Need a little input here. This history of Catholic marriage is not one of my strong areas. Here’s an interesting challenge I got from someone:
Certainly you can admit that even if one accepts the concept of “annulment” (I’m not going to argue that because we’ll never agree), that annulment are abused by American Catholics. Or do you believe that all of those marriages that ended in annulment weren’t real marriages?
That sounds a lot like the “They weren’t real Christians” argument favored by our friends LaHaye and Jenkins.
An abbreviated history of marriage:
668-690: Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury permits divorce and remarriage.
692: The Council of Trullo - The Orthodox Church permits divorce for reasons of adultery.
752: The Council of Verberie permits divorce and remarriage.
757: The Council of Compiegne permits divorce and remarriage.
“According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, up to the eleventh century and beyond, the canon law of the Church “did not require any marraige formalities.” For most people in Western Europe, marriage did not involve a church ceremony, but merely the blessing of the church.”
1215: Pope Innocent II convenes the Fourth Lateran council, which regularizes marriages according to mutual consent, church ceremony, declaration and publication of banns.
By 1500, there were still many peasants who were married by the cohabitation.
1563: Indissolubility enters canon law at the Council of Trent.
“Annulment” began as a way to dissolve marriages between relatives of the 7th degree or less; a famous example is that of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of France, who had their marriage annulled after 15 years. There were accusations of infidelity, but the annulment was granted because they were fourth and fifth cousins.
Post-Vatican II: On the advice of a dissertation by John Keating, annulments are permitted for a psychological basis for annulment-- one or both parties may have been “incapable of knowing what they were doing or incapable of assuming the fundamental responsibilities of marriage.”
“Antisocial or narcissistic behavior,” or “whether a person deliberated in a sufficient manner before consenting to marriage” are now considered valid reasons for annulment, as well as “deficiencies (such as) gross immaturity and those affecting in a serious way the capacity to love, to have a true interpersonal conjugal relationship, to fulfill marital obligations, to accept the faith aspect of marriage…”
By those guidelines, the sacrament of marriage and subsequent annulment has very little meaning; I could claim all of those quotes as factors in my own marriage, as could anyone on this message board. Does taht mean none of us have valid marriages?