Have you heard of the church NOT granting an annulment? Post VII of course


Yes. He put in almost zero effort though and because he was a missionary and lived out of the country his entire first marriage he had no witnesses besides his wife who would not participate and one friend. Bottom line, my “husband” wouldn’t jump the hopes of the Church. It was simpler for him to divorce me and move on.


Ah, so you were both baptized Catholic and married within the Church. I can see now why you would feel as if that would cast doubt on the tribunal’s verdict.

That said, for any Sacrament it boils down to form, matter and intent - and with marriages, a tribunal would look at all three.

Matter: You need one man and one woman who are not in a currently valid marriage in order for the Sacrament to be valid.

Form: The method used to administrate the Sacrament. There’s a bunch of canon law stuff about this, but 3200 character limits means I won’t post it here.

Intent: The one man and one woman must intend on a Sacramental marriage. Intent could be impacted by several things, such as lying about being open to children, lying about past history, being forced into the marriage, being in an abusive relationship where you feel trapped, and so on.

In my opinion, this might be where the tribunal was looking. You said earlier:

It’s possible the tribunal may have thought that neither of you at the time understood the ramifications of marriage, and perhaps the intent for the Sacrament was missing - which would invalidate it. Especially if you weren’t married for a long period of time.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. Obviously I wasn’t a member of the tribunal. But based on what you’ve said thus far, I wouldn’t doubt their ruling.

Anyway, I’ll stop posting about this now, as it’s probably none of my business in the first place.


I know people who were not granted an annulment.


The whole point to me is that the numbers have totally flipped. Where annulments were rarely “granted” (for lack of a better word) to now annulments are rarely not granted. What happened?



I have indeed heard of negative responses.


An annulment “says” that in reality the marriage never actually took place because of an impediment. Some thing was present that was (denying) full and free consent with full knowledge of both parties of what the marriage should be. Something was not allowing that marriage to be completely free, chosen and accepted by both parties with their full knowledge and will. I’m sure some annulments have been denied before and after Vat II. But that isn’t the reason the reason is the specifics of each individual case.


I think it’s definitely fair to say that annulments were much more rarely given out prior to the 1970s or so… but there are a number of reasons for that. For one, people’s understanding of marriage, at least in the West, has radically declined. Far more people enter into marriages without a true understanding of a lifelong commitment without reservation. The Church’s understanding of psychological impediments has also developed.
I also understand that many cases never reach the level of formal petition because the local clergy do initial discernment to see if there’s a case.
Posters are also looking at this from a US perspective. Annulments, as I understand it, have been, even in recent years, extremely rare in Africa and Asia… and extremely difficult to obtain from an administrative perspective in many regions (hence Pope Francis’ recent reforms to streamline the process).


Pastors will often discourage the hopeless cases from applying. So there will be higher rates because the tribunal is already considering mostly plausible cases for annulment.


The Tribunals screen the cases that are accepted. They only accept cases where there appear to be legitimate grounds, witnesses, etc. After all of that, yes the Tribunals do find some marriages to be valid and others to be invalid.


This is how it went with our case. The priest who served as our advocate told us he would not submit papers to the tribunal if he did not find solid grounds for an annulment.


I’m not aware that nullity decisions are infallible. In fact, I’m sure they’re not. While many, hopefully most, are decided on a conscientious basis by orthodox tribunal members, errors can occur or tribunals can theoretically just grant nullity declarations for improper reasons, such as a misplaced compassion.
A party who is not morally certain of legitimate grounds for nullity cannot in my view simply hide behind a tribunal’s declaration.


We are to trust our Bishops and those he puts on the Tribunal. A person with a decree of nullity in their hand is not advised to sit home, wringing their hands, wondering if they can trust that decree.


When I received an annulment they listed the reasons they granted it. Did yours give you that kind of info?

If either of you were not fully committed for life, or entertained the possibility of divorce, that alone can be a reason.


Also, until just recently every annulment required TWO different dioceses to agree on the verdict. So that would mean both would have had to be in error.


A thing to remember also; once a petition is submitted, if it is rejected and the decree not made, a re-submission at a future time based on the same criteria/evidence, cannot be made. Totally new grounds must accompany a second submission. The old double jeopardy standard.
Some priests will not submit a petition because IMO while they believe the grounds to be valid, the “evidence” or supporting data is insufficient for the tribunal to grant the decree. I’ve known of cases like this, that were held in abeyance for a while until the conditions were deemed right (enough and proper witnesses, more solid facts supporting the petition, etc) for a favorable ruling from the tribunal.


Who cares…the church has the authority to either grant or reject an annulment…that is between the person seeking the annulment and the church…and nobody else.


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