Catholic family canon law question


#1

what constitutes invalidation of a marriage. I am mostly ( almost exclusively ) a caretaker/domestic helper, for my wife. Physical and emotional intimacy has been nearly destroyed. This is very sad, but I am not sure where to go with this. My wife even said that her health was the only thing keeping her in our house or marriage. advice, preferably from someone with experience with this sort of thing, would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Nothing that happens during a marriage "invalidates" it. A marriage is either valid or invalid at the time the vows are exchanged.

At most, things that happen during a marriage may be evidence *pointing to *a problem at its inception. This may or may not indicate nullity.

The things that make a marriage invalid from its inception are a defect in intent or consent of one of the parties, defect in the form (i.e. Catholics who marry outside the Church), or a canonical impediment.

The book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster is very good at explaining the Church's marriage laws and its teaching on marriage as well as the concept of nullity and various "grounds" that demonstrate nullity.


#3

I don't have canon law knowledge....

I understand you are the caregiver to a very ill wife. Do you have support or is it entirely on you? There is such a thing as caregiver burn -out and caregiver stress.

A few years ago, my mom had surgery, and I took care of her following the surgery (at my home, she lives far and is a widow) It was hard to do, and it was not major surgery either. She was in pain and acted quite irritable (yelling at me to come to her, thinking it was hours, when it was only seconds) Her irritability came from her pain, not her.

I realized that people who do this longterm have a very difficult load. Here is a link that might be useful.

homecaringadvice.com/toolshed.html

Does she have family that can help (parents siblings) or do you? Can you get outside nursing care?

I'll pray for your family. I am sure it is a hard situation.


#4

I’m not clear on what you are saying - asking here. Is your wife saying the only reason that she stays with you is her health? That if she were well and healthy she would leave you?

Not sure whether my situation is comparable to yours but I am a full time caregiver for my wife who has Alzheimers.

As another has already said, a marriage is invalid if it is invalid at it’s inception, not because of anything that occurs during the marriage (except as it might reveal a fault or flaw prior to the wedding)…
While not from an “official source” here is a list of things that can effect the validity of a marriage. (From Here)
[LIST]
*]Most annulments are based on canon 1095, psychological reasons. These include a wide range of factors. Some of them may be misrepresentation or fraud (concealing the truth about capacity or desire to have children for example, or about an preexisting marriage, drug addiction, felony convictions, sexual preference or having reached the age of consent)
*]Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage (inability or refusal to have sex)
*]Bigamy, incest (being married to someone else, or close relatives)
*]Duress (being forced or coerced into marriage against one’s will or serious external pressure, for example a pregnancy)
*]Mental incapacity (considered unable to understand the nature and expectations of marriage)
*]Lack of knowledge or understanding of the full implications of marriage as a life-long commitment in faithfulness and love, with priority to spouse and children.
*]Psychological inability to live the marriage commitment as described above.
*]Illegal “Form of Marriage” (ceremony was not performed according to Catholic canon law)
*]One/both partners was under the influence of drugs, or addicted to a chemical substance./
[/LIST]


#5

I am not sure how to respond to the entire situation. Its certainly confusing as well as stressful.
It seems that for the time being at least I am called to marital chastity.


#6

[quote="traillius, post:5, topic:229127"]
I am not sure how to respond to the entire situation. Its certainly confusing as well as stressful.

[/quote]

Grounds for annulment focus on what happens "when" you take your vows. What was the mindset and understanding of the two persons taking the vows. Were they capable of entering into a sacramental marriage, etc.

That being said, as long as you were married in the Church, the assumption must be that your marriage is sacramental. IF you were to get a divorce, only the would the Church consider that the sacrament was not present.

Many Saints of the Church were so because they put up with bad marriages. They suffered through them and offered up their sufferings in reparation for sins (redemptive suffering). Also, if one is to find joy in marriage (not happiness, which is temporary, but joy, which is lasting), then one must always, always come as a servant of the other (the spouse), regardless of whether it "feels good" or not.


#7

[quote="traillius, post:5, topic:229127"]
I am not sure how to respond to the entire situation. Its certainly confusing as well as stressful.
It seems that for the time being at least I am called to marital chastity.

[/quote]

You probably meant to say that you are now called to celibacy in marriage.
All married people are called to marital chastity. Your problems? Seek help ASAP.


#8

[quote="catharina, post:7, topic:229127"]
You probably meant to say that you are now called to celibacy in marriage.

[/quote]

Celibacy is the unmarried state. So, no he isn't called to celibacy.


#9

[quote="1ke, post:8, topic:229127"]
Celibacy is the unmarried state. So, no he isn't called to celibacy.

[/quote]

Yet he feels that he is from what I gathered.

Everyone married is called to chastity on marriage.


#10

[quote="catharina, post:9, topic:229127"]
Everyone married is called to chastity on marriage.

[/quote]

Yes, everyone is called to the virtue of chastity appropriate to their state in life.

He is expressing that his circumstances require abstaining from the marital embrace. The term you are looking for is continence.


#11

Go and grab yourself a copy of the code of canon law in English translation and read the section on marriage. I have that section but it’s pages long and I can’t possibly write it all down. Though, come the end of midterms, I can scan it for you and send it to you via. interwebs. Send me a private message in 2 weeks from now to remind me and I’ll email it to you.


#12

[quote="traillius, post:1, topic:229127"]
what constitutes invalidation of a marriage. I am mostly ( almost exclusively ) a caretaker/domestic helper, for my wife. Physical and emotional intimacy has been nearly destroyed. This is very sad, but I am not sure where to go with this. My wife even said that her health was the only thing keeping her in our house or marriage. advice, preferably from someone with experience with this sort of thing, would be greatly appreciated.

[/quote]

you are married.
unless and until the marriage breaks down irretrievably (usually that means a civil divorce) there is not even prospect of considering annulment. The marriage is presumed valid so there is nothing to discuss.

Nothing that happens after the marriage is contracted can invalidate the marriage. The investigation looks at circumstances that pertained at the time of the original contract involving natural and church law impediments, consent, capacity and intention.

You are married
put divorce and annulment out of your mind. they are not on the table. All the energy wasted on such discussion should be spent on lifting every day the cross Christ has given you and bearing it with his help.


#13

[quote="AdriannaJean, post:11, topic:229127"]
Go and grab yourself a copy of the code of canon law in English translation and read the section on marriage. I have that section but it's pages long and I can't possibly write it all down. Though, come the end of midterms, I can scan it for you and send it to you via. interwebs. Send me a private message in 2 weeks from now to remind me and I'll email it to you.

[/quote]

It is available for all online at the Vatican website:

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM


#14

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.