Annulment - Will the Church ever change its stance?

I believe that’s when the other witnesses come in handy. It’s still possible to continue the process.


True. Actually, the Church CAN NEVER change its stance. At least and be faithful to the teaching of Christ himself. Jesus said, “what God has joined together, no man may divide.”

Given that, the Church also recognizes Jesus’ words, “whatever you loose on earth……. and whatever you bind shall be bound.” It is in that context that the nullity vehicle is founded. The church looks at whether God did join a man and woman and if it determines that there were factors existing that hindered or even prevented that, they will declare a marriage null.

The fact that you were 19 and pregnant may be the basis on which an “annulment” would be granted. I would pursue this with your pastor.


Hmm, despite what you may have heard on recent threads…

So you are saying that the Church is considering the Jesus’ words are no longer relevant, and we might as well just scrap the concept and either allow no annulments, or just annul anyone for any reason?


Oh, I agree with you! I was trying to highlight the nonsensical nature of some of the recent threads on the subject (you know, death penalty stuff,) and why it is necessary to highlight this. Doctrine develops, but never changes. The Church can indeed never change its teachings.


Actually, I hope the Magisterium does make some adjustments to the process. Especially in the area of Lack of Proper Form. And I think it should give more weight to sacramental marriages, and just not natural or licit ones.

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That certainly seems like a good idea. Christ did not give us the sacraments to take lightly.

I read that before the split (1054) the Eastern Churches allowed divorce under certain circumstances and Rome did not object. Is a reunion between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic possible if the Eastern Church retains its ancient traditional teaching on this?

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Well, the key point is that it’s not 1054 anymore, (I mean, thank God for that!) so I doubt it’ll be an issue. The Orthodox would have to accept the fullness of the truth to return to communion, though.

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Their position is that the Roman Catholic Church will have to accept the fullness of the truth before there can be any reunion. Each Church has its own view on what constitutes the fullness of truth. And their views are not the same.


Frankly, I don’t have an in-depth enough knowledge of the Filioque controversy to give you a valid take on it. What I will say is what I know. God have Peter the keys of the Church. It is our Church which had maintained his line, not theirs. Hence, we have the fullness of the truth, given to us by the Lamb of God himself, not them.


Did the Roman Church change its stance on not objecting to divorce in the Eastern Churches?
“In the Christian Empire under Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian and others, laws defined the various legal grounds and conditions on which divorce and remarriage were permissible. It is sufficient to say that they were relatively lenient. However, no Father of the Church ever denounced these imperial laws as contrary to Christianity. St. Epiphanius of Cyprus (d403) says, “He who cannot keep continence after the death of his first wife, or who has separated from his wife for a valid motive, as fornication, adultery, or another misdeed, if he takes another wife, or if the wife takes another husband, the divine word does not condemn him nor exclude him from the Church or the life; but she tolerates it rather on account of his weakness” (Against Heresies).”


By John Meyendorff

Also please see:

Can the Orthodox Way End the Divorce and Remarriage Debate?

“in 883 the Patriarch of Constantinople St. Photius in his Nomocanon , collection of Church Laws incorporated a list of special causes for divorce and remarriage borrowed from the Justinian-civil law, while affirming the Orthodox Church’s understanding of the indissolubility of marriage.”
I don’t see where Rome ever objected to the Nomocanon of St. Photius? If Rome had a problem with this tradition, would it not raise an objection ?

I don’t think anyone is thinking we should change doctrine. I think it’s the procedure is what our Pope is thinking about. When I pursed my annulment many years there were TWO courts involved; first and second instance our and I asked directly if the decision was infallible and I was told that NO it was not, they can err on their decision and the First and Second instance court can disagree.

It was to me a very difficult process because if you don’t have witnesses because you didn’t “air your dirty laundry” it’s hard to get your annulment.

The full blown annulment procedure is difficult. I say this because many people leave the Catholic Church because the thought that their marriage was considered valid, you cannot remarry and receive Communion. It seems like the only unforgivable sin.

A priest involved with pedophilia is still is kept in the priesthood with bishops reassigning them to other parishes. I might think remarriage without an annulment is the worse sin you can commit. It’s like the only unforgivable sin.


Actually, the Church CAN NEVER change its stance - on the nature of marriage as declared by Christ. I thought that was understood given the nature of the thread, but I guess some people really are bad at understanding nuance.
Yes, the Church can change its stance of matters of faith not handed down from the apostles. It has done so many times.

before, during, and after , even unto this very day . . . [I know an EC priest who sees return to that practice as perhaps the most important factor for renewed communion between east and west . …

“reunion” is not possible because there never was “union”; the churches were in communion.

And given that they did this for a millennium (and well over a millennium including the centuries between formal schism and it being taken seriously . . .), there is no reason it could not.

(for that matter, there is a solid argument that the EC churches should be following those canons to this day, rather than the western process, but that’s another thread for another day).

If by “accept the fullness of the truth” you mean “accept the western view”, you’ve pretty much contradicted every single statement the Roman Church on the matter for the last sixty or eighty years . . .



Yes. And if divorce was morally wrong, why did not Rome officially object to the practice in the early church?

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Wow! Thanks so much. I very much appreciate your response.

Well, you’re welcome, I guess. From your initial post, I can see some valid reasons for the church to consider an annulment. The young age at which you married might speak to a condition of psychological immaturity on one or both parties part. And secondly, getting married because one is pregnant brings to question whether force or fear came into play at the time of vows being exchanged. You say you took instruction in the Catholic faith. I and a goodly number of other posters on this forum are somewhat hesitant to say that the teaching of the Catholic faith is and has always been solid, complete, and accurate. I’ve heard some things said in “teaching” that make me shake my head, at the least.
if you get along well with you ex, make sure if you go ahead and proceed in the request for an annulment, that he understands that a decree of nullity does not in any way change to situation between you two when it comes to financial settlements, child custody, or any other civil finding in the divorce procedure. It only allows that Catholic party requesting the annulment to legally and sacramentally marry in the Church. And it is not a question of “re-marriage”… A decree of nullity allows the Catholic party to marry sacramentally for the first time.
Peace and good luck in you efforts.

Emperor Justinian II reintroduced divorce into the Byzantine Empire about 700 A.D.

Neither east nor west ever approved, or failed to object, to divorce.

The EO stance was/is not that divorce is permissible, but that marriage is forever, but sometimes it dies/fails anyway. VERY roughly, the standard is that the “abandoned” spouse should not be not be deprived and suffer.

In no way is the divorce accepted or approved, but rather the second marriage is allowed as ekoinomia (which has more spellings than I can track). Generally, only one of the parties is allowed the second marriage (the “abandoned” party. The meaning of “abandonment” has expanded over the centuries . . .)

Theologically, there is no difference between a second marriage for divorce or death, and the joyous readings, etc., are replaced with penitential substitutes (even if by widowhood rather than divorce). There is a hope that the new marriage will, in time, become sacramental.

A second mariage is usually permitted; a third sometimes, and a fourth never–an emperor was actually deposed for attempting a fourth marriage!

It is simultaneously more and less restrictive than the western annulment process. (While the concept of nullity exists in the East, it pretty much is limited to the abduction level . . .)


In recent years, some (but not all!) orthodox churches use the regular

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