Head-banger of a conversation: rant


#1

I was challenged at dinner last night by a worldly, French, materialist-secularist from a fundamentalist-evangelical background (!) with the following:

Can you please tell me how it is that the Church can take a legal marriage, recognized by the State, and annul it?

It doesn’t. The state marriage and a sacramental marriage are two different things.

No, they’re not!

Um. Yes they are. A Catholic marriage is a sacra . . . .

Well, I think that is SO presumptuous of the Church. Who do they think they are to override the laws of the United States?

The Church was here for 1800 years before the United States and had been performing marriages all that time. That kind of gives the Church a leg up on the situation.

That’s ridiculous. Everybody knows that when two people are legally married according to the government then that is a marriage. Where does the Church get the idea they can dissolve it?

It doesn’t. It determines that a marriage never existed in the first place according to the strict criteria by which she judges – criteria that have nothing to do with civil law.

That’s outrageous. I will never understand!

http://forum.catholic.com/images/smilies/ani/ani_banghead3.gif

Hail, Mary, full of grace . . . .


#2

Well it sounds that in this conversation the difference between church and state has not been clearly defined. Although it is in my view rediculous that in the States the church can annul a legal marriage because this just shows how, in the U.S., a democratic free country, chruch and state are clearly not seperate. (The inauguration is a clear example of this). As for my opinion it is a question to whom you find it more important that marriage is legal. A marriage condoned by god or by the State. But you should, as a citizen of a country abide to the country’s laws. A church should NEVER, in a democratic and free country, be able to break the laws of that country.


#3

The Church does not annul a legal marriage against the wishes of the State or Federal Government.

When someone comes to the Church seeking an annulment the Church is not rendering an opinion as to the Legal status (as defined by Federal/State Law) of the Marriage. That is why you can get a legal divorce (legal in the Federal/State law sense) stay celibate (i.e. not remarry without an anulment or sleep with other people) and you are still in full communion with the Church. The CHurch sees as being distinct Sacremental Marriage and a U.S. Legal Marriage (although all Sacremental Marriages qualify as legal marriages).

An anulment is where the Church examins your marriage (at your request) to see if there is the proper foundation, consideration etc to deem the marriage a true Sacramental Marriage. If not there may be grounds to annul the marriage

For those who think it is just pay and go…think again. In my Archdiocese the average time for a successful annulment is currently 18 months.

GEHALL5859

Luke 12:48


#4

The Church will not even start the annulment process most of the time unless a civil divorce has been obtained because they see that as hope for reconciliation. I think this is really odd that people are upset that the Church thinks it can say there is no marriage when the state declares there is. Most of the time, they’re annoyed because the Church proclaims a marriage where the state has granted divorce. I guess, though, when a Catholic marries outside the Church it might seem like that. Whatever, though. I don’t understand why the state felt it necessary to take a stance on marriage in the first place. It seems like churches were doing fine without a civil definition. Now the government finds itself with a pending amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, although i guess if it were up to some of these ecclesial communities, gay “marriage” would already be a reality. Anyhoo, your responses seemed really good and i will pray for the secular humanist. And for you to keep fighting the good fight.


#5

[quote=mercygate]I was challenged at dinner last night by a worldly, French, materialist-secularist from a fundamentalist-evangelical background (!) with the following:

Can you please tell me how it is that the Church can take a legal marriage, recognized by the State, and annul it?

It doesn’t. The state marriage and a sacramental marriage are two different things.

No, they’re not!

Um. Yes they are. A Catholic marriage is a sacra . . . .

Well, I think that is SO presumptuous of the Church. Who do they think they are to override the laws of the United States?

The Church was here for 1800 years before the United States and had been performing marriages all that time. That kind of gives the Church a leg up on the situation.

That’s ridiculous. Everybody knows that when two people are legally married according to the government then that is a marriage. Where does the Church get the idea they can dissolve it?

It doesn’t. It determines that a marriage never existed in the first place according to the strict criteria by which she judges – criteria that have nothing to do with civil law.

That’s outrageous. I will never understand!

http://forum.catholic.com/images/smilies/ani/ani_banghead3.gif

Hail, Mary, full of grace . . . .
[/quote]

Sorry, but the Church does declare state-but-not-Church marriages “anulled,” all of the time! An “anullment” isn’t an exercise of power over the marriage, but a mere analysis-and-ruling-of-validity.

For example, my wife is a Jew who was previously married to a Lutheran, who himself was married to a Lutheran before he legally divorced that Lutheran wife and contracted a legal marriage, in a Lutheran church, to my wife.

The Church regards that Lutheran man’s first marriage to his first wife as “valid” and unbreakable, and so merely observed that his second marriage – the one to the lady who is now my wife – was consequently invalid.

Anullment is just a matter of looking and saying what one sees.


#6

[quote=mercygate] worldly, French, materialist-secularist from a fundamentalist-evangelical background (!)
[/quote]

He sounds like something you’d carry to school for show and tell.


#7

[quote=mercygate]I was challenged at dinner last night by a worldly, French, materialist-secularist from a fundamentalist-evangelical background (!)
[/quote]

It sounds to me that this person’s position is rooted in a secular materialist worldview.

Your observation of his “lineage” of fundamentalism / evangelicalism seems to be nothing more than “well poisoning”, seeing as how this person’s stance on marriage as a legal rather than God ordained institution does not conform to either fundamentalism or evangelicalism.

In other words your bias is showing.

Peace


#8

[quote=EA_Man]It sounds to me that this person’s position is rooted in a secular materialist worldview.

Your observation of his “lineage” of fundamentalism / evangelicalism seems to be nothing more than “well poisoning”, seeing as how this person’s stance on marriage as a legal rather than God ordained institution does not conform to either fundamentalism or evangelicalism.

In other words your bias is showing.

Peace
[/quote]

You certainly hit the nail on the head with laying this at the feet of the secularist-materialist worldview. The Evangelical childhood is something this person brings up with every mention of religion . . . The posted dialoge followed upon vivid descriptions of the eternal torments of Hell that would have made Jack Chick proud. This person seems to have it in for all of us: Catholics *and *Protestants.

This person also asked the astute (:rolleyes: ) question, “Where do we go when we die? The body is in the coffin. That’s where it is, so it doesn’t go anywhere.”

A delicate suggestion that eternity might not have the same time and space we know in this life went unnoticed.


#9

[quote=mulderalexander]Well it sounds that in this conversation the difference between church and state has not been clearly defined. Although it is in my view rediculous that in the States the church can annul a legal marriage because this just shows how, in the U.S., a democratic free country, chruch and state are clearly not seperate. (The inauguration is a clear example of this). As for my opinion it is a question to whom you find it more important that marriage is legal. A marriage condoned by god or by the State. But you should, as a citizen of a country abide to the country’s laws. A church should NEVER, in a democratic and free country, be able to break the laws of that country.
[/quote]

There is major misunderstanding here. A petition for annulment only takes place after a cival divorce. You can not file for an annulment until after your a legally divorced. If the parties involved are Catholic or at least one is the church has criteria as what constitutes a valid marriage. As Catholics we certainly have the right and obligation to follow the tenants of our faith. The church has the right to make decisons about those who chose to follow the Catholic faith. No one forces these people to be Catholic.

An anullment means one or both parties went into the marriage with something lacking for the criteria of a sacramental marriage. A person also has to seek an anullment, the church does not just annul peoples marriages -they are presumed valid until proven otherwise.

There is no church and state issue here at all. The church respects the cival laws on divorce. And it will not proceed with annulment until after a couple is civally divorced.


#10

What is your implication here? That it’s “Pay, WAIT, and Go” or something else? Simply making someone wait does not, of necessity, imply validity…

Phil


#11

[quote=dafalax]The Church will not even start the annulment process most of the time unless a civil divorce has been obtained because they see that as hope for reconciliation.
[/quote]

But if we’re really talking about annulment, not divorce, why is that relevant? If it was never a real marriage in the first place, then “reconciliation” simply means reconciliation within a relationship of fornication.

This just seems like another piece of evidence that the “annulment process” has become a transparent cover-up for divorce, but the Catholic Church won’t recognize honestly what it is doing. The Orthodox way, and even the C of E policy (as distinct from ECUSA’s laxity), seem far superior to me.

Edwin


#12

[quote=Contarini]But if we’re really talking about annulment, not divorce, why is that relevant? If it was never a real marriage in the first place, then “reconciliation” simply means reconciliation within a relationship of fornication.

This just seems like another piece of evidence that the “annulment process” has become a transparent cover-up for divorce, but the Catholic Church won’t recognize honestly what it is doing. The Orthodox way, and even the C of E policy (as distinct from ECUSA’s laxity), seem far superior to me.

Edwin
[/quote]

The reconciliation would mean that the couple has decided to take their vows seriously whereas one or the other or both of them did not do so at the time of the marriage, which is what renders the marriage null and void.

What one intended to do when taking vows is what is at issue here, and if that can be corrected without civil divorce and an annulment judgment, then by all means the marriage should be saved before it goes too far.


#13

Fair enough! But the couple would technically be in the same boat as people who had been living together for years without marriage, right? (The subjective guilt wouldn’t be there, perhaps, but the objective situation would be the same.)

Edwin


#14

[quote=mercygate]You certainly hit the nail on the head with laying this at the feet of the secularist-materialist worldview. The Evangelical childhood is something this person brings up with every mention of religion . . . The posted dialoge followed upon vivid descriptions of the eternal torments of Hell that would have made Jack Chick proud. This person seems to have it in for all of us: Catholics *and *Protestants.

This person also asked the astute (:rolleyes: ) question, “Where do we go when we die? The body is in the coffin. That’s where it is, so it doesn’t go anywhere.”

A delicate suggestion that eternity might not have the same time and space we know in this life went unnoticed.
[/quote]

Fair enough - I don’t want to be oversensitive and should have realized that your dealings with this person extended beyond the snippet provided.

I’m sorry if I overreacted. It sounded initially like a gratuitous slam on evangelicals - I apologize.

Blessings on your witnessing to this person.

Peace


#15

Contarini:

They wouldn’t even be in the same ocean. Two people who are shacking up have made no vows, whereas two people in an invalid marriage have made promises before God to love one another for a lifetime, and one or both of them were incapable of being able to live up to such a promise. The increase in annulments recently indicates that people are poorly prepared to go into a marriage anymore because our instant gratification culture teaches us that you don’t have to sacrifice anything for anyone. You can dump people who aren’t perfect (why should you have to work at a relationship?) and you can kill babies that might inconvenience your life. The Catholic Church tries to prepare people for marriage with pre-Cana and the number of Catholics who seek civil divorce is 30% compared to 50% in any other denomination or non denomination. You can prefer your system till you’re blue in the face, but we get results.


#16

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