I am currently going through the divorce process and I’m not sure how I feel about annulment. I went to RCIA after I was married, so I had my “legal” marriage in a protestant church, then went through con-validation in the Catholic church. According to Canon laws, it looks like I actually have grounds for annulment, but something in me says that I DO have a valid marriage. I know some of you will say to speak to a priest about this, and I have briefly. I guess I’m so concerned that the US Church seems so lenient on annulments today, that if they give me one and I really did have a valid marriage, that God will still judge me for adultery if I remarry. I guess I should also point out that after my husband and I separated, I did get involved with another man and ended up have a sexual relationship with him. I have ended that relationship and have been absolved from that sin, but does this mean that I “forfeit” my ability to seek an annulment if I chose to do so?
Sins that you have committed would not determine the validity or lack of validity for your marriage. Leave that determination to the tribunal.
Prayers for you, stay close to Jesus.
As one who as participated in the decree of nullity process, I can tell you tribunals are not handing out such decrees as if they were free balloons. The process is not easy. It requires deep soul-searching. It requires a bit of stamina to keep up with the paperwork. If the US Church seems to hand out a great deal of annulments, it is because so many people have entered into marriage unprepared and improperly catechized.
I highly recommend the book *Annulment: The Wedding That Was. *In my opinion, I would also wait if I were you on starting the process until you are sure what it is. Many dioceses offer a seminar or evening function that explains the process better. Plan to attend one. Ask lots of questions.
To do more research, simply click on the word SEARCH at the top of the screen. There are many, many threads here on CAF about annulments.
anyone whose marriage is irretrievably damaged, usually signalled by civil divorce, may petition the canon law tribunal of the diocese in either spouse has reason to believe the marriage may be invalid from its inception (not because of anything that happened afterward). If after due investigation, including a soul-searching interview process which can have a great healing effect on the spouses, it is found that conditions necessarily for a valid marriage–freedom, capacity and consent–were not present, a decree of nullity will be issued. This has no affect on the status of children of the marriage. If you are firmly convinced the marriage was valid on all levels, and full capacity, freedom and consent were enjoyed by both spouses at the time of the contract, there is no requirement to request this process, and you accept that you are married to that person for life and may never remarry while he lives.
In my country, it takes about ten years to get an annulment. And the only reasons you can get it are: a severe illness that one of the spouses kept as a secret prior to the wedding, hidden intentions (marrying for money etc.) and if the “married” never had sex.
Marriage with children never gets an annulment.
Quite strict, huh?
Well, if you have doubts, I believe that it’s probably the Holy Spirit whispering to you, that your marriage is valid.
Whatever you decide to do, God bless you!
We are all subject to the same law of the Church. The grounds for nullity in Croatia are the same as the US.
You are under no obligation to seek a declaration of nullity. Many choose to submit their marriage to investigation so that they know for sure. And, the more time that passes sometimes the more difficult it is to obtain witnesses-- and although this is how you feel today, you may feel differently down the road.
First, the tribunals are not “lenient” on nullity cases. Secondly, if you receive a decree of nullity in good faith, God will NOT judge your for adultery.
No, not at all. Why would you think it does?
Isn’t that whole idea of the Church and the “keys” given to Peter? What is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.
Not to worry on that account.
While this is technically true, the fact is that these laws are applied differently in different parts of the world. For example, in my wife’s country of origin, some bishops have taken the position that it is better to make the path into the church easier for the previously married and divorced. The annulment process is very much easier, faster, and sometimes bypassed altogether.
Thanks to all who replied. I guess I didn’t choose the best word when I said lenient, but I have heard that some people abuse the process and may not necessarily outright lie about the marriage, but may stretch the truth to get an annulment, and they succeed in getting one. But I guess those people will be held accountable before God. Mainly my concern is that my spouse only agreed to convalidate the marriage so that I can become Catholic. So I’m sure he told the priest whatever he felt he had to so that the priest would go forth with the convalidation. So on paper it looks like consent was given, but knowing his views about the Church, he did not believe the convaildation needed to happen. In his eyes out legal marriage was enough. This is however, not the only grounds it looks like I have for annulment.
Valid marriage always requires true marital consent expressed by persons who are qualified to marry and according to the form of the celebration to which they are bound. A person who married a Catholic “outside the Catholic Church” may hold the opinion that this former ceremony was sufficient to establish valid marriage, and might subsequently not give true marital consent at the Catholic ceremony. If so, the person is essentially simulating consent but not really giving it. However, since the external signs of giving consent are presumed in the law to correspond to the internal will (canon 1101), the tribunal would need to establish the contrary with moral certitude.
No doubt that some persons have undoubtedly deceived or tried to deceive tribunals, or will do so or try to do so in the future. Tribunal personnel are aware of this and look for that possibility in the evaluation of proofs. However, decisions cannot be based on the declaration of one party, and there must always be sufficient corrobration so that there can be no prudent doubt about the decision in the conscience of the judge(s). Even so, if a party lies and others conspire in that deceit to trick a tribunal, they still have to face the Lord some day.
After making a poor choice at a job once I was reprimanded by an employer for making my “judgement call” He looked at me after the rebuke and said “I would have made the very same call and handled everything the same way, but that is below your pay grade and I need to be the one to make the call and take the blame for the mistake.”
The same applies here. Let the tribunal make the decision - answer their questions honestly and leave it in their hands - that is their job.
Participants at this forum can’t judge beyond giving a response to the hypothetical. And second-guessing yourself should be set aside.