As fate would have it, I’m meeting with a couple of people this week to help them begin the annulment process. So this news out of the Vatican today was especially timely.
Pope Benedict has asked Catholic priests to do a better job preparing people for marriage, saying that no one has an automatic right to wed.
Benedict said that the church should make sure those who decide to get married will be able to make the marriage last.
He made the comments on Saturday to the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s tribunal on marriage annulments.
In the case of an annulment, the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.
Benedict said that it is difficult to identify problems that would allow a marriage to be annulled in advance, but better pre-marriage counselling could held avoid a “vicious circle” of invalid marriages.
Benedict said the right to a church wedding requires a couple that intends to be authentic and truthful in their marriage.
Benedict’s comments on marriage came one day after putting pressure on Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi over his dalliances with young women.
On Friday, Benedict said that public officials must set a good moral example for society, but did not mention Berlusconi by name.