Annullment?


#1

Hi all!

So, when DW & I were in Jerusalem Family Court back in the spring of 1999 to receive an adoption order for our eldest son (whom we had received in June 1997 when he was 4-months-old, the judge, before she dictated the order to her secretary, told us that adoption, “was like a Catholic wedding because it’s forever.” But I know that this isn’t necessarily so. I’ll forget what I’ve seen on TV or in movies and ask if one of my CAF cyberfriends could explain to me what exactly an annullment is & how it differs from a divorce & why Catholicism accepts the former but not the latter.

Thanks!

Be well!

ssv :wave:

PS: The neat thing about being an adopted father is that when I glower at one or both of Da Boyz and tell them, “Your butt belongs to us!”, I can produce court orders to show them that their butts (and everything else that goes with 'em) really do belong to us! :stuck_out_tongue:


#2

For us, matrimony is a sacramental union which is for life. This is based on the teachings of Jesus.

An annullment is a pronouncement by the church that no valid sacramental marriage took place because of some impediment which was unknown at the time the marriage was entered in to. An annullment enables the parties to remarry in the church.

Divorce is strictly a civil matter. Catholics may obtain civil divorces without impairing their standing with the church; but problems will arise if they wish to remarry in the church, or to have an intimate relationship with someone without benefit of matrimony, because according to Jesus this, would constitute adultery.


#3

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Hi all!

So, when DW & I were in Jerusalem Family Court back in the spring of 1999 to receive an adoption order for our eldest son (whom we had received in June 1997 when he was 4-months-old, the judge, before she dictated the order to her secretary, told us that adoption, “was like a Catholic wedding because it’s forever.” But I know that this isn’t necessarily so. I’ll forget what I’ve seen on TV or in movies and ask if one of my CAF cyberfriends could explain to me what exactly an annullment is & how it differs from a divorce & why Catholicism accepts the former but not the latter.

[/quote]

Congratulations on the ‘new’ addition to your family, whom I would guesstimate is nearly ten years old by now. I also am an adoptive father, under rather different circumstances. I hope your son is giving you and your spouse great joy.

A Catholic decree of nullity suggests that while a marriage may have existed ‘under civil law’, some essential element of marriage was lacking at the time of the marriage, and that in spiritual terms no true marriage ever actually existed. I am wording things the way I am partly because I am NOT Roman Catholic and hence likely to be a tad less exact than a Catholic might prefer; and partly to avoid one of the central objections to the notion of annullments–that such decrees suggest that a remarried person has been living in ‘fornication’ for numerous years and/or that any children born of a subsequent marriage would be ‘illegitimate’. ‘Illegitimacy’ is a civil issue, not a Church issue; I think that Catholic teaching prefers that one who has been divorced remain chaste unless and until a decree of nullity has been granted. In the vast majority of cases however, people only seek a decree of nullity long after a divorce and secular remarriage.

It is important to recognize that a decree of nullity can only be granted under certain circumstances. While such decrees are given out rather liberally in Western nations at present, they are NOT guaranteed. A church court must investigate all of the circumstances of the petition. Oddly enough, I believe that lopsided decisions can occur–one party to a former marriage being granted the annulment, whilst the other party being denied. Hopefully, someone will weigh in and either clarify or correct me on this.

In the Episcopal and some other Protestant churches, there are, in addition to church annullments, certain grounds for a church divorce–specifically, adultery and abandonment by a non-Christian spouse. Many churches in recent decades have included the right of church divorce when physical abuse exists. The British Royal Family went through this matter of a church divorce just recently–British Episcopalianism apparently is much stricter on this matter than the American Episcopal church. Most Protestant churches have long since ceased the practice of granting or denying ‘church divorces’, and in many cases don’t scrutinize the matter too closely if a divorced person presents themselves for membership.

The question of whether or not Scripture permits ANY grounds for divorce–i.e., divorce which permits remarriage–has been hotly debated on this board–the longstanding and traditional Roman Catholic position is that there is NONE. Catholic liberals have tended to side with Protestants on this–that there are SOME grounds, LIMITED grounds, but that one cannot lightly enter into either divorce or a remarriage after a scripturally-justified divorce. In practice, as traditional Roman Catholics like to point out, granting that there are ANY grounds for a Christian to divorce and remarry tends to ensure that divorces will multiply. Everyone, Catholic or Protestant, wishes to be compassionate in the event that a divorce has occurred, and this has led many Protestant denominations to become increasingly lenient in their interpretation of whether or not ‘scriptural grounds’ existed when a divorce occurs.

Catholics are often surprised to learn that Protestant churches have ANY official limitations upon divorce and remarriage–many PROTESTANTS are unaware of the fact. It is common, for example, for Protestant denominations to have an official policy against remarried pastors. In practice, many times such policies get ignored or applied very loosely, especially in denominations which have a ‘congregational’ system of governance. In such cases, a popular minister who experiences the tradgedy of divorce is NOT removed from his pulpit, at least not permanently.

I have not doubt that there are sme lengthy threads on this subject available and that Catholic Answers has some articles you can read online. Hope this is helpful.


#4

Divorce is simply breaking up of what has been joined together forever in the Sacrament of Matrimony. It’s a NO-NO :tsktsk: in the Catholic Church. While couples can get civil divorce in a country that allows divorce (thank God, my Catholic country, the Philippines doesn’t), this has no effect on the couple as far as their holy marriage vows are concerned. The problem arises when a couple gets civil divorce then go on dates and go to bed with other third parties. That’s adultery, a mortal sin that could send them to hell. The church doesn’t allow second marriages. The first marriage is the only valid marriage. The one and only marriage. That’s why, if you are a single Catholic and wants to get married, you have to be 101% sure the person you are marrying is the person you want to be with forever. In other words, you have to be sure 101% that you do love the person. Love is forever anyway. It’s not bounded by time.

Annullment, on the other hand, is a long process wherein the church declares that a marriage is null, void, zilch, never existed, should have never occured in the first place…and such. There are cases that such marriage should have never occured and is void and null from the start. Cases when the true meaning of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony cannot be sustained, maintained or practiced. Extreme cases like mental disorders and such. And these should occur right before and during the period when the couple recieved the Sacrament, and all throughout the period of that null and void marriage. Sad to say, this practice of annullments has recently been overused or abused in desperate moves by people who want to remarry. The Church is doing something about it.

PAX

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Hi all!

So, when DW & I were in Jerusalem Family Court back in the spring of 1999 to receive an adoption order for our eldest son (whom we had received in June 1997 when he was 4-months-old, the judge, before she dictated the order to her secretary, told us that adoption, “was like a Catholic wedding because it’s forever.” But I know that this isn’t necessarily so. I’ll forget what I’ve seen on TV or in movies and ask if one of my CAF cyberfriends could explain to me what exactly an annullment is & how it differs from a divorce & why Catholicism accepts the former but not the latter.

Thanks!

Be well!

ssv :wave:

PS: The neat thing about being an adopted father is that when I glower at one or both of Da Boyz and tell them, “Your butt belongs to us!”, I can produce court orders to show them that their butts (and everything else that goes with 'em) really do belong to us! :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]


#5

When an annullment is granted, it is granted to BOTH parties of the marriage. There may be a “condition” that must be met in order to have the annullment finalized. Re: One or both may be asked to get counseling in order that the problem not be repeated with a new partner. One spouse can bring the case to the tribunal (do all the work) and the other totally disregard all the letters, etc. he or she may recieve from the tribunal. If the marriage is declared “null”, BOTH persons have had the marriage nulled. An annullment can take from a year to many years.

Hope this helps.

Love and peace


#6

Hi all!

I thank everyone for their replies. You (collectively) have answered my question (and very nicely at that).

Limen Gentium, you might be interested to know that Roman Catholics aren’t allowed to get divorced in my country (Israel) either. There is no civil marriage or divorce in Israel. The State of Israel has kept the system that prevailed under the former British Mandate, which in turn kept up the old Ottoman millet system. Under the Ottomans, the various religious communities had their own rabbinical/ecclesiastical-canon/sharia courts, the judges of which were paid by the state, and which had complete, legally-recognized, autonomy in matters of personal status (mainly marriage & divorce). Each religious community was free to conduct its own affairs in these matters. This system still prevails today in Israel & is recognized as the law of the land. Thus, Israel has rabbinical courts, Islamic sharia courts, Druze and Bahai religious courts and ecclesiastical/canon courts for the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, (Latin) Roman Catholic, Maronite, (Melkite) Greek Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Chaldean Catholic and (Anglican) Episcopal communities. Thus, by law, Israeli citizens who are Roman Catholic, may not get divorced. (See tinyurl.com/2rs8q for a good article on the various Christian communities in Israel.)

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#7

The two shall become one flesh until death do them part.

Whatever you bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

In this secular country where the separation of church and state seems to be all so important, the first two statements get tossed out of civil court. They don’t care, and Hollywood smuges the sancrosanct union of two into a polygamists dream.

So from a spiritual reality and a commandment given by Christ himself…marriage is forever, unless those given his authority rule a marriage never was, “NULL”. And only those in the Church can do that.

From the “Civil” side and one that doesn’t recognize the Church’s authority, many people get married, divorced, married, divorced, married, divorced…that means this country has a whole lot of adultry going on. A so goes a country…


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.