Annulments- was there never truly a marriage?


I cannot understand the belief of no divorces really existing when it was clear in scripture that divorce was permissable for sexual immorality. Annulments are really a distortion of reality as well. If a marriage never existed, why is that so? Was the sacrement defective?


While I may not agree with the Catholic Church on everything I do agree with most of their moral stands. The exception is annulments. I cannot see how a prohibition of divorces can be avoided by in many cases pretending the marriage did not exist in the first place.


The people might have dodged church law.

“shotgun” marriages-forced

arranged marriages.-forced

Being currently married to someone else.

Refusing to have children or sexual relations

All major grounds for annulment


This opens the flood gates for far too much politics. Why not just allow for divorces in a highly scrutinized fashion such as how scripture allows for it; only in cases of sexual wrongdoing?


The Sacrament wasn’t defective - the position of the bride and groom was. A Declaration of Nullity (also referred to as, “Anulment”) states that a sacramental marriage never took place - even though a legal one did. I use the term, “legal” as in “the law of the land”. There can be a myriad of reasons for this. jay29 has already stated a few above.
**I have heard people accuse the Catholic Church as needing to “come off its high horse” when it comes to marriage. I think that just the opposite is true and that the Catholic Church takes marriage more seriously than any other. To us, it is a sacred covenant. Marriage is NOT to be taken lightly and is INTENDED to be for life. **
In Matt. 19:8, Jesus emphatically states that divorce was NEVER meant to be. It was because of the hardness of the people’s hearts that Moses acquiesed and allowed divorce. When God stated that “what god has joined, let no man put asunder” - he MEANT it.


Divorces are civil affairs.

Annulments are church affairs.

You cannot be “forced” to marry someone and have a valid marriage.

Being married to someone else at the time you are married obviously makes the current marriage void.

The primary reason to get married is for the procreation of children. If the spouse refuses this MARRIAGE RIGHT AND EXPECTATION of the spouse how can you fulfill the primary reason to get married?

All catholics are bound by canon law to get married in the church unless there is a dispensation. Lacking this marriage is not recognized.

Annulments are SCRUTENIZED by a tribunal. It sometimes takes over 18 months just for a DECISION. There are NO gaurentees.

The cc is the only church who holds marriage in the HIGHEST regards, above ALL OTHERS.

** A simple divorce ends a marriage in the anglican church. A civil judge ends a marriage not just civilly, but also in the anglican church itself! You would be free to marry in the church again once you get a civil divorce! What a FARCE**


I think domestic violence should be added to the above list
protestants now view it as a legit reason for divorce


you can get a civil divorce for anything. It doesn’t end the marriage though, only civilly and that’s it.


I know that this is a ground of annulment but how does it affect the initial marriage, especially if the refusal to have children came later for some reason?


It rarely happens that someone wakes up one morning several years into a marriage and decides only then that they don’t want children - usually they ENTER the marriage with that frame of mind, but not telling their partner.

At the very least they likely started the marriage not understanding or taking seriously the obligations of a Catholic couple regarding being open to having children.


As someone else already said, the person(s) or their actions were defective not the sacrament.

Valid reasons include
fraud… such as in the case of leading your partner to believe you want children when you don’t or even something such as misrepresenting your position or occupation. Such lies indicated an intent to deceive from the beginning of a marriage.

Mental defect… where one or both may not have the mental capacity to enter into a sacramental marriage. This includes mental disorder, alcohol or drug abuse that renders the abuser unable to make a conscious sane decision to marry.

Defect of form…Every Catholic is to be married in the Catholic Church unless a dispensation is granted. By marrying civilly, one can assume that either there was a lack of knowledge about sacramental marriage or complete disregard for Church teaching on the subject.

Inability to consummate a marriage… It is assumed that Catholics know that this is essential to a sacramental marriage.

Denial of sexual relations is not open to life, therefore, if a spouse is able but refuses marital relations this is considered an invalid union because it lacks the unitive and procreative nature of marriage.

Not being free to marry… such as being married to another, being divorced civilly without a decree of Nullity.

There are more, but it is late and I can’t think right now.


Actually the first part of this statement is based on a mistaken understanding of Scripture. The line in Matthew this references is actually talking about attempting marriage when the couple is too closely related or have other relational impediments. With deeper study of scripture you will see that two different words are used. It does not say that one can divorce in the case of adultery. It says divorce was permitted because the relationship was too close and so the couple was committing a sexual immorality more like incest. If you want to research it further the words are “mochia” and “pornia.” (My spelling may be off. It’s late.) But the two words? They don’t mean the same thing. Understanding that will bring you to a deeper understanding of Scripture.

What annulment is actually based on is the key words Jesus uses, “In the beginning.” What he is saying to his followers, (all devout Jews who knew their scripture) was to look back to Genesis for the accurate description of marriage. When a person who doesn’t understand Scripture just opens the Bible and reads those words, “In the beginning,” he or she is tempted to skim right over them. Many people have no idea that the word ‘genesis’ means ‘beginning.’ What Jesus is saying is that how to enter marriage has already been defined. He didn’t need to come and redefine it. He just reiterated the Truth. He further said, that it was because of their hardened hearts, their sinfulness, that divorce was ever allowed. But, what was really happening was more like cutting off one’s own arm. Why? Because in marriage, “Two become one.” His body is hers and her body is his. They are not like possessions, but an actual joining. He uses the term ‘grafted’ in other areas to expound on this idea.

What a Decree of Nullity declares is that the grafting never happened. Two did not become one. Only God can do the graft. The phrase is, “What God has joined let no man tear asunder.” It does not say “what man has joined…” An annulment process looks to discover, if the couple ever joined in the first place. Since God knows all, he knows the repercussions of our choices. He knows our hearts. He does not join a healthy vine to a diseased branch. We, as sinful humans, often try to join ourselves with diseased vines, (Satan being the most common) or spouses whom we don’t really know. God does not join us to diseased vines no matter how hard we try to make it happen.

Those words, “Two become one” are very important to meditate on. They are at the absolute center of entering a marriage. Anything less is a “mis-graft” like attaching a severed foot where a hand should be.

I hope that helps.


Scripture does not allow divorce. No, it is not “clear” in Scripture as you say because the term “sexual immorality” is not a proper translation of the original. What scripture is talking about here is an invalid marriage to a relative of too close a degree.

Yes, the Sacrament was defective.

I suggest you obtain the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. This is a very complex topic, and the book explains it beautifully.


No, it does not. This is not a political process at all. The regulations surrounding marriage are found in canon law. Impediments are finite.

The Church cannot allow divorce because the Church **has no ****power **to allow divorce. Christ instituted the Sacraments, and the Church only administers them as he designed them. A valid marriage can never ben dissolved, ever, as Jesus tells us.

You are mistaken, Scripture does not “allow” divorce for “sexual wrongdoing”.


The defect must be present at the time the vows are exchanged for the marriage to be declared null.

Subsequent behavior may be evidence of a defect, but it still must be proven that the defect existed at the time the vows were exchanged.


Aaaaargh - :hypno:

If memory serves (admittedly sometimes it doesn’t) there is no mechanism for ending a marriage in anglicanism. They do permit remarriage but this requires a dispensation - seemingly granted a little too readily these days.


The spouse who wanted to have children went into the marriage thinking he/she will have kid/s. This should be the main reason to get married, to pro-create. The foundation of the entire marriage would be corrupted, even from the begining. If there is a medical reason, this might not apply. That is tricky.


ronnock 20 posted:

Was the sacrement defective?

No Sacrament is ever defective.

But in the light of experience, it sometimes transpires that when individuals take vows they are not sincere in what they say.

Take for example a couple who live most of their life together and the wife is very happy until eventually her husband reaches older age when he becomes ill and can no longer work to keep her in the manner to which she as become accustomed.

She says that ‘no-way will she support him’. Then it may be said she was not sincere when she took the vow ‘in sickness and in health’. A situation known to me where the wife actually said: ‘when I said better or worse, sickness and health, I meant better and health but no-way did I mean worse and sickness’, I have absolutely no intention of spending my twilight years looking after an invalid’!. She by her own admission was not sincere though he was very sincere.

He therefore has a good case to take to a Canon Lawyer to question the sincerity of her vows. If proven, the Church may pronounce the marriage contract between them and God, invalid due to her willful insincerity.

But the Sacrament is still valid so that children born of the marriage are not illegitimate.


A poster earlier mentioned domestic violence… would that be grounds for divorce/annullment?

I would never stay with someone that hit me or expect a man or womma to stay if their partner hit them either…

because this person had a character at the time of marriage,that later enabled violence, is it grounds for annulment?



Divorce & a decree of nullity are two different things.

The Church teaches that if a spouse and/or the children are in danger it is licit to separate from the abusive spouse. In other words-- physically move out. The Church also acknowledges that sometimes civil divorce is necessary to protect the rights of the spouse/children in such a situation. Therefore, a spouse could obtain a civil divorce.

However, the bond of marriage remains. They are still married, sacramentally, and cannot attempt to marry again.

You don’t know that to be the case at all.

The marriage can certainly be discussed with the tribunal, and a case presented. The case would be investigated on its merits. The abuse alone, while very tragic, does not make the marriage null.

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