I find it weird that there is such push back about a suggestion that a divorced Catholic see his or her priest to discuss annullment. At no point did I suggest the priest should advocate for an anullment to be granted. Sorry…this string pisses me off a bit.
This was not a Catholic who went against church teaching. This is a new Catholic trying to change his life based on a new understanding of his new faith. Can our priests not find an hour for him? If not, what is the point of the priesthood? Who else better to explain the Catholic doctrine on marriage, and to explain the circumstances under which annulment is appropriate, or not appropriate,? Can we not trust our priests to explain whatever nuances and cautions about expectations are advisable?
My husband left, took marital money and fought over every responsibility I asked him to take (statutory child support was considered to be a gift to me) and co-parenting was made impossible by his childish obstinance. He married someone else. And his efforts went to raising her children, not his own. Yep. It shattered me and my child, over and over for years. My OWN church acted like some of you are acting, like the priest would catch leprosy if I went to him to navigate a rough patch in my life…parenting alone, being betrayed in every way. I guess every divorced woman has the hots for the priest, every divorced man is going to infect the church with bad ideas. I had to navigate staff playing goalie, but when I caught the priest after Mass he was heartbroken to hear the kind of nonsense spouted here…that he didn’t have time. He did and he was wonderfully helpful. When I formally requested to start the annulment process I got different snark…an attitude that I had to talk to him, as if I were being sent to the principal. I was just a person, suffering from a broken marriage.
In my last parish I offered to start a Bible study for men and women over 45 without partners. Whether widowed, divorced or never married, news flash…our family focused church communities sometimes offer no place for us. It is hard. .sad, lonely, heartbreaking…to go to mass alone and see all around you the family you wanted. I was told “no”. Massive church…huge congregation…I was told there weren’t other people like me in the parish. Well no, not many, because they felt so unwelcome they left.
Yes, the priest should absolutely advocate for his parishioners. Absolutely. Not to cheat a process by any means, but to help a hurting person who wishes to come home to our church and be welcomed. It’s a shame that is not considered a given.
My suggestion stands…see the priest. Whether counsel, support, confession or practical advice are needed, it is the right thing to do. Your soul and your family are not a waste of your priest’s time.