Anullments really bother me


#1

I see people that have been married for many years and have children seeking Anullments

It really bothers me!!!!

If my wife left me I would never seek an Anullment marriage is permenent and I knew what I was doing.

Plus if She left me I would just dedicate more time to Jesus and his church!

Anyone else feel this way?


#2

In all charity, I think you should worry about yourself, and not what others do.


#3

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:320686"]
If my wife left me I would never seek an Anullment marriage is permenent and I knew what I was doing.

Plus if She left me I would just dedicate more time to Jesus and his church!

Anyone else feel this way?

[/quote]

Not really. It seems that YOU went into your marriage for the right reasons and with the proper intentions. I cannot speculate about / comment on anyone else's motives or intentions other than my own, and neither can you (nor should you). That is what the Tribunal is for.


#4

Annulments should bother us .. but not for the reasons you express -

We should be encouraging people to be properly catechized before marriage - and take seriously the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony - with full knowledge and consent. Marriage is a beautiful vocation and a great gift from God.

Your comment about people having children and being married for years shows that you misunderstand the annulment process ... The conditions that exist at the time of the marriage vows are what are important ... the testimony of the couple plus witnesses on both sides give witness to the actions/conditions leading up to the marriage vows, the actual wedding and the conditions/actions after the wedding ...

Thus if two people marry because they are expecting a child - did they freely consent? Maybe - which would be awesome - but probably not. One or both may feel that they have little choice. One or both may feel trapped. Or they may just feel they are doing whats best for the child - not what they would freely choose.

If one or both partners practices birth control after the wedding - that gives witness that one or both did not make their vows with honesty and integrity ... If you promise to be open to life with no intention of being so that gives a lie to all of your promises.

Sometimes people marry in haste to escape a bad home life .. the young woman who marries to escape a dysfunctional household due to addiction or physical abuse may feel marriage is their only 'out' .. but that is not a mature decision.

A marriage is valid at the point of the vows or it is not ...

The number of years two people manage to accumulate nor the number of children they have impact the validity of the vows.


#5

Annulments are worrisome because they are an indicator of the state of marriage in this country.

I've known of married couples where one party left and sought divorce, not even because of an affair by either party, but just because they were unhappy. I talked to one guy in this situation who adamantly asserted that there was no way that his marriage could be annulled. Yet, his wife did obtain a decree of nullity. Her assertion, I think, was that she did not have due discretion to marry at the time they wed, so her consent was defective.

Well, I'm not the tribunal, and I don't know the facts, so I can't argue either way. I tend to believe that probably there really are a lot of null marriages, simply because people marry on a purely emotional level without having much of an idea of what they are doing. That was not always the case.


#6

I totally agree - annulments bother me too!

And, I sought and secured a Declaration of Nullity after 14 years of a presumed marriage when my former spouse left me at the hospital in labor and delivery. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say, that sometimes, a thing may look real - especially with the passage of time and growing accustom to a situation - but that doesn't mean it IS a real Sacramental covenant. Marriage is the only Sacrament that the parties confer on each other so it is open to abuse as mentioned above when one makes false vows, is pressured, lacks due discretion in choosing a partner, etc.

Sadly, there has also been an entire generation (and working on a 2nd one) that just was not catechized properly. Most of my peers cannot define marriage. They have no idea what a Sacramental covenant is - yet they were married in the Catholic Church. That is what bothers me. I know there is far more thought put into wedding prep now and I am grateful for that. But as a "survivor" of civil divorce and Annulment, the wounds will be with me and my child for a very long time. I think we need to pray for married people and do as much as we can to support healthy marriages.


#7

Sorry for those who Anullments don't bother but currently Catholics are divorcing at the same rate as the Protestant and secular world.

My parents which are not the model of catholic teaching. It at least my mother got this
One right. When I was a kid my dad developed into a complete drunk, went out and got a vesectimy and lost all our family money along with him not holding down a job for ten years.

My mother could have left him but she bucked up went out got a high paying job, did all the house work, created a separate bank account and took him of the car insurence and drive him to aa.

Now he has changed he is an excellent grandfather and father and husband he has rehabed his life thanks to my mothers hard work and commitment to the sacrement of marriage

So yes annulments used loosely is wrong and people should question thier motives

I'll never seek one what ever my wife does


#8

Sadly also the tribunals can't tell if one of parties are lying


#9

[quote="JimG, post:5, topic:320686"]

I tend to believe that probably there really are a lot of null marriages, simply because people marry on a purely emotional level without having much of an idea of what they are doing. That was not always the case.

[/quote]

I also believe this. I know so many couples who married in church just because that is the traditional thing to do and a church provides a nice setting, without having an understanding what they were doing. Many people get married after living together for years because that is "the next step".

Why not* seek *an anullment if there is doubt about validity? Seeking it does not mean getting it. The tribunal determines the outcome of each case.


#10

Yes, sometimes, the Tribunal absolutely can tell one of the parties made false vows - based on testimony of the witnesses and the person's own behavior before and after the wedding in addition to that of the actual wedding day. Sometimes, the person who lied admits it.

Once he left, I too was like your mom in trying to pick up the pieces - working full time, fully responsible for the household, volunteering at Church, and 100% responsible for raising my child without any child support (don't know where the deadbeat is). I'm glad I came to my senses and realized that to stay legally married when you are not in a Sacramental marriage is not God's plan for us. Yep, it's a daily struggle. But I know God is with me and will help me be the sole mother and soul-mother to my little one.

I pray you will never need to divorce and seek Declaration of Nullity. It is not a fate I'd wish on anyone. But please, don't disparage those of us who had limited options. Truth is, you can't know what you'd do because you're not in my situation.

If we want to change the divorce rate, we need to pray!

P.S. I've not found any stats showing Catholics divorce at same rate as Protestants. Maybe those who self-identify as "Catholic" but never attend Mass divorce more frequently? But I can tell you that as a daily Mass attendee, I am absolutely in the minority. Can you please cite a source?

God bless!


#11

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:9, topic:320686"]
I also believe this. I know so many couples who married in church just because that is the traditional thing to do and a church provides a nice setting, without having an understanding what they were doing. Many people get married after living together for years because that is "the next step".

Why not* seek *an anullment if there is doubt about validity? Seeking it does not mean getting it. The tribunal determines the outcome of each case.

[/quote]

Just to clarify, the RCC only allows parties to seek Declaration of Nullity AFTER a civil divorce has been granted. If a couple is married and has doubts, they should confer with their pastor and/or someone from their Diocesan Tribunal. If they have "doubts" but are still legally married, marriage counseling can make a world of difference! There is no need to try to seek annulment in such a case.


#12

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:320686"]
I see people that have been married for many years and have children seeking Anullments

It really bothers me!!!!

If my wife left me I would never seek an Anullment marriage is permenent and I knew what I was doing.

Plus if She left me I would just dedicate more time to Jesus and his church!

Anyone else feel this way?

[/quote]

If you knew what you were doing all well and good, but a valid and sacramental marriage requires BOTH parties to know what they were doing - and you cannot answer for her with any certainty that she did.

Certainly if she were to argue that she did not know what she was doing, and you were convinced that she did, you would be free to give your own evidence that she did, or produce testimony of other witnesses to refute hers. If it were convincing enough the Tribunal might find that her evidence was not credible and so not declare the marriage null.

Yes, witnesses might lie who want out of a marriage. So might witnessss who want to stay in - it's a double edged sword.


#13

CaptFun responds in RED within the quote box

We were married 3 1/2 years, no kids. I didn’t want the divorce. But at 31 and being used to marriage … and wanting to do things right the next time … I did pursue an annulment. Which was granted after a year’s wait and an examination by the Church.

I felt a bit like you seem to. Given Jesus’ STRONG words against divorce … how could the Church grant an annulment (can seem like a legal loophole)?

The answer was “What GOD has joined together - let no man put asunder.” And GOD had not (due to a number of factors annulling the contract). My wife (now departed poor woman) sort of had her fingers crossed. Never intended to have children. Was technically Catholic per her baptism … but actually Agnostic (per her own claim). And so ONE person cannot make a sacramental God-joined-together marriage alone.

The Church didn’t scramble the egg - but it does try to help its people. Here something to think about … especially in THIS time.

(CaptFun):

CASE ONE: Catholic man has sex outside of marriage. Confessed the sin on Saturday. Can receive communion on Sunday. IS free to marry in the Church.

CASE TWO: Catholic married man is divorced by his wife. Has not sinned mortally so can still go to communion. But CANNOT begin to contract a sacramental marriage until an annulment of the other is finished. TWO years of waiting. Six months for civil divorce; 1 1/2 years per the annulment trial (average).

This is a quandary. The one who did right (sex only in marriage as the Church teaches)
can’t even begin again while a libertine could? Not very just. But the way it has to be.

And it is HARD to get out of the natural rhythm of sex being a normal part of your life (and this is just the physical part … never mind the love, romance, honey-I’m-home niceties).

SO the Church takes its keys and tries to help its children. Permanence in marriage is STILL the ideal and stressed (at pre-Cana classes and in the preliminaries to a Catholic wedding). Divorce is still odious … a shame … a broken covenant … and particularly so when there are children. The Church does not automatically grant annulments (there is a trial and a “defender of the ban” who argues on the side of the marriage NOT being annulled).

Many annulments involve young people. Premarital sex is a big mistake and a mortal sin - premature and silly marriages contracted by half committed, distracted, immature people sometimes come closer to being a “dating mistake” (not to minimize things).

Involving the Church with all its solemnities, a public swearing before God and a crowd, the (seemingly long) wait the Catholic Church requires via its pre-marriage classes and legal examinations (eligibility not only in the Church but the state per things like blood tests, licenses, no danger of bigamy because due diligence is done) – should preclude a silly, emotional rush to the altar with someone who is not committed or eligible. But it happens.

Part of the culture of death seems to be: disposable spouses. This should not be.

A different issue is: Can someone who has made a mistake begin again? With annulment … sometimes yes. But it is a bad mistake, has involved another (sometimes children too).

It may be that the Church is more open to hearing the petitions of the abandoned spouse versus the divorcing spouse. :confused:

And much as I am in favor of Jesus’ rule … there may be exceptions to it (divorces based on abuse, serial infidelity, etc.) the Church probably does grant annulments after some of these.


#14

Some more thoughts (from one who received an annulment):

I didn't understand why the Church REQUIRED civil divorce before it would consider my annulment petition.

As I reasoned it out ... the Church does not grant annulments where there is a civil marriage still intact because it is a more staunch advocate of marriage than the state. The period required by the state for a divorce to become complete ... is sometimes a time when many couples reconcile or begin again.

The additional length of time for an annulment may also be an opportunity for reconciliation.

So while it may seem that the Church is going soft on marital permanence via annulments
-- a closer look shows, not so much. Notwithstanding that the Church can get things wrong on the human side (for example, many later annulled marriages took place in the Church in the first place).

But it's imperfect people ... not the Church that caused the problem. The Church then has
the tough task of being a disaster responder -- and must look to the Holy Spirit for what to do about it.

Thanks for posting Adamski. :thumbsup: Have peace about other folks' annulments without losing your high ideals about marriage if possible. Possibly consider a reword of your complaint to "Frivolous Divorces Really Bother Me ..." that's closer to what I feel. Catholic Annulments tend not to be executed frivolously.


#15

[quote="Adamski, post:8, topic:320686"]
Sadly also the tribunals can't tell if one of parties are lying

[/quote]

I am with you on this whole issue.

Personally, I am very sceptical about annulment especially when you see what I would call silly reasons why people seek to nullify their marriages. In reality, there is no way a tribunal can determine whether a person consented to a marriage or not. Witnesses? Eh? Are/Were they the person's mind?

That's why consent is ultimately determined by the words of the person made at that point in time. People change their opinions, views and behaviour over time but once the vow has been made, no one can ever undo it.

Annulment troubles me! It seems to be typically an American thing. :shrug:

And if we are to think this way, then the same standard should apply to all the other sacraments, like baptism for instance.

All those who were baptised as babies could question whether they parents really consented. Would we also need witnesses to testify that they didn't really give consent? (I don't just get it.)

What if our parents have changed their behaviour and their minds and say they did not really consent to our baptism. Does that "nullify" baptism?

It just gets absurd.

What is essential are the vows that were made and witnessed during baptism or marriage and that stands!


#16

And what if he is lying that he was lying?


#17

I believe that everyone is bothered to a certain degree by these things. However - as others have expressed - the annulments are a result not a cause.
So - is it "annulments’ that bother you? Or is it the things that lead to annulments that bothers you?

You have not shared a lot as regards your knowledge and understanding of the annulment process - so part of the problem might stem from a lack of understanding. The more one understands about the principles and requirements of the annulment process the more one can appreciate that the problem exists at the front end of the marriage - not at the back end.

I too was in a marriage such as you describe…19 years…After the divorce I did not seek an annulment because a) I was away from the Church at the time b) I had initiated the divorce and c) like you, I felt like “I knew what I was doing” when I got married and consequently felt that even if I applied, it would be denied.
Well - it turned out I was wrong. The process turned up something about my former spouse that I had not known and this thing had prevented the sacramental marriage from being valid.

So - my suggestion to you is this. Instead of being bothered by “annulments” consider being bothered by the various contributory factors.

Peace
James


#18

Me too! This is exactly what all Catholics ought to learn! :thumbsup:


#19

I’m not sure what you mean by “silly reasons why people seek to nullify their marriages”…I’ve never seen, or been able to find (online) any sort of official and reliable data on the various reasons submitted. If you have a good and official source for this I would appreciate seeing it. This is something that interests me too.

I can understand people being skeptical of the process - especially if they have never been involved in it in any way. Having been through the process myself, I can tell you that it is rather grueling and quite thorough.

And of course - as someone said - it is possible that someone might lie but consider this carefully.
Why would one bother to even seek an annulment if they are willing to commit a serious sin in order to obtain it?
I think that this is something that people too often fail to consider. The fact that a person seeks an annulment at all means that they take their faith seriously. If they take the faith seriously, they are not going to deliberately sin to obtain the annulment.
On the other hand, if they DON’T take their faith seriously - If they WOULD be capable of lying to get an annulment - the odds are that they won’t bother to apply for one. If they choose to remarry, they would simply have a civil ceremony and that’s that.

So - as I say - consider carefully the frame of mind of the person who seeks a decree of nullity. Would such a person deliberately attempt to subvert the system - and in so doing commit a grave sin?

And if we are to think this way, then the same standard should apply to all the other sacraments, like baptism for instance.

All those who were baptized as babies could question whether they parents really consented. Would we also need witnesses to testify that they didn’t really give consent? (I don’t just get it.)

What if our parents have changed their behaviour and their minds and say they did not really consent to our baptism. Does that “nullify” baptism?

It just gets absurd.

What is essential are the vows that were made and witnessed during baptism or marriage and that stands!

You bring up an interesting point in regards to baptism It might make an interesting thread of it’s own.

Peace
James


#20

Kelvin, you asked about Baptism and other Sacraments and if they can be invalidated later - like if someone changes their mind about what they believe. The answer is No. Once validly Baptized, if cannot be undone. This is true for ALL Sacraments including Confirmation, Marriage and Holy Orders. A Sacrament validly conferred cannot be undone . . one cannot be un-Baptized, un-Confirmed, un-married, un-ordained, etc. The biggest difference between Marriage and all other Sacraments is that it is conferred by the man and woman on each other. The officiant is there to ensure the Rite is followed, but he doesn't marry the couple - the couple marries one another. So in an Annulment proceeding, the Tribunal looks to see if the Sacrament was properly conferred or if there were impediments that prevented it from happening. The Declaration of Nullity does not mean I was "un-married" - I simply was not ever Sacramentally married. I can rightly list my status as "single."

I know it's a hard concept for people to grasp - especially if you've never been thru the process. So, please bear with me as I explain I was not ever married. Yes, civilly married (there are wedding pictures and the dress and all that), but not married in the eyes of the Church as determined by the Church (not by me). The Church does not have the power to "un-do" any Sacrament. The Church does not have the power to end marriages. But in Her great mercy, She can declare some unions were never valid from the very start - even if they might have appeared to be so.

Since you asked about Baptism specifically, there are times when the validity is called into question, but not be anything the person being Baptized or his parents did, but by the officiant not following protocol. For instance, in an emergency Baptism where death is likely or in the turbulent 70's when people used an oddball form ("In the name of the Creator, Sanctifier and Redeemer") instead of "In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit". But in these cases, as with marriage, the presumption is validity unless proven otherwise. Where wrong formula was used/ Rite not followed, the Church does allow for a conditional Baptism that follows the Rite precisely . . not to "re-do" the Baptism, but to ensure the person was validly Baptized.


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