Annulments: "Divorce--Catholic style"?


#1

Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church, which will teach the Truth throughout the ages until the end of the world. However, among its members there were, are, and always will be abuses and scandals of all sorts---scandals within the laity, scandals within religious orders, and scandals within the clergy. After all, Christ Himself said that scandals were bound to come, but "woe to the person through whom scandal comes..."

But our Holy Father, Pope Benedict himself has decried what he perceives as a growing number of easily-received annulments. And Pope John Paul II, back in 1987, spoke of “the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage destroyed in practice by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”

So are this just another scandal in the Church? I suppose the people who are granted false annulments are not to be held responsible.

I wonder; if Henry VIII filed for an annulment today, do you think he could find a marriage tribunal somewhere that would grant it? After all, some of the reasons given these days to rationalize an annulment seem far fetched. Maybe we're just living in the age of the great apostasy.

From what I understand, there are a number of things that would render a marriage null. these, from what I understand, are:

*1- Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage (inability or refusal to have sex) ,

2- Bigamy, incest (being married to someone else, or close relatives)

3- Duress (being forced or coerced into marriage against one's will or serious external pressure, for example a pregnancy)

4- Mental incapacity (considered unable to understand the nature and expectations of marriage)

5- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the full implications of marriage as a life-long commitment in faithfulness and love, with priority to spouse and children.

6- Psychological inability to live the marriage commitment as described above.

7- Illegal "Form of Marriage" (ceremony was not performed according to Catholic canon law)

8- One/both partners was under the influence of drugs, or addicted to a chemical substance at the time of marriage. *

But maybe we just live in such worldly and times with so many divisions within Christianity itself that a great number of marriages are truly indeed invalid. This is easy to imagine, especially these days of Las Vegas Drive-By wedding cerimonies. What I find harder to understand is when I hear about couples who've been married for 19 years and produced 8 children are granted an annulment. I suppose we have to trust the marriage tribunals. But then again, why would two popes decry the dissolution of marriages by* "exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”* ?

I suppose the guilty parties know who they are.


#2

I would really encourage you to get a copy of the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. It will help you understand what a decree of nullity is and isn't and goes into detail on various grounds for nullity.


#3

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]
Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church, which will teach the Truth throughout the ages until the end of the world. However, among its members there were, are, and always will be abuses and scandals of all sorts---scandals within the laity, scandals within religious orders, and scandals within the clergy. After all, Christ Himself said that scandals were bound to come, but "woe to the person through whom scandal comes..."

But our Holy Father, Pope Benedict himself has decried what he perceives as a growing number of easily-received annulments. And Pope John Paul II, back in 1987, spoke of “the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage destroyed in practice by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”

So are this just another scandal in the Church? I suppose the people who are granted false annulments are not to be held responsible.

I wonder; if Henry VIII filed for an annulment today, do you think he could find a marriage tribunal somewhere that would grant it? After all, some of the reasons given these days to rationalize an annulment seem far fetched. Maybe we're just living in the age of the great apostasy.

From what I understand, there are a number of things that would render a marriage null. these, from what I understand, are:

*1- Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage (inability or refusal to have sex) ,

2- Bigamy, incest (being married to someone else, or close relatives)

3- Duress (being forced or coerced into marriage against one's will or serious external pressure, for example a pregnancy)

4- Mental incapacity (considered unable to understand the nature and expectations of marriage)

5- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the full implications of marriage as a life-long commitment in faithfulness and love, with priority to spouse and children.

6- Psychological inability to live the marriage commitment as described above.

7- Illegal "Form of Marriage" (ceremony was not performed according to Catholic canon law)

8- One/both partners was under the influence of drugs, or addicted to a chemical substance at the time of marriage. *

But maybe we just live in such worldly and times with so many divisions within Christianity itself that a great number of marriages are truly indeed invalid. This is easy to imagine, especially these days of Las Vegas Drive-By wedding cerimonies. What I find harder to understand is when I hear about couples who've been married for 19 years and produced 8 children are granted an annulment. I suppose we have to trust the marriage tribunals. But then again, why would two popes decry the dissolution of marriages by* "exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”* ?

I suppose the guilty parties know who they are.

[/quote]

<>.

Well gee, let's just imagine a young Catholic woman who goes into marriage with what she thinks is a good understanding. . .for keeps, better or worse. . .

And she has children right away, so the first 10 years or so she is trying to raise 4 or 5 children and deal with a spouse who maybe (let's give him his due) tries to make the marriage work to the best of his understanding of what marriage is, but because he was really spoiled, selfish, and immature, even though again he has good qualities just as everybody does. . . well, he starts wanting to 'have his cake and eat it too.' He wants not just a wife but a slave. . .he wants to 'slob out' but she (on top of being the perfect wife, not working 'outside the home' so her skills and experience get daily more obsolete, has to be the perfect mother, fixing home cooked meals, doing all the 'domestic work' etc., with an 'allowance' doled out to her at the husband's whim) has to maintain the same 25 year old body, fashion etc. as though she were still unmarried and dating). . .and he gets more and more demanding, and of course she 'fails' on every count, starts getting verbally abused, and she 'takes it' because marriage is for keeps, right? She tries not to malign the dad to the kids but they see and they start to take sides and they start fighting with each other and acting out at school. They all go out less and less because every outing ends in fights, tears, and tantrums. . .and when they stay inside it's nothing but fights, tears, and tantrums. . .and now the kids are teens, and the husband decrees' now you go out and work and now you pay everything, no more allowance for you'. . .she takes what jobs she can, but she's constantly being called out because somebody gets in trouble at school, HUSBAND can't be bothered, and so she's let go again. .and this time husband slaps her for being a 'lazy beeyatch' and announces that THIS is why he's been shacking up with his coworker for the last 4 years, and why he's going to dump her and finally have a happy life. . .and so, after 18 years of marriage she finally, for her own physical safety as well as the welfare of her children, because the oldest boy has threatened if dad slaps her again he'll kill him. . .she finally files for divorce.

Do you think that that MIGHT explain why after 'many years and several children' a woman (or a man, because men get abused too) can file for a decree of nullity?

That people can go on for sometimes quite a long time (so long as they get what they want and are happy) and when they don't get what they want, they turn into monsters, based on the fact that they had BEEN this way whenever they didn't get what they wanted all their lives long and thought they were entitled to have not just perfection, but a totally unrealistic fantasy? Their whole idea of marriage was a fantasy?

And that an abused person can go on for quite a long time trying to justify herself and 'make it work' because she's been made to feel it's her fault, and that 'she made the vows for keeps'?


#4

There are likely abuses. And if Pope Benedict said so, I don't doubt it in the slightest. This doesn't mean, however, that there aren't also more legitimate annulments granted these days, too. I would hazard a guess that more people these days are unable to contract a valid marriage than at times in the past. How many people got drunk and married at the Elvis Chapel in Vegas in the 1300s?


#5

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]

From what I understand, there are a number of things that would render a marriage null. these, from what I understand, are:

1- Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage (inability or refusal to have sex) ,

This isn't grounds for an annullment in the eyes of the Church....unless one of the married has lied about being able to consummate the marriage and withheld this from the priest and/or the other spouse. However, after one gets married, inability or refusal to have sex is not grounds for annullment.

That isn't grounds for an annullment...if permission was granted in the first place. For example, I know a set of first cousins who were allowed by their bishop to marry, thus they were married validly in the eyes of the Church. They couldn't, later, decide they made a mistake and appeal for an annulment on the grounds that they were first cousins because permission was granted, and therefore the marriage was valid. I don't know what would happen if they found out later that they were closely related. But generally (generally) the validity of marriage is not affected by something that happens after vows are taken, but before.

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]

3- Duress (being forced or coerced into marriage against one's will or serious external pressure, for example a pregnancy)

4- Mental incapacity (considered unable to understand the nature and expectations of marriage)

5- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the full implications of marriage as a life-long commitment in faithfulness and love, with priority to spouse and children.

[/quote]

These are grounds for annullment...and they should be. One has to agree/consent to be married, and understand the full implications of marriage, and be fully resolved to live up to those expecations, and of course, should be in their right mind to be able to consent.

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]

6- Psychological inability to live the marriage commitment as described above.

[/quote]

Only if it was found that they were unable psychologically before the marriage. Not after.

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]

7- Illegal "Form of Marriage" (ceremony was not performed according to Catholic canon law)

8- One/both partners was under the influence of drugs, or addicted to a chemical substance at the time of marriage.

[/quote]

[/quote]

Those are grounds for annullment.

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]

I suppose the guilty parties know who they are.

[/quote]

I leave these matters to God. We might think we know all the details of one's marriage, but we don't. The process is very detailed and carefully reviewed. As far as I am concerned, if the diocese finds a marriage invalid, then it is.


#6

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]
Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church, which will teach the Truth throughout the ages until the end of the world. However, among its members there were, are, and always will be abuses and scandals of all sorts---scandals within the laity, scandals within religious orders, and scandals within the clergy. After all, Christ Himself said that scandals were bound to come, but "woe to the person through whom scandal comes..."

[/quote]

Yes he did....But are the "number of annulments granted" the true scandal???

But our Holy Father, Pope Benedict himself has decried what he perceives as a growing number of easily-received annulments. And Pope John Paul II, back in 1987, spoke of “the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage destroyed in practice by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”

Indeed. Yet the former question remains....Is the number of annulments granted the actual scandal or is there a deeper problem a deeper scandal here that needs to be addressed.

So are this just another scandal in the Church? I suppose the people who are granted false annulments are not to be held responsible.

Let me speak clearly and succinctly for your benefit and any others reading this thread.

No one who receives a decree of nullity from a Validly Instituted Diocesan Tribunal receives a false decree. Every decree issued is valid.

I suppose we have to trust the marriage tribunals.

Yes we do, and if there is indeed problems in the system, we must trust that these will be addressed.

But then again, why would two popes decry the dissolution of marriages by* "exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”* ?

Because the failure rate of marriages IS appalling. but pointing to the "annulments granted" as the problem is looking at the wrong end.

And I say this as a person who has been granted a decree of nullity - Praise our Merciful God.

I suppose the guilty parties know who they are.

Maybe - maybe not....

Peace
James


#7

So the question remains if the Church granted these annulments, how can they be considered invalid? :shrug: Doesn't the Church's authority under 'binding and loosing' overcome any deficiency in the annulment process. Otherwise, a Catholic who is remarried would not know whether their annulment was invalid in the eyes of God and thus would be committing the sin of adultery?

I know of a Catholic divorce attorney who received two annulments. The first one was to a prominent doctor who was a hospital administrator and the other was to an attorney who happened to be the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. I couldn't figure out how this person was able to obtain two annulments under what I thought were strict guidelines of mental incapacity or psychologically impaired which would not be in these cases. I thought there was something suspicious about these annulments? I am still to this day puzzled by them.


#8

[quote="JRKH, post:6, topic:286971"]

Let me speak clearly and succinctly for your benefit and any others reading this thread.

No one who receives a decree of nullity from a Validly Instituted Diocesan Tribunal receives a false decree. Every decree issued is valid.

[/quote]

For the sake of argument, if there were an abuse in granting an annulment, would that be a valid annulment? After all, Christ succinctly said: What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder..

I understand the Church has the authority to bind and to loose, but not to declare something false. But a person who in good faith receives an annulment on a valid marriage could not be held responsible..


#9

[quote="Rence, post:5, topic:286971"]
However, after one gets married, inability or refusal to have sex is not grounds for annullment.

[/quote]

A marriage is only valid after it is consummated.


#10

From my experience it is not that there are annulments being granted under false pretenses, but rather people entering into marriage with a false understanding of marriage.

I know when my wife and I started to help our parish with marriage prep 18 months ago we received a reprint of a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. In it he emphasized that great discretion should be made to ensure that couples are full prepared and prenuptial invetigations are not just a formal checklist. He also reminded tribunal judges to make correct judgements especially around decrees based on lack of consent.

In effect, on the one hand we observe how in the courses of preparation for marriage, the canonical questions occupy a very modest place, if not insignificant, insofar as we tend to think that the future spouses have a very minimal interest in questions that are reserved for specialists. On the other hand, while not neglecting any of the necessities of the juridical activities that precede marriage, ready to accept that "nothing be opposed to its valid and licit celebration" (CIC, Canon 1066), there is a widespread belief according to which the examination of the spouses, the marriage banns and the other appropriate measures taken in the necessary pre-matrimonial investigations (cf. ibid., Canon 1067), among which are the marriage preparation courses, are merely formal obligations. In fact, it is often thought that in admitting couples to marriage, pastors must proceed with generosity since the natural right of the persons to marry is in play.

...

Recently I insisted on the necessity of ruling rightly about the causes related to consensual incapacity (cf. Allocution to the Roman Rota, Jan. 29, 2009: AAS 101 [2009], pp. 124-128). The question continues to be quite relevant and unfortunately incorrect positions persist, such as that of identifying the discretion of judgment required for marriage (cf. CIC, Canon 1095, No. 2) with the prudence expected in the decision to marry, thus confusing a question of capacity with another that does not touch validity, since it concerns the degree of practical wisdom with which a decision is made that is, in any case, matrimonial. Graver still would be the misunderstanding if one were to attribute invalidating efficaciousness to imprudent choices made in the marriage.

ZENIT - Benedict XVI's Address to Tribunal of the Roman Rota

I will not put words in the Holy Father's mouth, but it appears that his concern is that for pastoral reasons some couples are passed through simply because they have checked all the right boxes. I know we have meet a number of couples in both marriage prep and NFP classes that state right out that they disagree with the Church and are just "getting the next stamp on their paper work." In those cases we have been asked by our Diocese to let the Pastor know so that they can make sure appropriate scrutiny is given to ensure full understanding before the couple is admitted to marriage. He also appears to be concerned that lack of consent is confused with poor choices after the marriage. The general impression I got from the address is that the Holy Father wants to make sure that pastoral reasons do not overshadow canonical precedence.

The scandal for me is not necessarily the number of decrees, but rather the impression by some that an annulment is automatic (ala no fault divorce). I think what would help is if the number of annulments are to be released then they should be broken down by type (i.e. Lack of Form, Defect of Consent [both catholic, mixed marriage], etc.) It would also help give a better picture if the number of investigation that are found valid (i.e. decree denied) were also reported. That would give a better place to start to know why people are attempting to enter invalid marriages and how best to address these issues during prenuptial investigations.

Me personally I would like to see paperwork added to marriage records detailing what it means to marry and couples having to acknowledge each requirement so that they understand that if at a later time the say they never intended to have children then the Defender of the Bond can ask why they signed a paper where they implicitly agreed to it. Hopefully that would get around the "I didn't know" response I sometimes hear.


#11

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:9, topic:286971"]
A marriage is only valid after it is consummated.

[/quote]

This is 100% incorrect.

A marriage is valid at the vows. It becomes indissoluable after consumation.


#12

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:8, topic:286971"]
For the sake of argument, if there were an abuse in granting an annulment, would that be a valid annulment? After all, Christ succinctly said: What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder..

I understand the Church has the authority to bind and to loose, but not to declare something false. But a person who in good faith receives an annulment on a valid marriage could not be held responsible..

[/quote]

In this case there is no, "for the sake of argument"...

It is the Church which as established the Tribunals, established the grounds and provided the training to tribunal members. Therefore these tribunals are legitimate and speak for the Church in these matters.

Now - IF there is sin (what you call abuse) by an individual - either the person applying or by someone in the tribunal system - that sin will be dealt with by God on an individual basis. It does not effect the validity of the decree as it applies to those who are acting honestly and devoutly upon these matters, whether that be by assuming information provided is truthful, or by assuming that those judging the information have given due weight and consideration to the various factors.

Those who have NOT lied or otherwise sinned, and have received decrees of nullity, do not need to have the validity of their decrees called into question by someone asserting that there might be "false decrees" issued.

Even should the Church decide to, "tighten things up",there can be little doubt that the decrees already issued would be accepted as valid. Thus - as I say - there are NO False Decrees issued.

Peace
James


#13

[quote="Ecoclimber, post:7, topic:286971"]
So the question remains if the Church granted these annulments, how can they be considered invalid? :shrug: Doesn't the Church's authority under 'binding and loosing' overcome any deficiency in the annulment process. Otherwise, a Catholic who is remarried would not know whether their annulment was invalid in the eyes of God and thus would be committing the sin of adultery?

[/quote]

Exactly my point too.

It serves no good purpose to make comments that call into question the validity of annulments properly granted through the existing system.

What I know, in my case, is that I prayed and pondered over each and every one of the 45 "essay type" questions that I had to answer. I tried to carefully recall things that had occurred 35 years ago and to answer as honestly as I possibly could. Those who were witnesses did likewise. In my case the decree was granted - and that closes the case - period.

I know of a Catholic divorce attorney who received two annulments. The first one was to a prominent doctor who was a hospital administrator and the other was to an attorney who happened to be the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. I couldn't figure out how this person was able to obtain two annulments under what I thought were strict guidelines of mental incapacity or psychologically impaired which would not be in these cases. I thought there was something suspicious about these annulments? I am still to this day puzzled by them.

The problem is that we cannot know the particulars of a given case. There can often times be defect that are simply not evident on the surface. Mental and emotional abuse, physical abuse such as "rape" within a marriage are things that might not show up before the wedding, but DO demonstrate that one of the parties did not understand what was needed to contract a valid marriage.

That is why it is far better to simply trust that all parties involved exercised due diligence in the matters of applying for and receiving the decree. Thinking about whether something is "fishy" only leads to discord and a lack of peace.

Peace
James


#14

[quote="Usige, post:10, topic:286971"]
From my experience it is not that there are annulments being granted under false pretenses, but rather people entering into marriage with a false understanding of marriage.

I know when my wife and I started to help our parish with marriage prep 18 months ago we received a reprint of a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. In it he emphasized that great discretion should be made to ensure that couples are full prepared and prenuptial invetigations are not just a formal checklist. He also reminded tribunal judges to make correct judgements especially around decrees based on lack of consent.
I will not put words in the Holy Father's mouth, but it appears that his concern is that for pastoral reasons some couples are passed through simply because they have checked all the right boxes. I know we have meet a number of couples in both marriage prep and NFP classes that state right out that they disagree with the Church and are just "getting the next stamp on their paper work." In those cases we have been asked by our Diocese to let the Pastor know so that they can make sure appropriate scrutiny is given to ensure full understanding before the couple is admitted to marriage. He also appears to be concerned that lack of consent is confused with poor choices after the marriage. The general impression I got from the address is that the Holy Father wants to make sure that pastoral reasons do not overshadow canonical precedence.

The scandal for me is not necessarily the number of decrees, but rather the impression by some that an annulment is automatic (ala no fault divorce). I think what would help is if the number of annulments are to be released then they should be broken down by type (i.e. Lack of Form, Defect of Consent [both catholic, mixed marriage], etc.) It would also help give a better picture if the number of investigation that are found valid (i.e. decree denied) were also reported. That would give a better place to start to know why people are attempting to enter invalid marriages and how best to address these issues during prenuptial investigations.

Me personally I would like to see paperwork added to marriage records detailing what it means to marry and couples having to acknowledge each requirement so that they understand that if at a later time the say they never intended to have children then the Defender of the Bond can ask why they signed a paper where they implicitly agreed to it. Hopefully that would get around the "I didn't know" response I sometimes hear.

[/quote]

EXCELLENT POST :thumbsup::thumbsup:

And spot on.

The biggest issue in the "annulment scandal" is that it is not really about "annulments" at all. The real scandal lies in Catechesis in general and as a logical follow on to this, good marriage prep.

Your quote from the Holy Father makes it abundantly clear that the Rome is quite fully aware of this fact.

Peace
James


#15

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:1, topic:286971"]
What I find harder to understand is when I hear about couples who've been married for 19 years and produced 8 children are granted an annulment. I suppose we have to trust the marriage tribunals. But then again, why would two popes decry the dissolution of marriages by* "exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”* ?

I suppose the guilty parties know who they are.

[/quote]

I just wanted to clarify that time and number of children have nothing to do with whether there was something that happened at the time of the marriage that made it invalid. Annulment has little to do with the life (so much) after the wedding vows as it does the time of the wedding vows. Basically, what is important is what happened AT THE TIME OF THE MARRIAGE when the sacrament took place.

For example, it's entirely possible for someone to have lied at the time of the marriage to pressure the other person into marrying them (maybe a woman lied about being pregnant)... and after years of trying to make it work for the sake of the kids, when the last kid leaves for college the marriage breaks up and then it's revealed the problems steamed from that one lie made 19 years ago, etc. etc... All the good stuff (the kids, the years of holding the marriage together) was great, but that won't change the fact that the marriage was based on a rocky foundation of a lie and because of that deception, the sacrament was never valid.

I guess you can think of it this way. You can go to confession and lie to the priest in your confession--that makes it invalid. You can be good for years, go to Communion, etc after that and never commit a sin--but that doesn't change the fact that the sacrament of confession, years ago, was invalid (and you are still in a state of sin/were never forgiven). Passage of time and good deeds won't make the sin go away.


#16

[quote="JRKH, post:14, topic:286971"]
EXCELLENT POST :thumbsup::thumbsup:

And spot on.

The biggest issue in the "annulment scandal" is that it is not really about "annulments" at all. The real scandal lies in Catechesis in general and as a logical follow on to this, good marriage prep.

Your quote from the Holy Father makes it abundantly clear that the Rome is quite fully aware of this fact.

Peace
James

[/quote]

I will third this.

I am seeking an annulment. After years of marriage and a child, my husband left me (before we were married, he had--and hid from me--his same sex attraction. He had a boyfriend during our engagement and that relationship continued into our marriage). Not too soon after he left, he moved into a "gay community" and now has a boyfriend who, according to my daughter, has "sleepovers" in daddy's room.

HOWEVER, that aside, I would have to say that I am not 100% blameless. In retrospect, I rushed into marriage without really knowing my husband to be. My Catechesis thought out my life was very poor . Precana only focused on conflict resolution--not the meaning of the Sacrament. I feel that if I understood things better and knew him better, I would have done better due diligence before saying "I do." And in fact, would never have said "I do" (although in a weird way, I don't regret it--because otherwise, I wouldn't have my daughter... makes for very confusing emotions).

I pointed this out to The Tribunal, but they are most interested in the infidelity of my husband at the time of the marriage (I guess they can only focus in on one thing). But really, my poor Catechesis contributed to the problem quite a bit as well.


#17

[quote="mellowcalico, post:16, topic:286971"]
I will third this.

I am seeking an annulment. After years of marriage and a child, my husband left me (before we were married, he had--and hid from me--his same sex attraction. He had a boyfriend during our engagement and that relationship continued into our marriage). Not too soon after he left, he moved into a "gay community" and now has a boyfriend who, according to my daughter, has "sleepovers" in daddy's room.

HOWEVER, that aside, I would have to say that I am not 100% blameless. In retrospect, I rushed into marriage without really knowing my husband to be. My Catechesis thought out my life was very poor . Precana only focused on conflict resolution--not the meaning of the Sacrament. I feel that if I understood things better and knew him better, I would have done better due diligence before saying "I do." And in fact, would never have said "I do" (although in a weird way, I don't regret it--because otherwise, I wouldn't have my daughter... makes for very confusing emotions).

I pointed this out to The Tribunal, but they are most interested in the infidelity of my husband at the time of the marriage (I guess they can only focus in on one thing). But really, my poor Catechesis contributed to the problem quite a bit as well.

[/quote]

I can definitely relate some to some of this...
Like you, I wanted the tribunal to know that I did not hold myself blameless in the problems, and am also sure that they focused a specific point(s) and all the other stuff either did or did not support that central point.

That is probably what they are trained to do - cut through the secondary things and get to the core of the matter which would be - was there an issue that could have legitimately prevented the marriage from being valid. Then, once they know the petition is worth looking at, they can evaluate all of the testimony and how it relates to the core problem.

In both of our cases, I suspect that our tying to point out our own culpability only enhanced the idea that we not properly prepared - to "immature" (spiritually) - to enter into a valid marriage. This quite separate from any problems with our spouse at the time.

Hoping that your petition is resolved quickly.

Peace
James


#18

[quote="agapewolf, post:11, topic:286971"]
This is 100% incorrect. A marriage is valid at the vows. It becomes indissoluable after consumation.

[/quote]

Does not a marriage have to be consummated in order for it to be valid? Thus the reason why annulments are granted if they are unable to consummate.. An annulment means the marriage was never valid in the first place.

It makes me wonder, especially when John Paul II looked upon the granting of some annulments as * “the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage destroyed in practice by the** exaggerated** and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity.”* It sounds like he was criticizing an abuse within marriage tribunals. What exactly did he mean by "exaggerated," and "almost automatic?" and how does this fit with Christ's words: *what God has joined let no man tear asunder. *?

Benedict XVI himself has decried the "easy annulments" being provided by some marriage tribunals, and that granting easy access to marriage annulments is "an offense against both justice and charity" and that the institution of annulment "should not be abused". Thus the reality of annulment abuses seems to be a big concern of the Holy Father.

[Pope Benedict] **argued strenuously** against lowering the standards of canon law in order to “achieve a declaration of nullity at any cost.” He decried **the use of **pseudo-psychological theories that see any marital problems as evidence of nullity, observing that this approach has the deleterious effect of “transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice-- the indissoluble bond-- is thus effectively denied.”
Source

But I think the greater scandal is that marriage has become a quest for self-fulfillment, rather than a vocation and calling within the Body of Christ. After all, the baptized are soldiers of Christ waging war against our fallen human nature and fighting the good fight for the salvation of souls, not merely the keeping of the commandments and the pursuit of a comfy retirement.

If a spouse is physically sick and suffering, are we not to sacrifice and nurse them back to health? Likewise, if a spouse is spiritually sick and in danger of losing his or her soul, are we not to sacrifice and do everything we can to bring them to heaven? Who if not their spouse has the specific calling to self-sacrifice for their salvation? After all, Christ succinctly stated that unless we carry pick up our cross* and follow Him* we cannot be His disciple. Following Him means carrying our cross to be crucified upon it so that we to may sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. Easier said than done--but a legitimate cross to carry nonetheless.

Christ's hands and feet were pierced with large iron nails, with which His body was fastened to a rugged cross, and His entire body was lacerated and torn to shreds as He poured every drop of His blood out for our salvation. He sacrificed, even for those who spat upon Him. Thus I believe the real scandal is that many Christians do not appreciate the simple truth of what picking up the cross means; thus divorce is rampant among both Catholics and Protestants. We need not expound on the well known effects of divorce on a family, but upon society the effects are tremendous and it's no coincidence that the majority of people in prison come from broken or fatherless homes.

There is a woman I know who lived through 30 years of abuse from an alcoholic philandering husband. Many told her she was a fool for not divorcing him and urged her to leave him and find "someone better for her." But she responded that her husband was spiritually sick and that he would lose his soul without her sacrifice. After years of sacrifice, her husband's heart was converted and he died in God's grace. An eternal soul has a great value, but the cost of salvation is love. Love is not a feeling, it is a decision. And through sacrifice, we come to know ourselves, and realize that we are to love God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul and strength; if not, we are failing the very first commandment, and our religiosity is merely a selfish fear of going to hell, not of being an instrument of God in the world so that others may be saved.

I think the point the pope is making is that we must respect marriage for what it is. It is a vocation where spouses are called to populate this world with eternal souls (children) and to help one another reach salvation. Tribunals must not yield to rationalizing away people's vows in order to avoid the cross of difficulties. I think the temptation exists for some to seek an annulment when things get terribly tough, and find all sorts of reasons why they must seek an annulment. But this is like saying, "no God, I don't want this cross, and I refuse to carry it." Thus the pope is reminding us that marriage vows are sacred and they apply in sickness, and especially through bad times.

Yes, there are invalid marriages and there are those who legitimately should seek an annulment. But being in an invalid marriage does not mean one should seek an annulment. Invalid marriages can be made valid and sanctified.

"For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy." 1 Cor. 7:14

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#19

Both the current and previous Pope recognized that there is somethng amiss with the explosion of annulments in the U.S. As recently as last month, the dean of the Roman Rota (ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/%E2%80%98loose-canon%E2%80%99-annulments-may-get-tighter) again warned of the problems in the abuse of Canon 1095 which refers to consent, the basis for the vast majority of annulments in the U.S.

The fix is and has been in for a long time in the U.S. where tribunals stand at the ready to find a way to annul what are probably a great number of valid marriages.


#20

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:18, topic:286971"]
Does not a marriage have to be consummated in order for it to be valid? Thus the reason why annulments are granted if they are unable to consummate.. An annulment means the marriage was never valid in the first place.

]

[/quote]

No, a marriage does not have to be consumnated for it to be considered valid. I already said that.

Annulments are not granted if a marriage is unable to consumnated, they possibly could be dissolved.


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