruct people regarding the legal nature of canonical procedures and the need to intensify our knowledge on Canon Law procedures and the theological nature of Christian marriage.
Rev. Langes James Silva, STL, JCD