annulments

Dear friends,

Sorry if this has been talked about already, but I need some information on annulments. I’m single but my dad is thinking of joining the Catholic church(why is beyond me because he doesn’t believe in anything they teach!). My question is when does the church give annulments, it seems like an annulments is just a Catholic way of granting a divorce, especially with how prevalent they are in the church today. What does the pope teach on this. My parents were both baptized Protestants when they were married and they had 3 children. But, my dad had an affair and married the woman he had an affair with, now he and his current wife are considering joining the Catholic church, even though my dad doesn’t believe in about 90% of what the church teaches, so why is he going to join??? :confused:

Could someone just explain annulments to me and looking at the situation of my dad, would he be able to even get an annulment?

God Bless You All!
Kaily

Kaily, annulments are not the same thing as a civil divorce although it sure seems like it sometime, perhaps there is some abuse going on with the administration of annulments. Annulments do not declare and end to a valid marriage, they only declare that a certain marriage was null and void at the moment it took place. The Church teaches that there are certain criteria that must be present at the time of the marriage for it to be valid. One prerequisit is that both parties must be free to marry, meaning they are of legal age and have not already entered into a legal marriage with someone else. Another requirement is consent, meaning that both parties freely give their consent to the marriage without any outside pressure. For example pressure from the parents of a pregnant girl would make a marriage in valid. Both parties must also agree to be open to having and raising children, if one party does not want children then the marriage cannot take place, and if they lie and say they do want children when they really dont, the marriage would be invalid, even if the truth doesnt come out until years later.

The only question regarding your parents marriage is whether or not it was valid at the time it took place, what he did or didnt do later makes no difference. If they were both of legal age, free to marry, gave consent, and open to life at the time the marriage took place then he may have a difficult time getting an annulment. There are other factors so I am not able to say for sure if there are grounds for annulment but i am just giving you the basic facts.

Martino,

Thanks for your reply, that helps. I think my parents marrige was valid, they were of age early 20’s, noone was pregnant, they both consented and were open to life, they used birth control in their marriage because they didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, they were protestant at the time(my mom is now Catholic and knows it was wrong now), but they both wanted children, had 3, so I don’t see how he could get an annulment unless it was a liberal priest, who decides the annulments anyway? A priest or does it go to the bishop?

God Bless

Considering it was your father who had the affair, I too would be interested to see if he would get an annulment.

[quote=Kaily]who decides the annulments anyway? A priest or does it go to the bishop?
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A special Church court, called a Tribunal. That sounds scarey, doesn’t it? Each diocese holds its own tribunal.

If I remeber right, the tribunal cosists of three members: a judge, an “advocate” whose job it is to argue that the marriage was invalid (he’s advocating the petition for annulment), and a “defender of the bond” whose job it is to argue that the marriage was valid.

They conduct an investigation by collecting a bunch of information and questioning a lot of witnesses. Then the defender and advocate make their cases and a judgement is reached.

At least that’s the theory.

[quote=RichT]Considering it was your father who had the affair, I too would be interested to see if he would get an annulment.
[/quote]

That sounds like you’re saying the wife would have a better chance than the husband (because he was the cheater and she was the cheated upon). I don’t know if that’s really what you’re saying, but that’s what it sounds like.

That’s not right, in any case. The annulment is a judgement on the marriage bond itself, not on the person petitioning for it. The fact that there was an affair indicates that perhaps one of the spouses didn’t have a true concept of marriage, or did not really intend to be faithful. Both of these could be evidence that the marriage never really was.

(Of course, it could also not mean that… I’m presenting a possibility, not a fact).

an annulment is not a divorce, which has grounds that arise during the marriage. A marriage tribunal in your diocese will gather facts from everyone involved about the situation of both parties before the marriage, determine if there was any factor that make a valid marriage impossible, and then render a judgement. If they rule that the marriage was never valid, they issue a decree of nullity. this does not make their children illegitimate, by the way. there is also such a thing as a civil annulment, granted of legal conditions for a valid marriage were not present.

[quote=Kaily]Dear friends,

Sorry if this has been talked about already, but I need some information on annulments. I’m single but my dad is thinking of joining the Catholic church(why is beyond me because he doesn’t believe in anything they teach!). My question is when does the church give annulments, it seems like an annulments is just a Catholic way of granting a divorce, especially with how prevalent they are in the church today. What does the pope teach on this. My parents were both baptized Protestants when they were married and they had 3 children. But, my dad had an affair and married the woman he had an affair with, now he and his current wife are considering joining the Catholic church, even though my dad doesn’t believe in about 90% of what the church teaches, so why is he going to join??? :confused:

Kaily,
An annulment is determined not so much by what happened **after **the marriage, but what took place at the time of the sacrament, i.e. the intentions of the bride & groom, and the ability or inability of the bride & groom to enter into a true sacrament. In other words, were they able to and did they understand the commitment of the matrimonial bond & the seriousness of it.

Blessings,
Shannin
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