Is annulment just "catholic divorce"?


#1

is annulment just a catholic divorce? i know it’s not divorce; it’s declaring that a marriage never happened. but it seems like it’s pretty darn easy to get a marriage annulled. it kind of bothers me. also, why are they so expensive?

please help with my questions. thanks and God bless.


#2

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]is annulment just a catholic divorce?.
[/quote]

Theoretically it is not. But that is theoretically. According to the National $149 divorce center:
cyberstation.net/paralegal/annulment.html
They will get you the forms and other info needed for the annulment for $149.
According to the website:
“Many people believe that virtually any failed marriage can be annulled on the basis of incapacity and immaturity. It is not all that difficult to prove that someone was immature at the time of the marriage or did not fully understand all the obligations and developments involved in a lifelong marriage.”


#3

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]is annulment just a catholic divorce? i know it’s not divorce; it’s declaring that a marriage never happened. but it seems like it’s pretty darn easy to get a marriage annulled. it kind of bothers me. also, why are they so expensive?

please help with my questions. thanks and God bless.
[/quote]

A divorce disolves a valid Marriage. An Annulment in the Catholic Church does not, cannot, disolve anything. If a Marriage is proven to exist NOTHING on earth can disolve the Marriage Bond except death. A Decree of Nullity can only be granted if it is shown that a valid Marriage never exiated from the very beginning. There are so many Annulments because there are so many invlaid Marriages. Many people over the last 30 years entered Marriage without much thought about the purpose, intent, validity, or Canon Law that applies to ALL Catholics. That is why there are so many Invalid, and Irregular Marriages.

The cost is not all that high, and most diosese only require basic fees. How much would it cost you to retain several lawyers, investigators and clerks, investigate a civil case (sometimes across the country or even world), seek and obtain witnesses and testamony, file a civil case in court, go to trial with it, then automatically apeal it to another court for review? $$5000, 10K, $20K, $50K, 100,000?

This would be something like it in civil law.


#4

How does one treat a life long sacrament? We don’t believe in divorce and I’m not sure we can given our sacramental theology. I know that the Orthodox allow divorce. I don’t understand by what justification. Anulments are probably too easy to obtain but what alternative is there?

Dan L


#5

I don’t find the distinction of deciding, after the fact, that a marriage didn’t exist, very impressive.

Logically, this implies that at any given wedding ceremony you really don’t know if God has joined you or not.

That turns a sacrament into an exercise in wishful thinking. “Yes, we witnessed a Catholic wedding yesterday. I wonder if it’s going to result in a marriage?” Who needs a sacrament if you don’t even know if you got it?

Alan


#6

I don’t quite understand anulments either! I’m a new Catholic. I thought divorce was wrong ( I personally know it is ). so what’s with anulment? It says the marriage never happened, but in all physical terms it did.

Like my sis-in-laws husband. He was previously married, it’s anuled now and he and my sis-in-law have a sacramental marriage. But since he and his first wife were married in a court they were allowed to have the marriage anuled. But they were married, it was consecrated (they have kids)

I thought Christ taught divorce is against moral law.


#7

It says the marriage never happened, but in all physical terms it did.

So you believe that people should be held to oaths they were unable to take in the first place? What about mental disorders, force, fraud?

But since he and his first wife were married in a court they were allowed to have the marriage anuled. But they were married, it was consecrated (they have kids)

You can’t be “allowed to have your marriage annulled”. There is no such thing as annulment, there is only the declaration of nullity. The Church cannot retroactively invalidate marriage. It’s not like the tribunal says “oh, it didn’t work out, so let’s annul it”. What is being done is finding out if there was a validly concluded marriage in the very first place.

Their marriage was convalidated. As it was convalidated, it means that it hadn’t been valid. If they had had a valid marriage, they wouldn’t have needed convalidation.

I thought Christ taught divorce is against moral law.

Yes, divorce is. And so is fornication. When you know for sure or reasonably suppose that your marriage is invalid and still have sex, it’s fornication or even adultery if either of you has a previous valid marriage.

You say you don’t know why “annulment” is there. I say I don’t know why some priests teach people not to investigate the validity of their marriage if there is doubt but they don’t want to separate. After all, where’s the sacramental union if the marriage is objectively invalid?


#8

[quote=AmberDale]But since he and his first wife were married in a court they were allowed to have the marriage anuled. But they were married, it was consecrated (they have kids).
[/quote]

No. They were shacking up.


#9

I know a guy who had his five previous marriages annulled and his wife had her four previous marriages annulled before they got married.

Is not the Church persecuting this poor man and his wife by giving them nothing but garbage invalid marriages all their lives when they have sought good sacramental marriages? With the Church’s failure rate on this one man and woman alone, one has to wonder if the Church got any of our sacramental marriages right.

Then again maybe it is not the sacramental union part of so many marriages which should be being put into the garbage by faillible annulment tribunal human decisions. Maybe it is the Church’s non-infaillible annullment process which needs to be put out in the garbage by Church leaders.

I read where a man left his wife for his mistress. He was getting an annulment through the Church so he could marry his mistress. The wife begged the Church to let God’s commandment against adultery stand and protect her from the wickedness of adultery. She said possibly her husband will repent from his sin of adultery and come back to her and she will forgive him. The bishop told her that the pronouncement that her marriage, of many decades and five children, was nothing but garbage was none of her business.

Through annulment the Church is persecuting those God gave the commandment against adultery to protect.

NAB MAR 10:2

Then some Pharisees came up and as a test began to ask him whether it was permissible for a husband to divorce his wife. In reply he said, "What command did Moses give you? They answered, “Moses permitted divorce and the writing of a decree of divorce.” But Jesus told them: “He wrote that commandment for you because of your stubbornness. At the beginning of creation God made them male and female; for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become as one. They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore let no man separate what God has joined.” Back in the house again, the disciples began to question him about this. He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.” **NAB MAR 10:17 **

"Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life? Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; You shall not commit adultery;’” Peace in Christ,

Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#10

[quote=chevalier]So you believe that people should be held to oaths they were unable to take in the first place? What about mental disorders, force, fraud?

[/quote]

I’m just saying we make up our minds. I could easily construct a case giving an excuse why practically any marriage maybe should never have happened. Do the two become one or not?

If we don’t think a person is mentally capable to take on vows, then maybe we should not marry them in the first place. Let them speak before they are pronounced man and wife or forever hold them peace.

Or, we just admit that we are a glorified legal system and call a divorce a divorce. We agree with the law to call our offering “marriage” after all. We just don’t like to think we are delivering the same faulty product.

You can’t be “allowed to have your marriage annulled”. There is no such thing as annulment, there is only the declaration of nullity. The Church cannot retroactively invalidate marriage. It’s not like the tribunal says “oh, it didn’t work out, so let’s annul it”. What is being done is finding out if there was a validly concluded marriage in the very first place.

The question never comes up to the tribunal unless it didn’t work out, and you can’t tell me the tribunal members don’t have a personal interest in the outcome, can you? If you were a lawyer on a tribunal, would you not keep searching until you either found a “loophole” or were convinced you had exhausted all practicable options? If not, then the tribunal really isn’t functioning right.

Their marriage was convalidated. As it was convalidated, it means that it hadn’t been valid. If they had had a valid marriage, they wouldn’t have needed convalidation.

Yes, but then that creates the problem of not knowing whether any given marriage is valid unless it has been thoroughly and expensively researched.

Yes, divorce is. And so is fornication. When you know for sure or reasonably suppose that your marriage is invalid and still have sex, it’s fornication or even adultery if either of you has a previous valid marriage.

If it takes a team of lawyers to figure out whether the marriage is valid, then how can a person possibly be held responsible for having sex on the basis of their marriage might not be valid.

It brings us back to the truth that I’m not sure you embrace, that annulment is “discovered” as a result of an attempt at marriage that didn’t work out. In effect, we are saying, "it didn’t work out so let’s go hire a search time to find out how we can claim our marriage never happened.

Sounds like a game to me. A very dangerous game that we have learned to take seriously.

You say you don’t know why “annulment” is there. I say I don’t know why some priests teach people not to investigate the validity of their marriage if there is doubt but they don’t want to separate. After all, where’s the sacramental union if the marriage is objectively invalid?

That’s exactly my point, too. Moreover, if the marriage is objectively invalid, but both parties are clueless to that fact when they make their vows, then how does any couple know whether their vows actually mean anything at the time they take them? They could be led into satan’s trap and fornicate on their wedding night, not realizing they are actually unmarried. I say let’s not call them fornicators, but remember when Christ said, “Lord forgive them for they know not what they do.”.

Alan


#11

Another troubling question that just started bugging me is, do civil weddings have to be annulled? Since there is no such thing as a civil wedding, I’d think that a person with twelve civil marriages and divorces would not have any restrictions about getting married in the Catholic church. Somehow I can hardly see that happening in practice.

Alan


#12

Maybe this will make more sense:

Marriage is a union which brings life to a new creature. Annulment is latent contraception. Divorce is abortion.

Alan


#13

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Maybe this will make more sense:

Marriage is a union which brings life to a new creature. Annulment is latent contraception. Divorce is abortion.

Alan
[/quote]

If Church proclaimed annulments are equivalent to contraception then Church proclaimed annulments are the Church practicing mortal sin. Is this what you are saying?

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#14

[quote=Steven Merten]I know a guy who had his five previous marriages annulled and his wife had her four previous marriages annulled before they got married.

Is not the Church persecuting this poor man and his wife by giving them nothing but garbage invalid marriages all their lives when they have sought good sacramental marriages? With the Church’s failure rate on this one man and woman alone, one has to wonder if the Church got any of our sacramental marriages right.
The bishop told her that the pronouncement that her marriage, of many decades and five children, was nothing but garbage was none of her business.

Through annulment the Church is persecuting those God gave the commandment against adultery to protect.

[/quote]

You are making a lot of good points here.
I find it incredible, that after five children and decades of marriage, there was never any question of an invalid marriage, until the husband finds himself a younger sexier girl. In other words, the marriage was consdiered valid up until that point in time???
This is the teaching of the one, true Church???


#15

[quote=AmberDale]I don’t quite understand anulments either! I’m a new Catholic. I thought divorce was wrong ( I personally know it is ). so what’s with anulment? It says the marriage never happened, but in all physical terms it did.

Like my sis-in-laws husband. He was previously married, it’s anuled now and he and my sis-in-law have a sacramental marriage. But since he and his first wife were married in a court they were allowed to have the marriage anuled. But they were married, it was consecrated (they have kids)

I thought Christ taught divorce is against moral law.
[/quote]

It is the cases of those of mature age who marry in the Church and then have kids that give me pause and there are too many of these. Looks bad.


#16

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]is annulment just a catholic divorce? i know it’s not divorce; it’s declaring that a marriage never happened. but it seems like it’s pretty darn easy to get a marriage annulled. it kind of bothers me. also, why are they so expensive?

please help with my questions. thanks and God bless.
[/quote]

I highly recommend the book by Michael Smith Foster entitled Annulment: The Wedding That Was: How The Catholic Church Can Declare A Marriage Null.

It is excellent and should answer your questions regarding this topic.

Also, I do not believe obtaining an annulment is any easier today than at any other time as the impediments have remained predominantly the same over the years. It may appear so because there is a larger volume today than in the past, and this has many reasons including catechesis, culture, society, and information available to people.

As for cost, what makes you believe they are expensive?


#17

Hey calme down. I’m just asking. I’m not judging what the church teaches at all.

In the case of my sis-in-law her husband is wonderful. They have 3 beautiful kids together. He is a good man and I’m glad they are in communion with the church.
They (with my husband) were the examples that led me to the Church. I just don’t understand the whole process I guess.

If someone is married outside of the Church, like a court, it’s easier to have the marriage nullified? The husband is Catholic, the wife doesn’t know what she believes. They are both consenting adults, get married at the courthouse. Have 2 beautiful kids. After a few years decide it’s not a good marriage. (wife is crazy). They divorce.
Man meets wonderful new woman. They decide to get married. Both adults, both Catholic. Get first marriage nullified. have marriage in the Church. Live happily ever after.

I’m not saying sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes they don’t find the one God chose for them when they are young (though adults).
I just don’t get anulments.

on a side note- I don’t appreciate the attack. It felt like cavalier was literally taking a sharp pointy object and jabbing it in my eye. I just want to understand it.


#18

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Another troubling question that just started bugging me is, do civil weddings have to be annulled? Since there is no such thing as a civil wedding, I’d think that a person with twelve civil marriages and divorces would not have any restrictions about getting married in the Catholic church. Somehow I can hardly see that happening in practice.

Alan
[/quote]

This depends upon who is petitioning, a Catholic or a non-Catholic.


#19

[quote=AmberDale]If someone is married outside of the Church, like a court, it’s easier to have the marriage nullified? I just don’t get anulments.

[/quote]

I already suggested it to another poster, but the book on Annulments by Michael Smith Foster is awesome, easy to read, and available on Amazon.com.


#20

[quote=alfredo]You are making a lot of good points here.
I find it incredible, that after five children and decades of marriage, there was never any question of an invalid marriage, until the husband finds himself a younger sexier girl. In other words, the marriage was consdiered valid up until that point in time???
This is the teaching of the one, true Church???
[/quote]

First, the Church presumes validity for all marriages until proven otherwise. So, yes, until such time as a petition to examine the marriage is made, it is presumed to be valid.

Someone must initiate a petition to examine a marriage in order for nullity proceedings to take place. Only then will the Church make a determination based on the evidence presented on whether or not a valid impediment existed at the time the marriage was contracted.

Children and duration of the marriage have no bearing on Sacramentality.


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