Last night when my husband and I were finishing up his formal paperwork requested by our parish priest to start the annulment process, we learned something very upsetting about the priest who had performed the ceremony. I am being very careful here because neither of us have any interest in causing any type of disruption or pain to the people who were affected by this priests actions. In short, before performing their ceremony, he had be reassigned almost every year due to severe issues with alcohol that had caused him many legal issues (way more than DUI's) and also with a conviction for molestation and some other pretty awful things. He is a troubled person and I trust that the Church has and will continue to work with him in whatever way they deem appropriate. However, he was reassigned again right after their ceremony due to "dereliction of duty" for lack of any other words, for being impaired while he was working with the public (baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc.) The worst thing is, he was fairly recently convicted (both in criminal court and the Church court) of an unthinkable crime that occurred under horrific circumstances.
Why is this important? I'm wondering if a marriage performed by a priest who had a long, long very well documented history of a serious alcohol and drug addiction is valid when there is some concern that he may not have been sober that day (along with the bride). He had been reassigned almost every year since he had been ordained because of improper conduct with children, drug and alcohol problems until they finally led up to the worst one.
The priest was very lax about everything and didn't offer or perform any marriage counseling. The only thing he did was have them sign some papers stating they had all of their sacraments and where, that they weren't intoxicated or mentally ill or related, that they would have children and raise them Catholic and a few other questions, about a page. That was it and then he performed the ceremony a few hours later. This was a big wedding with all of the trimmings so it's not like they just walked into a chapel in Vegas. They both lied on the form because there was never any intention to have children, she did not want them and made it a deal breaker if he wanted to marry her, so he agreed not to have children. She made it very clear to him, his family, coworkers, etc. that no child would ever come into existence through her, she would use whatever means necessary to be certain. My husband did want children but was willing to go along with her because he was (in his eyes) getting to the age where he was too old not to be married yet, especially since all of his siblings were married with children already and his entire family questioned him endlessly about it. After their short marriage, he met me, I made it clear I DID want children and we have 6 :)
The priest was aware that literally 2 hours before the ceremony, my husband had called his father (who was not attending) to check on his mom (who was very sick) and learned that she might not make it through the day. Understandably, my husband was a mess and wanted to go home immediately to be with her. But his former spouse became livid because of the money spent, the guests already being there, etc. and said if he left, she was done with him. So he stayed and went through the ceremony, barely able to see straight from grief. His mother had a terminal illness and the end was definitely in sight. My husband also had begged his former spouse not to drink because she became irate and unpredictable and he was afraid of how she would be during the wedding. She didn't honor his request. So now we have a priest with a known drug/alcohol problem, a bride with a known alcohol addiction and a groom who felt like he had to go through with the wedding or suffer the loss of his mother and his fiance at the same time. He said he couldn't even button his own shirt from crying and having shaking hands. And my husband is not a dramatic person so it hurts me to know this. He has felt guilty for all of these years for not going home, especially considering how the marriage turned out anyway.
So what I'm wondering is, how do we bring this up with our parish priest? I have no doubt that once we tell them the name of the officiating priest, they will know immediately who he is. Does this make the annulment even more complicated? I absolutely want to do everything the way it is supposed to be without hiding anything, changing any facts to suit his case, etc. But it seems wrong to me that a priest with such poor character should be officiating weddings or other important events dealing with the public. But I'm new to all of this, maybe that is the only choice for them?
I am not in any way condemning the priest, the church or anyone. I'm just concerned that all of this new stuff is going to make it even more of a tedious process and neither my husband or I know how to proceed. My gut tells me to just talk to our parish priest as he knows us since he's been teaching us RCIA for months now (my husband is going through it with me because he didn't feel like he learned anything when he did it before his wedding all those years ago).
And oddly, I am troubled about how his former spouse will feel when she receives these papers. I've never met her and don't know anything about her, but I certainly don't want to cause her pain. I hope she can understand that our reasons for doing this have nothing to do with her and everything to do with our relationship with God, the Church and my view towards eternity. I know this makes me sound like a complete ingenue :blush:
I'm sorry this is so long. I think too much and our parish priest is busy, so I like to be prepared as much as possible to make the best use of our time together when we meet. I just don't know what to do or say about this, if anything.