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  #46  
Old May 19, '17, 7:11 am
Peebo Peebo is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by Peebo View Post
This was the stumbling block for my wife..her first marriage was over 30 years ago..only one witness who would write a statement for her ..one sister who was Protestant and didn't particularly like the Catholic church refused..everyone else had died..( it was a small family home wedding)..fortunately our diocese allowed for her to be interviewed by a special witness who then sent her results to the diocese which they accepted..of course the anxiety of going through the whole process..it's probably even more so for Protestants..my wifes case..her husband just walked out on her after 30 years marriage to live with his girlfriend who he had been seeing..he refused mediation..just wanted a divorce..so it's different in that her church would allow divorce and remarriage because of her husbands adultery..so she had a hard time coming to understand when she wanted to become Catholic that she felt like it was her fault... I think the Orthodox does allow divorce and remarriage but I think they require the ones to be married to do some sort of penance..perhaps a poster might be able to elaborate more on that.
re: my last post...and of course me being Catholic and marrying my wife I didn't really understand the ramifications that I was committing adultery and was causing her to commit adultery..( not making excuses for myself..I did suspect but didn't look into it further)..it did become much clearer once she decided to become Catholic and went through RCIA..
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  #47  
Old May 19, '17, 7:24 am
Peebo Peebo is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by 7 Sorrows View Post
I have offered to be interviewed by someone, but no one has offered that as an option. I really think that should be a requirement.
I believe the psychologist ( special witness) who interviewed my wife was the same one who interviewed the seminarians on their way to becoming priests..she had to wait about 8 weeks to be interviewed because of that reason..it would be better if all dioceses had the same set of rules to follow..have you talked to your priest..or your advocate.. about that possibility of getting a special witness..I think I also heard that Pope Francis has allowed for the Bishop of each diocese to be the arbiter in annulment cases..I don't know if that has been implemented as yet though...( I hope I'm right in saying that..my apologies if that isn't the case)
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  #48  
Old May 19, '17, 7:36 am
7 Sorrows 7 Sorrows is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by Peebo View Post
I believe the psychologist ( special witness) who interviewed my wife was the same one who interviewed the seminarians on their way to becoming priests..she had to wait about 8 weeks to be interviewed because of that reason..it would be better if all dioceses had the same set of rules to follow..have you talked to your priest..or your advocate.. about that possibility of getting a special witness..I think I also heard that Pope Francis has allowed for the Bishop of each diocese to be the arbiter in annulment cases..I don't know if that has been implemented as yet though...( I hope I'm right in saying that..my apologies if that isn't the case)
I did talk to my advocate because I think I had seen one of your posts earlier on this. He downplayed it saying it would take too long to get established with someone.
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  #49  
Old May 19, '17, 7:55 am
ToeInTheWater ToeInTheWater is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by joeybaggz View Post
Christ gave Peter and his successors to ability to speak for him in the power to loose and bind. Of course the church must take this gift seriously, but Jesus left it up to Peter how to implement his words. In light of the trivialization of marriage today, how often is the sacrament of matrimony actually brought into reality, and if it is not, then shouldn't people be given the benefit of the doubt? Jesus showed mercy to all, shouldn't the church be less hidebound in following the rules, and more merciful to those is terrible situations due to the cruelty of a spouse that never was?
First of all as other posters have stated, your post seems to be an example of confusing "sacramental" with "valid". Most marriages these days probably are NOT sacramental but that is not the same as invalid.

Also, it was Jesus himself who was the one who forbade divorce, that had been allowed under Mosaic Law, and equated lusting with adultery, and insults with murder. And when His disciples asked why God allowed for divorce before he stated "it was for the hardness of your hearts".

So, do you think that if Jesus was here today he'd say "well, 2000 years after I first said that, I'm taking it back because I see people now are just as hard of heart as they were before, so I was obviously wrong about divorce, let's be merciful and give an annulment to everyone who applies for one. Actually, let's just stop beating around the bush and re-instate the whole divorce thing"?

Note that many more traditional Catholics suspect the annulment tribunals are already doing this and rubber-stamping annulments on shaky grounds out of "mercy". Already it seems 99% of those entering the process expect a favorable result, and many state "if the Church doesn't grant me the annulment I'll just get married in the courthouse" or even state they will leave the Church and become an Orthodox or Anglican. Many cynically think "all those annulments are obviously being granted though a false notion of mercy at best, outright corruption at the worst". Such people are not posting on this topic but certainly can be found on CAF.

Also, many seem to think "innocent spouses" require mercy in a way that, say someone who has an affair and runs off with a lover doesn't? It doesn't work this way, a marriage is either null or not, and an annulment granted out of mercy to an innocent spouse also lets the other one off the hook, too. Not to mention that for most divorces, there is no completely innocent victim spouse and one cruel evil spouse, most of the time both spouses are at fault in some way.

To those of you complaining about witnesses, do you think the tribunal should just do away with them altogether, and just accept the word of the person that "due to XYZ I do not believe my marriage was valid"?

I also get a feeling most of the posters discussing this (and I include myself) are spouting off without much knowledge of what grounds for annulment actually ARE. I'd really appreciate input from the clergy posting here about that.

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Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
Remember that the Tribunal doesn't rule on whether a marriage is sacramental or not, only on whether it is valid or not. There are many reasons why two Christians might choose to marry in front of a JP, reasons which would in no way result in an invalid marriage. Just because they didn't opt to go the church route in no way means that they didn't intend to be married for life, to the exclusion of all others, and to be welcoming of children.
I think that while a civil marriage is certainly not always invalid, I do think a civil marriage would be at least evidence towards that in some cases.

I also wonder about using the tenets of a particular faith as evidence. If someone attends a church that approves of divorce and remarriage, though even many who do accept the concept strongly discourage it, does that automatically make the marriage invalid, or only if the actual spouses went into it thinking, "Well I can always get a divorce if it doesn't work out?"

On the other hand, AFAIK if a Baptist who believes in a Believer's Baptism, or even an atheist, baptizes a baby, as long as they follow the correct formula, the baby will get a valid baptism, even if it's done by someone who doesn't believe in infant baptism, or thinks baptism is just a symbol, or just a meaningless ritual invented by humans, in the case of the atheist.
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  #50  
Old May 19, '17, 8:05 am
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Horton Horton is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

One way could be to move the lack of form cases to the parish level. Since it requires only the paperwork to prove the claim, it is an objective finding. There was or wasn't an impediment to marriage. If the priest makes the determination the paperwork proves an impediment, he can request a decree from the tribunal. This would allow the tribunal staff to spend more time on the full cases.

Everyone should have an advocate at the parish level to be a mediator between the petitioner and the tribunal. It is the advocates role to walk through the process with the petitioner, answer questions, give guidance or pastoral care if a priest or deacon, and be the contact between the petitioner and tribunal. I realize this suggestion will be unpopular but I feel it is very valid.

Having worked a social service field most of my career, a great deal of time was taken up listening to people complain about me "not doing my job" when if they had just left things alone and hadn't called to tell me how bad I was at my job, I could have been actually doing my job.
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  #51  
Old May 19, '17, 8:49 am
ToeInTheWater ToeInTheWater is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by Horton View Post
Everyone should have an advocate at the parish level to be a mediator between the petitioner and the tribunal. It is the advocates role to walk through the process with the petitioner, answer questions, give guidance or pastoral care if a priest or deacon, and be the contact between the petitioner and tribunal. I realize this suggestion will be unpopular but I feel it is very valid.

Having worked a social service field most of my career, a great deal of time was taken up listening to people complain about me "not doing my job" when if they had just left things alone and hadn't called to tell me how bad I was at my job, I could have been actually doing my job.
Not sure what your last paragraph is referring to. However, I think many people in most fields have had this experience. I can think of one middle management type lady I work with, who is very quick to tell me when I missed something, but I can't recall the last time she actually complimented or praised anything I did - though I cut her slack for this because (1) I know she has much pressure applied to her by her higher-ups and (2) I get positive feedback from many others I work with.

It also occurs to me, though, that while I can understand her "I'm just answering to my bosses and doing my job, that's what they pay me for, not to be nice to you" attitude in the business context, I certainly wouldn't find it appropriate for the context of Catholic annulments. And it seems based on the other topic, that sadly many who apply, have had to deal with people like that.

It also seems some in the Church are giving applicants false hope that "this will be quick and easy" when that isn't the case, that was the case for the OP of the topic that inspired this. Somewhat like how some push NFP as a stress-free Church approved alternative to ABC and downplay the sacrifices involved.

It also seems the process is wildly divergent based on what parish you're in, and that's in the US alone. I recall much grumbling among the more conservative "they already give out too many annulments in the US" CAFers when the Pope's ideas about "fast-tracking" annulments first came up, but I got the impression he was thinking more about other parts of the world where annulments literally take decades. That's something I think certainly required reform.
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  #52  
Old May 19, '17, 9:41 am
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by ToeInTheWater View Post
Not sure what your last paragraph is referring to. However, I think many people in most fields have had this experience. I can think of one middle management type lady I work with, who is very quick to tell me when I missed something, but I can't recall the last time she actually complimented or praised anything I did - though I cut her slack for this because (1) I know she has much pressure applied to her by her higher-ups and (2) I get positive feedback from many others I work with.

It also occurs to me, though, that while I can understand her "I'm just answering to my bosses and doing my job, that's what they pay me for, not to be nice to you" attitude in the business context, I certainly wouldn't find it appropriate for the context of Catholic annulments. And it seems based on the other topic, that sadly many who apply, have had to deal with people like that.

It also seems some in the Church are giving applicants false hope that "this will be quick and easy" when that isn't the case, that was the case for the OP of the topic that inspired this. Somewhat like how some push NFP as a stress-free Church approved alternative to ABC and downplay the sacrifices involved.

It also seems the process is wildly divergent based on what parish you're in, and that's in the US alone. I recall much grumbling among the more conservative "they already give out too many annulments in the US" CAFers when the Pope's ideas about "fast-tracking" annulments first came up, but I got the impression he was thinking more about other parts of the world where annulments literally take decades. That's something I think certainly required reform.
Then you didn't understand my point. If there was a buffer between petitioners and tribunal case managers, then those case managers can spend more time actually working on cases rather than trying to explain the process over & over, or listen to those who think their case is more important than the cases before it, or listen to those who may complain how the process is unfair. My point being, because tribunal staff are overwhelmed with cases, they should be allowed to work the cases, not have to answer questions all day long. That is the role of the advocate. One good reason for this is the advocate knows the person and the persons case, and can give more specific answers pertaining to that persons case.

So far I've only seen one poster who has complained about the tribunal staff, not the many you speak of.
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  #53  
Old May 19, '17, 9:42 am
Gorgias Gorgias is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by ToeInTheWater View Post
First of all as other posters have stated, your post seems to be an example of confusing "sacramental" with "valid". Most marriages these days probably are NOT sacramental but that is not the same as invalid.
Actually, that's not accurate. According to Catholic sacramental theology, a valid marriage between baptized Christians is automatically sacramental (by the force of their membership in the Church through baptism).

So... this is one of the problems that I think we've touched upon: by and large, the Christian faithful are not acquainted with sacramental theology and canon law. (Not that I'm saying that everyone in the pews needs to be a theologian or canonist.) However, we tend to use the terms of art of theology and canon law in casual, on-the-street ways that fit everyday conversation, but which mis-state the foundational ideas of these disciplines. So, when we say that a person isn't practicing his faith, so therefore he's probably not in a sacramental marriage... well, we're completely off base. If he and his spouse are baptized Christians and their marriage is valid, then it's a sacramental marriage.

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Note that many more traditional Catholics suspect the annulment tribunals are already doing this and rubber-stamping annulments on shaky grounds out of "mercy".
And again, that would be based on what knowledge, exactly?

Quote:
Already it seems 99% of those entering the process expect a favorable result
And, when they're told, during the course of the process, that it doesn't look like it'll result in a decree of nullity, they drop out of the process. What's the problem there, then?

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, and many state "if the Church doesn't grant me the annulment I'll just get married in the courthouse" or even state they will leave the Church and become an Orthodox or Anglican.
Right. And that's a real problem.

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Also, many seem to think "innocent spouses" require mercy in a way that, say someone who has an affair and runs off with a lover doesn't?
Mercy, yes. "Automatic nullity", no.

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I also get a feeling most of the posters discussing this (and I include myself) are spouting off without much knowledge of what grounds for annulment actually ARE.
Yep. Precisely.

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I think that while a civil marriage is certainly not always invalid, I do think a civil marriage would be at least evidence towards that in some cases.
Not sure how you're getting that. It's pretty cut and dry (since it goes to the 'form' of the ceremony, and not either 'consent' or 'impediments'):
  • Catholics must observe 'form', which includes getting married in a Catholic church, by a deacon or priest.
  • Catholics may request a dispensation from form, in which case they are relieved of these requirements.
  • Non-Catholic Christians do not have requirements of form, and therefore, anywhere they marry validly (according to civil law), they marry validly (in the Church's eyes).
  • Unbaptized persons enter into valid, natural marriages. There are no requirements of form for a marriage of two unbaptized persons.
Not quite sure what you're thinking about, then, with respect to a 'civil ceremony' being 'evidence' of lack of validity.

Quote:
I also wonder about using the tenets of a particular faith as evidence. If someone attends a church that approves of divorce and remarriage, though even many who do accept the concept strongly discourage it, does that automatically make the marriage invalid, or only if the actual spouses went into it thinking, "Well I can always get a divorce if it doesn't work out?"
This is a good point. However, even if their denomination allows divorce, that does not prove that they themselves were thinking "meh... I'll get a divorce later". In fact, the possibility that this is the case is what is sought through the testimony of spouses and witnesses.

To take your example to extremes, we would be able to say "ToeInTheWater is really thinking that abortion might be the right course of action for them at some point, since TITW lives in a country that permits abortion." See how that logic doesn't hold up?

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On the other hand, AFAIK if a Baptist who believes in a Believer's Baptism, or even an atheist, baptizes a baby, as long as they follow the correct formula, the baby will get a valid baptism, even if it's done by someone who doesn't believe in infant baptism, or thinks baptism is just a symbol, or just a meaningless ritual invented by humans, in the case of the atheist.
That baptism would be valid as long as the person intends to do what the Church intends (in addition to valid form and matter).
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  #54  
Old May 19, '17, 10:44 am
ToeInTheWater ToeInTheWater is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by Gorgias View Post
So, when we say that a person isn't practicing his faith, so therefore he's probably not in a sacramental marriage... well, we're completely off base. If he and his spouse are baptized Christians and their marriage is valid, then it's a sacramental marriage.
I do think some of the confusion is how the Church uses certain words in a way secular people don't. I can also think of the terms "worship" and "cult".

Quote:
And, when they're told, during the course of the process, that it doesn't look like it'll result in a decree of nullity, they drop out of the process. What's the problem there, then?
I have been told this is the case many times, yet while many on CAF have undergone the process, I have never seen anyone state this happened to them. That doesn't mean it never happens, but it makes me doubt that it happens on a regular basis. Perhaps most of the people who are told this just leave the Church, and are not to be found on CAF? That would be sad.

Quote:
  • Catholics must observe 'form', which includes getting married in a Catholic church, by a deacon or priest.
  • Catholics may request a dispensation from form, in which case they are relieved of these requirements.
  • Non-Catholic Christians do not have requirements of form, and therefore, anywhere they marry validly (according to civil law), they marry validly (in the Church's eyes).
  • Unbaptized persons enter into valid, natural marriages. There are no requirements of form for a marriage of two unbaptized persons.
Not quite sure what you're thinking about, then, with respect to a 'civil ceremony' being 'evidence' of lack of validity.
Well, at least for Catholics I have heard some people purposefully enter a civil marriage first, so that if the marriage doesn't work out they can just get a civil divorce and an automatic annulment for lack of form. If it does work out, they can just get the marriage con-validated.

Indeed, I do think some of the talk about lack of form annulment makes people think "this whole annulment business is just a way to get around the Catholic prohibition on divorce" because AFAIK, even if someone got secretly baptized in a bathtub by a Catholic grandmother, they are considered a "Catholic bound to Catholic form" and I guess if such grandma gives testimony in front of a tribunal, then even if the person said their vows fully intending permanence, fidelity, openness to children, etc...the marriage is automatically invalid due to lack of form, even if the person had no knowledge of that. That rationale strikes me at least as very legalistic.

Quote:
This is a good point. However, even if their denomination allows divorce, that does not prove that they themselves were thinking "meh... I'll get a divorce later". In fact, the possibility that this is the case is what is sought through the testimony of spouses and witnesses.

To take your example to extremes, we would be able to say "ToeInTheWater is really thinking that abortion might be the right course of action for them at some point, since TITW lives in a country that permits abortion." See how that logic doesn't hold up?
I agree with this, and I don't think any one piece of evidence can be a "smoking gun" that decides a case by itself, at least for grounds other than "lack of form".

When I think of annulment topics on CAF the common complaints I recall is "it's too much of a burden to demand witnesses", but does this mean the Church requires X number of witnesses? Another burden I have seen people complain of is having to contact the former spouse, even if the former spouse abandoned them and can't be found without hiring a PI, or were extremely abusive and hence would be dangerous to contact. However, it seems this "requirement" actually can be waived.

Again, what I'd really appreciate is some kind of summary from an actual priest or deacon about how the average annulment proceeding really goes, not just from hearsay accounts.
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  #55  
Old May 19, '17, 12:52 pm
buc_fan33 buc_fan33 is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

I can't give you an actual step by step rendering of how it goes, and I suppose every diocese is different. But, what typically happens for me is this:

1. Individual comes in or is referred to me seeking an annulment

2. We fill out the initial paperwork that gets sent to the Tribunal

3. Tribunal reviews said paperwork and sends a questionnaire to the petitioner along with a sheet where he/she can list potential witnesses

4. Petitioner answers questionnaire or goes to the Tribunal for an interview, which is an option here (not sure if that's universal or not) and submits potential witnesses.

5. Tribunal reaches out to ex-spouse and witnesses. The petitioner does not need to have any contact with the ex. I've heard (though I can't verify) that in about 90% of cases, the ex (called the respondent) either requests that they not be contacted anymore and wants nothing to do with the process, or simply ignores the request to participate. They have the canonical right to participate, but in practice, this usually doesn't happen. Again, the petitioner does not need to contact their ex at all in the process. At least once, I've had a case where we simply couldn't find the ex. There just had to be documentation that a valiant effort was put into finding him/her, and said effort was unsuccessful.

6. Once all testimony in the case has been compiled, the Tribunal meets to review the case and judge it.

Altogether, I've found the process to take about six months, assuming all parties cooperate. There is nothing the Tribunal can do if the petitioner doesn't answer the questionnaire in a timely fashion, for instance.

There are a number of "grounds" on which you can challenge the validity of a marriage. I outlined them in general above, but I'll say something more about them now.

Lack of Form-simple...Catholics are required to observe canonical form for the celebration of matrimony, or receive a dispensation to not observe canonical form. Either that was done, or it wasn't. These typically take about six weeks to conclude.

Impediment to Marriage-again, fairly easy to prove. An impediment is a block to the marriage taking place. If one existed at the time of the wedding, then no marriage took place. They include:
  • Relation to your intended spouse by blood, marriage, or adoption (a canonist would have to answer regarding degrees...I've never had to deal with it, and can't remeber how it is calculated)
  • Age-either the bride was under the age of 14 or the groom under the age of 16 at the time of the wedding
  • Holy Orders or Religious Profession-either the bride or groom was ordained a priest or had made a public profession of religious vows and had not been laicized or released from said vows at the time of the wedding
  • Crime-you can't kill your previous spouse in order to end a marraige and thus be free to marry again (yes, it's in Canon Law!)
  • Public Propriety
  • Impotence-if the man cannot get an erection, he cannot complete the marital act and thus the marriage cannot be consumated. This impediment can be dispensed from, I believe.
  • Tribunal Prohibition-sometimes the Tribunal attaches a prohibition to a subsequent marriage for a finding of nullity. I've never encountered this, but it's possible, I suppose.

Lack of Consent-this is the long one, and the one everybody is talking about on here. It's what's most common. Impediments aren't very common. Lack of form can only be used when a Catholic tried to enter marriage outside of the Church. This is what you need to use for (most) Protestants, unless one was "fortunate" enough to marry a Catholic outside of the Church. To petition for a decree of nullity due to lack of consent, you have to establish grounds. There are various things you can try to prove existed at the time of the marriage that made it impossible to give consent. These include, but are not limited to, grave fear, coercion, or lack of maturity on the part of either the petitioner or the respondent.

But, and I always add this, I am not a Canon Lawyer. I had my eight credit hours of Canon Law in seminary or whatever it was, and that was it. I'm by no means an expert in this field. I did well in the courses, from an academic standpoint, but any time I have a canonical question, I have to consult my CIC, call a friend who is a canon lawyer, or call the Tribunal. Fortunately, that comes up very rarely in my ministry.
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  #56  
Old May 19, '17, 1:45 pm
Gorgias Gorgias is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by ToeInTheWater View Post
I do think some of the confusion is how the Church uses certain words in a way secular people don't. I can also think of the terms "worship" and "cult".
Agreed. There is definitely 'jargon' (or, if you prefer, 'terms of art') in the field, and the way those words are used in a secular context can't be expected to hold the same, specific, precise set of meanings.

Quote:
I have been told this is the case many times, yet while many on CAF have undergone the process, I have never seen anyone state this happened to them.
I suspect that many who are told 'no', simply don't talk about it openly.

Quote:
Well, at least for Catholics I have heard some people purposefully enter a civil marriage first, so that if the marriage doesn't work out they can just get a civil divorce and an automatic annulment for lack of form. If it does work out, they can just get the marriage con-validated.
Yeah. Diocesan canon law offices tend to hate that approach, and can generally sniff it out pretty effectively...

Quote:
Indeed, I do think some of the talk about lack of form annulment makes people think "this whole annulment business is just a way to get around the Catholic prohibition on divorce" because AFAIK, even if someone got secretly baptized in a bathtub by a Catholic grandmother, they are considered a "Catholic bound to Catholic form" and I guess if such grandma gives testimony in front of a tribunal, then even if the person said their vows fully intending permanence, fidelity, openness to children, etc...the marriage is automatically invalid due to lack of form, even if the person had no knowledge of that. That rationale strikes me at least as very legalistic.
In fact, it is horribly legalistic and not at all pastoral. That's why some diocesan tribunals, acting out of pastoral concern for someone who was the recipient of a 'clandestine' baptism and subsequently was never raised in the church, will treat them as if they're part of the ecclesial community that they were raised in.

Quote:
When I think of annulment topics on CAF the common complaints I recall is "it's too much of a burden to demand witnesses", but does this mean the Church requires X number of witnesses?
Part of the reform, IIRC, is to allow the petitioner's or respondent's testimony to stand on its own as sufficient to demonstrate the claim. That would be a diocese-by-diocese decision, however.

Quote:
Again, what I'd really appreciate is some kind of summary from an actual priest or deacon about how the average annulment proceeding really goes, not just from hearsay accounts.
I think I've seen a number of exactly those discussions on this thread.
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  #57  
Old May 19, '17, 1:58 pm
Gorgias Gorgias is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by buc_fan33 View Post
I can't give you an actual step by step rendering of how it goes, and I suppose every diocese is different. But, what typically happens for me is this:

1. Individual comes in or is referred to me seeking an annulment

2. We fill out the initial paperwork that gets sent to the Tribunal

3. Tribunal reviews said paperwork and sends a questionnaire to the petitioner along with a sheet where he/she can list potential witnesses

4. Petitioner answers questionnaire
And, in fact, in Fr Buc_Fan33's diocese, there's a new, shorter process as well. The tribunal sends out a short "check the box" form. When the petitioner fills out the form, the advocate can use his answers to direct him to the relevant parts of the questionnaire. In that way, the petitioner doesn't have to fill out the entire questionnaire, but only the parts that are relevant to his particular case.

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  • Impotence-if the man cannot get an erection, he cannot complete the marital act and thus the marriage cannot be consumated. This impediment can be dispensed from, I believe.
This one tends to get people's Irish up, so just one comment here: this is a discussion of impotence, not infertility. Infertility is not an impediment to a valid marriage. Moreover, it's not just impotence in general that's an impediment. It's antecedent and perpetual impotence that impedes valid marriage. In other words, it's impotence that precedes the marriage and which is considered to be impossible to correct through medical or psychological therapy. A good discussion which includes this explanation can be found here.

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But, and I always add this, I am not a Canon Lawyer. I had my eight credit hours of Canon Law in seminary or whatever it was, and that was it. I'm by no means an expert in this field.
And, I should add a "me, too" here, as well. I'm not a canon lawyer, either.
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Since a person should not be influenced by a like or dislike for the one stating the opinion, but rather by the truth, Aristotle says that we must respect both those whose opinion we follow and those we reject. For both have diligently sought the truth and have aided us in this.
--St Thomas Aquinas
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  #58  
Old May 19, '17, 2:15 pm
TechieGuy TechieGuy is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by ToeInTheWater View Post

To those of you complaining about witnesses, do you think the tribunal should just do away with them altogether, and just accept the word of the person that "due to XYZ I do not believe my marriage was valid"?
Yes, this is exactly how I would have things handled.
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  #59  
Old May 19, '17, 2:32 pm
HelenRose HelenRose is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
I'm here to watch and learn. I am very interested in hearing other people's thoughts on the subject. It seems evident to me that this is more than a matter of just a few "complainers" that have an ax to grind. Many if not most think the process needs reform to some extent. Even the pope has acknowledged that reform is needed and has taken a few steps towards that end.

But what does that reform—concretely—look like? If the answer to that question was simple and easy, I imagine that the changes would have already been made. So I think it's safe to say that this is not an easy question with a simple solution.

However, when we put our minds together, good things can happen. So I look forward to any insight that can be shared since I know my own is limited in this area.
My son and his former wife divorced 15 years ago. After the legal divorce he began dating a Catholic girl. Even though he was not a Catholic he decided to try and have the marriage annulled. This process made him look at his reasons for marrying in the first place. They were young and she was pregnant. The process also made him understand a lot about himself in ways that he would not have done without the process. He learned about himself and how not to make the same mistakes again. They were granted the annulment. The document that came down was full of compassion. It did not lay blame. It was fair and very wise.

Yes, it was intrusive - like a marriage councilor or a physician who is helping a young man search his soul. My son did not marry this young catholic woman but later found a wonderful woman whom he married. It is a marriage and will last forever.
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  #60  
Old May 19, '17, 2:38 pm
buc_fan33 buc_fan33 is offline
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Default Re: How might the nullity process be improved?

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Originally Posted by HelenRose View Post
My son and his former wife divorced 15 years ago. After the legal divorce he began dating a Catholic girl. Even though he was not a Catholic he decided to try and have the marriage annulled. This process made him look at his reasons for marrying in the first place. They were young and she was pregnant. The process also made him understand a lot about himself in ways that he would not have done without the process. He learned about himself and how not to make the same mistakes again. They were granted the annulment. The document that came down was full of compassion. It did not lay blame. It was fair and very wise.

Yes, it was intrusive - like a marriage councilor or a physician who is helping a young man search his soul. My son did not marry this young catholic woman but later found a wonderful woman whom he married. It is a marriage and will last forever.
This is a very important and helpful analogy. Often times, one of the reasons people cite about why they don't go to Confession is because it is intrusive. And yes, sometimes it can be. Saying, "I did things I wasn't supposed to do," is too vague. What does that mean? Did you kill someone? You're not supposed to do that. Rob a bank? Skip Sunday Mass? Kick your dog? All things you're not supposed to do. But, it helps the priest help the penitent to know what was done. Likewise, it helps the Church heal the wounded, in this case those wounded from a broken marriage, to know what led to the marriage breaking up.

If I walked into my doctor's office and said I had a stomachache, and he or she failed to ask any follow up questions and just prescribed some medicine, we would call that malpractice. A stomachache can be the symptom of nerves, the flu, an allergic reaction, food poisoning, or a potentially life-threatening case of appendicitis. A good doctor needs to know more than just "my stomach hurts" to diagnose the problem. So also a good priest needs to know a bit more about what's going on in order to help his penitent or petitioner/respondent.

I said this in the other thread. At its core, yes, an investigation into the validity of a marriage is seeking just that--whether it was valid or invalid. But, beyond that, ideally, it is a therapeutic process for all involved. Painful? Yes. But healing? That's the goal.
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