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  #1  
Old Oct 18, '06, 10:19 am
writergirlmel writergirlmel is offline
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Default RCIA & the Annulment Process

As someone beginning RCIA in four days and awaiting specific information from my priest regarding the initiation of the annulment process, I find myself becoming very nervous. I know that conversion to Catholicism is the right path for me, but I'm concerned that my past will come back to haunt me. I know that only my priest and the tribunal can give me specific information and make decisions regarding my annulment, but I've been making an effort to do a little research in order to be prepared for what lies ahead -- and honestly, there are a lot of horror stories out there.

I was born and raised Pentecost -- save a foray into the Baptist church (where I was baptized) for about year when I was nine -- stopped going to church from ages sixteen to twenty-two, and entered the Methodist church at the age of twenty-two to appease my then-fiance and his family (I'm not 100% certain, but I assume he was baptized into the Methodist church as a baby). I never felt comfortable there and stopped attending about six months before our divorce (which was two years ago). At the time of my marriage, I know I never intended to want a divorce, but it happened (for reasons I won't detail here) and it has only been since the civil divorce that I have even begun to explore the Catholic faith and, eventually, be led to conversion. Until now, I always assumed my civil divorce would be sufficient, as it would be in any Protestant church I have been part of -- and I did believe that to be so at the time of my marriage.

In my research, I've spoken with some people who seem to think I should not encounter any major issues in obtaining an annulment simply because the marriage was not in the Catholic church and neither of us were Catholic at the time. Others seem to think it might be an issue because we were both baptized (though not into the Catholic faith) and were married by a pastor in a church (though not a Catholic church). I don't know what to think. I'm sick at the idea of facing "punishment" -- because I truly would like to find, marry, and have a family with the right person -- for the rest of my life because I married someone I shouldn't have when I was younger. My ex-husband has now remarried and started a family of his own, and I'm happy he has been able to do that. I simply want the same privilege with the blessing of my new faith.

So, my question is this: From those of you who have experienced the annulment process or have some knowledge of it, what kinds of things -- in your opinion and/or experience -- can I expect to encounter? Should I expect this process to be one I will have to navigate for years, or can I reasonably hope this will be a straightforward process? And, since I am not remarried or engaged, should I still be able to be confirmed with the rest of my RCIA class in May even if we are still awaiting the decision on my annulment, or will I, as a candidate, have to wait until the annulment is granted?

Thanks,
~Melanie
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  #2  
Old Oct 18, '06, 10:26 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by writergirlmel View Post
As someone beginning RCIA in four days and awaiting specific information from my priest regarding the initiation of the annulment process, I find myself becoming very nervous. I know that conversion to Catholicism is the right path for me, but I'm concerned that my past will come back to haunt me. I know that only my priest and the tribunal can give me specific information and make decisions regarding my annulment, but I've been making an effort to do a little research in order to be prepared for what lies ahead -- and honestly, there are a lot of horror stories out there.

I was born and raised Pentecost -- save a foray into the Baptist church (where I was baptized) for about year when I was nine -- stopped going to church from ages sixteen to twenty-two, and entered the Methodist church at the age of twenty-two to appease my then-fiance and his family (I'm not 100% certain, but I assume he was baptized into the Methodist church as a baby). I never felt comfortable there and stopped attending about six months before our divorce (which was two years ago). At the time of my marriage, I know I never intended to want a divorce, but it happened (for reasons I won't detail here) and it has only been since the civil divorce that I have even begun to explore the Catholic faith and, eventually, be led to conversion. Until now, I always assumed my civil divorce would be sufficient, as it would be in any Protestant church I have been part of -- and I did believe that to be so at the time of my marriage.

In my research, I've spoken with some people who seem to think I should not encounter any major issues in obtaining an annulment simply because the marriage was not in the Catholic church and neither of us were Catholic at the time. Others seem to think it might be an issue because we were both baptized (though not into the Catholic faith) and were married by a pastor in a church (though not a Catholic church). I don't know what to think. I'm sick at the idea of facing "punishment" -- because I truly would like to find, marry, and have a family with the right person -- for the rest of my life because I married someone I shouldn't have when I was younger. My ex-husband has now remarried and started a family of his own, and I'm happy he has been able to do that. I simply want the same privilege with the blessing of my new faith.

So, my question is this: From those of you who have experienced the annulment process or have some knowledge of it, what kinds of things -- in your opinion and/or experience -- can I expect to encounter? Should I expect this process to be one I will have to navigate for years, or can I reasonably hope this will be a straightforward process? And, since I am not remarried or engaged, should I still be able to be confirmed with the rest of my RCIA class in May even if we are still awaiting the decision on my annulment, or will I, as a candidate, have to wait until the annulment is granted?

Thanks,
~Melanie
Since you have not attempted Mariage again, you should not have any issues with RCIA. You do need to start the Annulment process since you said that you would like to some day possibly enter another Marriage. It needs to be very clear however that you entering full union with the Church does NOT have to wait for the final decision on the Annulment process.

Last edited by Marian Carroll; Oct 19, '06 at 12:25 am. Reason: THREAD TITLE AMENDED
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  #3  
Old Oct 18, '06, 10:38 am
Marian Carroll Marian Carroll is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

REMINDER:

Let me draw the attention of posters to: Post 6

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=17511

Last edited by Marian Carroll; Oct 19, '06 at 12:26 am. Reason: THREAD TITLE AMENDED
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  #4  
Old Oct 18, '06, 10:48 am
writergirlmel writergirlmel is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marian Carroll View Post
REMINDER:

Let me draw the attention of posters to: Post 6

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=17511

Thank you. I did read that thread and was trying to figure out where this belonged (particularly since the question was, I believed, a dual question regarding the sacrament of marriage/the annulment process and any hinderance I might encounter in RCIA), and unfortunately, I seem to have missed that particular post. I'm still trying to get my bearings. My apologies.

Not that my permission is needed, but anyone should feel free to move this thread if such action is warranted.

Last edited by Marian Carroll; Oct 19, '06 at 12:26 am. Reason: THREAD TITLE AMENDED
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  #5  
Old Oct 18, '06, 12:55 pm
woodyww woodyww is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by writergirlmel View Post
As someone beginning RCIA in four days and awaiting specific information from my priest regarding the initiation of the annulment process, I find myself becoming very nervous. I know that conversion to Catholicism is the right path for me, but I'm concerned that my past will come back to haunt me. I know that only my priest and the tribunal can give me specific information and make decisions regarding my annulment, but I've been making an effort to do a little research in order to be prepared for what lies ahead -- and honestly, there are a lot of horror stories out there.

I was born and raised Pentecost -- save a foray into the Baptist church (where I was baptized) for about year when I was nine -- stopped going to church from ages sixteen to twenty-two, and entered the Methodist church at the age of twenty-two to appease my then-fiance and his family (I'm not 100% certain, but I assume he was baptized into the Methodist church as a baby). I never felt comfortable there and stopped attending about six months before our divorce (which was two years ago). At the time of my marriage, I know I never intended to want a divorce, but it happened (for reasons I won't detail here) and it has only been since the civil divorce that I have even begun to explore the Catholic faith and, eventually, be led to conversion. Until now, I always assumed my civil divorce would be sufficient, as it would be in any Protestant church I have been part of -- and I did believe that to be so at the time of my marriage.

In my research, I've spoken with some people who seem to think I should not encounter any major issues in obtaining an annulment simply because the marriage was not in the Catholic church and neither of us were Catholic at the time. Others seem to think it might be an issue because we were both baptized (though not into the Catholic faith) and were married by a pastor in a church (though not a Catholic church). I don't know what to think. I'm sick at the idea of facing "punishment" -- because I truly would like to find, marry, and have a family with the right person -- for the rest of my life because I married someone I shouldn't have when I was younger. My ex-husband has now remarried and started a family of his own, and I'm happy he has been able to do that. I simply want the same privilege with the blessing of my new faith.

So, my question is this: From those of you who have experienced the annulment process or have some knowledge of it, what kinds of things -- in your opinion and/or experience -- can I expect to encounter? Should I expect this process to be one I will have to navigate for years, or can I reasonably hope this will be a straightforward process? And, since I am not remarried or engaged, should I still be able to be confirmed with the rest of my RCIA class in May even if we are still awaiting the decision on my annulment, or will I, as a candidate, have to wait until the annulment is granted?

Thanks,
~Melanie
Congratulations on coming home! My wife and I hav been on a similar journey for 10 months now. We are currently attending RCIA and hope to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil.
We both have been previously married and therefore require an annulment. The best advice I can give you is start NOW! There is much paperwork and interviewing to be done and it takes time. You will be asked many questions about the state of your mind and your feelings previous to and at the time of your wedding. This will require some long trips down memory lane and it might hurt a little but it will be worth it. You will be given ample opportunity to explain what was happening during that time of your life and what you think the defect in marriage was.
You are right, the fact that you were both baptised in the trinitarian formula and married in a Christian church will have a bearing on the decision but there is so much more involved that it becomes just one piece of the puzzle.
As I understand it, since you have remained unmarried you are not considered to be in the continuing sin of adultery and could therefore partake of the Eucharist once you are confirmed.
In our case, we have been so surprised at how kind everyone has been to us in this process. We have been interviewed by our Parish Priest and he believed our case had merit. He then sent us to the Tribunal of our Diocese where we were again interviewed by one of the Priests on the Tribunal. The investigative phase of our case is now complete and the trial itself has begun. We hope to have an answer before the Easter Vigil.
Goood luck and get started.

Last edited by Marian Carroll; Oct 19, '06 at 12:27 am. Reason: THREAD TITLE AMENDED
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  #6  
Old Oct 19, '06, 9:06 pm
CRW CRW is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by writergirlmel View Post
As someone beginning RCIA in four days and awaiting specific information from my priest regarding the initiation of the annulment process, I find myself becoming very nervous. I know that conversion to Catholicism is the right path for me, but I'm concerned that my past will come back to haunt me. I know that only my priest and the tribunal can give me specific information and make decisions regarding my annulment, but I've been making an effort to do a little research in order to be prepared for what lies ahead -- and honestly, there are a lot of horror stories out there.

I was born and raised Pentecost -- save a foray into the Baptist church (where I was baptized) for about year when I was nine -- stopped going to church from ages sixteen to twenty-two, and entered the Methodist church at the age of twenty-two to appease my then-fiance and his family (I'm not 100% certain, but I assume he was baptized into the Methodist church as a baby). I never felt comfortable there and stopped attending about six months before our divorce (which was two years ago). At the time of my marriage, I know I never intended to want a divorce, but it happened (for reasons I won't detail here) and it has only been since the civil divorce that I have even begun to explore the Catholic faith and, eventually, be led to conversion. Until now, I always assumed my civil divorce would be sufficient, as it would be in any Protestant church I have been part of -- and I did believe that to be so at the time of my marriage.

In my research, I've spoken with some people who seem to think I should not encounter any major issues in obtaining an annulment simply because the marriage was not in the Catholic church and neither of us were Catholic at the time. Others seem to think it might be an issue because we were both baptized (though not into the Catholic faith) and were married by a pastor in a church (though not a Catholic church). I don't know what to think. I'm sick at the idea of facing "punishment" -- because I truly would like to find, marry, and have a family with the right person -- for the rest of my life because I married someone I shouldn't have when I was younger. My ex-husband has now remarried and started a family of his own, and I'm happy he has been able to do that. I simply want the same privilege with the blessing of my new faith.

So, my question is this: From those of you who have experienced the annulment process or have some knowledge of it, what kinds of things -- in your opinion and/or experience -- can I expect to encounter? Should I expect this process to be one I will have to navigate for years, or can I reasonably hope this will be a straightforward process? And, since I am not remarried or engaged, should I still be able to be confirmed with the rest of my RCIA class in May even if we are still awaiting the decision on my annulment, or will I, as a candidate, have to wait until the annulment is granted?

Thanks,
~Melanie
My suggestion is to schedule an appointment with the parish priest and discuss in private all of your concerns. He will provide you with the requirements and his blessings. He should walk you through the process, the paperwork, RCIA requirements etc. Welcome Home and may our Lord bless you and guide you.
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  #7  
Old Oct 21, '06, 6:45 pm
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baltobetsy baltobetsy is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

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Originally Posted by writergirlmel View Post
I'm sick at the idea of facing "punishment" -- because I truly would like to find, marry, and have a family with the right person -- for the rest of my life because I married someone I shouldn't have when I was younger.
Melanie, our loving God has a plan for you that far exceeds anything you could wish for yourself, because He loves you more than you can possibly love yourself. That plan may include annulment and marriage, or it may not. Either way, it is not a punishment for your marriage. It is very difficult to let go of our dreams, but I promise you, God is entirely trustworthy. His plans for you will make you the happiest you can possibly be when you cooperate with them.

I hope your annulment process goes smoothly and quickly with the result that you desire, but even more, I hope for God's will to be perfectly fulfilled in your life. That's what will make you truly happy.

Betsy
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  #8  
Old Oct 22, '06, 5:04 am
littleone littleone is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Hi I hope this gives you some air and insight into annullment.
I was married in the Catholic church. To a woman who had no religious belief but becuse I wanted to marry in a church (catholic).
We were married for some time when the marrage broke up.
10 years latter and in the Catholic church through a person in a prayer group I met a catholic woman who had walked out of a very violent marrage.
Point is that neither of us wanted a relationship.
We clicked realised our music and prayer perationships with God and all else fell into place.

Neither of us had an cival divorce. So an annulment was questionable.
But we applied for it and after a year we both were granted that our marrages were NOT bounding bassed on biblical and ...AND psychological backing.

So the church does take into consideration the mental back ground. The church is not that blatent that the good health and well being of each person cannot be considered. Also the fact that my wife of past had remarried was a big point, and that she would not answer to the tribunal.
So, God bless you have faith in He who is our Father who want's all things good for His children.
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Old Oct 22, '06, 1:21 pm
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Augustine Augustine is offline
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Question Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

Melanie,

If you're not remarried and are not in any relationship with another man, then there should not be any impediment for you to receive the sacraments, except for marriage.

You will probably need an annulment before getting married again, if that's what you intend to do in the future. But only then is it necessary. Before then, it may be advisable, but that's up to you.

If you eventually decide to request an annulment, it doesn't seem to be that strenuous. My wife needed to file for an annulment before we got married, yet she went through RCIA and became a Catholic before then. Due to our situation as a couple, both of us couldn't partake of the Bread of Heaven, until we got sacramentally married.

She fought to start the annulment, fearful of visiting painful memories before the ecclesiastic tribunal. Our pastor made all the difference encouraging her and in the end she was relieved to put yet this step behind her. The graces we received in the sacrament of marriage have rekindled our love and proclaiming it before the Church and all gave us joy.

Have you met the priest to talk about your situation?

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Old Oct 22, '06, 1:29 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: RCIA & the Annulment Process

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Originally Posted by writergirlmel View Post
As someone beginning RCIA in four days and awaiting specific information from my priest regarding the initiation of the annulment process, I find myself becoming very nervous. I
please do not expect to resolve your questions and issues regarding marriage, divorce, remarriage and annulment in the RCIA class. A public discussion of private matters is completely out of order. These situations are pastoral, that is, they must be resolved with the guidance of the pastor since he is the one with access to the resolutions of these issues.

There is no need to be nervous. all of us are haunted by mistakes of our past, that is why we have sacraments of reconciliation and healing, and that is why the Church has a canonical process to investigate and judge such matters.

You will learn Catholic teaching on marriage and family in your class, but it will be up to you to apply that teaching to your own personal decisions. It is not the function of this class to make judgments on individual cases.
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