I was reminded of Carlton's engagement a few years ago to Stephanie, a real sweetheart. They did not marry for a variety of reasons, one being the fact that she was Catholic. Her folks wanted a Church wedding but there was a problem. Until fairly recently the Church did not accept Protestant marriages as valid. It now does, and Protestants should be pleased by the recognition---except for the fact that a divorced Protestant is now required to go through Rome and have that marriage annulled in order that the Catholic might have a Church wedding.
Carlton balked, but he did want to please his Stephanie. They talked it over and he agreed to have her priest, Father Tony, give me a call to see if I could convince him to back down. I told the good Father that it was one thing to require a Catholic to get an annulment but an outrage to demand that of a Protestant. He responded with resounding conviction that neither God nor the Catholic Church permit divorce: "What God has joined together let no man put asunder." Therefore, he insisted, Carlton is married until he gets an annulment, and as such Stephanie could not marry him. I told him that Carlton's church (Reformed Church in America) allowed for divorce and the law recognized that, and therefore he was no longer married. I added that what Carlton's church did strongly object to was a married man (which he claimed Carlton was) dating a single woman---for more than three years! Well, neither one of us was able to talk the other one down and in the end the wedding plans were canceled---probably for the best.
I'll stay tuned to Vatican to see if the Pope is able to decrease the number of annulments. I wish him well.