Annulment: A LoopHole for "No Divorce"?


#1

obviously Catholics cant get divorced, and technically, an Annulment is not just a divorce for Catholics. but is the RCC giving out annulments as easy as the government gives a divorce? are we running down a dark road? its starting to get bad when a couple thats been married for 25 years, with 4 kids can go get an annulment and then get remarried… any comments welcome.


#2

Well… if it’s so easyto get an annulment it means many marriages are enough flawed at the start that they offer a lot of reasons to doubt they were valid.

Maybe we should work more in the begining of the issue, IMO


#3

The question has been asked by some theologians if the average person in western society can even enter into a valid marriage. There are many common practices today that have the potential for nullifying a marriage such as addiction to pronography, other sexual addictions, coming drunk or high to the wedding, having ones tubes tied or a visectemy, intention of limiting the number of children, intention of not having any children, using contraception, intention of not being faithful, getting a pre-nuptual agreement, not being free to marry due to some impedement, intention of abusing ones spouse, improper form … etc, ect.

As you can tell from this short list of stuff that could possibly nullify the sacrament there are many here that are status quo for the modern western man.

BTW I have a friend that has sat on many a tribunal and he has seen cases that are one week to 12 years. Therefore I place serious doubt on the comment that decrees of nullity are being handed out like cotton candy.


#4

The biggest issue I think I have with annulments, is that it turns every wedding ceremony from a sacrament into a tentative sacrament.

It’s really very simple. If 12 days to 12 years from now for whatever reason I have the marriage investigated, based on track record there’s a pretty good chance the lawyers can come up with something. In this case we’ve retroactively determined that all those people who saw a Catholic wedding did not, in fact, witness a sacrament being conferred but a big ceremonial farce.

If we don’t know whether we are sacramentally married five minutes after our wedding, then I think we have the whole concept wrong.

The argument that “well it’s only if something is wrong that it is even investigated” is lame, and self-contradictory when used to diminish the severity of my accusations that any given Catholic wedding can never be known by those present if it’s a sacrament or just a nice time where we all dress up and say a bunch of meaningless mumbo jumbo in front of a priest and church full of witnesses. It is lame because supposedly nullity is not created but determined, and the reasons for granting nullity are probably very weakly linked to the reason the nullity was sought. If nullity actually strives to find the “truth” and in half or more cases, the “truth” is the sacrament was not conferred, then no marriage can be known to be valid unless it is investigated, which won’t be done unless there’s a problem. In summary, it is either the Catholic loophole for divorce, or it makes wedding ceremonies ambiguous and their authenticity a joke.

Alan


#5

The U.S. patent office works this way, from what I hear. It is quote-unquote “easy” to patent any stupid idea, and no one knows until you go to court whether the patent was really valid or not.


#6

[quote=AlanFromWichita]If we don’t know whether we are sacramentally married five minutes after our wedding, then I think we have the whole concept wrong.
[/quote]

Under Catholic canon law, in certain circumstance the validity and/or sacramentality of a wedding may depend on what happens or doesn’t happen a year or two down the road. So I think you are stuck on this one.


#7

In the anullment process, the Church looks at the minds of the couple at the time of the marriage.

Frequently, subsequent behavior sheds light upon what was going on in the minds at the time of the marriage.

For example, one priest friend on the Tribunal told me that when he called the ex-wife, after the civil divorce, to determine if the Catholic husband was entitled to a Catholic anullment, and he identified himself and his purpose to her, “All she did is scream f— y-- to me repeatedly, until her voice gave out, and then she slammed down the phone. Well, that did tell me something!”

In an age where people are so immature that civil divorce is handed-out, by the law, like bubblegums, to keep the populace happy, should anyone be surprised that the same immature people were frequently incapable of meaning “I do” with sufficient personal insight to bind them to their marital promise?

Here’s an interesting problem: About 95% of the public in general, and even about 75% of the Church-going, Communion-receiving Catholics, go into marriage planning to use artificial birth control.

Well, a lot of these haven’t even decided to have kids yet – the possibility of a marriage with *no kids at all, but with the sex which naturally produces those kids fully available to them but protected by ABC, is in their heads at the time they say “I do.” *Question: Is that a valid “I do,” where their minds have not clearly reached the level where they have affirmatively decided to satisfy the key natural end of marriage – attempting to have offspring?

Let’s complicate that question one more step: Because people use abortion as a birth-control-back-up, abortion boomed after ther Pill became popular and led to a general popularizaqtion of birth control psychology. Nine-tenths of the population currently thinks, "Hey, man, I’m entitled to risk-free nookie!"

Okay, so let’s assume that our hypothetical Catholics saying “I do” to each other not only haven’t yet decided at all if they are going to let a screaming baby with dirty diapers interfere with their sexual pleasure, but they are both willing to kill by abortion any baby that happens to get accidentally conceived?

Is that a valid “I do” in the eyes of God?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


#8

[quote=AlanFromWichita]The biggest issue I think I have with annulments, is that it turns every wedding ceremony from a sacrament into a tentative sacrament.

If we don’t know whether we are sacramentally married five minutes after our wedding, then I think we have the whole concept wrong.
[/quote]

We must believe that every marriage is valid until the contrary is proven.

Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

tee


#9

75% of catholics plan on useing birth conrol? I would say more like 95 to 99%. That’s my own observation od course.


#10

[quote=BibleReader]…about 75% of the Church-going, Communion-receiving Catholics, go into marriage planning to use artificial birth control.
.
[/quote]

At one time, I was told that the use of ABC was a mortal sin. According to the figures that you are giving, it would seem that if this were still true, that it would be fitting and proper for us to hear homilies from time to time on why this would send a person to hell. Instead, recently, at our local Church, I heard a sermon on how as Catholics we should should have sympathy for those homosexuals with AIDS, just as J.C. had sympathy for the lepers in His day. According to this the big sin nowadays that Catholics have to watch out for, is not having sympathy for those homosexuals. For some time, I haven’t heard anything in Church about artificial birth control being a sin.


#11

[quote=dal11]75% of catholics plan on useing birth conrol? I would say more like 95 to 99%…
[/quote]

Does that mean then, that 95 to 99% of all Catholic marriages are invalid, and null and void from the start?


#12

All this aside, as I understand it, an annulment is a rather difficult thing to get.


#13

[quote=stanley123]At one time, I was told that the use of ABC was a mortal sin. According to the figures that you are giving, it would seem that if this were still true, that it would be fitting and proper for us to hear homilies from time to time on why this would send a person to hell. Instead, recently, at our local Church, I heard a sermon on how as Catholics we should should have sympathy for those homosexuals with AIDS, just as J.C. had sympathy for the lepers in His day. According to this the big sin nowadays that Catholics have to watch out for, is not having sympathy for those homosexuals. For some time, I haven’t heard anything in Church about artificial birth control being a sin.
[/quote]

That was a federally-financed study from the 1990s which generated that “about 75%” figure.

In our Diocese, so many objected to the silence from the pulpit on the issue of ABC that about 6 years ago our bishop experimented with “contraception Sunday.” In writing, he ordered every single priest to condemn use of ABC from the pulpit in their homily.

About 1/3 of the priests, terrified of angering their congregation and of contradicting their anti-*Humanae-Vitae *counseling in the confessional, disobeyed.

In the rest of the parishes, hundreds got up and walk out of Mass, in the Diocese.

Thousands of letters were written to the bishop, condemning the homilies.

Contraception Sunday was never repeated.


#14

[quote=mosher]The question has been asked by some theologians if the average person in western society can even enter into a valid marriage. There are many common practices today that have the potential for nullifying a marriage such as addiction to pornography, other sexual addictions, coming drunk or high to the wedding, having ones tubes tied or a vasectomy, intention of limiting the number of children, intention of not having any children, using contraception, intention of not being faithful, getting a pre-nuptual agreement, not being free to marry due to some impediment, intention of abusing ones spouse, improper form … etc, etc. As you can tell from this short list of stuff that could possibly nullify the sacrament there are many here that are status quo for the modern western man.
[/quote]

Certainly many of these things if existing before the wedding nullify a marriage. I don’t think that ABC, tubal ligation, or vasectomy after the marriage has any bearing on validity unless from the get go the intent was to absolutely have no children. For a couple to change their mind about having children from yes to no way after the marriage would not invalidate. Porno addiction post marriage would also not generally be grounds unless it were related in some way to pre-marital immaturity. Alcoholism, spousal abuse, or other problems that arrive after the marriage would not invalidate inless they can be tied to some pre-existing psychological condition that would prevent free consentm just as mental illness arising after the marriage does not. It may seem easy to get a declaration of nullity. But I don’t know a single couple who have gotten one or are seeking one who would say that. My wife and I have had our ups and downs for over 45 years and six children, but I certainly don’t envy any of these folks looking for a second chance.


#15

I know a woman who, while she was engaged, said, “Everybody’s telling me not to marry him. Oh, well. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get a divorce.”

She said this *while she was getting dressed for her wedding. *What’s worse is that this lovely moment was recorded on the wedding video for all future generations to watch.

Just moments later, she stood up before God and man and vowed that she would stay with him for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.

I have to figure she didn’t mean a word of it. (Well, maybe she meant certain words, like *better, richer, and health) *Is this a valid marriage? I have my doubts.

I agree that annulments are often handed out too readily. But sometimes there’s a vaild reason for one.


#16

[quote=jax8686] is the RCC giving out annulments as easy as the government gives a divorce? .
[/quote]

No, not as easily, but, almost as easily. This can be shown by the percentage of annulments rendered versus the number of divorces granted. Divorce is slightly higher than annulment.

[quote=jax8686] are we running down a dark road? its starting to get bad when a couple thats been married for 25 years, with 4 kids can go get an annulment and then get remarried… any comments welcome.
[/quote]

Yes, it’s a VERY dark road. The problem is we as Catholics also exist in the society which treats marriage like a business relationship rather than a sacrament instituted by God.

[quote=Giennensis]Well… if it’s so easy to get an annulment it means many marriages are enough flawed at the start that they offer a lot of reasons to doubt they were valid. Maybe we should work more in the begining of the issue, IMO
[/quote]

Great idea, one which the Church has tried, that’s why now you need to go thru “pre-canna”, it hasn’t helped very much, too watered down with modern I’m ok you’re ok, IMO.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]The biggest issue I think I have with annulments, is that it turns every wedding ceremony from a sacrament into a tentative sacrament…. it is either the Catholic loophole for divorce, or it makes wedding ceremonies ambiguous and their authenticity a joke.
[/quote]

Alen, you’d be absoluteluy correct “if” the Church rendered EVERY request for an annulment. Very fortunately it does not.

[quote=stanley123]Does that mean then, that 95 to 99% of all Catholic marriages are invalid, and null and void from the start?
[/quote]

No, but an alarming 55% are invalid.


#17

[quote=jax8686]obviously Catholics cant get divorced, and technically, an Annulment is not just a divorce for Catholics. but is the RCC giving out annulments as easy as the government gives a divorce? are we running down a dark road? its starting to get bad when a couple thats been married for 25 years, with 4 kids can go get an annulment and then get remarried… any comments welcome.
[/quote]

Catholics CAN get divorced and remain united to the Church and have access to the Sacraments. Someone said once the reason there are so many annulments is because there are so many invalid Marriages. Our biggest problem is very poor Marriage preparation being offered by the Church. or so many Catholics simply not interested in proper Marriage preparation.


#18

[quote=Catholic2003]Under Catholic canon law, in certain circumstance the validity and/or sacramentality of a wedding may depend on what happens or doesn’t happen a year or two down the road. So I think you are stuck on this one.
[/quote]

The validity of a Marriage depends more on what happens prior and up to the wedding. What happens after the exchange of vows may point to problems that existed prior to the Marriage but do not directly invalidate the Marriage.


#19

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]The validity of a Marriage depends more on what happens prior and up to the wedding. What happens after the exchange of vows may point to problems that existed prior to the Marriage but do not directly invalidate the Marriage.
[/quote]

There are rare circumstances where the validity of the marriage depends on a future event. Suppose a non-Catholic man marries a non-Catholic woman because she due to come into a large sum of money from a trust fund on her next birthday, such that his consent to the marriage is contingent upon this future occurrence. Then if she does receive the money, then the marriage was/is valid. But if she does not receive the money for some reason (say the lawyer embezzles it), and true to his word, the man ups and leaves her as soon as the embezzlement is discovered, then the marriage was/is invalid.

Note that if either party were Catholic, then the marriage would be invalid regardless of the future outcome of the trust fund.


#20

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]The validity of a Marriage depends more on what happens prior and up to the wedding. What happens after the exchange of vows may point to problems that existed prior to the Marriage but do not directly invalidate the Marriage.
[/quote]

Oh, really???
Apparently you haven’t read the book: ***Judging Invalidity ©2002, *By Fr. Lawrence G. Wrenn. This book is **“Designed as a practical companion to the author’s previous volume, The Invalid Marriage, this resource for tribunals, students and pastoral ministers contains 15 fictional marriage cases. These reflect the basic grounds for marital nullity established in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.”

**Reasons for annulment listed in Judging Invalidity ©2002, By Fr. Lawrence G. Wrenn
Working out a couple of hours a day in the gym.
Being described as arrogant and selfish with an “I don’t need anyone else” attitude.
Saving one’s salary in a personal account.
Seeming to be obsessed with one’s body (personal appearance).
Ignoring one’s parents on one occasion when they came for a visit.
Seeing the world as his apple. (Psychiatric expert’s term)
Never being satisfied with a gift given by one’s spouse.
Feeling chronically disenfranchised in one’s (spousal) relationship.
Not achieving the desired companionship and intimacy one wants in marriage.
Suffering abandonment issues over a father who died. Protecting herself by putting a hard shell around herself.
Suffering from low self-esteem, self-absorption, and a need for attention.
Lacking emphathy and fearing intimacy.
Comparing oneself to others and always finding them happier. About a month before the wedding he drove his mother to a family reunion, leaving her all alone to make preparations for the wedding.
The psychiatric expert described the respondent as porcupinish. He didn’t want people near him; surprises he liked even less. It was noted in the proceedings, however, that he was in love with another woman.
The petitioner’s mother always resented her. The mother was unreasonably strict and hypercritical.

I have a difficult time understanding why working out in the gym is a valid reason for an annulment, and why this may “point to problems that existed prior to the Marriage”.
If the Catholic authorities think that working out in a gym is a valid reason for an annulment, together with all of these other trivial and ridiculous reasons that are given by Father Wrenn, then why would it be wrong to say that annulments are “Catholic gobbledegook”, and just another mthod to get around the teaching against divorce?


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