Sorry, another question about annulments...
I know 2 relatives who were granted annulments and were decreed free to marry in a Catholic ceremony.
In both cases, they had divorced their first wives and were living openly, as man and wife, with their new girlfriends (as they were then) One couple had a child, who was baptized a Catholic. This person also had an on-going addiction problem that was well known to his priest.
Here's what I find difficult to grasp: I know the 'official' line, but I am having difficulty understanding how it is applied in real life.
To me, the fact that both these men were living in sin at the time they applied for the annulemnt is surely a big indication that they either didn't have a full understanding of the importance of marriage, or chose to ignore it. The one with the addication problem also surely had something in his psyche that would prevent him undertaking any new vows with a full understanding.
I know the annulment is granted by examining the situation at the time the vows were exchanged, not the present situation and it may be that both couples went to Confession before the service: who are we to judge etc.?
However, it got me thinking about my situation with my friend. We have known each other 2 years now and both admitted we have feelings for one another. He is divorced (married in a non-Catholic but Christian church) With my speculative head on, I can see there may be grounds for an annulment, but to my mind, as a Catholic, I should ensure the relationship remains platonic until such time as he is free to marry in a Catholic Church.
To keep it nicely platonic, we have stopped spending time alone and only see eachother in a larger group. To say it can get frustrating at times is the understatement of the year - but words can't express how much I value having this man in my life, so its worth it.
BUT.........just suppose a similar thing happened with someone else. If you, as a Catholic, met a divorced person (without an annulment) how do you know you are really compatible, without actually getting to know them to a degree that splitting up if the application is rejected will be absolutely heartbreaking for the both of you?
I'm not condoning moving in together first at all, but I'd be interested to hear about real people's experiences of how they coped with this situation and when / how they broached the topic.
What I really want to know is, did anyone who either obtained an annulemnt or whose intended did, actually stay in a chaste relationship until the annulment was finalised?
To me, the 2 men in the example above deliberately and knowingly flouted the rules - but got what they wanted. Is that too cynical a view?