What do I do when my daughter plans to re-marry before annulment?

I need help. My daughter, who was in the process of seeking an annulment for her first marriage, has decided she just doesn’t want to “deal” with it right now. She says she is not going to put all her personal business before a group of “men” who know nothing about marriage and let them decide whether her first marriage was valid or not, because even if the declaration of nullity is denied, she intends to re-marry anyway. She is not going to live alone the rest of her life - she’s only 29…blah,blah, blah. Her intended spouse is Catholic (though he’s received all the sacraments, he’s only recently began practicing the faith again) and he has never been married. I have tried to talk to her about the sacrament of marriage and how important it is to go thru all the proper preparation (which did not happen with her first marriage). That was part of the problem - her first husband was not a believer, although he had been baptized as a Lutheran. He was never raised with any religious foundation. I’ve tried to explain the risk to her immortal soul by living in an adulterous state. She says, “God knows what’s going on in my life and my heart. Why does the Church just go about telling everyone that they’re going to hell?”.

I know this is long… but I am sick at my stomach. What do I do? I’ve told her I would not be able to attend any type of ceremony because I cannot profess to be a Catholic and witness a marriage that is invalid. Please help…any advice is deeply appreciated.

Thank you for all you do…God Bless you

Dear t,

First of all there are many canon lawyers who are lay people and many of those are women. So much for her comment about all those men who know nothing of marriage! The point of the annulment procedure is simply to determine the truth. If she is still validly married to someone, she can’t be married again because God did not design men and women to have more than one spouse at a time.

She is frightened and seems to be covering her fear with anger and determination. I suspect that she is not nearly as sure of herself as she is trying to sound. All the talk of hell wouldn’t faze her if she were truly sure of herself.

It sounds like she fears that the annulment won’t be granted and she doesn’t want to deal with the guilt she will feel if she attempts marriage anyway. So she has chosen to go on the attack against the whole process. If she can reduce the Church’s credibility in all this, maybe she won’t feel so bad.

What she really needs to do is to stop and reflect on the Lord’s passion and on how much He loves her. How can anyone repay Him for such love? He is worth anything we can give Him. He is certainly worth our trust. If He wants her to get the annulment, it will happen (so long as she starts the process). If this is not what He wants, how can she possibly want it?

I will remember her during my hour before the Blessed Sacrament tonight.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.