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Catholic Archbishop endorses Pope's annulment -

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Catholic Archbishop endorses Pope's annulment concerns

The World Today - Friday, 30 January , 2009 12:42:00

Reporter: Nick Luchhinelli

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Pope Benedict XVI has expressed strong disapproval of Catholics citing
psychological immaturity to annul marriages.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell has endorsed the Pope's comments.

Catholics who want to remarry must have their first marriage annulled if they're to receive
Communion and Cardinal Pell is concerned that it happens too often.

Cardinal Pell is speaking here with Nick Lucchinelli.

GEORGE PELL: We are caught between a rock and a hard place. The Lord himself, we have got to follow
his teaching, his strict teachings against divorce and remarriage and also of course, we don't want
to be imposing unnecessary burdens on Catholics. So it's a hard call and the Pope is reminding us
that people like myself and the Canon law officers, we've got to do, try to work out exactly what
the Lord would want in particular situations.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: In some circumstances obviously psychology is a legitimate excuse for
psychological immaturity. I'm thinking of perhaps returned war veterans for example, they would
have a reasonable case for an annulment, wouldn't they?

GEORGE PELL: Very possibly. I am not, I mean if a person is genuinely and radically immature, that
is the grounds for an annulment. But because a person is a typical 20 or 21-year-old it's difficult
to see how that would be ground for a declaration that there wasn't a genuine marriage.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: And how common is it for these spurious annulments to be requested by Australian
Catholics?

GEORGE PELL: Well, I don't think the word, we don't, no-one and the Pope also, he wouldn't claim
that we have given spurious annulments. He might say that he thinks the criterion has been
established or has been used too widely but all our Canon lawyers work very conscientiously to try
to diminish human suffering.

He is saying that in some case he thinks, and he is head of the church, they have, they have got it
wrong. It is a difficult business but we are bound to do what we can to help in the sad situations
of frequent marriage breakup.

Now a couple of years ago the Pope asked the Church annulment courts, the Canon law section to
decide more quickly and I am totally in support of that. And also it must be available cheaply and
it certainly is here in Australia.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: Cardinal Pell, more than half of all marriages in Australia now fail. Is the
Church condemning itself to irrelevance if it takes a hard line stance on annulment?

GEORGE PELL: Well, I don't think we are irrelevant in any sense at all when we are trying to do
what the Lord wants. And the big challenge in Australia is not to make divorce easier and easier
and so there is a bigger percentage of marriages breaking up, but trying to do, find a way to have
more and more people enter into lifelong marriages that will last.

Not that is a big call because the currents in society are running in a different direction but
that is what we are called to do.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell, speaking with The
World Today's Nick Lucchinelli.