I heard on this forum that deception is a valid reason for an annulment to be granted. What would the definition of deception be?

Would one be required to tell their significant other everything? Sins that have been forgiven, or personal temptations that occurred in the past, or are simply things that wish not be be brought up. [Assuming these are not a true problem that might require outside assistance, that’s another matter]

To an extent I do of course realize that lying on purpose would be wrong, but for example: keeping a homosexual one night stand to yourself, that having been forgiven already and no longer a real issue-- would that be reason enough that the marriage wouldn’t be valid?

I have heard that a sin forgiven is no longer, so much that a spouse that cheats would be advised not to tell because it would only bring harm.

Thanks for replies


You would not have to reveal a once-in-a-lifetime homosexual experience, but if you knew you were gay and didn’t reveal it, then you would certainly be deceiving the other person and removing their ‘free consent’ to marry you – you can’t freely consent to something if you don’t know about it.

If you knew you were sterile and didn’t reveal it, it would also affect the other person’s free consent. Would the person consent to marry you KNOWING you were sterile? Or is having biological children important enough to call off the wedding and marry someone else instead?


**What she said:thumbsup:



You do not have to tell sins of your past life, and you should not. As long as the past is the past & not some secret double life you were leading at the time of your engagement & marriage then you’re all set.


examples, not definitive list, homosexuality (the deeply rooted condition, not a one time lapse of behaviro), mental illness, addiction something similar that is fundamental to one’s personality that is not revealed, invincible intent to avoid having children or avoid consummation of the marriage, prior attempted or completed marriage, failure to reveal any known condition that would invalidate the marriage (impotence, affinity eg). No one is not required to reveal all past sins, but to reveal anything that would influence the other party’s decision to marry, or cause them to break it off were it known, or would invalidate the marriage.


I think it also depends on if this “one time” thing is likely to resurface and bite you in the kiester. Let’s go with the homosexual one-night stand example. Do you live in the same town as the person you had the one-night stand with? Is there a chance you and your SO might run into that person? That your SO might find out from someone else? If such is the case, I think it’s better that your SO find out from YOU than from a third-party.

Unless you have an incredibly understanding and forgiving SO, most people would feel hurt or betrayed to learn about something like that from someone other than you. And THEY might feel that you deliberately “deceived” them.

Just something else to consider.


Deception was cited as one of the possible grounds in my annulment.

In my case, my “former roommate” (ex-wife) hid the fact that she had several million dollars held in overseas banks and owned, free and clear, real estate in another country worth between 12 and 15 million dollars. To enable this deception, I unwittingly filed false income tax returns when we filed jointly.

These facts did not come out until after she filed for divorce. But by that time she had fled overseas. As there is now a federal arrest warrant out for her for tax evasion, if she returns to the USA, she will probably be arrested at the border. She has been advised of this. I do not know if she is working this out with the IRS. The country she is in does have an extradition treaty with the USA but I have no idea if federal authorities would seek extradition just for this. Personally, I hope she can work it out.

The good news is that the federal agents realized that I was not complicit in filing false income tax returns so I am off the hook.

Her intent to not pay income tax on the money would certainly have affected my decision to marry her.



Can. 1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life.

That’s basically fraud.

Apart from intentional deception, simple error, even without deception on the part of the other party, can be a ground too, so long as it involves a very specifically desired quality that determines the choice to marry or not:

Can. 1097 §1. Error concerning the person renders a marriage invalid.
§2. Error concerning a quality of the person does not render a marriage invalid even if it is the cause for the contract, unless this quality is directly and principally intended.

Simulation is a ground separate from deception and it occurs when people don’t consent to marriage, while they give apperance of so doing. Simulation of consent is related with exclusion - that is, exclusion of one of the three goods of marriage: offspring, faith, sacrament. This is regardless of deceipt of the other party. Consequently, one doesn’t marry validly while excluding children, exclusivity of marriage or indissolubility of it, even if the other party knows of the exclusion, or if both parties make the exclusion (e.g. a marriage of 10 years and no children is invalid no matter who knows about what and agrees to what).

Can. 1101 §1. The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words and signs used in celebrating the marriage.
§2. If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly.

A case of someone pretending to want children while wanting none ever, would combine deception and simulation, but simulation would be the primary ground.

Someone being homosexual would be a problem on its own under canon 1095:

Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:
1/ those who lack the sufficient use of reason;
2/ those who suVer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted;
3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.

Therefore in case of a person hiding a homosexual tendency, the primary problem would not be deception, but rather inability to have a functional marriage.


Thank you for the replies. The one night stand was an example that came to mind. It was more of a question that can a person keep personal things, that wouldn’t really affect the marriage or were in the past and are no longer a problem, to themselves. Perhaps more along the lines of a person having SSA in their youth, which has since turned out to have been more a phase than anything else, and if rarely if ever a temptation any longer.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I’m scrupulous and I do know this. If I’m not worrying about one thing, it’s another… and always petty. True problems I can handle, petty things can follow me for days until I settle it, then finding another petty thing.

Again, thanks!


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