I have a problem. I am going through an annulment and my Diocese is not treating me fair. The bottom line here is that one of the people up there has decided that I am not a very nice person. I am not sure what led her to that assumption. However, she is badmouthing me all over the place and has made it her personal goal to sabotage my case in any way that she can.
I am not sure what to do, but I would love some advice.
Is there anybody at CAF that can give me advice on what to do? I am talking about the professionals at work here?
I have a feeling there is more to the story than you are letting on, but yes getting a canon lawyer would be your only real option to ensure the tribunal carefully considers your case in an unbiased way.
Is this a person on the Tribunal? Does this person have access to your annullment testimony or that of the witnesses and your former spouse? If so this is the case and they are discussing this confidential information then this is a serious charge and should be addressed. This should most probably be with the assistance of a Canon Lawyer - and you should be able to obtain one regardless of ability to pay or on a sliding scale -
OR another option is to address your concerns with your advocate. In annullment cases there is an advocate for you, your formmer spuse and a defender of the bond. Your advcate [and if you don’t know who this is your parish priest can tell you - it may even be him]
If this is just some random [poorly disciplined] diocesan employee who is gossiping [without violating any connfidentiality issues as noted above; they will probably have no impact on the Tribunal or the Tribunal’s deliberations and decision. Their decision will be based upon the written testimony received from you, your formal spouse and your chosen witnesses … based upon the facts of the case around your marriage. The Tribunals are serious bodies and not prone to be swayed by gossips … IMHO
That does not mean that the person should be aloowed to malign your character, but this should not be seen as “Diocese Dishonesty” but a singles persons personal failure to treat their neighbor [you] as they [the gossip] would like to be treated .
This is such an emotional time, please seek the assistance of your parish priest, your advocate or a Canon Lawyer, whichever seems most appropriate and pray … Try to stay focused upon what God’s plan for your life is and find peace there …
Thank you for your response. The person in question is the judge instructor and I assure you that she has an incredible amount of influence in the way that this matter is carried out.
I have been in this process for over a year. I have, on countless occasions, requested an advocate. I have been told that the diocese in question does not provide advocates due to financial issues. My priest does not function as my advocate as, I have been informed, priests in the diocese are overworked and not able to function as advocates. Thus, I brought this action alone. As you can imagine, I am not an expert in Cannon Law and this has caused me a lot of problems.
Something changed in the process after my ex wife, who refused to consider having children throughout the entirety of our courtship and marriage (note that I was protestant at the time as was she) had a private meeting with the judge instructor. She was then allowed to present her testimony without filling out any questionnaire or swearing an oath. The testimony was also outside of the designated timeframe for her response.
I objected and was told that my opinions as to procedure did not matter. When I cited cannon law, the judge instructor told me that it was not always followed in their diocese due to financial issues. I did not feel that was correct, but it became the source of the problems that I am faced with.
This week I read the testimony of the defender of the bond. The only thing that the defender cited was the testimony of my ex. No cannon law and none of the six witnesses that I provided.
However now, after all this time, they have finally assigned me an advocate. This person and I spoke yesterday. He was totally on my side and noted that there had been numerous violations of procedure. I was encouraged until this evening. He spoke to the judge instructor in question, and she informed him that I am not to be trusted. I now feel he is treating me like a criminal. He told me this evening that he thinks I am not telling the truth in my testimony.
I can only assure you that I am telling the truth. I am being honest, and I am being exploited. I need help friends. I beg you with all my heart…if you can help this poor soul, please do so.
I don’t know how “kosher” this is, but could you take this up with a different diocese? My dh was previously raised in another diocese (he was not Catholic at the time) and married in a Lutheran church there… so my pastor sent his paperwork to a different diocese.
Can you parish priest assist you in finding a canon lawyer? Are there any seminaries in the area [or catholic colleges] that might have a canon lawyer on staff to take your case.
Also, does your diocese have a Vicar General?
You might also think about your case [the facts …] are there facts for which you can obtain supporting evidence that does not come from ‘verbal’ testimony. A form that is not refutable that supports your case? A “smoking Gun” as it were … physical evidence … ? Something that moves this from a He said / She said …
I have empathy having gone hrough the annullment process with a former spouse [non-catholic] that was not very cooperative.
I do not think that a diocese can opt out of the proper form due to monetary contrainst…
You will always have the right to an apeal and that would be removed from the diocese - never had to take that step so I am not too sure of the process but you would have that right …
Have you attepted to have a meeting with Rev. Msgr. Frederick C. Easton, JCL, Vicar Judicial who seems to be the head of your Tribunal?
Looking around the web page, they don’t seem like they would dispense with the normal procedings [advocates, defenders of the bond, written testimony … at least from reading the Q/A and other info.]
When they accepted the case they must have gave the reasons [do not list what they said about your case on this public foum - it is not necessary] …
Some cases might read like “Gross lack of due descretion” on the part of one or both parties … It might say “Mutual lack of descretion” … Search for your evidence such that it directly relates to the grounds …
I really feel for you … find a person who can gain he access and ear of the tribunal to gain an unbiases assessment of the case …
Or you can just wait for this decision and plan your appeal …
who is “they” and where is "up there"
if you mean someone from the tribunal is discussing your case with outsiders, that is a grave violation of canon law, as those proceedings are completely confidential. Report it to the bishop at once, but be sure you have evidence.
What do you mean "Is it worth it?"
Did you go into the divorce court without a lawyer to protect your legal rights and interests? Wasn’t it worth it?
Why would you imagine that a court of canon law would be any different?
Is this person who has this influence…a lay person? Why are lay people making annulment decisions…I thought these decisions are made objectively by clergy? Please please tell me that lay people are not involved in annulments…because vicious hearsay like this woman’s for example–could totally thwart the whole thing.
Nope. She is a lay person who helps the judge. However, from what I have been told, she is as involved in making decisions as anyone. One moment she claims that it would be inappropriate for her to read my file. The next, she is quoting from it. And, she told me that she went to the judge about my case and that THEY made determinations about it.
Well, have they heard of slander? If they gossip about your file…and try to ruin your reputation, you can sue them. And I would hire a secular law attorney, because slander is against the law. She should’t be involved at all. I am outraged by this–a lay person who has it out for you, is going to determine your annulment???:mad: