Adultry and annulments and repentance


#1

My father divorced my mother 30 some years ago and is now seeking to come back into the Catholic Church.
After the divorce,he then married his current wife in a civil service. Both my father and his current wife need to have an annulment in order to have their marriage blessed to come back into communion with the Church.

My problem with all of this is that the current wife is the person who my father committed adultry with when he was still married to my mother. Though my parent’s marriage may not have been good at that point (I can’t know that) there were no signs that it was in real trouble until my mother became aware that my father was having an affair and that he was leaving her. It is my understanding,(and I was 15 when it happened so I remember it pretty well) that my father left my mother for this woman.

This woman wants to be a practicing Catholic as well and has been questioning me about annulments in general. In the discussion, she told me that if it wasn’t her(meaning he would have broke up his marriage with any woman) it would have been someone else. That doesn’t sound too repentful to me.

Can their marriage be blessed when unrepented adultry is a factor?
Can a the first marriage be annulled when adultry was the cause?


#2

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]

My father divorced my mother 30 some years ago and is now seeking to come back into the Catholic Church.
After the divorce,he then married his current wife in a civil service. Both my father and his current wife need to have an annulment in order to have their marriage blessed to come back into communion with the Church.

My problem with all of this is that the current wife is the person who my father committed adultry with when he was still married to my mother. Though my parent's marriage may not have been good at that point (I can't know that) there were no signs that it was in real trouble until my mother became aware that my father was having an affair and that he was leaving her. It is my understanding,(and I was 15 when it happened so I remember it pretty well) that my father left my mother for this woman.

This woman wants to be a practicing Catholic as well and has been questioning me about annulments in general. In the discussion, she told me that if it wasn't her(meaning he would have broke up his marriage with any woman) it would have been someone else. That doesn't sound too repentful to me.

Can their marriage be blessed when unrepented adultry is a factor?
Can a the first marriage be annulled when adultry was the cause?

[/quote]

Well, a declaration of nullity is given when the tribunal finds that there was no marriage in the first place. Essentially it does not matter what happened after the marriage unless it is a sign of something (like the spouse never intended to be faithful, have children, etc) bigger.

And with all due respect, you cannot know whether or not your step-mom is repentant. You should just encourage them both to go to confession for the adultery and work towards receiving declarations of nullity.


#3

My understanding for the marriage to be declared invalid there needed to be a flaw at the beginning.

Your father cheating on your mother might not be that flaw. If your father entered into the marriage with the idea that being unfaithful was fine, that could mean the marriage was npt valid.

Hope that it makes sense.


#4

Your father and step-mother need to seek the advice of a priest. Annulments are granted on a case by case basis, (adultry is not usually a factor to be considered) and he will be in the best position to advise them. It sounds like you are still resentful of the divorce, but it is not for you to say if they are repentant or not; this situation calls for reconcilliation between all parties concerned.


#5

I am not resentful, but I know when someone sounds glib. It is the glibbness of her statement makes me question the sincerity of a wish to make amends for adultry.
I have had long conversations with this woman and I have say that I know that this person doesn’t think she did anything wrong and is therefore not willing to acknowlege adultry by going to confession. I know for sure that she doesn’t have even a rudimentary grasp that sex outside of marriage is a sin and that sex with a married man is adultry.

Yeh, people really are that ignorant.


#6

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]
My problem with all of this is that the current wife is the person who my father committed adultry with when he was still married to my mother.

[/quote]

I don't see why you consider it your "problem" because it's not actually any of your business.

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]
Though my parent's marriage may not have been good at that point (I can't know that) there were no signs that it was in real trouble until my mother became aware that my father was having an affair and that he was leaving her. It is my understanding,(and I was 15 when it happened so I remember it pretty well) that my father left my mother for this woman.

[/quote]

That is quite a lot to deal with at age 15.

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]
This woman wants to be a practicing Catholic as well and has been questioning me about annulments in general. In the discussion, she told me that if it wasn't her(meaning he would have broke up his marriage with any woman) it would have been someone else. That doesn't sound too repentful to me.

[/quote]

I'm not sure why your parents would discuss such a topic with you. Do people have no decorum these days?

As for nullity, you can point her to this book and then cease discussing the topic:

Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]
Can their marriage be blessed when unrepented adultry is a factor?

[/quote]

Adultery is not a factor in whether or not either of their prior marriages were valid or invalid.

As with all Sacraments, we must be in a state of grace when we receive them, so if they are granted decrees of nullity then the next step would be the sacrament of Reconciliation and then convalidation.

They should speak to their priest.

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:219784"]
Can a the first marriage be annulled when adultry was the cause?

[/quote]

I suggest you obtain the book above.

Adultery is not "grounds" for nullity, but it **might **be evidence of an impediment from which arises an invalid marriage.


#7

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:3, topic:219784"]
My understanding for the marriage to be declared invalid there needed to be a flaw at the beginning.
If your father entered into the marriage with the idea that being unfaithful was fine, that could mean the marriage was npt valid.

[/quote]

Yes this makes sense. And of course, I don't know the answer to this-only my father does.
I believe that my father sincerely wants to come back to the Church. He has done his best to let me know that he is sorry for leaving our family.
I forgave him a long time ago and his wife too, though I know she does not feel regret.

The problem is though I know she does not regret being involved in the breakup of my parents marriage, I have forgiven her but I have not forgotten how dangerous she is.

She has spent their whole marriage trying to convince my father that he had to do what he did and guess what? He's (finally) not buying it. So she has decided to join him in his quest to go back to Church. Now I'm afraid, because a month ago she told me that she sits up front at mass(in the handicapped section) and that the priest gives her Holy Communion.
I told her that she shouldn't receive but she wasn't the least bit concerned to understand why she shouldn't receive. I asked her if my father receives and she said no because his conscience bothers him too much. I was very grateful to hear that news.
I want what's best for my father and that is to help him out of mortal sin. But I worry that his second marriage would be invalid because of the adulterous beginning.


#8

[quote="m_crane, post:7, topic:219784"]
She has spent their whole marriage trying to convince my father that he had to do what he did and guess what? He's (finally) not buying it.

[/quote]

Well, he could take real responsibility for his spiritual health and go see a priest. He could make the decision to live in conjugal chastity until and unless they are both free to marry and have their marriage convalidated. He could then resume the Sacraments, if his priest will agree.

[quote="m_crane, post:7, topic:219784"]
But I worry that his second marriage would be invalid because of the adulterous beginning.

[/quote]

His marriage to her is currently invalid. If both are found free to marry, then they would convalidate their marriage-- they would give new consent and it would be valid from that point forward.


#9

It is my understanding that your father & stepmother will need to live as brother & sister in order to fully be part of Mass.... as in recieve Holy Communion.If they live as a married couple and their 'civil marriage' is not recognised in the Catholic Church (which it is not) then they can attend Mass but not recieve Holy Communion.

They can investigate the possibility of annullment of the previous marriage to your mother (through their priest) then IF it is granted (and there is no guarantee) they can ask for a blessing.

This must be very hard for you I am sorry.It is a very difficult situation to be in.Whilst you and your mother are hurting about your father leaving your mother for your step mother it is not grounds for annullment.There may well be an impediment for the marriage but it will be investigated and witness statements will be required.It is by no means a foregoen conclusion that they will be granted annullment.


#10

It is my understanding that your father & stepmother will need to live as brother & sister in order to fully be part of Mass.... as in recieve Holy Communion.If they live as a married couple and their 'civil marriage' is not recognised in the Catholic Church (which it is not) then they can attend Mass but not recieve Holy Communion.

They can investigate the possibility of annullment of the previous marriage to your mother (through their priest) then IF it is granted (and there is no guarantee) they can ask for a blessing.

This must be very hard for you I am sorry.It is a very difficult situation to be in.Whilst you and your mother are hurting about your father leaving your mother for your step mother it is not grounds for annullment.There may well be an impediment for the marriage but it will be investigated and witness statements will be required.It is by no means a foregone conclusion that they will be granted annullment.


#11

[quote="1ke, post:6, topic:219784"]
I don't see why you consider it your "problem" because it's not actually any of your business

[/quote]

His wife is the one who has involved me in this under the pretense of helping my father reconcile with the Church, something I desprately wanted for him. My advice to her WAS to talk to a priest but she has been indiscriminately telling me all the details and asking for information, marriage licenses, birthdates etc none of which I have. Her calls are relentless and distressing. I keep contact because of my father.

You have never dealt with an evil person have you?


#12

Some of the previous respondents have cautioned you for your concern in the personal business of your father and/or step-mother, but I understand that this is something very difficult for you. My own marriage ended in divorce 15 years ago, in somewhat similar circumstances, although the husband-wife roles were reversed, and I am sure that my children were both devestated by the events, and will have a lifelong concern about what actually happened, and a deep interest in how life pans out for their parents and anyone involved in the split-up.

I am not encouraging you to indulge this concern, but I think it sensible to acknowledge it as a valid reaction to your own loss and trauma, and then perhaps try to surrender it to Jesus.


#13

If your father is looking to go back to church, you should encourage him.

If your step mother is looking to go back to church you should encourage her.

Since they seem to be asking for support, rather then tell them what they shouldn't be doing, just encourage them. Get the books and DVD's that you think would be helpful... perhaps ask a priest for guidance.

Now, I'm not sure how she has managed to come to the conclusion that she did nothing wrong with regards to adultry. It just happens to be one of those commandments that is hard to forget. Up there with , thou shalt not kill.

However, it's entirely possible that she's just seriously lacking in knowledge about her own religion. She is going through motions that she recognizes, but doesn't have the slightest clue what anything means.

And as she gets back into the church, and IF she continues to educate herself through classes and readings and such, she will come to a better comprehension of what she has done. And she will then repent for things that she realizes were hurtful to God.

Personally, I would just try to be supportive of their return to church. It sounds like it may be a long haul...


#14

[quote="tbcrawford, post:10, topic:219784"]
It is my understanding that your father & stepmother will need to live as brother & sister in order to fully be part of Mass.... as in recieve Holy Communion.If they live as a married couple and their 'civil marriage' is not recognised in the Catholic Church (which it is not) then they can attend Mass but not recieve Holy Communion.

They can investigate the possibility of annullment of the previous marriage to your mother (through their priest) then IF it is granted (and there is no guarantee) they can ask for a blessing.

This must be very hard for you I am sorry.It is a very difficult situation to be in.Whilst you and your mother are hurting about your father leaving your mother for your step mother it is not grounds for annullment.There may well be an impediment for the marriage but it will be investigated and witness statements will be required.It is by no means a foregone conclusion that they will be granted annullment.

[/quote]

Thank you and bless you! I am hurting even after 30 years. I hurt because this act destroyed my whole family and tore them all away from the Church. When my father told my mother that he was leaving her and that he had found another woman, my father's current wife started calling my mother( before my mother found out that it was she who was the person that my father was having an affair with) and giving my mother counsel. My mother had no idea that this woman was the one my father was having the affair with.*You see what I mean by evil? *This took my mother over the edge and she tried several times to commit suicide, she was in and out of mental hospital for years then she became an alcoholic, she finally came back to the Church about 10 years ago but she is still not right mentally. As for my siblings, they are a mess. I am the only one who survived this divorce and it took many years for me to recover.

Forgiveness is all that I have to give my parents and the woman who married my father.


#15

[quote="faithfully, post:13, topic:219784"]
If your father is looking to go back to church, you should encourage him.
I am wholeheartedly.
If your step mother is looking to go back to church you should encourage her.

I mean this respectfully, please don't call her my step mother, my mother is not dead.
Since they seem to be asking for support, rather then tell them what they shouldn't be doing, just encourage them. Get the books and DVD's that you think would be helpful... perhaps ask a priest for guidance.

I did
Now, I'm not sure how she has managed to come to the conclusion that she did nothing wrong with regards to adultry. It just happens to be one of those commandments that is hard to forget. Up there with , thou shalt not kill.

Do you really think that someone can be so ignorant that they don't know that sleeping with another womans husband is wrong?
However, it's entirely possible that she's just seriously lacking in knowledge about her own religion. She is going through motions that she recognizes, but doesn't have the slightest clue what anything means.
Then why come back to theCatholic Church?
And as she gets back into the church, and IF she continues to educate herself through classes and readings and such, she will come to a better comprehension of what she has done. And she will then repent for things that she realizes were hurtful to God.

She's been at it a year now. She says she doesn't like to read. She only interested in the social clubs
Personally, I would just try to be supportive of their return to church. It sounds like it may be a long haul...

[/quote]

I hear that...


#16

If I were you I would call your father and ask him to please take his non-sacramental wife out of the equation in his relationship with you. Tell him that the quickest way you know of for him to get back to the Sacraments is to take Reconcilliation and live as brother and sister and past that you would really rather not discuss intimate details of his and your mother's marriage and subsequent civil divorce as you feel it is not your place and you would like his non-Sacramental wife to respect that. He may not be aware she has brought you into this.


#17

God bless you m crane my heart goes out to you.Your mother and all you children have been badly hurt by your father and the non sacramental wifes actions.It is good that they are seeking to return to the church.I agree with joandarc that you could call your father and tell him how much you love him and that it is a difficult position you are in as regards hearing personal details via his wife so it would be best if they kept you out of it on a personal level.As regards if your father and her are serious about returning to the church they should already be living as brother & sister.joandarc is correct confession and living as brother and sister is the only way forward for them.You may not feel comfortable telling him this though so reccommend he talks with the priest.Your poor mother how she has suffered and what a lovely daughter you are to try to love ans support both parents.Your fine example is probably what brought them back to the church! God bless you


#18

Thank you both joandarc and btcrawford your kind replies were just what I needed to hear.

I will try to encourage to my father to seek counsel with the priest but if he doesn’t ask the priest the right questions, he won’t get the right answers and this worries me. I am hoping that this annulment process will touch in the adultry that they both commited so that they will be able to repent and go confession properly, but I am worried that it won’t even be addressed. I hope my mother will be able to tell her story in a way so that the adultry issue will be addressed by the Church and then I know my father’s soul will be free.

God bless you both.


#19

[quote="m_crane, post:18, topic:219784"]
Thank you both joandarc and btcrawford your kind replies were just what I needed to hear.

I will try to encourage to my father to seek counsel with the priest but if he doesn't ask the priest the right questions, he won't get the right answers and this worries me. I am hoping that this annulment process will touch in the adultry that they both commited so that they will be able to repent and go confession properly, but I am worried that it won't even be addressed. I hope my mother will be able to tell her story in a way so that the adultry issue will be addressed by the Church and then I know my father's soul will be free.

God bless you both.

[/quote]

May God bless you my friend and guide your father to open his heart and mind to His will.
A prayer for you and your family x

Memorare (Prayer to Our Lady)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen


#20

Thank you so very much. btcrawford for your prayers.
God bless you!


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