In the Catholic Church, couples who seek to end their marriage cannot get a divorce. The Church doesn't even annul marriages. What the bishop or tribunal examining each case must determine is whether the marriage actually occurred or not.
MSGR. ALEJANDRO W. BUNGE
Judge, Roman Rota
"I am not doing something new. I am simply noting a reality: that a marriage never was because from the beginning an essential element was missing.”
If there is an essential missing element, it means that there was never a real commitment between the new spouses.
MSGR. VINCENZO PAGLIA
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
"There is a problem, a question that has to be asked when someone comes to the Church for a marriage: Do you truly have faith? This is a problem. Are you truly conscience of what you've come here to do?We must ask these questions. We must prepare young people to correctly take these steps because if they don't do it, it is obvious that a breakup is almost inevitable.”
In some cases, a couple decides to get married in the Church not because of their own faith, but instead to satisfy their parents or because they want a beautiful ceremony. But a marriage cannot be valid unless both parties truly recognize the significance of what has taken place.
May 5, 2015
"It's not just a ceremony that takes place in a church, with flowers, a dress and photographs.”
A marriage can be declared null only because of very serious reasons. Recent reforms to streamline processes mentioned some of them. Examples include if one spouse has children from a previous relationship and kept them a secret or if the decision to marry wasn't actually made freely because of fear of a scandal from an unplanned pregnancy.
Of course, when a marriage is ruled invalid but the couple wants to stay married, it is easily solved.
The need for preparing future spouses for marriage will be one of the main topics at next month's Synod on the Family.