Artificial contraception has made it attractive to limit the number of children we have. It has also broken the connection between the marriage act and procreation. In its wake is promiscuity, prostitution, abortion, co habitation, and easy divorce.
The next wave to dash the family to pieces was the feminist movement, the homosexualist movement and now transgenderism and every other permutation of human relationships imaginable.
When you add to this the effect of the new reproductive technologies–artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, frozen embryos, donor eggs and sperm–what is the family?
“What is the family?” is a question on the lips of modern people.
Therefore “What is marriage?” is also on the lips of modern people.
The synod is the opportunity for the church theologians and moral theologians to work out a clear definition of marriage that is workable in the modern world. Once there is a clear definition of Christian marriage we could then look again at what exactly a valid marriage consists of. This would affect the annulment process because we could more easily assess if a marriage is valid in the eyes of God or not.
There is now so much ambiguity about what a valid marriage is, that clarity would be welcome.
I am not an expert in this matter, but I would suggest that we might define an indissoluble marriage as a sacramental marriage. A sacramental marriage is one that is between a man and a woman who are free to marry, who are properly prepared, who fully understand sacramental marriage, who give full consent, and are married according to the Catholic ritual in a Catholic church by a Catholic minister.
In other words, the only marriages which are assumed to be valid in the eyes of the church are properly conducted Catholic marriages.
There will still be a good number of this sort of marriage that break down because of some aspect of invalidity.
The powers that be could then adjust the annulment process to streamline and assist people pastorally, but what she cannot do is tamper with the basic teachings of the Lord himself.