It's been a month or so since I've been able to post an essay by Martin Marty, but he's back. With the Pope visiting these American shores in the near future it is worth noting, I suppose, a recent papal word on annulments. While the Catholic Church doesn't allow divorce, it has permitted annulments, which essentially vacate marriages. That is, in the eyes of the church the couple receiving the annulment were never married. It seems that the Pope has simplified the process in the name of mercy. While I as a Protestant might find all of this a bit baffling, it is a large issue within the Catholic Church. Marty doesn't offer an opinion on the merits (he's a Protestant like me), he does take note of the importance of the issue within the Catholic community. I invite you to read and offer your thoughts.