Theological resources for topic: Annulment/legitimacy of children

I’m looking for some authoritative resources, print or preferably online, that discuss the legitimacy/illigitimacy issue of children of a marriage that has been annuled.

:frowning: Sorry, I’m not looking for discussion, just references. :wink:

What do you consider an authoritative resource? If you do a search you’ll come up with many hits of different diocesan websites such as the following:

cdop.org/diocesan_offices/annulment_faq.cfm

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**Don’t children become illegitimate by annulments?
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Church law has no effect on the civil status of children, and thus decrees of nullity do not determine the legitimacy or illegitimacy of one’s children. Church law states that children are legitimate and remain so, when born to unions begun in good faith and thought to be a marriage at the time that subsequently receive a decree of nullity.

or articles such as the one by Ed Peters from This Rock:

catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9909fea2.asp

*Will an annulment render the children illegitimate? *

Let me say two words about the term “illegitimacy”: It stinks. Babies are not illegitimate, no matter how illegitimate might have been the acts by which they were conceived. Babies are conceived in the image and likeness of God, who loves them all.

Next, illegitimacy no longer carries any canonical consequences. The main reason why the concept of legitimacy is still treated in the 1983 Code is, I think, because some nations, by treaty with the Holy See, accept canonical declarations of nullity in place of civil divorces. Thus, civil law questions of child-support and inheritance could be clouded if legitimacy were not treated in canon law.

Canon 1137 states that children born or conceived of a valid or putative marriage are considered legitimate. Canon 1061 § 3 calls “putative” those marriages that, though invalid, were nevertheless celebrated in good faith by at least one of the parties, until that time, if any, when both parties become certain of its nullity. The great majority of the formal nullity cases coming before diocesan tribunals involve at least one, usually two, persons entering marriage in good faith, hence entering at least a putative marriage, resulting in the legitimacy of the children.

Moreover, if a child is born to parents not married or only civilly married, but the parents later validly or even putatively marry, such marriage automatically renders the child or children canonically legitimate (canon 1139). Even here, the later annulment of the marriage would not render these children canonically illegitimate. Finally, canon 1139 states that children can be legitimated by rescript of the Holy See. In brief, the granting of an annulment petition does nothing to affect the legitimacy of children.

I won’t pretend that these answers satisfy every nuance of the questions considered, and we all know these are not the only questions that apologists will encounter on the topic of annulments. But if I have given a basic orientation to the subject of annulments, and if I have indicated in broad terms the type of intelligent responses that are available to inquiring minds, then we will have accomplished something useful and good.

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I’m not sure if resources will be easy to find as the state of legitamacy is not an issue according to the Church, but that of the government.(though the catecism or canon might go into it)

**Canon 1137 states that children born or conceived of a valid or putative marriage are considered legitimate. Canon 1061 § 3 calls “putative” those marriages that, though invalid, were nevertheless celebrated in good faith by at least one of the parties, until that time, if any, when both parties become certain of its nullity. The great majority of the formal nullity cases coming before diocesan tribunals involve at least one, usually two, persons entering marriage in good faith, hence entering at least a putative marriage, resulting in the legitimacy of the children.

Moreover, if a child is born to parents not married or only civilly married, but the parents later validly or even putatively marry, such marriage automatically renders the child or children canonically legitimate (canon 1139). Even here, the later annulment of the marriage would not render these children canonically illegitimate. Finally, canon 1139 states that children can be legitimated by rescript of the Holy See. In brief, the granting of an annulment petition does nothing to affect the legitimacy of children. **

That’s what I was looking for. Thanks. :thumbsup:

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