Marriage and Annulments


#1

Dear brother Mickey,

You’ve given no reason why his reasoning is valid other than to bring up the canard of “legalism.” Try again. The early Church has canons that “retroactively” adjudged Sacraments such as Baptism, Orders, and Marriage to never have taken place because of certain conditions. Apparently you feel the EOC can willy-nilly change the canons of the early Church (by your rejection of the Church’s authority to give just declarations of nullity).:frowning:

Blessings,
Marduk
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Orthodox and birth control
#2

No there is definitely a clear distinction. One practice is rooted in facing the sin head on and repenting of it and the other is rooted in using legalistic equivocation to avoid any culpability on the part of the parties involved

I am hesitant to believe there are any canons that state a baptism performed by a canonical cleric in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can somehow later be declared invalid. I may be wrong on that one. As to the supposed canard of legalism the bottom line is we have two very different notions of Church authority. The Roman Catholic Church is ruled by Her Code of Canon Law and the Orthodox Church is ruled by Her bishops. Under the current Catholic system the Pauline and Petrine privileges could have never come into being. Under the Catholic system except for the Pope the grace of the episcopacy is almost completely stifled.

That does raise an interesting question I’ve never received an answer to. If divorce is absolutely prohibited except for the reason mentioned by Jesus (infidelity) how do you explain the Petrine and Pauline privileges?

Yours in Christ
Joe


#3

Dear brother Joe,

…Because of the difficulty of understanding what marriages are prohibited, the matter has become confused; it seemed good to us to set if forth a little more clearly that from this time forth he who shall marry with the daughter of his father ….[other examples of marriage by consanguinity]… fall under the canon of seven years, provided they openly separate from the unlawful union.
Canon 54, Council of Trullo

An orthodox man is not permitted to marry and heretical woman…But if anything of this kind appear to have been done by any we require them to consider the marriage null…
Canon 72, Council of Trullo

Neither presbyter, deacon, nor any of the ecclesiastical order shall be ordained at large…And if any have been ordained without a charge, the holy Synod decrees, to the reproach of the ordainer, that such an ordination shall be inoperative…
Canon 6, Council of Chalcedon

If a bishop should ordain one outside his jurisdiction, the ordination shall be void…
Canon 22, Council of Antioch (341 A.D.)

If a bishop ordain another in his own Church a man belonging to another, let the ordination be void…
Canon 16, First Council of Nice

If any presbyters have been advanced without examination…such the canon does not admit…

These are a few canons that I could find just browsing through my text of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. I would like to add a statement that I had read before, but don’t have time to diligently find. It said something to the effect that what is not lawful the Church does not admit. There were several conditions wherein a marriage was not considered lawful by the early Church, and consequently null.

As you can see, the early Church lived by the Canons. The Catholic Church today (as always) lived/lives by the Canons. The Eastern Orthodox Church …. uuuhhh… whatever you say. The Catholic Church today is only as legalistic as the early Church for the very fact that we have carried on the heritage of the early Church. Simple as that.

Re: Baptism – why would a baptism by a valid priest be considered invalid? Why would you even bring up that straw man?

[quote=]No there is definitely a clear distinction. One practice is rooted in facing the sin head on and repenting of it and the other is rooted in using legalistic equivocation to avoid any culpability on the part of the parties involved.
[/quote]

Since senseless rhetoric is the order of the day, I guess it would be just as valid to say, “the Eastern Orthodox principle of economy is really just your excuse to commit sin without any culpability.” :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: the Petrine and Pauline privileges. They are both based on the principle of “in favor of the faith.” If you have a problem with it, take it up with St. Paul.

Blessings,
Marduk


Orthodox and birth control
#4

So St Paul had the authority to allow for an exception that Jesus didn’t allow for?

Yours in Christ
Joe


#5

Dear brother Joe

I believe it is assumed that Jesus’ teaching referred to a valid marriage between TWO BELIEVERS.

So St. Paul was not violating Jesus’ teaching when allowing for divorce and remarriage in the case of where one of the spouses is a believer, while the other spouse is an unbeliever.

Blessings,
Marduk


#6

What about the Petrine privilege?

BTW, assumed by who?

Yours in Christ
Joe


#7

Dear brother Joe,

The same case applies. The Petrine privilege can only be used if one of the spouses is an unbeliever (more specifically, an unbaptized person). I guess you’ll ask next what the difference between a Petrine and Pauline privilege is.

In the Pauline privilege, the believing spouse is free to re-marry if the unbelieving spouse decides to leave.

In the Petrine privilege. the believing spouse is free to re-marry if the believing spouse decides to marry a Catholic. It may also be used if the unbelieving spouse decides to convert to marry a Catholic, and the believing spouse is a non-Catholic Christian. In either case, there has to be evidence of a prior separation, with no intention that either spouse will reunite with the other in the future (iow, a Petrine privilege will not be granted just because one of the spouses wants to marry a Catholic, or convert and then marry a Catholic).

So the difference is that with the Pauline privilege, the believing spouse is a passive agent, while with the Petrine privilege, the believing spouse initiates the ecclesiastical divorce.

[quote=]BTW, assumed by who?
[/quote]

I’m guessing everybody, In parallel passages, Jesus states, “What God has joined, let no man tear asunder.” Doesn’t that dictate that the marriage is between believers?

Blessings,
Marduk


#8

So the bottom line is you believe that the Pope, just like St Paul, in exercising his Apostolic office has the authority to grant a divorce for limited reasons other than the one specifically mentioned in the Gospels. We believe that our bishops, in exercising their Apostolic office, have the authority to grant divorce for limited reasons other than the one mentioned in the Gospels. The only difference is what we believe are acceptable circumstances.

Yours in Christ
Joe


#9

Dear brother Joe,

I believe the difference is deeper than that. As noted earlier, what God has joined, let no man tear asunder. A marriage of believers is indissoluble. The Pauline and Petrine privileges apply to marriages that are NOT between believers (where one of the spouses is NOT a believer), a different situation from what Jesus spoke about in the Gospels. We Catholics do not believe bishops (or even the Pope) has the authority to make laws that are contrary to God’s laws.

As you may know, the Catholic Church does not regard the episode in Matthew as a permission to divorce in the case of adultery. The episode in Matthew is viewed as a permission to separate from one’s betrothed, not one’s spouse - for in Jewish custom (the Jews being the particular audience of Matthew), infidelity during betrothal nullified the betrothal, and the intended marriage would not take place. Have you heard of that interpretation. If not, would you like to discuss it on another thread?

The Coptic Orthodox Church, AND ALL THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES, like the Catholic Church, teaches that marriage between two believers is indissoluble. and only permits divorce under two circumstances - adultery and apostasy (I think the Armenians only permit it for adultery, though I’m not sure), adultery viewed as a subset of apostasy (especially as St. Paul likens the relationship of husband and wife to the relationship between Jesus and the Church). We Orientals believe apostasy/adultery relegates a marriage to the same situation that permits divorce under the Pauline and Petrine privileges - i.e., one of the spouses is not a believer. Given this, and given the fact that the CO, like the Catholic Church, also accepts the principle of marriage annulment (not sure about the Armenians and Syrians), I can foresee that if (and when :gopray2:) the COC and CC reunite, the CO belief and practice will not be an impediment to unity.

But the EO belief and practice, on the other hand, is something altogether different. EO don’t believe that marriage is indissoluble and its practice reflects that. However, I imagine a possible solution. What do you think of this:

I believe that, because of the situation the EO has historically found themselves in (i.e., caeseropapism - wherein the Secular State has a high degree of influence into ecclesiastical affairs) these local canons permitting divorce and remarriage are not part of the essential teaching of the Church, but only cultural adaptations that can be changed. With that, the essential doctrinal purity of Eastern Orthodoxy can be maintained. However, I do believe that if (and when :gopray2: ) the EOC and CC reunite, the several EO jurisdictions that HAVE liberal divorce and remarriage laws (beyond those that have been permitted by the early Fathers) need to repudiate those existing laws (i.e., permitting divorce/remarriage if one spouse becomes mentally ill, or is imprisoned for a long period, etc., etc.) . For if we are to base our unity on the Eucharist, it won;t take that one Church communes people that are actually living in adultery, while the other Churches (like the Latins and the Orientals) won’t do that.

Blessings,
Marduk


Orthodox and birth control
Orthodox and birth control
#10

If you did, you wouldn’t call it “the annulment process” (though admittedly many Catholics make the same mistake). It’s not a process which produces something called an annulment. It’s an INVESTIGATION to find out whether or not there is a valid sacramental marriage.

The bottom line is two people who were married are no longer married, end of story.

NO. IF nullity is declared (and in many cases it is not) two people who (may have) THOUGHT they were sacramentally married are found to have NEVER been sacramentally married.

You can justify it in your own minds by coming up with little qualifications that you think caused the marriage to never occur in the first place if you like.

No, “little qualifications” make no difference. Only a great big thing which is an impediment to the marriage.

I’ll accept your concept of annulments once you tell me how many Catholics there are today who think they are married but actually aren’t and are living their entire life as a lie before man and God. :thumbsup:

Sure. The answer to your question is **“zero”. **The Church presumes that ALL marriages (even secular marriages) are valid until proven invalid. If someone claims a marriage is not valid, the onus is on him to prove it. If he can’t, the marriage is valid. Catholics really do believe marriage is for life. I’m glad you now accept the Catholic understanding of this subject.


Orthodox and birth control
#11

Exactly.
Suddenly a 20 year marriage which produced children is declared to have never occurred.
Retroactive erasure.
Absurd. :frowning:


#12

Whether you think it’s absurd or not, the point is that your assertion that “two people who were married are no longer married” is false. So your “Exactly” makes no sense.

And in any case, the Church, if it issues a declaration of nullity, does not deny that a natural, civil marriage occurred. It merely states that the Sacrament of Matrimony was not validly administered.

Whether or not children were produced is immaterial. Many valid marriages produce no children, and many children are produced from unions which are not marriages.


#13

Of course you may believe as you wish. The fact is—the RC Church declares that the sacrament of marriage–which may have ocurred 20 years ago and produced children—never really happened.

Absurd.:rolleyes:


#14

Dear brother Mickey,

And some people think that a person can be forced into a marriage and that is valid just because it was blessed by a priest. THAT is absurd. Free consent is required in a marriage, and if such consent was absent when the ceremony took place, the “marriage” was not a marriage in the eyes of God.

So what if it occurred 20 years ago and produced children. Does that mean the marriage was valid? What if one of the spouses was stone drunk? What if one of the spouses lied about something that was, in the eyes of the other spouse, a condition for their vows? I’ll give you a close personal example. My sister has been married for close to 10 years. She has two children with her husband. Her husband told her before they were married that he was a baptized Christian. This was very important to my sister, and she consented to the marriage with the understanding that she was marrying a good, Christ-loving Christian. It has recently come to light that her husband is not a baptized Christian and that he purposely lied to her. And there are many other issues besides, not least of which is the fact that her husband does not even act like the Christian that he was supposed to be (and my sister had been suffering with this burden quietly for almost their entire marriage).

Accordiing to your legalistic rules, the marriage was valid. THAT is absurd.


#15

A wedding certainly occurred.

A legal marriage was most likely entered into (and any children are therefore legitimate).

Two people lived together as husband and wife for some time.

The Church cannot (and does not claim to) erase any of those things.

However, after such a marriage has broken down and at the request of one or both parties, the Church may discover, upon investigation, that the requirements of the sacrament were not met.

The Church doesn’t do anything to “undo” the putative marriage, merely discovers that there was a defect from the beginning.

It’s like when someone is stripped of an Olympic medal or other athletic honor after being discovered to have broken the rules (through the use of forbidden performance-enhancing drugs, perhaps). The person still competed in the event and achieved certain results; that can’t be undone. But because a later investigation revealed that they were never qualified to compete from the first, their status as medal-winner is revoked.

Or, to return to the topic of marriage, if I marry someone and, after 20 years and multiple kids, my putative husband finds out that I have actually been married to another man since before our own wedding, nothing of the 20 years is undone. It is nevertheless true, though, that I was never in a position to marry the second man and thus, in all innocence, my putative husband has been in a situation all that time that was not really a marriage.

No one has to “make it” not be a marriage, and no actual events are undone or erased. Rather, investigation uncovers the pre-existing fact that I could not have married when it appeared that I did. It’s sad, and undoubtedly casts the entire relationship in a very different light for the man who believed himself to be my husband … but no one has retroactively erased anything or inflicted upon him a status that did not already exist (though he was ignorant of it).

Now, I’ll grant you, the vast majority of Catholic annulment cases are not nearly so clear-cut as matters of bigamy or accidental consanguinity. Not a few of us are embarrassed by the number of putative marriages that are found to be null these days. If you want to argue that the system can be corrupted or is too permissive in general, that’s one thing. But the basic principles under which the idea of annulment operates are as clear and (I hope) non-controversial as those I’ve outlined above.

Usagi


#16

I’ll believe it when I see ANYTHING in the early Church remotely resembling the annullment scheme.


#17

But that’s not how the annullment scheme works. The couple decide they don’t want to be married, and THEN they seek to have it declared void. A third party may not petition for a declaration of nullity, if I remember correctly. In all the cases above, a third party, in principle ANY third party can call the void union, ordination, etc. for what it is, and have it nullity enforced. To make it clear, in the annullment scheme the couple’s union is presumed valide until they request it to be proved otherwise, while the cases in the canons the couple is separated no matter how they feel about it, i.e. they cannot validate a void marriage.

As you can see, the early Church lived by the Canons. The Catholic Church today (as always) lived/lives by the Canons. The Eastern Orthodox Church …. uuuhhh… whatever you say. The Catholic Church today is only as legalistic as the early Church for the very fact that we have carried on the heritage of the early Church. Simple as that.

Again, show us something resembling the annullment scheme. What you have presented, due to its mandatory enforcement without consent of the parties, does not.

Re: Baptism – why would a baptism by a valid priest be considered invalid? Why would you even bring up that straw man?

Because at most a provisional baptism would be in order, and only if there is some question that should be obvious. The impediments that lead to annulment should be just as obvious, and should end in doing whatever you need for a valid union, rather that rubber stamping an divorce.

Since senseless rhetoric is the order of the day, I guess it would be just as valid to say, “the Eastern Orthodox principle of economy is really just your excuse to commit sin without any culpability.” :stuck_out_tongue:

Even economy has its limits. Annullment knows no bounds, as one can have as many annullments as one can obtain. Economy’s tolerance runs out after three, no matter the reasons.

Re: the Petrine and Pauline privileges. They are both based on the principle of “in favor of the faith.” If you have a problem with it, take it up with St. Paul.

Our problem lies not with St. Paul, but in how he is being (mis)used.

Tolstoy’s story of Countess Bezukhov in “War and Peace” is a lovely one “in favor of the faith.”


#18

And we do what, pray tell, with how annullments are handed out in the US for instance?


#19

A rose by any other name. Or a stink weed.

NO. IF nullity is declared (and in many cases it is not) two people who (may have) THOUGHT they were sacramentally married are found to have NEVER been sacramentally married.

Then they should do what they can to make it a sacramental union. But they don’t. They validate a divorce.

No, “little qualifications” make no difference. Only a great big thing which is an impediment to the marriage.

If it is so big, why don’t they see it before the marriage?

Sure. The answer to your question is **“zero”. **The Church presumes that ALL marriages (even secular marriages) are valid until proven invalid. If someone claims a marriage is not valid, the onus is on him to prove it. If he can’t, the marriage is valid. Catholics really do believe marriage is for life. I’m glad you now accept the Catholic understanding of this subject.

But the tribunals are going to find that some of these people are “mistaken,” and annull their marriages. According to your press, those marriages are void NOW. The presumption of validity is WRONG, and they are KIDDING themselves. And the Truth shall set you free.


#20

and it takes 20 years to find out it was coerced?

So what if it occurred 20 years ago and produced children. Does that mean the marriage was valid? What if one of the spouses was stone drunk? What if one of the spouses lied about something that was, in the eyes of the other spouse, a condition for their vows? I’ll give you a close personal example. My sister has been married for close to 10 years. She has two children with her husband. Her husband told her before they were married that he was a baptized Christian. This was very important to my sister, and she consented to the marriage with the understanding that she was marrying a good, Christ-loving Christian. It has recently come to light that her husband is not a baptized Christian and that he purposely lied to her. And there are many other issues besides, not least of which is the fact that her husband does not even act like the Christian that he was supposed to be (and my sister had been suffering with this burden quietly for almost their entire marriage).

Accordiing to your legalistic rules, the marriage was valid. THAT is absurd.

And why was the proof of the baptism not produced before the marriage? (I had to).

I pray that the your sister’s union may prosper as did St. Monica’s. My marriage also turned out to be with someone that didn’t turn out to be who they appeared, but I don’t question the “validity” of the marriage.


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