The most recent Vatican clarification of the law was the 2005 instruction .These cases can involve things such as whether mental illness, sexual abuse, traumas or addiction to drugs, alcohol or sex render a person incapable to consent to or live out marriage.Then, the canon lawyers each make their arguments for why the declaration of nullity should or should not be granted.However, the Church has a third canon lawyer, called the defender of the bond, who makes sure all the reasonable arguments have been made for the validity of the marriage.
“Just because a person, for example, has an addiction, are we saying all persons with addictions can’t get married? “We have to examine whether ‘this person, because of this addiction, could not discern, consent or live out this marriage.’ It has to be that kind of one-to-one [relationship].After the meeting, Deacon O’Toole emails them a questionnaire, asks them to work on it a piece at a time and makes himself available to answer questions.He knows what information the tribunal needs to make its determination, so if areas are vague or need more explanation, “I’ll prompt you to fill in more details,” he reassures.“It’s one of the safeguards the process puts in there to make sure there is adequate argumentation for [the marriage bond],” Nguyen said, adding that, sometimes, both parties want the annulment.He was once the defender of the bond for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., and, at times, the tribunal upheld the validity of the marriage in question because his arguments showed it was truly valid. If the majority of the judges of the case vote in favor of a declaration of nullity, then the presiding judge, called the lays out the issue and cites the applicable canon law and jurisprudence of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota (the Roman appeals court for marriage cases), before giving the judgment. Nguyen said that in the case of an affirmative decision, an appellate tribunal in another diocese does an entire review of the case before voting on it.Grounds for Nullity The Catholic Church presumes a person contracted a valid marriage unless the evidence completely proves otherwise.