What a spectacle. Everything turned upside down. I've always thought this praise was something that made the Church into something wildly irrational and cruel. If Francis disallowed these previous annulments, I'd be very impressed.
I would be happy if they were reformed so that cases like that would no longer happen.
Having said that, in my mind, where the real reform needs to come is in the scrutiny applied prior to the sacrament of matrimony itself.
But, yes, some major reform needs to happen.
That's not what an annulment does.
An annulment says that there was not a valid marriage in the Church!
In other words, the Catholic Church is looking for the Sacrament of Matrimony performed by a priest under the right circumstances.
It doesn’t mean that children are illegitimate.
The civil marriage between the couple was valid, according to the law of the state in which they married. The children are not bastards. The annulment means that, due to facts/mindset of the bride or groom at the time, there was not a Sacramental Marriage.
The Church doesn’t know the word “bastard”. All children are children of God, no matter what their parents did or to what religion they belong.
In your example, it appears this first marriage wasn’t Catholic anyway?, so it’s practically automatically annuled.
It may be frustrating that the Church appears to take divorce lightly. But actually it doesn’t. Annulments are difficult.
Re-marriage (without a previous annulment) in the Catholic Church seems to be the only thing that you can’t expect to be forgiven for enough to receive Communion ever again, even if you confess your wrongdoing of getting re-married. If your annulment plea fails, they apparently expect you to divorce whomever you remarried. My guess is that’s what the Church will re-examine..
I can't comment because I don't know the facts on this particular case, but it would be a serious misunderstandng to suppose that an annulment means that a wife was a whore and the children were bastards.
Neither "whore" nor "bastards" nor any synonym nor any words to that effect are any part of Canon Law. If a man begets a baby, under any circumstances, Canon Law terms that his "natural child," if a woman bears a baby, no matter what the circumstances, Canon Law similarly terms that her "natural child."
Not only that, but the reasons for a finding of nullity are not published, out of respect for people's privacy (although one of the parties may choose to disclose them.) For all anyone knows, there could have been a finding of grave defect on the part of the hisband which resulted in his vows being invalid (e.g. because of deception, mental incapacity or fraud on his part).
Or there could have some other issue entirely, such as consanguinity, or inadvertent bigamy --- somebody presumed their previous, long-time-missing spouse was dead, but he/she turned up living under a different name on Tijuana --- or one party or the other being not baptized. (I'm not saying that's the case, but those are examples of reasons which would not impute any fault on the part of the wife.)
A while ago, some FReepers were all upset about a Catholic biggie getting an annulment, with the gossip centering on the supposition that he had paid off a Tribunal to get him off from his vows.
Later, the guys' ex-wife published a tells-all memoir in which she claimed that he had totally deceived her from Day One about his commitment to an exclusive, monogamous and lifeling marriage.
So his vows were found to be null because of having been fraudulently made.
FReepers started chiming in "Yeah, he's a ^$%$$ liar,"etc. etc, basically vindicating the Tribunal, which said his vows were rubbish.