EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from Paul on 09-14-2012:

How does the granting of "Indulgences", differ from the granting of annulments??

Answer by Robert J. Flummerfelt, J.C.L. on 09-15-2012:

Hi Paul,

Annulments pertain to a Church Tribunal making a technical legal determination of the validity of a union according to the canonical rules of evidence and matrimonial jurisprudence. It is a full trial. The granting of indulgences arises from the mercy of the Church and from that power Our Lord gave to the Church for binding and loosing - Matthew 16:18-19. One is a gift (indulgence), another is a conclusion based on whether the union was entered into according to the requirements of law.

Peace and blessings, Bob