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Eating disorders, gambling spur annulment applications

Bulimia, anorexia and addiction to gambling are causing an increase in applications for marriage annulments in Spain, ecclesiastical judges report.

Given the inability of those suffering from these pathologies to give valid consent and assume their marital responsibilities, the Church's courts are being forced to consider these modern afflictions.

Félix López Zarzuelo, judicial vicar of the Valladolid Archdiocese, said that these illnesses must be studied further by psychologists, lawyers, judges and psychiatrists, in order to determine when nullity is justified.

The increase in recent years of cases of gambling addiction and individuals suffering from the eating disorders of bulimia and anorexia nervosa will be reflected in an increase in applications for nullity, according to López Zarzuelo. The eating disorders affect 750,000 youths in Spain, he estimated.

One or both of the spouses must be suffering from these illnesses, for a ruling of nullity to be possible. López Zarzuelo noted that people suffering from anorexia, especially young women, often "reject marriage so that they won't lose their slimness and beauty".