annulments


#1

I am amazed at the little importance people put in marriage. I was looking on this forum and people look at annulments as a time to celebrate. I don’t understand this. An annulment is a declaration that there never was a marriage. It means that you were living in a sinfull state the whole time you were living with that person. It also seems that people are so quick to go and get an annulment. Don’t people find marriage sacred anymore? An annulment is supposed to be a rare thing, but every Catholic that gets a divorce feels entitled to one it seems. Don’t people think that they shouuld think before appliing for an annulment? Don’t they look at marriage in a way that, maybe they should stay single if they have been divorced? Am I the only one with the idea that marriage is a life long institution, even if a couple seperates, that can not be broken? Am I alone on this? Am I wrong?


#2

You seem to be a “Tradional” Marriagist as I’ve heard it called…
Sadly, the recent times has stripped Marriage of its sacred meaning for some and made it nothing but a quick legal decision…
Hopefully, a Priest or someone can convince them to wait a while before getting married… as marriage is not a stamp of officiality on a romance, it is two people preparing to be bonded together as one… forever.
If they don’t view it as it really is… I suppose then in the eyes of the Church it never really was a marriage… So an annulment could be granted…


#3

[quote=CatholicCid]You seem to be a “Tradional” Marriagist as I’ve heard it called…
Sadly, the recent times has stripped Marriage of its sacred meaning for some and made it nothing but a quick legal decision…
Hopefully, a Priest or someone can convince them to wait a while before getting married… as marriage is not a stamp of officiality on a romance, it is two people preparing to be bonded together as one… forever.
If they don’t view it as it really is… I suppose then in the eyes of the Church it never really was a marriage… So an annulment could be granted…
[/quote]

I have never heard that title before, “Traditional” Mariagist, but I like it. I am glad to see that I am not alone on this issue. It seems like marriage has become just a permit to live together. If you don’t like your husband or wife, then just get a divorce and annulment and find someone new. Why the lack of care for what marriage truely is, a Sacrament?


#4

[quote=jimmy]I. An annulment is a declaration that there never was a marriage. It means that you were living in a sinfull state the whole time you were living with that person. It?
[/quote]

the first statement is true, the second statement is false, that does not reflect the thinking of the Church, please get your info from your diocesan tribunal.


#5

[quote=jimmy]Am I the only one with the idea that marriage is a life long institution, even if a couple seperates, that can not be broken? Am I alone on this? Am I wrong?

[/quote]

No. My wife and I took some great advice from a happily married coworker before we got married. He said the key to a lasting marriage is to decide that it will be lasting. A long marriage is a decision that you can make before you get to the altar.

Duhhh, but it was a new and novel concept considering around all the people who said, “but you have a chance of breaking up; you know, almost half of marriages do fail.” Sure we do have such a chance, unless we conclusively and finally decide to the contrary. “Yes, I take this woman and that’s my final answer!”

Such a decision can improve problem-solving skills because if you keep one eye on the exit during hard times it makes it rough to find a solution within the marriage with just one.

Don’t they look at marriage in a way that, maybe they should stay single if they have been divorced?

I believe with God all things are possible, and people who seek an annulment have probably messed up in the past. I don’t believe God would have these people bound to their past sins for the rest of their earthly life, and I have no problem with the Church hooking them up with a way to get on with life.

Yes, I know that technically they became one, but look at how many of us had premarital sex. Gosh, I suppose I have more wives than the woman at the well, except I never put it on papter.

I do have some serious problems with annulments, both in theory and practice. That said, when people are held bound to past sins that there really isn’t any way to reconcile, then like it or not, their joy is often tied to the decision of a tribunal. In these cases, since I seek joy for others, I rejoice with them when the Church “frees” them to make their next big mistake. Er, I mean to make a new decision that hopefully will be fruitful, sacramental, more mature, and better informed this time. :smiley:

My main problems with annulments is at the Church end, not the individual’s end. Then again I could always go to hell for my heretical views, but I figure if I cry a lot at my trial maybe the Son will have pity on me. :o

Alan


#6

[quote=puzzleannie]the first statement is true, the second statement is false, that does not reflect the thinking of the Church, please get your info from your diocesan tribunal.
[/quote]

I chose my words carefully for that statement. I specifically avoided saying that you would be living in sin, because commiting sin is a little more complex, but the act of living together when not married is a sinfull state.


#7

[quote=AlanFromWichita] No. My wife and I took some great advice from a happily married coworker before we got married. He said the key to a lasting marriage is to decide that it will be lasting. A long marriage is a decision that you can make before you get to the altar.

Duhhh, but it was a new and novel concept considering around all the people who said, “but you have a chance of breaking up; you know, almost half of marriages do fail.” Sure we do have such a chance, unless we conclusively and finally decide to the contrary. “Yes, I take this woman and that’s my final answer!”

Such a decision can improve problem-solving skills because if you keep one eye on the exit during hard times it makes it rough to find a solution within the marriage with just one.
[/quote]

I am glad to see that you and your wife have such commitment to eachother.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I believe with God all things are possible, and people who seek an annulment have probably messed up in the past. I don’t believe God would have these people bound to their past sins for the rest of their earthly life, and I have no problem with the Church hooking them up with a way to get on with life.

Yes, I know that technically they became one, but look at how many of us had premarital sex. Gosh, I suppose I have more wives than the woman at the well, except I never put it on papter.

I do have some serious problems with annulments, both in theory and practice. That said, when people are held bound to past sins that there really isn’t any way to reconcile, then like it or not, their joy is often tied to the decision of a tribunal. In these cases, since I seek joy for others, I rejoice with them when the Church “frees” them to make their next big mistake. Er, I mean to make a new decision that hopefully will be fruitful, sacramental, more mature, and better informed this time. :smiley:

My main problems with annulments is at the Church end, not the individual’s end. Then again I could always go to hell for my heretical views, but I figure if I cry a lot at my trial maybe the Son will have pity on me. :o

Alan
[/quote]

The Church is not holding people to past sins by not allowing remarriages. They are holding that they were married, and once married, married for life. Marriage is not a sin, so by not allowing a remarriage would not be holding them to past sins, it would be holding them to past commitments.

My problem is that it seems couples break up and all of a sudden that marriage never existed and means nothing. They just move on and forget their vows and everything.

The situation is different than premarital sex. Premarital sex is not administering marriage to you or anything. By having sex, that does not make you married. I was actually looking at a link on the CIN website when I was making this thread(mainly because I wanted to check the spelling on “annulment”:smiley: ). It was an article by Jimmy Akin on annulments and it was in a question and answer format and there was one question that went something like, “what if we had kids?”. The answer was basically that if there were kids, it does not change the situation. It does not make them married. Here is the link.

Jimmy Akin on Annulments

Just like Paul said, if they seperate, then they should stay celebate.


#8

I should have given this thread a better name instead of the short “annulments”. Maybe, “why don’t people keep marriage sacred: Jimmy’s tantrum on annulments” ???:smiley:


#9

I think you are failing to consider a lot.

You seem to be assuming that all or most of the petitions for nullity are filed by and granted to people who are Catholic at the time of the marriage. This may well not be true. It would, in my humble opinion, be quite difficult to get a nullity granted if the marriage took place within the Church. It would be quite difficult to prove the marriage was not valid if it where a Catholic marriage.

The Church presumes all marriages to be valid. Even those between persons outside the Church or any church for that matter until proven not valid.

Getting a declaration of nullity granted is not a flippant thing. The petition and process itself requires a lot of soul searching. It may be taken lightly by some, but the process itself is not viewed that way by the Church or most parties to the process in my experience.


#10

As someone who had been married in the Church, received a civil divorce and then a Church annulment, I wanted to make a statement here…

Most of what I learned about marriage as a Sacrament happened after I was civilly divorced and before I applied for an annulment. I was 23 when I got married and at that point in my life, I took marriage very seriously but more or less looked at it as the next stage in life. I prayed as a teen to “date the right guys and marry the right man.” When I met the man I did marry, I fell in love with him, he matched all the criteria on paper that I had for who would make a good husband, and since I had prayed that prayer to God, I figured he was the right man to marry. In retrospect, I overlooked things that indicated our marriage would not be a real marriage simply because of the false confidence I had in my way of praying…

Fast forward 6 years to a point in time when I was at my wit’s end trying to find out why our marriage wasn’t “good.” We weren’t growing, planning for children/family, or developing our faith life any. We were contracepting, even though I went to NFP classes by myself. My husband admitted that he didn’t love me, didn’t think he ever did, and felt our dating had been fake. We went on a Retrouvaille weekend retreat, saw a marriage counselor, but none of that could really “fix” anything. I spoke with several priests, went for counseling on my own and prayed a lot. I didn’t see how our marriage could really be a real one. I filed for divorce.

Before it was final, my brother asked me why I had gotten married. I didn’t have a really good answer. He told me that the reason 2 people should get married is if they feel they can help each other get to heaven. And if that isn’t the case, then you are better off staying single. That was the first time I had ever heard that. I thought, well, that would have been nice to have known back then. I never ever thought of it that way. When I think of it like that, I most likely would not have considered my ex-husband as someone who could help me get to heaven.

Getting a divorce was devastating to me. While we were married, I begged him to talk to me, talk to someone so that we could make our marriage work. I literally remember saying to him that I would NOT get a divorce. But in the end, that is what had to happen. We were never living the Sacrament of Marriage.

After the civil divorce, my Catholic family was encouraging me to “get the annulment…” I wasn’t sure I wanted one. At that time, I saw it as paying God to forget I was married… I went through a lot of discerning and questioning and then I understood what it was about. I filled out the paperwork 6 months later and doing so was a VERY healing process. In answering the questions the Church provided, I was able to see how my marriage really wasn’t a marriage in God’s eyes.

I received the annulment about 6 months after that. At that time, I felt mixed emotions. I cried, but I think it was mostly a relief because I was worried that I would not be able to get remarried in the Church. I felt that I could be “tainted” for life, and mess up an opportunity for a good man who would want to marry me someday… All I ever wanted (maybe incorrectly) was to be a wife and mother. And I was worried that would never happen for me. So receiving the annulment was a BLESSING on me.

I will have to say though that afterward, as I continue to realize that there are good diocese and “bad” diocese, I was afraid my annulment was just pushed through, just because. I was afraid maybe mine wasn’t justified in God’s eyes and I was just one of those cases that got written off… It was last summer at a Christopher West Institute on JPII’s Theology of the Body that I realized something very healing. My marriage had never been consummated. We had never made love without the use of some form of contraception. As sad as that was at the time to realize, it also gave me somewhat of an added relief - that in the eyes of God, even though we had been married 7 years, we never made it a true Sacrament.

This is what I believe and this is why I feel as good as I possibly could about my marriage not working. I still feel saddened by what happened, but I do know that it was all a part of getting me to where I am now. I know for a fact I would not have grown spiritually as I have if I had not been married at that time.

The point of me writing this is because prior to having gone through the marriage/divorce/annulment, I looked “down” on ALL people who were divorced. Now I am a lot less judgemental because I know the kind of person I was/am and I never entered marriage lightly. Naively, yes. Less than spiritually mature, yes. And I believe that those are some reasons the Church believes some people never really received/lived out the Sacrament of Marriage and allow for annulments in the right circumstances.


#11

I agree with you Jimmy. I know someone seeking a divorce and annulment and frankly I hope the Church doesn’t grant her an annulment. I don’t see the grounds for it. In my eyes they were both mature adults, knowing what they were doing on the day of their wedding (i.e. of sound mind), and mindful of the sacrament. They have been married for 20 years and have two kids. I know the wife has legitimate “beefs” and I can support her getting a civil divorce. I can’t support the idea of granting her an annulment which means if she is to follow the Church’s teaching she must remain celebate for the rest of her life. To many this (life of celibacy) is just too harsh a “punishment”. I’m sure she imagines herself married again someday and making up for the mistakes she made in hubby #1. I feel for her…but then again if she is able to get an annulment on the flimsy grounds that she is preparing to present I will be very disappointed in the tribunal and annulment process.

I recently read somewhere that the U.S. grants the most annulments in the world and that the Vatican is going to start cracking down on the number of annulments that will be granted in this country. Amen to that!! It is high time that people start taking marriage seriously and realize that they are bound to their partners for life — for better or for worse.


#12

[quote=jimmy]I am glad to see that you and your wife have such commitment to eachother.

[/quote]

Thank you. One time we were watching a movie and she asked just for grins what I would do if she threatened divorce.

I said, "Julie, I love you enough that I will stay with you no matter how you feel about me or anything. If you are troubled in your mind, then I am not going to leave you. If I am hurting you somehow more than helping, then give me your honesty so that I can at least dream of becoming your “white knight” again, and maybe even see how I can change to help you.

"That said, we made a deal, and we both agreed we were sane and committed both to God and our mortal selves to stick it out until one of us dies. Neither of us has been unfaithful, and unless you help me change my opinion, I am not going back on my half of the deal and I expect you to uphold yours.

“If I actually did come home to this kind of thing, and found you had taken action against me I would assume you are mentally unstable and take all possible action to help you through that except for divorce. I would fight you tooth and nail, and if you got the divorce anyway, I would fight for sole custody of the kids. We brought these kids into the world and we are going out with them, together.”

She said, “oh, I never thought about it that way.” And she never asked again.

And Alan and Julie lived happily ever after.


#13

[quote=Aesq]I think you are failing to consider a lot.

You seem to be assuming that all or most of the petitions for nullity are filed by and granted to people who are Catholic at the time of the marriage. This may well not be true. It would, in my humble opinion, be quite difficult to get a nullity granted if the marriage took place within the Church. It would be quite difficult to prove the marriage was not valid if it where a Catholic marriage.

The Church presumes all marriages to be valid. Even those between persons outside the Church or any church for that matter until proven not valid.

Getting a declaration of nullity granted is not a flippant thing. The petition and process itself requires a lot of soul searching. It may be taken lightly by some, but the process itself is not viewed that way by the Church or most parties to the process in my experience.
[/quote]

I would say that most of them were Catholic at the time. I think there are something like 50,000 annulments per year in the USA.(I think I saw that on an SSPX site. You can always trust them for bad knews.:frowning: ) I don’t think that there are so many conversions that there would be this many annulments.

I think the Church takes them very lightly recently. Another fact from the SSPX site(I am not SPX, so don’t jump on me about the source.) is that 40 years ago there were about 50(they gave a more exact number, but I can’t recall the exact. I am looking for the statistics.) The point is that there are many more annulments that there should be.


#14

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Thank you. One time we were watching a movie and she asked just for grins what I would do if she threatened divorce.

I said, "Julie, I love you enough that I will stay with you no matter how you feel about me or anything. If you are troubled in your mind, then I am not going to leave you. If I am hurting you somehow more than helping, then give me your honesty so that I can at least dream of becoming your “white knight” again, and maybe even see how I can change to help you.

"That said, we made a deal, and we both agreed we were sane and committed both to God and our mortal selves to stick it out until one of us dies. Neither of us has been unfaithful, and unless you help me change my opinion, I am not going back on my half of the deal and I expect you to uphold yours.

“If I actually did come home to this kind of thing, and found you had taken action against me I would assume you are mentally unstable and take all possible action to help you through that except for divorce. I would fight you tooth and nail, and if you got the divorce anyway, I would fight for sole custody of the kids. We brought these kids into the world and we are going out with them, together.”

She said, “oh, I never thought about it that way.” And she never asked again.

And Alan and Julie lived happily ever after.
[/quote]

That is a good answer:D . That is the way marriage should be; “Till death do us part”.


#15

[quote=jimmy]I would say that most of them were Catholic at the time. I think there are something like 50,000 annulments per year in the USA.(I think I saw that on an SSPX site. You can always trust them for bad knews.:frowning: ) I don’t think that there are so many conversions that there would be this many annulments.

I think the Church takes them very lightly recently. Another fact from the SSPX site(I am not SPX, so don’t jump on me about the source.) is that 40 years ago there were about 50(they gave a more exact number, but I can’t recall the exact. I am looking for the statistics.) The point is that there are many more annulments that there should be.
[/quote]

I would have to disagree that most were Catholic at the time of the marriage unless you have something to show that. I went through RCIA a couple of years ago and there were 15 other people in the class with me. Of those 15 people almost half needed to get a nullity granted as they were divorced and remarried. In my parish, there is no one to my knowledge that has had a nullity granted that was Catholic at the time of the marriage. However, there are 20 to 30 converts who have had a nullity granted. I can only speak from my experience.


#16

Psalm, I don’t know what to say. I don’t like to tell people that they should not look for annulments, but I can never tell someone go look for an annulment.

I don’t know whether your situation was a marriage or not, but my guess is that most people who get annulments had legitimate marriages. My personal opinion is that people shouldn’t even aproach the tribunal with the idea of an annulment unless they were forced into the marriage or something. I think people know what marriage is and the seriousness of it.

I think they should have some serious counceling for those who are going to get married. If they don’t want to go through the counceling, they should not be allowed to get married in the Church and no annulments should be granted to them. They should educate these people on what marriage is and tell them that they will not be able to get an annulment. That is my opinion though of how to deal with it.


#17

And here I go… ready to unleash as politely as possible…

BUT WOWSER!!! Jimmy, aren’t you a judgmental fellow today.

An annulled woman chiming here on a topic you seem to know little about - and seem to have grossly over generalized.

I want to be clear- it is a sad thing when one receives an annulment. This means that the marriage did not work. Always a sad situation. I am not a proponent of divorce - it is an abomination in most cases. That said -

It may appear in your eyes that annulments may be granted indiscriminantly. It may appear to you that we ( those of us who have received an annulment) have carelessly selected a spouse and decided on a whim to divorce. It may appear to you that we have not thought through the seriousness of a vow.

But I assure you, that in a number of marriages brought before a tribunal ( not all mind you), these things I mentioned above are only that in appearance and not in fact. For you could not possibly know the facts in any case.

I took my vows so seriously for 10 years that I almost ended up murdered. I still quiver when I see a butcher knife - I kid you not! Married to a mentally ill man that can appear to be a normal, sane human to the rest of the unknowing world…still leaves some scratching their heads asking how I could divorce such a nice man??? But mental illness can be hidden from the world by the very cunning.

And why we do celebrate:
I do believe I married a man whom God did not pick for me. I do think I defied His will. That is the beauty of the annulment. God has given us the opportunity to “get on board” His program and wait for His choice this time.

It is a new start and a time for forgiveness. I do forgive my ex for all that he has done and would tell him such…if only we knew where on earth he was…

To close MY rant:

There are times when the annulments are not granted. There are also stipulations in many annulments that require certain steps be made before one of the individuals marries again in the church. My ex needs to undergo extensive psychological counseling before he is free to marry again. This is NO FREE PASS for him.

Please do not slight those of us who have received annulments for you have no idea really what happened in the marriage.

**And it is also very unchristian to hope that someone does not receive one. With that, I am glad that YOU were not on my tribunal! Or maybe you should have been and would have a whole new outlook! :hmmm: **


#18

[quote=Aesq]I would have to disagree that most were Catholic at the time of the marriage unless you have something to show that. I went through RCIA a couple of years ago and there were 15 other people in the class with me. Of those 15 people almost half needed to get a nullity granted as they were divorced and remarried. In my parish, there is no one to my knowledge that has had a nullity granted that was Catholic at the time of the marriage. However, there are 20 to 30 converts who have had a nullity granted. I can only speak from my experience.
[/quote]

I don’t know who has recieved nullities, but The Church recognizes non-Catholic marriages as valid. That is sad that so many people were divorced. I will not comment on non Catholics and annulments because I don’t know about it.

Why do people take vows when they get married? It seems like they should just stamp there hands and allow them in for all the rides. They can leave when they want.


#19

jrabs-- I don’t pretend to know more of your story than what you shared. But my thoughts are these…if mental illness is something that develops or becomes worse over time then I do not feel this is grounds for an annulment. Granted, I’m not trying to judge (that has already been done by the tribunal). Wouldn’t mental illness be the same as marrying someone with a cancer that hadn’t come to light yet? For better or for worse means mental and physical well being in my book. You still could have separated from this man if you felt your life depended on it, but if this man was “sane” on the wedding day (which I assume he was since you married him), then aren’t you bound by your oath?

If my husband suddenly or maybe not so suddenly started acting differently toward me. If he started becoming abusive – verbally or physically or started threatening our kids then I would certainly have cause to worry. I would certainly leave him if I thought my life was in danger (or that of my kids). But I would never think of seeking an annulment. This would be a situation that developed AFTER the wedding. I’m bound to him until death. This doesn’t mean I have to live under the same roof with him, but I would not share a bed with any other man until my husband’s death.


#20

[quote=jimmy]Psalm, I don’t know what to say. I don’t like to tell people that they should not look for annulments, but I can never tell someone go look for an annulment.
[/quote]

I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to tell someone to go speak to their priest about their situation and the possibility of an annulment… It really isn’t up to the people around us to give us the thumbs up or thumbs down about getting annuled, but rather to understand the Church as we have it today and to help guide others toward it and the healing it can provide.

I don’t know whether your situation was a marriage or not, but my guess is that most people who get annulments had legitimate marriages. My personal opinion is that people shouldn’t even aproach the tribunal with the idea of an annulment unless they were forced into the marriage or something. I think people know what marriage is and the seriousness of it.

I could provide you with a list of reasons why the Church said my marriage was not a true marriage in*addition to what I wrote but that is beside the point here. What you are saying is probably true that many people had legitimate marriages, yet you are guessing and basing your opinion on that… and the “something” part of your comment about being “forced or something” is where you have to stop and realize you don’t know everything about everyone’s situation. The “something” you are referring to is EXACTLY why annulments are justifiably granted… not ALL are justified, most likely true. But you yourself, not being on the Tribunal or an expert in annulments or not having answered the thorough, detailed questions required by the Tribunal when going through an annulment, could not possibly know what those “somethings” are. They are taken into consideration case by case…

I think they should have some serious counceling for those who are going to get married. If they don’t want to go through the counceling, they should not be allowed to get married in the Church and no annulments should be granted to them. They should educate these people on what marriage is and tell them that they will not be able to get an annulment. That is my opinion though of how to deal with it.

YES absolutely!!! there should be better counselling than what I received for sure… will you be upset if your spouse puts the toilet paper on the opposite way as you, or if he doesn’t squeeze the toothpaste out from the bottom? Who will write the checks? Who will take out the trash? This is the type of test I took and the discussions we had in the class we had to take. But I will tell you this: there ARE people who do pre-engagement counseling - not marriage counseling, but counseling for people before they get engaged to make sure they are right for each other. Yes, the Church and parents and society should all take marriage more seriously, and it’s up to us to educate children and people considering marriage of all the important things to think about before taking those vows to each other.

But what would you have people do now, the ones who didn’t have that? I believe in my Church, and flawed as it might be because we have people, humans, who do the work, it DOES allow for the dissolution of a marriage in the Church so that we can get on the right path… we are graced with free will and forgiveness when we choose wrongly.

I’m not mad at anyone’s response, but only hope to share my experience. You’re all free to have your own opinion on it, but I feel so strongly because I used to feel how some of you indicate you feel. I haven’t changed my mind because it’s easier or it makes me feel better about myself… it’s because I understand my Church and God even better. It is very difficult and disheartening still to realize I chose wrongly, and many people look down on people who are Catholic and divorced, even if they are annuled. Not everyone’s situation is the same. That’s all I’m trying to say. Thanks for reading. God bless.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.