Annulment In Error?


#1

I was married in the Catholic Church and divorced. The marriage was declared invalid by a tribunal of the Catholic Church. I am now remarried in the Catholic Church with two children. I have of late been reading articles that say that annulment decisions are not infallible and it seems to be their opinion in these articles that the Catholic Church in America has granted many annulments when they should not have. If that is true, for those of us who have had annulments granted in America, what obligation do we have in this regard?

The articles were not talking about errors made because of false information given, they were about the use of psychology in making determinations regarding the consent of one or more of the partners. The point being made was that psychology is not an exact science, so decisions made based on the maturity of the individual and their ability to give true consent to the sacrament are more guess work than decisions made with moral certitude.

I have found these articles very upsetting. In my own case there could have been other factors used for granting my annulment, but I was never given a true reason why, just a statement that it was declared invalid. If the tendency today in the American Church is to use these psychological factors, which cannot be certain, where does that leave us in our striving to do the will of God. If they made a mistake, then I’m living outside the will of God. As someone seeking to know God’s will, can you help me sort this out?


#2

Dear K,

While the allegations you heard about annulments may be true in some cases, you are not obligated to try to go back and review the work that others have done. Some of the people involved may not even be alive. Besides, we have no reason to believe that there is, in fact, anything wrong with your annulment. If your annulment was granted in error, the error was not yours. Proceed to live your life in peace about this.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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