Anulments


#1

Hi, I have been inquiring about taking a RICO class at a local CC. In talking to the lady that gives the class she said that I will have to get an anulment of first marriage because I am divorced. I cant understand why I need to do this. First of all I have always been told that in the eyes of the Catholic Church no marriage is valid unless it is performed by a priest. Second, since I am a protestant I have no desire to let my kids know that I consider them as born out of wedlock. I just do not understand why I cannot confess my divorce as a sin and be forgiven and be made new and free to become a Catholic. Please can someone tell me why all this is nessasary???


#2

[quote=Big_Dave]Hi, I have been inquiring about taking a RICO class at a local CC. In talking to the lady that gives the class she said that I will have to get an anulment of first marriage because I am divorced. I cant understand why I need to do this. First of all I have always been told that in the eyes of the Catholic Church no marriage is valid unless it is performed by a priest. Second, since I am a protestant I have no desire to let my kids know that I consider them as born out of wedlock. I just do not understand why I cannot confess my divorce as a sin and be forgiven and be made new and free to become a Catholic. Please can someone tell me why all this is nessasary???
[/quote]

The only situation where an annulment would not be necessary is if you are divorced and living alone as though single.

The idea that the Catholic Church does not accept any Marriage as valid unless “performed” by a Catholic priest is false. The status of children born into what seemed at the time to be a valid Marriage does not change if an annulment is granted. Divorce for valid and necessary reasons is not a sin, only attempting a second Marriage is.


#3

[quote=Big_Dave]Hi, I have been inquiring about taking a RICO class at a local CC. In talking to the lady that gives the class she said that I will have to get an anulment of first marriage because I am divorced. I cant understand why I need to do this. First of all I have always ???
[/quote]

you need to talk to the pastor. I am “the lady that gives the classes” and I tell everyone at their initial interview that they need to make an appointment with the pastor about their marriage situation because I am not competent to make a judgement, only he is. It may very well be that your first marriage was not valid. If you are a baptized Catholic who married outside the Church it may be a relatively simple matter to resolve.

But in general, the Catholic Church regards all marriages as valid until proven otherwise, so if you are in your second marriage the facts must be investigated and a determination must me made. Every marriage situation is different, and there is not point on relying on “what I have always understood” or “what happened to my neighbor.” Please see the pastor immediately. there are dozens of threads on annulments discussing the ins and outs, but ultimately you must see your pastor.

In any case, your children would not be considered “out of wedlock” or illegitimate, their status would not be affected in any case. there is not point in soliciting any opinion on this forum, see your priest.

If you have been divorced, but not remarried, you need to do nothing unless you are planning to marry again, but please, see your priest.


#4

Then can you explain why since divorce is a sin in the eyes of the church that I therefore cannot just repent of this sin and have it forgiven and continue on in my desire to join with the catholic church???


#5

Dear Dave,

First of all I have always been told that in the eyes of the Catholic Church no marriage is valid unless it is performed by a priest. Second, since I am a protestant I have no desire to let my kids know that I consider them as born out of wedlock.

Regarding the first, the Church recognizes all marriages between noncatholics as valid, even though the parties are not of our faith. So, althrough you are a protestant, your marriage is valid. What is confusing, perhaps, is that Catholics are not permitted to be married by anyone but a priest in order to be valid.

Whether you are Catholic or Protestant, divorce in itself is not a condition which would exclude you from the sacramental life of the Church. The only time it would become a problem is if you wanted to enter into a second marriage without having the first duly annulled. And if you married without this annulment, you would not be able to receive the Eucharist while remaining in that state.

So if you are intending to convert, God bless you very much and guide you fully into the faith. Your RCIA director has not informed you correctly about your marital status, and you need to speak with someone in higher authority about this … unless you are not telling us the full details of your situation here, such as a second marriage. If you have no present intention to marry, divorce would not be an obstacle in welcoming you to the family of God.

The part you mentioned about your children being born out of wedlock is a misnomer as well. The Church considers all marriages, even civil ceremonies, as valid contractual bonds, although not all are sacramental bonds as celebrated in the RC Church. That is why She insists the contractual bond be severed through a legal divorce before considering an annulment. All children from these marriages of either kind (civil or sacramental) are certainly legal heirs born of lawful wedlock.

What the annulment establishes is that the contractual bond existed, but the bond to which God unites the parties “till death” union was somehow deficient in its form, whether through one or both of the parties. The Church states that this bond was nonexistent from the beginning, thus rendering the parties free to marry. However, the civil covenant is certainly valid and recognized by the State with legal consequences, and must be set aside by divorce prior to filing for annulment.

I hope this has been helpful.

Carole


#6

A divorce is simply a civil contract to Catholics. A marriage cannot be terminated if it was valid. You are married until death does part you in the eyes of the Church. An annulment is not a divorce, it is a declaration that your original “marriage” was, in fact, invalid. Without an annulment, you remain married to your first wife and are simply asking to marry another - you won’t get very far.

Not so.

So don’t tell them.

So your thought is to confess your sin, be forgiven and then just “remarry”? How does that make sense? It sounds like you are using confession as a convenient means to your end and ignoring what Christ taught regarding marriage. Christ commanded that a marriage was for life - the two become one flesh. The Church is obligated to preserve his teachings as guided by the Holy Spirit. It is a difficult teaching, as even the apostles knew. “Who can accept this? It is better not to marry…” But marriage is not to be taken lightly - it is a profound mystery, as Paul says, and the very model of Christs relationship to His bride, the Church.

Phil


#7

Oops, Dave,

We were all posting simultaneously and overlapped each other. So sorry.

Then can you explain why since divorce is a sin in the eyes of the church that I therefore cannot just repent of this sin and have it forgiven and continue on in my desire to join with the catholic church???

Divorce is not considered a sin in the eyes of the Church. It is permitted for the spiritual welfare of an innocent party and/or the children. The conditions which caused the break-down in the marriage may be the real sin that one would need to confess and repent of.

Carole


#8

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]The only situation where an annulment would not be necessary is if you are divorced and living alone as though single.

The idea that the Catholic Church does not accept any Marriage as valid unless “performed” by a Catholic priest is false. The status of children born into what seemed at the time to be a valid Marriage does not change if an annulment is granted. Divorce for valid and necessary reasons is not a sin, only attempting a second Marriage is.
[/quote]

Br. Rich I believe you are wrong here. I was always taught that At any time if you were married, even what was not considered to be a valid marriage an annulment IS MOST DEFINITELY NECESSARY. This is because the Church needs to perform an investigation to determine if the person was validly married or not.
CF forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=82427


#9

[quote=kleary]Br. Rich I believe you are wrong here. I was always taught that At any time if you were married, even what was not considered to be a valid marriage an annulment IS MOST DEFINITELY NECESSARY. This is because the Church needs to perform an investigation to determine if the person was validly married or not.
CF forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=82427
[/quote]

I think Br Rich is saying this in terms of impeding his reception into the Church. As far as that goes he is correct. However Big Dave, even if you are granted an annulment your children are still considered legitimate as you were in the eyes of the “law” married at the time of birth of the children. My ex’s lawyer hit me with that line when I mentioned annulment he grumbled something about “bastardizing” the children. I looked into it and my children are considered legitimate and an annulment can’t change that. What Kleary is saying about everyone needing an annulment if divorced is not necessarily correct, however if you believe there is a case for an annulment then you should seek one especially if you think you will marry or date at some time in the future. If you are already remarried, you will of course need an annulment so that your present marriage can be validated before you will be able to be received into the church. Does this make sense?


#10

[quote=BlestOne]I think Br Rich is saying this in terms of impeding his reception into the Church. As far as that goes he is correct. However Big Dave, even if you are granted an annulment your children are still considered legitimate as you were in the eyes of the “law” married at the time of birth of the children. My ex’s lawyer hit me with that line when I mentioned annulment he grumbled something about “bastardizing” the children. I looked into it and my children are considered legitimate and an annulment can’t change that. What Kleary is saying about everyone needing an annulment if divorced is not necessarily correct, however if you believe there is a case for an annulment then you should seek one especially if you think you will marry or date at some time in the future. If you are already remarried, you will of course need an annulment so that your present marriage can be validated before you will be able to be received into the church. Does this make sense?
[/quote]

What most people do not understand is that a civil divorce disolves a legal relationship. An annulment is only fact finding and the publishing of the facts. It does not disolve or establish any relationship between the two people.


#11

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]What most people do not understand is that a civil divorce disolves a legal relationship. An annulment is only fact finding and the publishing of the facts. It does not disolve or establish any relationship between the two people.
[/quote]

Does that mean there cannot be an annulment until a civil divorce has taken place?


#12

[quote=thistle]Does that mean there cannot be an annulment until a civil divorce has taken place?
[/quote]

Generally speaking a Tribunal in the US will not begin the process until a civil divorce is granted.


#13

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Generally speaking a Tribunal in the US will not begin the process until a civil divorce is granted.
[/quote]

So that would mean, for example, here in the Philippines where you cannot get a divorce (probably one of the few countries left on earth where you cannot get a divorce), there would be little point in trying to get an annulment if a couple splits up even if such an annulment might well be justified.


#14

the actual procedures may differ in various countries due to the constraints of civil law. In some countries marriage is entirely a matter of civil law and church marriages are not recognized. In those countries a couple must also comply with whatever civil requirements are in place. The purpose of a civil divorce is to ensure that the rights and interests of the spouses and children are protected. It does not however determine if a marriage is valid, and it does not terminate a valid marriage. In a place where civil divorce is not allowed (Malta? Philippines?) I assume the tribunal would take into account that fact, and that its work would only arise in any case where a second marriage is contemplated, which I assume would be rarely in such a country.

it is also worth noting, in a discussion of civil law, that an annulment granted by a civil court does not constitute a Church annulment (although the grounds might be the same), the marriage must still be submitted to the Church tribunal for investigation and judgement.

The purpose of the tribunal is judge if a valid marriage occurred, if all the circumstances required for valid consent were present at the time of the contract. In this country the tribunal will almost never pursue an investigation if there is a chance that the couple will reconcile. there may be exceptions, but they would truly be exceptional. the tribunal will also not act through the instigation of a third party, either of the partners must instigate the investigation, and should be referred by the parish priest.


#15

[quote=Big_Dave]Then can you explain why since divorce is a sin in the eyes of the church that I therefore cannot just repent of this sin and have it forgiven and continue on in my desire to join with the catholic church???
[/quote]

True divorce in and of itself is a scandel but the point was well made by Br. Rich. Going through the annulment process is only necessary in certain circumstances. If you are living as a single person (including not dating) then there is no strict need for an annulment. However, if your lifestyle reflects something else then it would be necessary to go through the process.

The reason for this is because if you are living in an adultrous state then you cannot be received into the Church in that state. See, if you are living in a state of life that is a sin then you must change that lifestyle.


#16

[quote=Big_Dave]Then can you explain why since divorce is a sin in the eyes of the church that I therefore cannot just repent of this sin and have it forgiven and continue on in my desire to join with the catholic church???
[/quote]

You can—if you haven’t remarried. If you’re re-married, you’re living in a state of sin. If you think that this is harsh (and by today’s “if-it-feels-good-do-it” standards, it is), remember that this isn’t a “Catholic thing”, it’s a “God thing”. Catholics simply take Jesus at His word when He talks about marriage.


#17

You only need an annulment if you re-marry or are already re-married.

It’s not that your first marriage was a sin. In the eye’s of the Church you are still married to your first wife. You will need a Church Tribunal to look at that marriage to determine if it was a valid sacrament.


#18

First of all I want to thank each one that has contributed to this discussion. I know the teaching of Jesus is hard and true. I respect the Catholic Church for this very reason. The thing that has moved me towards the RCC is the fact that it sticks to the Word of God. However this now is the thing that is making it difficult for me to make this move. An important question has come up. Is this annulment a legal step under civil law or is it only a Catholic annul,ment?? You see I married a divorced Catholic and I am divorced as well. We have a beautiful marriage but my wife does not want to return to the CC if it means she has to go through an annulment … This is causing big problems as I am the one that has been investigating the history of the early church and this has led me to believe that the RCC is thre church that christ founded. I have been following Father Groeschel and Father Corapi teaching on EWTN. My wife and I went to the midnight mass at the Catholic church and I know that she loves the church but is content to stay worshipping where we are now. I am the one wanting to convert. I hope this makes it clearer where I am coming from.


#19

[quote=Big_Dave]First of all I want to thank each one that has contributed to this discussion. I know the teaching of Jesus is hard and true. I respect the Catholic Church for this very reason. The thing that has moved me towards the RCC is the fact that it sticks to the Word of God. However this now is the thing that is making it difficult for me to make this move. An important question has come up. Is this annulment a legal step under civil law or is it only a Catholic annul,ment?? You see I married a divorced Catholic and I am divorced as well. We have a beautiful marriage but my wife does not want to return to the CC if it means she has to go through an annulment … This is causing big problems as I am the one that has been investigating the history of the early church and this has led me to believe that the RCC is thre church that christ founded. I have been following Father Groeschel and Father Corapi teaching on EWTN. My wife and I went to the midnight mass at the Catholic church and I know that she loves the church but is content to stay worshipping where we are now. I am the one wanting to convert. I hope this makes it clearer where I am coming from.
[/quote]

If you are both LEGALLY (civil) divorced than the annulment is only a Church matter.
FYI: you can not join the Catholic Church unless you both get an ANNULMENT because in the eyes of the Church you are BOTH sinning!!!


#20

[quote=Big_Dave]. We have a beautiful marriage but my wife does not want to return to the CC if it means she has to go through an annulment … .
[/quote]

Why does she not want to go through an annulment? Is she afraid that the Tribunal will see her first marriage as Valid?


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.