Just can't shake the feeling that annulment = Catholic divorce


#21

[quote="silentstar, post:12, topic:216940"]
Does that book have statistics? b/c I would wonder 1) what % of practicing Catholics are married in the Church, 2) what % of them get divorced (I've heard 50% is too simplistic), and then 3) what % apply for annulments and get them, and on what grounds. I don't feel I have enough information to understand this discussion.

[/quote]

Statistics are irrelevant. It is a book for understanding how the process works, what a Declaration of Nullity is, when it can be applied, and the criteria are for granting the Declaration.

Tribunals are not going to release statistics - it's really none of anyone's business. I for one am glad this information is kept private. Busybodies who like to pick the Church apart enough already don't need any further ammunition. Why is it anyone's business how many Catholics are granted a Declaration anyway? What purpose does that knowledge serve? So someone thinks they can change the way the Tribunal functions?

Folks forget that the Church is not a democracy. What needs to change is what priests are being taught in seminary and what Bishops are doing in their dioceses. If clergy started leading the faithful according to the Truth of the Church, preaching solid sermons about sexual morality, and counseling couples properly before marriage then we would not have to have these conversations.

~Liza


#22

I agree with you, OP. But it is a really sensitive topic for some reason and you have to be careful not to hurt any feelings. In any case you can't be forced to participate in any case against your will and you always have the ability to appeal any case all the way to the Roman Rota. You can let the Rota worry about reigning in any "annulment mills" here in the US.

If you want a good analysis of the annulment industry in the US I recommend "What God Has Joined Together: The Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism" by Robert Vasoli


#23

[quote="lizaanne, post:21, topic:216940"]

Tribunals are not going to release statistics - it's really none of anyone's business.

[/quote]

Actually you can find statistics in the statistical yearbook of the church. It isn't secret information at all.


#24

[quote="revert_jen, post:9, topic:216940"]
...Tribunal shopping, regardless of its discussion on this forum, is something that does happen. ....--Jen

[/quote]

I just wanted to point out that you don't really have a lot of tribunal shopping options. There are 3 ways to determine which dioces to apply for your annulment in and they are:

  1. Dioceses where the marriage took place (even if the wedding was not in the Catholic Church and you where not a Catholic at the time of the wedding they look at the location of the wedding).

  2. Dioceses where the respondent (not the person filing) lives currently.

  3. Dioceses where the petitioner currently resides.

Theoretically there could be 3 different dioceses, but that still doesn't mean you can just shop around the entire country and look for a diocese that you think will be the easiest to receive an annulment in. If that was the case I bet my local diocese, which doesn't charge a penny for annulments, would be swamped with people from other areas and average decision times would well over 1 - 2 years. As it is, they aren't and the average time for a tribunal decision (granting or not granting) is about 10 months.

I also want to point that the reason a large number of annulments are granted is because of the pre-screening process. In most cases, if your local priest (who you speak with first to start the process) doesn't feel that you have a valid case to prove your marriage was not valid, it never goes any further. So generally by the time an annulment case goes to the tribunal it has already been prescreened as being a good case, and probably is an invalid marriage.


#25

[quote="joandarc2008, post:15, topic:216940"]
I don't know what you think I have been through but I went through over a year of Pre-Cana counseling in the Church with the same deacon that confirmed him that did not manage to put it all together either until he had me and his ex-wife sitting there in the same office with him comparing facts with each other. So before you go calling it scandoulous we are talking about someone who took the FOCUS test with one woman "in the name of saving his marriage and possibly convalidating" so he would know how to fake it with the next one. May I suggest since you are new here before you go throwing stones like that some since some us actually have gotten used to each other you do a search and look at our past threads. God bless.

[/quote]

I don't think my post really merited such a harsh response. I said it was scandalous that he could be married to you in the Church because it would be much better if there was some way for the Church to weed out liars and cheats, but obviously your husband was gifted. It is not that you behaved in any way scandalously but that the situation of your marriage, which took place in a church with the apparent blessing of the Church but was not (probably) valid, is scandalous. Of course, if you had any inkling that he was not fit for marriage, I'm sure you would not have married him. No slight to you was stated or intended. I assume that you are not trying to argue that your marriage is valid? If it is not valid, for WHATEVER reason, it is scandalous (to some extent) that it ever took place, since as you can see from this thread, the number of annulments is a stumbling block for some.

I don't know what you mean by "you are new here." This is a new thread, and I have been on this forum for well over a year. It is not even suggested that one must read all of the posts by all of the posters on any thread to which one posts. It is not necessary to haunt all annulment threads to win eligibility to post on one of them. But you win, I will certainly not be posting on or reading this thread again. There are enough threads out there where the chance of attack is smaller.

--Jen


#26

[quote="mswood, post:24, topic:216940"]
I just wanted to point out that you don't really have a lot of tribunal shopping options. There are 3 ways to determine which dioces to apply for your annulment in and they are:

  1. Dioceses where the marriage took place (even if the wedding was not in the Catholic Church and you where not a Catholic at the time of the wedding they look at the location of the wedding).

  2. Dioceses where the respondent (not the person filing) lives currently.

  3. Dioceses where the petitioner currently resides.

Theoretically there could be 3 different dioceses, but that still doesn't mean you can just shop around the entire country and look for a diocese that you think will be the easiest to receive an annulment in.

[/quote]

True, but it is not always only 3, as sometimes summer homes have been used as residences (although I don't know if this happens any more), and people have been known to move over the border to another diocese close by, if that diocese is known as more "lenient". Certainly, as you say, a person cannot go to just any diocese.

Bye!

--Jen


#27

[quote="revert_jen, post:25, topic:216940"]
I don't think my post really merited such a harsh response. I said it was scandalous that he could be married to you in the Church because it would be much better if there was some way for the Church to weed out liars and cheats, but obviously your husband was gifted. It is not that you behaved in any way scandalously but that the situation of your marriage, which took place in a church with the apparent blessing of the Church but was not (probably) valid, is scandalous. Of course, if you had any inkling that he was not fit for marriage, I'm sure you would not have married him. No slight to you was stated or intended. I assume that you are not trying to argue that your marriage is valid? If it is not valid, for WHATEVER reason, it is scandalous (to some extent) that it ever took place, since as you can see from this thread, the number of annulments is a stumbling block for some.

I don't know what you mean by "you are new here." This is a new thread, and I have been on this forum for well over a year. It is not even suggested that one must read all of the posts by all of the posters on any thread to which one posts. It is not necessary to haunt all annulment threads to win eligibility to post on one of them. But you win, I will certainly not be posting on or reading this thread again. There are enough threads out there where the chance of attack is smaller.

--Jen

[/quote]

What I mean is that before referring to something as Scandolous which refers directly to "Sin of Scandal" and implies mortal sin all you needed to do was to look at the person's users name do a search and check postings and you pretty much have their story on CAF before you shoot your mouth off. Besides - marriage is a natural right by Canon Law and unless there has been an impediment placed by another Tribunal if all other requirements are meant the Church CANNOT make a canonical decision on ability to consent prior to marriage. The benefit of the doubt goes to the parties entering marriage and the Grace of God in the Sacrament.


#28

[quote="joandarc2008, post:17, topic:216940"]
Very well put Easterjoy. And I apologize if I was abrupt above. Sometimes when you are removed from a situation it is easier to stay cooler.

[/quote]

I don't think you were abrupt. It is a very frustrating situation, and one that the Church rightly returns to over and over. Tribunals have a tough job, sorting out who "can't" and who just decided they "won't", but that doesn't mean they can't stray too far to the side of giving incapacity the benefit of the doubt or else insisting that the incapable are capable and the uncommitted were committed and tough nuts to those who don't fit into that box, either.

The number of Catholic marriages that end in annulment is a scandal, there is no doubt about it. It seems to the outside world that we talk out of both sides of our mouth when it comes to divorce. Either a) the decrees of nullity are given out on a basis that is too liberal or b) we are failing miserably at forming our people and supporting them so that they're fit for the demands of lifelong marriage...and these are not mutually-exclusive possibilities! In either case, we are in a world of hurt.


#29

[quote="EasterJoy, post:28, topic:216940"]
I don't think you were abrupt. It is a very frustrating situation, and one that the Church rightly returns to over and over. Tribunals have a tough job, sorting out who "can't" and who just decided they "won't", but that doesn't mean they can't stray too far to the side of giving incapacity the benefit of the doubt or else insisting that the incapable are capable and the uncommitted were committed and tough nuts to those who don't fit into that box, either.

The number of Catholic marriages that end in annulment is a scandal, there is no doubt about it. It seems to the outside world that we talk out of both sides of our mouth when it comes to divorce. Either a) the decrees of nullity are given out on a basis that is too liberal or b) we are failing miserably at forming our people and supporting them so that they're fit for the demands of lifelong marriage...and these are not mutually-exclusive possibilities! In either case, we are in a world of hurt.

[/quote]

I do agree we need to look harder at marriage formation. For instance I am in formation for a lay order. It is a minimum two year formation. Yet to get married a couple is told to contact their parish anywhere from 3 months to a year before their intended date of marriage. Both are lifelong comittments. However the former only involves one person's comittment to a path involving Holiness and the latter involves two peoples committments to each other and to Holiness. And I'm sorry but anyone that doesn't think marriage is a comittment to holiness is not ready for marriage.


#30

[quote="joandarc2008, post:29, topic:216940"]
I do agree we need to look harder at marriage formation. For instance I am in formation for a lay order. It is a minimum two year formation. Yet to get married a couple is told to contact their parish anywhere from 3 months to a year before their intended date of marriage. Both are lifelong comittments. However the former only involves one person's comittment to a path involving Holiness and the latter involves two peoples committments to each other and to Holiness. And I'm sorry but anyone that doesn't think marriage is a comittment to holiness is not ready for marriage.

[/quote]

The problem is that the formation that we are failing at is extremely difficult to remedy in adulthood. It is not just like having a tree that was not pruned for 20 years, although even that is not something that is fixed in a weekend. It is like having a tree that was pruned *badly *for 20 years, and owners who don't want to hear that there is such a thing as a badly-pruned tree, on top of that.

I meant that it is not so much skills that are lacking as it is character. Skills can be learned fairly quickly. Direction and discernment can be guided in a relatively short time. Character and habits of virtue are the work of a lifetime. Furthermore, the character issues are endemic to the society, so that giving into the self-centered view is a constant temptation, even to the well-formed.

"You would be in the right, O LORD, if I should dispute with you; even so, I must discuss the case with you. Why does the way of the godless prosper, why live all the treacherous in contentment? You planted them; they have taken root, they keep on growing and bearing fruit. You are upon their lips, but far from their inmost thoughts." Jer. 12:1-2

The gospel of self-realization is being preached constantly and enthusiastically. There are even Christian churches that cater to it, I am afraid, churches with pastors who tell their flocks that God is primarily interested in granting their material desires and removing every difficulty from their lives. Other pastors, not wanting empty pews, fear telling people the truth about the slavery of sin, and what popular goals are sinful. Even of the political parties, it seems to me that they used to defend complementary virtues, but now espouse competing vices for themselves, accusing only the vices of the opposing party. Those in public service who take a different tack are out there, but they have a very hard time of it. They must do constant battle with discouragement and cynicism. Yet we have to remain compassionate and concentrate primarily on our own faults. It is very difficult.

Speaking of faults, I need to quit posting so much. I have duties that I am neglecting, myself. :o


#31

Thank you for all the responses. Again, I am not trying to be uncharitable about any particular poster or annulment case. I also understand that many annulments are granted to those who are converts or reverts, or to non-Catholics who apply mainly so they can marry in the Church to Catholics, etc,

As for Tribunal shopping: In the main annulment topic, there is a post where a poster, thinking another poster's annulment was not granted, tells her "Maybe another Tribunal will grant you the annulment". I've indeed heard of people purposely moving just to get their case in front of a more favorable Tribunal.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:28, topic:216940"]
The number of Catholic marriages that end in annulment is a scandal, there is no doubt about it. It seems to the outside world that we talk out of both sides of our mouth when it comes to divorce. Either a) the decrees of nullity are given out on a basis that is too liberal or b) we are failing miserably at forming our people and supporting them so that they're fit for the demands of lifelong marriage...and these are not mutually-exclusive possibilities! In either case, we are in a world of hurt.

[/quote]

Yes, I do get the "talk out of both sides of our mouth" impression from some people. I suppose the issue I really have is that many Catholics don't think there's anything wrong with the status quo, and this casts doubt as to whether they truly believe in the sanctity of marriage. They just assume this is the way the modern world is, that many, if not most, people are unable to truly have a marriage, that a large percentage of marriages end in civil divorce, and isn't it great that the Church has a way to deal with this issue? Some people here seem to see annulment as a positive good, and have absolutely no problem with the high number of annulments, they don't see it as a scandal at all. People like me, and other posters who have expressed concern, apparently, just don't get how great annulments are.

I actually will make an ABC analogy. It seems many Catholics take advantage of loopholes to justify use of ABC, such as a woman taking the Pill to "regulate cycles", and think it's great that the Church has this loophole available, and will happily state that they don't have to worry about unwanted children because of it. I have also seen people advise a Catholic considering marrying a non-Catholic who wanted to use ABC that this is no big deal because the Church only holds Catholics to the ABC prohibition, and it doesn't teach that it's a sin to have sex with a spouse using ABC, so just get married, have the non-Catholic use ABC, and don't worry about it.

Both these examples may conform to the letter of the Canon Law, but does it conform to the spirit?

I also understand that annulment is not guaranteed to anyone, and that posters who advise someone to "get an annulment" are often using shorthand. However, to me it seems that some of the grounds of annulment being raised here, such as the immaturity one, are very broad and could be easily used to justify annulment of almost every marriage. I suppose we could say the same about ABC, since the vast majority of Catholics have used some form of it. So I guess if two Catholics get married agreeing to use ABC and only have two children, and the husband later repents and wants to have as many as possible, it would be allowable for him to get a divorce, get an annulment on the basis that the partners didn't understand that they were supposed to be open to life, and then get married to another woman in order to have the many children he wants.

Again, the above scenario seems to be perfectly justifiable theologically, that the husband has committed no sin by leaving his wife for another woman (assuming he didn't have sex with the second wife until they got married). After all, he was never really married to the first wife anyway. I have also seen a topic on this board where a Catholic man married a non-Catholic outside the Church, proceeded on cheat on her, and then leave her for the other woman. His Catholic family didn't think this was a big deal, since he was never really married to the civil wife, so he wasn't guilty of adultery, just of switching fornication partners, so it was fine to welcome the mistress into the family just as they'd welcomed the civil wife before. Otherwise, of course, they'd be unloving hypocrites. So I guess if this man ever got an annulment or decree of defect of form, then he wouldn't even need to confess adultery to the priest? And he won't have to confess fornication either since he was supposedly having sex with the first wife honestly assuming they were married.

I've also seen posts by Catholics finding out that their current marriage was likely invalid and not reacting by asking a priest about convalidation, but to seriously consider leaving a spouse they'd been with for decades, as if this is a get-out-of-jail-free card that justifies abandoning a spouse.

I really have a hard time believing this is what Jesus meant when he said that what God had joined together, man should not part asunder. I really do.


#32

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
Thank you for all the responses. Again, I am not trying to be uncharitable about any particular poster or annulment case. I also understand that many annulments are granted to those who are converts or reverts, or to non-Catholics who apply mainly so they can marry in the Church to Catholics, etc,

As for Tribunal shopping: In the main annulment topic, there is a post where a poster, thinking another poster's annulment was not granted, tells her "Maybe another Tribunal will grant you the annulment". I've indeed heard of people purposely moving just to get their case in front of a more favorable Tribunal.

Yes, I do get the "talk out of both sides of our mouth" impression from some people. I suppose the issue I really have is that many Catholics don't think there's anything wrong with the status quo, and this casts doubt as to whether they truly believe in the sanctity of marriage. They just assume this is the way the modern world is, that many, if not most, people are unable to truly have a marriage, that a large percentage of marriages end in civil divorce, and isn't it great that the Church has a way to deal with this issue? Some people here seem to see annulment as a positive good, and have absolutely no problem with the high number of annulments, they don't see it as a scandal at all. People like me, and other posters who have expressed concern, apparently, just don't get how great annulments are.

I actually will make an ABC analogy. It seems many Catholics take advantage of loopholes to justify use of ABC, such as a woman taking the Pill to "regulate cycles", and think it's great that the Church has this loophole available, and will happily state that they don't have to worry about unwanted children because of it. I have also seen people advise a Catholic considering marrying a non-Catholic who wanted to use ABC that this is no big deal because the Church only holds Catholics to the ABC prohibition, and it doesn't teach that it's a sin to have sex with a spouse using ABC, so just get married, have the non-Catholic use ABC, and don't worry about it.

Both these examples may conform to the letter of the Canon Law, but does it conform to the spirit?

I also understand that annulment is not guaranteed to anyone, and that posters who advise someone to "get an annulment" are often using shorthand. However, to me it seems that some of the grounds of annulment being raised here, such as the immaturity one, are very broad and could be easily used to justify annulment of almost every marriage. I suppose we could say the same about ABC, since the vast majority of Catholics have used some form of it. So I guess if two Catholics get married agreeing to use ABC and only have two children, and the husband later repents and wants to have as many as possible, it would be allowable for him to get a divorce, get an annulment on the basis that the partners didn't understand that they were supposed to be open to life, and then get married to another woman in order to have the many children he wants.

Again, the above scenario seems to be perfectly justifiable theologically, that the husband has committed no sin by leaving his wife for another woman (assuming he didn't have sex with the second wife until they got married). After all, he was never really married to the first wife anyway. I have also seen a topic on this board where a Catholic man married a non-Catholic outside the Church, proceeded on cheat on her, and then leave her for the other woman. His Catholic family didn't think this was a big deal, since he was never really married to the civil wife, so he wasn't guilty of adultery, just of switching fornication partners, so it was fine to welcome the mistress into the family just as they'd welcomed the civil wife before. Otherwise, of course, they'd be unloving hypocrites. So I guess if this man ever got an annulment or decree of defect of form, then he wouldn't even need to confess adultery to the priest? And he won't have to confess fornication either since he was supposedly having sex with the first wife honestly assuming they were married.

I've also seen posts by Catholics finding out that their current marriage was likely invalid and not reacting by asking a priest about convalidation, but to seriously consider leaving a spouse they'd been with for decades, as if this is a get-out-of-jail-free card that justifies abandoning a spouse.

I really have a hard time believing this is what Jesus meant when he said that what God had joined together, man should not part asunder. I really do.

[/quote]

ToeInTheWater - I know the post you are speaking of - it was addressed - but as it was it was a complete misunderstanding as the anullment had been granted but with a requirement for the former husband to receive counseling - so there was no point in even bringing up the discussion as it was a complete misunderstanding. It was a rather off the cuff remark that made no sense and as has already been covered in this post - unless you are willing to move your whole family to do so is not really an option.


#33

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
As for Tribunal shopping: In the main annulment topic, there is a post where a poster, thinking another poster's annulment was not granted, tells her "Maybe another Tribunal will grant you the annulment". I've indeed heard of people purposely moving just to get their case in front of a more favorable Tribunal.

[/quote]

You've "heard of" people doing this? I've "heard" you can get AIDS from a toilet seat. Doesn't make it true.

Honestly, people may say "try a different tribunal" but they don't know what they are talking about.

(a) By canon law, you can only have the case tried in the diocese in which the petitioner or respondent live or the diocese in which the marriage took place. So, it's not like you can just shop around until you find one you like.

(b) If a tribunal refuses to accept a case, it would be *possible *to submit it to another tribunal with jurisdiction (see above) but it's unlikely they would take it either, since the first tribunal found no grounds.

(c) If a tribunal makes a ruling, you can't simply go to another one and try again. The court of first instance sends it to the appeal court automatically, where it is either confirmed or not. A person could not resubmit a case under the same grounds again.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]

Yes, I do get the "talk out of both sides of our mouth" impression from some people. I suppose the issue I really have is that many Catholics don't think there's anything wrong with the status quo, and this casts doubt as to whether they truly believe in the sanctity of marriage. They just assume this is the way the modern world is, that many, if not most, people are unable to truly have a marriage, that a large percentage of marriages end in civil divorce, and isn't it great that the Church has a way to deal with this issue? Some people here seem to see annulment as a positive good, and have absolutely no problem with the high number of annulments, they don't see it as a scandal at all. People like me, and other posters who have expressed concern, apparently, just don't get how great annulments are.

[/quote]

Or maybe it's that you don't get *what *they are. That there are many decrees of nullity is quite sad, in that it shows how many people disregard the Church's marriage laws and how many have impediments to valid marriage. It should certainly not be something we are complacent about. But, it also does not mean the Church's teaching is incorrect.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I actually will make an ABC analogy. It seems many Catholics take advantage of loopholes to justify use of ABC, such as a woman taking the Pill to "regulate cycles", and think it's great that the Church has this loophole available, and will happily state that they don't have to worry about unwanted children because of it.

[/quote]

The Church does NOT have a loophole regarding contraception and anyone who believes that is fooling ONLY themselves. They certainly aren't fooling God and will have to be accountable for their actions.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I have also seen people advise a Catholic considering marrying a non-Catholic who wanted to use ABC that this is no big deal because the Church only holds Catholics to the ABC prohibition, and it doesn't teach that it's a sin to have sex with a spouse using ABC, so just get married, have the non-Catholic use ABC, and don't worry about it.

[/quote]

I'm sure you have seen people give this advice. People who aren't well versed in Church teaching. People who are, in fact, giving WRONG advice.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]

Both these examples may conform to the letter of the Canon Law, but does it conform to the spirit?

[/quote]

Neither of those examples have anything to do with canon law.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I also understand that annulment is not guaranteed to anyone, and that posters who advise someone to "get an annulment" are often using shorthand. However, to me it seems that some of the grounds of annulment being raised here, such as the immaturity one, are very broad and could be easily used to justify annulment of almost every marriage.

[/quote]

This is why I suggested you obtain the book I recommended. Perhaps you've been led to believe "immaturity" is a valid grounds for a decree of nullity, but this isn't true. The relevant canons are:

*Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

1/ those who lack the sufficient use of reason;

2/ those who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted;

3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.

Can. 1096 §1. For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.

§2. This ignorance is not presumed after puberty.*

These are not low standards. They require (a) that the defect in the party's ability to consent be grave and that it be provable. We're talking mental illness, severe disturbance, major issues that would lead to someone not being able to undertake the essential obligations of marriage. Not simply being "immature."


#34

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I suppose we could say the same about ABC, since the vast majority of Catholics have used some form of it. So I guess if two Catholics get married agreeing to use ABC and only have two children, and the husband later repents and wants to have as many as possible, it would be allowable for him to get a divorce, get an annulment on the basis that the partners didn't understand that they were supposed to be open to life, and then get married to another woman in order to have the many children he wants.

[/quote]

No, this is not accurate, at all. Using contraception does not render a marriage invalid.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I have also seen a topic on this board where a Catholic man married a non-Catholic outside the Church, proceeded on cheat on her, and then leave her for the other woman. His Catholic family didn't think this was a big deal, since he was never really married to the civil wife, so he wasn't guilty of adultery, just of switching fornication partners, so it was fine to welcome the mistress into the family just as they'd welcomed the civil wife before.

[/quote]

Um, there are so many issues with this scenario it's not even worth responding. You actually believe someone who would make that statement is an example of a devout, practicing Catholic?

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
Otherwise, of course, they'd be unloving hypocrites. So I guess if this man ever got an annulment or decree of defect of form, then he wouldn't even need to confess adultery to the priest? And he won't have to confess fornication either since he was supposedly having sex with the first wife honestly assuming they were married.

[/quote]

He would have a LOT of things to confess. And, yes, he knew perfectly well he wasn't validly married.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I've also seen posts by Catholics finding out that their current marriage was likely invalid and not reacting by asking a priest about convalidation, but to seriously consider leaving a spouse they'd been with for decades, as if this is a get-out-of-jail-free card that justifies abandoning a spouse.

[/quote]

I think that's a sign of something much deeper and darker in this person's life. Normal people don't have thoughts like that.

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:31, topic:216940"]
I really have a hard time believing this is what Jesus meant when he said that what God had joined together, man should not part asunder. I really do.

[/quote]

If God did join a man and woman in the Sacrament of Marriage, no one can put it asunder.


#35

It has been estimated that the prevalence of people who meet the psychological standard of being a sociopath is as high as 1 in 25 in the United States, or four percent. Now, you may regard this as an inflated number, but the truth is that there are experts in psychology who really believe that 4% of Americans do not have a conscience in the emotional sense. The prevalence in Asia has been estimated to be much lower than 1%. So we are talking about serious mental health issues that differ not by genetics, but by culture or nurture. That does not mean the differences are not real.

This is what I mean by not being a problem that is easily remedied. Still, I don’t see how one of two conclusions can be escaped: either there are too many Catholic marriages getting decrees of nullity, or we have something gravely wrong with a very large fraction of Catholics who attempt marriage. I suspect it is both, but I don’t know how anyone who isn’t intimately familiar with these cases can know that. The truth is, the people who are as intimately familiar with these cases aren’t even willing to say that they know that:

Look at this quote from H.E. Mons. Velasio de Paolis, CS, Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, in remarks at the press conference when the Instruction “Dignitas Connubii”, was released to address this problem in 2005:

It is first of all necessary to provide some statistics concerning causes of matrimonial nullity. The source is the Annuario Statistico della Chiesa for 2002. However, the cases of matrimonial nullity introduced at the tribunals of the Eastern Catholic Churches are also included here.

According to the above-mentioned Annuario, 56,236 ordinary trials for the declaration of matrimonial nullity were concluded, 46,092 of them with an affirmative sentence and 2,894 with a negative one; 4,649 were quashed and 2,601 were discontinued.

It can be presumed that in a considerable number of the suits overturned or abandoned, there was no prospect of reaching an affirmative verdict on the nullity of the marriage.

Of the 46,092 affirmative sentences of the tribunal of the first instance after an ordinary trial, 343 were pronounced in Africa, 676 in Oceania, 1,562 in Asia, 8,855 in Europe and 36,656 in America, 30,968 in North America and 5,688 in the whole of Central and South America.
The vast majority of these so-called affirmative decisions are then confirmed by the local court of appeal.

Indeed, the Roman Rota receives few cases from the tribunals of the second and third instance, that is, fewer than 150 a year. These are usually very complicated causes in which a lower tribunal has often issued a negative sentence.

Some reflections on the statistical data

The interpretation of statistical data is far from easy. However, it can be said that:

  • The total number of cases of marital nullity in the world shows that this is no insignificant or purely academic phenomenon, but a reality that should not be underestimated.
  • In various parts of the world, there is only a very limited chance of obtaining such a declaration.
    The faithful do not, of course, have the right to obtain the annulment of their marriage whenever they wish; but in the case of a well-founded and probable doubt about the nullity of their marriage they must have a real possibility to introduce their case and to obtain a just decision.
  • In countries where ecclesiastical tribunals are functioning and accessible, the number of cases of marital nullity and affirmative sentences differ. Concerning this observation, it is vital to avoid coming to hasty conclusions.

Much depends, in fact, on the actual availability of resources and especially of trained personnel.
Indeed, it should be remembered above all that statistics only have a relative value.

The real question, in fact, does not concern the possibly high number of sentences pro nullitate matrimonii, but the seriousness of the jurisprudence together with the real possibility of obtaining a declaration of nullity within a reasonable period of time, should the marriage truly be invalid.

  • Since the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota usually judges only the most complicated cases of matrimonial nullity, it does not seem correct to compare the percentage of negative decisions issued by the Roman Rota with the percentage of negative decisions issued by lower tribunals.

The recently published Instruction certainly offers ministers of justice who work in the ecclesiastical tribunals a clear and reliable explanation of the procedure for bringing cases of marital nullity to conclusion, with both the seriousness and speed required by their very nature.


#36

[quote="EasterJoy, post:35, topic:216940"]
It has been estimated that the prevalence of people who meet the psychological standard of being a sociopath is as high as 1 in 25 in the United States, or four percent. Now, you may regard this as an inflated number, but the truth is that there are experts in psychology who really believe that 4% of Americans do not have a conscience in the emotional sense. The prevalence in Asia has been estimated to be much lower than 1%. So we are talking about serious mental health issues that differ not by genetics, but by culture or nurture. That does not mean the differences are not real.

This is what I mean by not being a problem that is easily remedied. Still, I don't see how one of two conclusions can be escaped: either there are too many Catholic marriages getting decrees of nullity, or we have something gravely wrong with a very large fraction of Catholics who attempt marriage. I suspect it is both, but I don't know how anyone who isn't intimately familiar with these cases can know that. The truth is, the people who are as intimately familiar with these cases aren't even willing to say that they know that:

Look at this quote from H.E. Mons. Velasio de Paolis, CS, Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, in remarks at the press conference when the Instruction "Dignitas Connubii", was released to address this problem in 2005:

[/quote]

That was for those particular Canons - there are many more Canons that break down further than problems of mental retardation. Here is a link to the full Canon so we all know what we are discussing.


#37

IOW, Rome is not only concerned that there may be Americans getting declarations of nullity that were not judged correctly. This conclusion is called hasty. Rather, Rome is also concerned that there are Catholics in Africa whose marriages are invalid who perhaps cannot get a declaration to that effect. The penduluum can swing both ways.

Nevertheless, the Catholic rate of divorce does not compare favorably to the rates of those who believe that divorce is unfortunate (I don’t know of any groups who think revolving door marriages would be a good thing, including the one in Hollywood) but allowable. Not all these Catholics are getting annulments or could get them if they tried, but one still has to ask… Why is that? If Catholics really believe marriage is for life, why are they divorcing as much as anyone else? What gives?

As 1ke pointed out, “We’re talking mental illness, severe disturbance, major issues that would lead to someone not being able to undertake the essential obligations of marriage.” Yet a Catholic member of the United States Senate divorces after many years and re-marries and people scratch their heads. OK, so what was with that? Did this Senator think that he or his wife was mentally ill, severely disturbed? What “major issue” are we talking about? Not one that their divorced wives were buying. Does the public hear about the Rota declaring in 2005 that Joe Kennedy did not get a decree of nullity after his 1991 divorce? No. Not only does word get out more than 15 years after he remarries in 1993 outside the Church, but the news winds up on page 15 or something. He identifies himself as Catholic, divorces, remarries, and it seems as if the Church says nothing and takes half an eternity to do it. Cases like this, cases between people that the public knows that are similar, these cause scandal about what the Church’s real stance concerning marriage is.

As for Senator Ted Kennedy, the Church has never declared that yes, his 1st marriage was annulled. When marriages are public, divorces are public, remarriages are public, but decrees of nullity are secret (I mean the fact of the declaration; I’m not suggesting the causes need to be public), it is a cause of scandal.

Still, I think this is the bigger problem: Not so much that the tribunals give out this number of declarations or that number, but that Catholics divorce as much as anyone else. That is the “preaching with out words” that is getting the word out about our faith. That is the tragedy, because that much divorce is evidence of a profound amount of suffering, whether the divorces were morally permissible or not. It is a terrible situation. I really don’t think many Catholics marry with the “we can always get an annulment” mentality. Yet their marriages fail as much as anyone’s do. The rates are so high, and the pain caused is so deep. What is to be done about that?


#38

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]
IOW, Rome is not only concerned that there may be Americans getting declarations of nullity that were not judged correctly. This conclusion is called hasty. Rather, Rome is also concerned that there are Catholics in Africa whose marriages are invalid who perhaps cannot get a declaration to that effect. The penduluum can swing both ways.

Nevertheless, the Catholic rate of divorce does not compare favorably to the rates of those who believe that divorce is unfortunate (I don't know of any groups who think revolving door marriages would be a good thing, including the one in Hollywood) but allowable. Not all these Catholics are getting annulments or could get them if they tried, but one still has to ask... Why is that? If Catholics really believe marriage is for life, why are they divorcing as much as anyone else? What gives?

As 1ke pointed out, "We're talking mental illness, severe disturbance, major issues that would lead to someone not being able to undertake the essential obligations of marriage." Yet a Catholic member of the United States Senate divorces after many years and re-marries and people scratch their heads. OK, so what was with that? Did this Senator think that he or his wife was mentally ill, severely disturbed? What "major issue" are we talking about? Not one that their divorced wives were buying. Does the public hear about the Rota declaring in 2005 that Joe Kennedy did not get a decree of nullity after his 1991 divorce? No. Not only does word get out more than 15 years after he remarries in 1993 outside the Church, but the news winds up on page 15 or something. He identifies himself as Catholic, divorces, remarries, and it seems as if the Church says nothing and takes half an eternity to do it. Cases like this, cases between people that the public knows that are similar, these cause scandal about what the Church's real stance concerning marriage is.

As for Senator Ted Kennedy, the Church has never declared that yes, his 1st marriage was annulled. When marriages are public, divorces are public, remarriages are public, but decrees of nullity are secret (I mean the fact of the declaration; I'm not suggesting the causes need to be public), it is a cause of scandal.

Still, I think this is the bigger problem: Not so much that the tribunals give out this number of declarations or that number, but that Catholics divorce as much as anyone else. That is the "preaching with out words" that is getting the word out about our faith. That is the tragedy, because that much divorce is evidence of a profound amount of suffering, whether the divorces were morally permissible or not. It is a terrible situation. I really don't think many Catholics marry with the "we can always get an annulment" mentality. Yet their marriages fail as much as anyone's do. The rates are so high, and the pain caused is so deep. What is to be done about that?

[/quote]

I would think the few Catholics that do marry with the mislead notion of "we can always get an anulment" actually shows a misunderstanding of the permanence of marriage that can lead to an impediment.


#39

[quote="EasterJoy, post:35, topic:216940"]
It has been estimated that the prevalence of people who meet the psychological standard of being a sociopath is as high as 1 in 25 in the United States, or four percent. Now, you may regard this as an inflated number, but the truth is that there are experts in psychology who really believe that 4% of Americans do not have a conscience in the emotional sense. The prevalence in Asia has been estimated to be much lower than 1%. So we are talking about serious mental health issues that differ not by genetics, but by culture or nurture. That does not mean the differences are not real.

[/quote]

I think you misunderstand. The canons I quoted are not the only reasons for nullity, far from it. I was *only *addressing the OPs concern about using "immaturity" as a reason for nullity and pointing out that it is not *simply *"immaturity" but a much higher standard.


#40

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]
Yet a Catholic member of the United States Senate divorces after many years and re-marries and people scratch their heads. OK, so what was with that? Did this Senator think that he or his wife was mentally ill, severely disturbed? What "major issue" are we talking about?

[/quote]

There are many impediments to valid marriage. The ones you list are not the only ones.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]
Does the public hear about the Rota declaring in 2005 that Joe Kennedy did not get a decree of nullity after his 1991 divorce?

[/quote]

"The public" should not have heard anything of the sort, not from the Catholic Church. Tribunal proceedings are confidential.

"The public" heard "it" (i.e. her version of it) from a non-Catholic scorned wife who doesn't understand the first thing about the Catholic Church.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]
No. Not only does word get out more than 15 years after he remarries in 1993 outside the Church, but the news winds up on page 15 or something. He identifies himself as Catholic, divorces, remarries, and it seems as if the Church says nothing and takes half an eternity to do it.

[/quote]

The Church says nothing because all tribunal proceedings are confidential. Rauch is the one who went public with her version of a story that cannot be corroborated.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]
As for Senator Ted Kennedy, the Church has never declared that yes, his 1st marriage was annulled.

[/quote]

Of course it won't say. Again: confidential and sealed records.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:37, topic:216940"]

When marriages are public, divorces are public, remarriages are public, but decrees of nullity are secret (I mean the fact of the declaration; I'm not suggesting the causes need to be public), it is a cause of scandal.

[/quote]

No, it is not.


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