Does this annulment make sense?

My mother and father were married for 30 years. They were married in a non-catholic church because my father was an non-practicing Catholic and we were raised by my mother’s faith. But after 15 years of marriage, mom and us kids converted. My father started praying again, and they remarried in a catholic church. They had another child to celebrate this union. We all started going to Catholic church together as a family. It was the best time in their marriage and my childhood. My father however began slipping back to his old ways. He became an alcoholic, committed adultery and verbally abused my mother. My mother had no choice but to get out and divorce him in the courts because he was bankrupting her. She didn’t want to annul her marriage in the church however because she understood the sanctity of the sacrement.

Before the seperation my father had a lady “friend”. When My mother asked him to leave, they began living together. My father’s live in girlfriend is also divorced- she was not married in the CAtholic church.

My father began the process for Annulment after his girlfriend told him that she wanted a Catholic marriage. My mother was against this and wrote several letters to the tribunal stating why. She was really treated poorly by the the person who was I guess was overseeing their case. I think he was a Deacon. She felt too intimidated by him to go and fight the annulment so she just let it happen. I also wrote a letter to the tribunal telling them what sort of father my father was.

In under a year, the annulment was granted and my father and his girlfriend are planning to marry. How on earth is the church allowing this? I keep telling my mother that God knows her marriage in valid and my father will have to answer for this because I really think the church made a huge mistake.

Another thing I am wondering is: Did my father get to see the letter I wrote to the Tribunal? Or do they keep those things confidential.

Thank you for listening

picomo

You would be better asking one of the canon lawyers, such as Cameron Lansing, about this.

I do not know if they showed your dad the letter. Are you taking back what you said if they did? I doubt it. If you’re afraid your dad will hurt you if he sees what’s in the letter, ask your diocese’s tribunal office if he will. If you are afraid of your dad, and he’s hurt you in the past, get an order of protection.

I never saw the letter my mother wrote to the tribunal regarding my former marriage from tribunal records. I was only told by my advocate that it was pivotal in my not having to undergo any extensive psychiatry or psychology after the decree of nullity was granted. My aunt happened to know what was in the letter because of what my mother told her, and told me. My ex-husband was not what I would call a faithful man, and was certainly abusive, so I can honestly say I have some idea what your mom experienced.

I can also say that if the tribunal has determined your parents’ marriage was null, it was not because the tribunal did not consider your dad a reprobate for leaving you mom for his girlfriend. And it certainly **was not **because they thought something was wrong with your mom, and took your dad’s “side”. It was because, for whatever reason, the tribunal most likely decided that one or both of your parents did not have the ability and/or intention of making a lifelong vow at the time of the convalidation. You don’t know why. I don’t know why. We can only guess.

You don’t know the conditions of the decree, because I am sure your dad is not telling all. He may have to go to counseling (Most people do after an anullment). He still has to go to pre-marriage sessions. If he is getting maried in the Church, he still has to take all the steps anybody else would in his age bracket in that diocese. I doubt he’s getting away with as much as he lets people think.

A decree of nullity NEVER makes the children of the marriage illegitimate. I know you didn’t ask. But is is often a concern. The decree also has no effect on the civil proceedings, so your mom should feel free to do what she needs to do in regular court for her benefit, as well as your siblings if they are not out of the house. I’d hire a good lawyer and have the lawyer petition for fees, and reopen discovery, if it were me. But I’m an evil beast at times.:smiley:

I’m sorry your mom had a bad experience with the tribunal official. All I can say is, even deacons are human. I understand the wide range of emotions in this, to be emotionally teetering and get bad treatment from clergy. How’s her relationship with your parish priest(s)? Can they give her some emotional support right now?

Your mom, and you for that matter, might not see the gift in this. From the outside, I see your mother unshackled from a guy who did not appreciate her, indeed abused her, and given the gift of being able to marry again if the right man comes along. And she didn’t even have to give an offering for the decree! He is no longer your mom’s problem, legally or ecclesiastically. That’s a good deal. I’d pity the woman who is marrying him, because it’s been my experience that if this type of guy cheats once, he’ll cheat again. He won’t cheat on your mom again, that’s for sure.

If your diocese has a divorced ministry, she might want to give it a try. You might want to look into some of its programs, as well, even if you are what, 36.

it is a matter between the two parties to the marriage, and no business of the children or any other parties, what the grounds for annulment were. Your mother would legally have been given the change to make her testimony, provide witnesses, but by what you say, she did not do so. If so, that is her business, not yours. there is an appeals process for annulments, she should contact the tribunal through her parish priests.

[quote=picomo] My mother and father were married for 30 years. They were married in a non-catholic church because my father was an non-practicing Catholic and we were raised by my mother’s faith.
[/quote]

Your father married outside the church without the proper dispensation. Your parents marriage was null based on a defect of form. But, you have mentioned below that they had their marriage convalidated, so this seems to rule out defect of form as the grounds for annulment.

[quote=picomo] But after 15 years of marriage, mom and us kids converted. My father started praying again, and they remarried in a catholic church. They had another child to celebrate this union. We all started going to Catholic church together as a family. It was the best time in their marriage and my childhood. My father however began slipping back to his old ways. He became an alcoholic, committed adultery and verbally abused my mother. My mother had no choice but to get out and divorce him in the courts because he was bankrupting her. She didn’t want to annul her marriage in the church however because she understood the sanctity of the sacrement.
[/quote]

It’s not clear on the point of the convalidation if it was retro to your parents marriage or at that point forward (so it’s quite a complex issue and some of these things could be a part of the issue of validity).

[quote=picomo] Before the seperation my father had a lady “friend”. When My mother asked him to leave, they began living together. My father’s live in girlfriend is also divorced- she was not married in the CAtholic church.
[/quote]

This is not relevant to the annulment.

[quote=picomo] My father began the process for Annulment after his girlfriend told him that she wanted a Catholic marriage. My mother was against this and wrote several letters to the tribunal stating why. She was really treated poorly by the the person who was I guess was overseeing their case. I think he was a Deacon. She felt too intimidated by him to go and fight the annulment so she just let it happen.
[/quote]

The Tribunal found grounds for the annulment. There is an appeals process, your mother could pursue that.

[quote=picomo] In under a year, the annulment was granted and my father and his girlfriend are planning to marry. How on earth is the church allowing this?
[/quote]

The tribunal found sufficient evidence that the marriage was not Sacramental for one or more reasons. Your mother would have been told that reason. We are not privileged to that reason, nor are you.

[quote=picomo] I keep telling my mother that God knows her marriage in valid and my father will have to answer for this because I really think the church made a huge mistake.
[/quote]

Well, her marriage might not have been valid. And, I don’t really see why you are so upset that it was found to be invalid. Clearly your dad had issues all along, it’s not a big leap to the conclusion he was not capable of contracting a Sacramental marriage.

[quote=picomo] Another thing I am wondering is: Did my father get to see the letter I wrote to the Tribunal? Or do they keep those things confidential.
[/quote]

From what I understand, the petitioner and the respondent do both see the evidence in their case.

I got this from another thread. It might help:

http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Sep1998/feature1.asp

I heard on a Kimberly Hahn audio tape that annulments are not infallible judgements. Is that true? Is it possible that an annulled marriage might indeed be sacramental–acknowledge in Heaven?

If so, is there still adultery?

**Thank you for replying Chgo. **

*I do not know if they showed your dad the letter. Are you taking back what you said if they did?

No- I would not take back what I said. I was just curious.

size=3]I never saw the letter my mother wrote to the tribunal regarding my former marriage from tribunal records… I can honestly say I have some idea what your mom experienced.]

I am sorry you had such a horrible experience. I guess the Annulment process for you was a healing one? I wish I could say the same for my mom. It has been extremely painful for her- even more so than the divorce.
*
A decree of nullity NEVER makes the children of the marriage illegitimate*.

Yes. I know this. Thank you.

I’m sorry your mom had a bad experience with the tribunal official… How’s her relationship with your parish priest(s)? Can they give her some emotional support right now?]

She goes to councelling with one of the priests at her church.

Your mom, and you for that matter, might not see the gift in this. From the outside, I see your mother unshackled from a guy who did not appreciate her, indeed abused her, and given the gift of being able to marry again if the right man comes along

I think it is too painful right now for my mom to see this.

Thank you for all your kind words and for the link below! I will print it out and pass it on to my mom.

picomo*

[quote=JMJ Theresa] I heard on a Kimberly Hahn audio tape that annulments are not infallible judgements. Is that true?
[/quote]

Yes, this is true

[quote=JMJ Theresa] Is it possible that an annulled marriage might indeed be sacramental–acknowledge in Heaven?
[/quote]

No, because what the Church binds, God will bind. If the judgment was wrong, but made honestly, then that judgment is binding. Only an appeal and/or new evidence could reopen the case.

[quote=JMJ Theresa] If so, is there still adultery?
[/quote]

No…

The annulment process for me was very liberating, for lack of a better word. My parents, particularly my mother, have a thought process that, well, Mom thinks she’s the pope. She’s been making pronouncements for years on what she thinks is doctrine. I was told by Pope Mom that if I even considered another marriage unless it was to again marry my ex, I was on the road to Hell. Never mind that Ex was on wife #3 by the time I got around to an annulment. So, it was not only liberating and very let’s see, affirming me, but it woke me up to the fact that the real Church is not the Church of Mom…?..

…I hope your mom keeps getting counseling, and will soon be on her way to the rest of her life.

[quote=puzzleannie]it is a matter between the two parties to the marriage, and no business of the children or any other parties, what the grounds for annulment were. Your mother would legally have been given the change to make her testimony, provide witnesses, but by what you say, she did not do so. If so, that is her business, not yours. there is an appeals process for annulments, she should contact the tribunal through her parish priests.
[/quote]

Annie,

I appreciate and respect what you say, but until you’ve been the child of divorce, it’s difficult to understand how deeply and profoundly divorce and even more so, annulment, has on the children. Children are a BIG part of that marriage. They are the product of that marriage.

Regardless of the Church’s definition of annulment, it would have crushed me if my parents had been married in the Catholic church and then someone came along and said that it never happened. :frowning:

[quote=LeahInancsi]Annie,

I appreciate and respect what you say, but until you’ve been the child of divorce, it’s difficult to understand how deeply and profoundly divorce and even more so, annulment, has on the children. Children are a BIG part of that marriage. They are the product of that marriage.

Regardless of the Church’s definition of annulment, it would have crushed me if my parents had been married in the Catholic church and then someone came along and said that it never happened. :frowning:
[/quote]

I am a child of divorce and my parents’ marriage was annulled.

I 100% agree with Annie, and I disagree with you on both Annie’s ability to comment on this subject and with your assessment that annulment has any bearing on the children and that the children should be privy to the annulment paperwork and/or decision.

The annulment has absolutely NO impact on me at all, and I am not “crushed” by it.

A decree of nullity does not say the marriage “never happened”. A decree of nullity states that the marriage was not sacramental, and therefore it is dissolvable. Only a sacramental marriage is indissolvable.

As a parent who has undergone divorce I likewise support Ike.

A decree of nullity does NOT mean the marriage “never happened”. It means that for whatever reason it was not a valid sacramental marriage. BIG difference.

Also, feeling “crushed” has no impact whatsoever on truth. (Please don’t feel that I am being mean, emotionless, lacking understanding. . .I am not. I have feelings just like anybody else. :smiley: )

Whether a person “feels bad” or “feels good” has really no bearing on whether a person’s ACTIONS (done by him or to him) are “bad” or “good”. That is an extremely difficult concept to accept in this particular age when just about everything else in our lives is predicated on “if it feels good, do it, it IS good”. In sober fact, a LOT of things that “feel bad” to us ARE good, and a LOT of things that “feel good” to us ARE bad, morally speaking. Feelings are not a reliable index on which to judge objective morality.

It seems to me (I could be wrong) that there is a huge emphasis in today’s society on assigning blame. And rarely is that blame assigned to an individual–it is much easier to assign it to an institution, and lately particularly a RELIGIOUS institution.

In the rare cases where blame is assigned to ONE individual, that individual is presumed most often to be either the LEADER of an institution or to have somehow been “brainwashed” by an institution.

And so, any time we feel a hurt, we look for somebody to blame. Disagree with something political? Blame the democrats, republicans, third party, labour, tories, capitalism, communism, yadda yadda.

Disagree with something religious? Blame the Pope, the Church, religion itself, anarchy, atheism, yadda yadda.

But it seems we never want to blame ourselves.
(I am sticking particularly to current society here, late 20th and early 21st century).

Yes, it is easier, when facing a moral challenge, to take ourselves “out of it”, so to speak, and to blame “legalism”, or “rules” or “teachings” as being what is at fault, and not any actions of our own.

I blame myself for what I deserve blame for, not “the Church”. It was because of my actions, and my ex husband’s actions, that our marriage was not sacramentally valid. . .not because of the big bad church. And, having accepted responsibility for my part in it, I have likewise accepted (most thankfully) the decree, received confession, and am fully active in my beloved Church, Deo gratias.

If a different decision had been made, despite what I may have “felt” about it, I would have accepted that decision also, and abided by the rules and teachings of the church. And I would have done so I hope with equal thankfulness.

[quote=LeahInancsi]Annie,

I appreciate and respect what you say, but until you’ve been the child of divorce, it’s difficult to understand how deeply and profoundly divorce and even more so, annulment, has on the children. Children are a BIG part of that marriage. They are the product of that marriage.

Regardless of the Church’s definition of annulment, it would have crushed me if my parents had been married in the Catholic church and then someone came along and said that it never happened. :frowning:
[/quote]

Hello Annie,

As I child of both a divorce and annulment, I really appreciate your post. I was definitely very hurt by the divorce itself as well as the annulment process. Of course, many people find the annulment process healing. My experience of it is different.

As a point of clarification, I do understand that my parents’ marriage happened but was not sacramental. I am not blaming the Church for the fact that they were able to obtain an annulment or arguing that the decision was wrong. Nor do I feel I should be privy to all the information contained in the annulment.

I just wanted to thank Annie for her sympathy and offer mine to anyone having a difficult time understanding or accepting an annulment.

God bless.

[quote=1ke]I am a child of divorce and my parents’ marriage was annulled.

I 100% agree with Annie, and I disagree with you on both Annie’s ability to comment on this subject and with your assessment that annulment has any bearing on the children and that the children should be privy to the annulment paperwork and/or decision.

The annulment has absolutely NO impact on me at all, and I am not “crushed” by it.

A decree of nullity does not say the marriage “never happened”. A decree of nullity states that the marriage was not sacramental, and therefore it is dissolvable. Only a sacramental marriage is indissolvable.
[/quote]

I don’t disagree with Annie. I just have a different view of the situation. Apparently, I’m wrong. It was very difficult growing up in the 60’s with divorces parents.

Perhaps, the term “annulment” is deceiptive.

So nice for everybody to jump on met at once. :frowning:

Leahlnancsi-
My siblings and I all found both the divorce and annulment very painful, so I appreciated your post. It is brought up alot of very painful memories for us and also saddness knowing that our mom was so dedicated to our dad and our family. Now we are all supporting my mom and praying that she can find peace in all of this. We are all very close and when one of us is hurting, it effects us all. I know you understand this and I thank you for taking the time to write. Please don’t be upset by other posters on this thread.

Outinchgoburbs-
I am glad that your annulment was a liberating one. Oh and my mom occassionally gets a case of “Pope-itis” too. LOL

ElizabthAnne-
Thank you for your support and understanding.

Picomo

[quote=LeahInancsi] …Perhaps, the term “annulment” is deceiptive…
[/quote]

It is because of the civil dissolution term, “annulment”. A decree of nullity is perhaps better.

I found another site that had a good explanation:

ewtn.com/expert/answers/annulment.htm

[quote=picomo]Leahlnancsi-
My siblings and I all found both the divorce and annulment very painful, so I appreciated your post. It is brought up alot of very painful memories for us and also saddness knowing that our mom was so dedicated to our dad and our family. Now we are all supporting my mom and praying that she can find peace in all of this. We are all very close and when one of us is hurting, it effects us all. I know you understand this and I thank you for taking the time to write. Please don’t be upset by other posters on this thread.

Picomo
[/quote]

Thank you very much for your kind words.

For a very long time, I believed that Catholics didn’t believe in divorce or any other way out of marriage. I patterned my life with regard to marriage after that belief. Now that I’m converting and learning more about the Church, I’m somewhat disillusioned with some of the features of annulments.

I can’t help but imagine a situation where I married in the Church and the marriage ended in divorce. Then, to have some strangers come along and say that I didn’t know what I was doing. I know that is a simplistic scenario, but that’s what it boils down to in my mind. On the other hand, I’ve dated Protestant guys who have no concept of “sacramental” marriage. I would be grateful for the availability of an annulment if I married someone who just didn’t “get it” (the concept of sacramental marriage).

[quote=JMJ Theresa]I heard on a Kimberly Hahn audio tape that annulments are not infallible judgements. Is that true? Is it possible that an annulled marriage might indeed be sacramental–acknowledge in Heaven?

If so, is there still adultery?
[/quote]

No, there is no adultery, because the individuals involved have the right to rely on the decision of the Tribunal; that is why there are tribunals - so a binding decision can be made and relied upon. Further, the rest of the Church relies on it.

[quote=Tantum ergo]As a parent who has undergone divorce I likewise support Ike.

A decree of nullity does NOT mean the marriage “never happened”. It means that for whatever reason it was not a valid sacramental marriage. BIG difference.

Also, feeling “crushed” has no impact whatsoever on truth. (Please don’t feel that I am being mean, emotionless, lacking understanding. . .I am not. I have feelings just like anybody else. :smiley: )

Whether a person “feels bad” or “feels good” has really no bearing on whether a person’s ACTIONS (done by him or to him) are “bad” or “good”. That is an extremely difficult concept to accept in this particular age when just about everything else in our lives is predicated on “if it feels good, do it, it IS good”. In sober fact, a LOT of things that “feel bad” to us ARE good, and a LOT of things that “feel good” to us ARE bad, morally speaking. Feelings are not a reliable index on which to judge objective morality.

It seems to me (I could be wrong) that there is a huge emphasis in today’s society on assigning blame. And rarely is that blame assigned to an individual–it is much easier to assign it to an institution, and lately particularly a RELIGIOUS institution.

In the rare cases where blame is assigned to ONE individual, that individual is presumed most often to be either the LEADER of an institution or to have somehow been “brainwashed” by an institution.

And so, any time we feel a hurt, we look for somebody to blame. Disagree with something political? Blame the democrats, republicans, third party, labour, tories, capitalism, communism, yadda yadda.

Disagree with something religious? Blame the Pope, the Church, religion itself, anarchy, atheism, yadda yadda.

But it seems we never want to blame ourselves.
(I am sticking particularly to current society here, late 20th and early 21st century).

Yes, it is easier, when facing a moral challenge, to take ourselves “out of it”, so to speak, and to blame “legalism”, or “rules” or “teachings” as being what is at fault, and not any actions of our own.

I blame myself for what I deserve blame for, not “the Church”. It was because of my actions, and my ex husband’s actions, that our marriage was not sacramentally valid. . .not because of the big bad church. And, having accepted responsibility for my part in it, I have likewise accepted (most thankfully) the decree, received confession, and am fully active in my beloved Church, Deo gratias.

If a different decision had been made, despite what I may have “felt” about it, I would have accepted that decision also, and abided by the rules and teachings of the church. And I would have done so I hope with equal thankfulness.
[/quote]

Amen!

Should I say it again? Amen!

[quote=LeahInancsi] For a very long time, I believed that Catholics didn’t believe in divorce or any other way out of marriage.
[/quote]

This is correct.

[quote=LeahInancsi] I patterned my life with regard to marriage after that belief.
[/quote]

As we all should.

[quote=LeahInancsi] Now that I’m converting and learning more about the Church, I’m somewhat disillusioned with some of the features of annulments.

[/quote]

The tribunal process that the church allows for the examination of marriages to determine validity is an work of mercy.

There is no requirement to have such a process. The alternative would be that no marriages are ever examined.

God loves us, and the Church attempts to show that merciful love through the tribunal process by taking pity on those who married invalidly although in no way reuqired to do so.

The tribunal process is not perfect, but it’s goal is to temper justice with mercy.

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