How can a 20-year marriage with 3 kids really be annulled?


#21

[quote="3xblessed, post:18, topic:305033"]
I am aware that the tribunal issues an annulment, or doesn't. However, it does seem to be a pretty foregone conclusion, at least in my diocese; I've never known anyone who didn't ultimately get the annulment they were seeking.

[/quote]

Then again, maybe the folks who were denied annulments are simply not talking about it... :shrug:

I guess I still have questions, though. For once, if we weren't aware that the marriage was sacramental on the wedding day because neither of us was Catholic, why wouldn't that inherently nullify it?

The Catholic Church doesn't say a marriage between Christians is sacramental because it's a Catholic marriage -- it says it's sacramental by virtue of the fact that the spouses are both Christians, they're are free to marry, without any impediments to the marriage, and if they both freely consent to the marriage, and if the marriage meets all the requirements of their church or denomination. That fact that you two weren't Catholic, then, doesn't affect the validity. (You're saying that, at the time of the marriage, you both were Christians, right?)

I guess I just don't understand why a marriage is invalid just because it wasn't in a Catholic church

If one of you was Catholic at the time of the marriage, then there would have been the requirement that the "form" of the wedding matched Church requirements. If neither of you were Catholic, there would be no requirement that the wedding take place in a Catholic Church.

nor do I understand how the marriage could be invalid if there was no deception, no expectation that it would be temporary, etc.

Depends on what the "etc" are. What if one of you mistakenly thought that you were free to marry, but that wasn't the case? (For example -- and I'm not saying that this is the case, but just giving an example based on your question -- what if one of you had earlier eloped and gotten married at a chapel in Vegas; but thought that it wasn't a valid (sacramental) marriage. Then, you two would have entered your marriage thinking that it would be valid, but you would have been objectively mistaken.)

We went into it expecting it to be for life, as I think most couples do. Why does the tribunal get to decide whether the marriage was valid in the eyes of God

Because it's the competent authority on what constitutes marriage in the eyes of the Church? Maybe I don't understand what you're asking here...

Wasn't it valid if we both believed it was, and the annulment is just a get-out-of-jail-free card to get around the Church's prohibition on divorce?

What if you both believed it valid, but were objectively mistaken? Why isn't that a possibility?


#22

I really can’t wrap my head around this. Does this also mean that someone could consider their marriage sacramental but be mistaken, if someone within the church hierarchy said so? It sort of seems like anyone’s marriage is up for definition based on the powers that be.

For example, although my husband was baptized when we married, he did not consider himself a Christian. I was not baptized but DID consider myself Christian, although not practicing. That right there would probably be grounds enough for annulment. But if, hypothetically, we end up NOT getting divorced, does the fact that we could get an annulment mean that our marriage is not currently sacramental? Is it only invalid if we pursue an annulment or is it already invalid?


#23

I wonder this too. Can anyone be sure they are really married?:confused:


#24

[quote="hopeful3542, post:23, topic:305033"]
I wonder this too. Can anyone be sure they are really married?:confused:

[/quote]

Yes, of course. It isn't that difficult to enter a marriage. I would be much more inclined to believe some tribunals are abusing the process than that nearly everyone in a failed marriage was incapable of entering into a marriage to begin with.


#25

[quote="davidv, post:9, topic:305033"]
Though these are desirable ends of a marriage they are not what makes a relationship a marriage.

Marriage is a covenant whereby each who are free to marry, freely consent to be married.

And specifically for a Catholic couple:

[/quote]

So being together for 20 years and having 3 kids does not constitute free consent to marry?


#26

[quote="JerryZ, post:16, topic:305033"]
Marrriage is not the 20 years nor the kids that procreate!

It is a sacrament wether it was done in the Catholic Church or another accepted venue it remains a SACRAMENT.

The Church only can ascertain if the Sacrament is valid or not.

If it is invalid then the marriage never existed notwhistanding the 20 years or the beatiful kids.

[/quote]

If two people as faithful Christians lived as if married, then it is a marriage. How complicated can it really be?


#27

[quote="JimG, post:17, topic:305033"]
Yes, I understand. It has to do with whether the marriage was validly contracted at its outset. Because once married, it is permanent and unbreakable.

And yet, it sometimes seems to be somewhat analogous to the "once saved, always saved" doctrine of many Protestants. Somebody gets saved at age 21. Later, they turn into a serial murderer. Are the still saved? Well, no, because they were never really saved to begin with.

Yeah, maybe it's an unfair analogy. But in the end can anyone be sure they're saved? Can anyone be sure they're married?

There seem to be a lot of null marriages.

[/quote]

Except that OSAS doctrine cannot be found anywhere in the Bible the contrary to that can be. But Matrimony definetively CAN be found in the Bible and Jesus spoke directly about it.


#28

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:26, topic:305033"]
If two people as faithful Christians lived as if married, then it is a marriage. How complicated can it really be?

[/quote]

So if I as a faithful Christian live as if I am a priest that fact alone gives me free rein to celebrate a valid liturgy? Absolve people sacramentally of their sins on God's behalf? Heck, why not go the whole way and as a faithful Christian live as if I am the Pope - then I get to declare infallible dogma to boot .

Look, a truly "faithful Christian" is one who understands that God, and the Church authorities in whom God has vested power over such things, are alone competent to determine when someone is actually Pope, actually a priest ... or actually married. My gut feelings and my "living as if" don't mean squat by themselves.


#29

No, this is not true. This is a misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching regarding marriage and nullity.

Again, I encourage you to get the suggested book and read it, because this is not grounds for nullity.

NO your marriage is not invalid. And, if you are both baptized it is a sacrament.


#30

[quote="3xblessed, post:18, topic:305033"]

I guess I still have questions, though. For once, if we weren't aware that the marriage was sacramental on the wedding day because neither of us was Catholic, why wouldn't that inherently nullify it?

[/quote]

Because that is not a requirement for a valid marriage. Jews marry validly, Hindus marry validly, atheists marry validly. Sacramentality is a character of marriage between the baptized by the very fact of their baptism. Marriage involving an unbaptized party is a natural marriage, not a sacrament. Validity is a function of free consent and lack of impediments (such as prior marriage)'

In fact, when you married, since you were not baptized it was not a sacarament. It was a natural marriage. But, still VALID.

When you became baptized, your VALID marriage also became a sacrament.

[quote="3xblessed, post:18, topic:305033"]
Neither of us went into it thinking it was temporary. Neither of us fooled each other on the wedding day. Sure, we didn't understand what marriage was really like, but I think few people really do on the wedding day. We've stuck it out for 20 years and it has been difficult almost every step of the way, with very little joy. We both believe that we married the wrong person and were meant to just be friends, although neither of us has other partners in the wings now or anything.

[/quote]

Again, as I said in the beginning-- you hav a valid marriag and I do not see any grounds for nullity in anything you have written.

[quote="3xblessed, post:18, topic:305033"]
I guess I just don't understand why a marriage is invalid just because it wasn't in a Catholic church,

[/quote]

You are mistaken. Marriages of non-Catholics are perfectly valid. Again, what I see here is a lack of understanding of the Church teaching on marriage.

[quote="3xblessed, post:18, topic:305033"]
nor do I understand how the marriage could be invalid if there was no deception, no expectation that it would be temporary, etc. We went into it expecting it to be for life, as I think most couples do. Why does the tribunal get to decide whether the marriage was valid in the eyes of God, especially if it comes down to some reasoning other than just the fact that we weren't married in the Church? Wasn't it valid if we both believed it was, and the annulment is just a get-out-of-jail-free card to get around the Church's prohibition on divorce?

[/quote]

Yes, the marriage is valid. Nothing you have written indicates grounds for nullity.


#31

3x,

To give you an example of how a Sacrament could be invalid, suppose that a baby was not Baptized using the Triitarian Form ( in the Name of the Father, and of the Son...) but was Baptized under the name of Huey, Duey and Louie

The Baptism is therefore invalid.

It would not matter that, 20 years later, the child in question was a regular Mass attendee, say the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Liturgy of the Hours daily.

It still would have been an invalid Baptism. The examination of the Sacrament would focus ONLY on what happened at the confection of the Sacrament itself, and what was the intent and disposition of the parties involved at that specific instance in time.

None of what came afterward ( the regular Mass, the daily Rosary) has a bearing on the validity of the Baptism. A great spiritual life does not make a Baptism valid retroactively.

in your case, what a marriage tribunal will do is examine the form of the Sacrament of Marriage ( were you married according to the law of the Church, in a way that the Church recognizes), what was the intent and disposition of both of you ( did either of you have a false understanding of what the Sacrament means and achieves)

The presumption of the tribunal is that your Marriage is valid and they will work from that presumption. You will also have the Canonical right to appeal a judgement


#32

[quote="3xblessed, post:22, topic:305033"]
I really can't wrap my head around this. Does this also mean that someone could consider their marriage sacramental but be mistaken, if someone within the church hierarchy said so? It sort of seems like anyone's marriage is up for definition based on the powers that be.

For example, although my husband was baptized when we married, he did not consider himself a Christian. I was not baptized but DID consider myself Christian, although not practicing. That right there would probably be grounds enough for annulment. But if, hypothetically, we end up NOT getting divorced, does the fact that we could get an annulment mean that our marriage is not currently sacramental? Is it only invalid if we pursue an annulment or is it already invalid?

[/quote]

look, people on here mean well, but they are bringing up hypothetical examples of someone being in an invalid marriage due to a prior marriage that the other person was not aware of.

I don't know why several people have introduced this into your question because it has nothing to do with your question. Neither you nor your spouse were previously married, right? So, then the impediment of prior bond would not be present in your case. I think people were trying to give an example of where an impediment existed at the time of the marriage as a way to explain nullity.

But I think it is making it worse in this case. You are imaginging that just anything can cause nullity and that the Church can declare your marriage null on whim. Neither is the case here.

I think you simply do not understand the Church's teaching (which is fine, it takes a long time to learn about some subjects).

The real issue here is that you mentioned you and your husband might be headed for divorce after 20 years of marriage. PLEASE get counseling and do all that you can to remain married. This is the central issue, NOT nullity.


#33

The focus isn't just on the marriage; even more importantly it's on the children. Unless the couple had triplets or twins in the first years of their marriage, they currently have underage children. Divorce is a great way to screw up the kids lives. The couple must focus on issues like this first and foremost.


#34

[quote="1ke, post:32, topic:305033"]
look, people on here mean well, but they are bringing up hypothetical examples of someone being in an invalid marriage due to a prior marriage that the other person was not aware of.

I don't know why several people have introduced this into your question because it has nothing to do with your question. Neither you nor your spouse were previously married, right? So, then the impediment of prior bond would not be present in your case. I think people were trying to give an example of where an impediment existed at the time of the marriage as a way to explain nullity.

But I think it is making it worse in this case. You are imaginging that just anything can cause nullity and that the Church can declare your marriage null on whim. Neither is the case here.

I think you simply do not understand the Church's teaching (which is fine, it takes a long time to learn about some subjects).

The real issue here is that you mentioned you and your husband might be headed for divorce after 20 years of marriage. PLEASE get counseling and do all that you can to remain married. This is the central issue, NOT nullity.

[/quote]

I would encourage the OP to heed this advice. 1ke knows what she's talking about. Entertaining thoughts of annulment now are not conducive to repairing your marriage.

The Church does not expect us to have a PhD-in-sacramental-theology level of understanding in order to enter into a valid marriage. The reason it seems most petitions for annulments are granted is because most of the cases with no grounds are screened out by the parish priest before the application is ever filed. Don't assume that it is a given. It is not.


#35

Good point. The unfortunate flipside is that we DO have an awful lot of lukewarm pewsitters and an even larger amount of people who rarely if ever warm a pew and yet still self describe as catholic and want a nice church wedding, their kids baptized, first communions, confirmations, a funeral mass for Granny and that’s about it. Is it REALLY shocking that many of them end up in invalid marriages?

I certainly agree that the tribunal process is highly fallible and enjoys no divine protections against deception and mistakes. I even personally suspect that there may be a flaw in the process in that I don’t comprehend why the tribunal doesn’t investigate whether a defect present on the wedding day wasn’t resolved later on in the marriage. For example (hypothetical example), let’s say there is a couple in which the groom was having an affair right up to and beyond the wedding day. That’s a defect in consent right there, marriage is null, case closed. As I understand it, that’s the extent of the investigation even if the groom repented of that sin a year into the marriage, confessed, they worked through it, restored trust and went on together for 20 more years, having said 3 children. Again, as I understand it, the tribunal considers all that a moot point since there was defective consent on the day of the wedding. It seems to me that on the wedding day, they submitted to the church and went through the ceremony, but REALLY sealed their marriage to each other when the defect was removed. I don’t understand why that isn’t considered valid then since the church teaches that the couple confect the sacrament upon each other.


#36

[quote="JerryZ, post:27, topic:305033"]
Except that OSAS doctrine cannot be found anywhere in the Bible the contrary to that can be. But Matrimony definetively CAN be found in the Bible and Jesus spoke directly about it.

[/quote]

You are right. Jesus said it was permanent and not to be set aside by man.


#37

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:3, topic:305033"]
So being together 20 years and having 3 kids is not a marriage?

[/quote]

Is that how marriage is defined now?


#38

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:19, topic:305033"]
Church rules.

It doesn't make logical sense to me or to a lot of people, so I'm with you on being perplexed.

But from what I understand, it doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense to us or not or if we agree or not. Rules is rules.

[/quote]

It makes great sense.


#39

[quote="manualman, post:35, topic:305033"]
Good point. The unfortunate flipside is that we DO have an awful lot of lukewarm pewsitters and an even larger amount of people who rarely if ever warm a pew and yet still self describe as catholic and want a nice church wedding, their kids baptized, first communions, confirmations, a funeral mass for Granny and that's about it. Is it REALLY shocking that many of them end up in invalid marriages?

I certainly agree that the tribunal process is highly fallible and enjoys no divine protections against deception and mistakes. I even personally suspect that there may be a flaw in the process in that I don't comprehend why the tribunal doesn't investigate whether a defect present on the wedding day wasn't resolved later on in the marriage. For example (hypothetical example), let's say there is a couple in which the groom was having an affair right up to and beyond the wedding day. That's a defect in consent right there, marriage is null, case closed. As I understand it, that's the extent of the investigation even if the groom repented of that sin a year into the marriage, confessed, they worked through it, restored trust and went on together for 20 more years, having said 3 children. Again, as I understand it, the tribunal considers all that a moot point since there was defective consent on the day of the wedding. It seems to me that on the wedding day, they submitted to the church and went through the ceremony, but REALLY sealed their marriage to each other when the defect was removed. I don't understand why that isn't considered valid then since the church teaches that the couple confect the sacrament upon each other.

[/quote]

Yes, I agree with you. I used to think that perhaps marriage tribunals were applying the standards a little too loosely. But now I believe it is equally likely that a great many people simply do enter into null marriages, because they do not intend permanence, or fidelity, or openness to life. If that's the case, it is a deeper cultural problem. After all the vows do not say, for better but not for worse, in health but not in sickness, for richer but not for poorer, till death or until we change our minds.

I apologize to the OP for all this 'Catholic' speculation, because it does not specifically address her question.

Under divine law, the fact is, if they divorce, they cannot remarry. Unless there was no marriage in the first place. And that's what the tribunal is there to determine.


#40

[quote="manualman, post:35, topic:305033"]
Good point. The unfortunate flipside is that we DO have an awful lot of lukewarm pewsitters and an even larger amount of people who rarely if ever warm a pew and yet still self describe as catholic and want a nice church wedding, their kids baptized, first communions, confirmations, a funeral mass for Granny and that's about it. Is it REALLY shocking that many of them end up in invalid marriages?

I certainly agree that the tribunal process is highly fallible and enjoys no divine protections against deception and mistakes. I even personally suspect that there may be a flaw in the process in that I don't comprehend why the tribunal doesn't investigate whether a defect present on the wedding day wasn't resolved later on in the marriage. For example (hypothetical example), let's say there is a couple in which the groom was having an affair right up to and beyond the wedding day. That's a defect in consent right there, marriage is null, case closed. As I understand it, that's the extent of the investigation even if the groom repented of that sin a year into the marriage, confessed, they worked through it, restored trust and went on together for 20 more years, having said 3 children. Again, as I understand it, the tribunal considers all that a moot point since there was defective consent on the day of the wedding. It seems to me that on the wedding day, they submitted to the church and went through the ceremony, but REALLY sealed their marriage to each other when the defect was removed. I don't understand why that isn't considered valid then since the church teaches that the couple confect the sacrament upon each other.

[/quote]

The sacrament of marriage cannot be retroactively validated in this way, any more than someone who is in mortal sin can knowingly receive the Eucharist, later repent and confess their initial mortal sin (but not the sin of unworthily receiving the Eucharist) and have the later repentance of the other sin somehow undo the wrongfulness of their reception whilst in a state of sin.

Remember many converts are required to convalidate their marriages - it is not assumed that their conversion to Catholicism retroactively renders their marriage sacramental.


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