Witness for annulment


#1

Annulment: The invalidation of a marriage, as for non-consummation, effected by means of a declaration stating that the marriage was never valid.
I have been asked by my sister to write a letter and be a witness for her annulment so that she can join the Diocese, and of course the answer can only be yes. I would really like to express sincerely what the church wants to know but in that lies the problem. I don’t know what the church needs?
I am jumping the gun a little, the Diocese will send me a letter explaining this but I am a curious human and need opinions.
My sister has a son by her first marriage that is now 26. She has been divorced from him for over 22 years and raised her son by herself. Her second marriage was a short mistake. She has been married to her catholic husband, yes number 3, for 14 years and been going to Catholic Church. She is a nurse, a foster parent and an adoptive parent of two children. She is retired from active military.
The road to Catholicism has been rocky for her but I think she deserves it.
Any comment is appreciated
Respectfully yours


#2

The Church’s definition of annulment is not the same as the civil’s law. It’s apparent that the marriage was consumated, so the church will probably be looking at whether or not she (or her husband) wwas able to give proper consent.


#3

I recommend you prayerfully reflect on any information for which you are asked and then simply tell the truth.


#4

You will get a packet from the Diocese. It will help your sister out greatly to complete the paperwork as soon as possible and return it. This will help to speed the process along. When I applied for my annulment, the witness process was the longest part.

You are doing a wonderful thing for your sister.


#5

[quote=Elizabeth B.]I recommend you prayerfully reflect on any information for which you are asked and then simply tell the truth.
[/quote]

Amen to this.

The truth is needed.

Any attempt to mislead or to lie to the tribunal is a very serious matter. Your sister depends on the truth being told.


#6

I filled out the papers for one of my sisters. I tried to stick to exactly what I knew and I didn’t get off on any tangents. I answered just what they asked. I know they know what they are looking for. I didn’t know anyone else that had done this, so I didn’t get to ask questions. I think that honesty about what you know is the answer. She did get her annulment so it meant that years later when she met someone they were able to get married in the Catholic church. I am happy that she did it.


#7

[quote=jmm08]Amen to this.

The truth is needed.

Any attempt to mislead or to lie to the tribunal is a very serious matter. Your sister depends on the truth being told.
[/quote]

I already stated I intend to be sincere, what is not clear about that?


#8

[quote=Timidity]The Church’s definition of annulment is not the same as the civil’s law. It’s apparent that the marriage was consumated, so the church will probably be looking at whether or not she (or her husband) wwas able to give proper consent.
[/quote]

Thank you,
I understand wrong, I’ve been there and done that. :slight_smile: I will fill out the paper work honestly and sincerely but I would just like to gain a little understanding of the catholic view. For example, what is the catholic definition? What does proper consent mean? :confused:
I studied many religions and always seem to have more questions. :blessyou:


#9

[quote=NotACatholic]I would really like to express sincerely what the church wants to know but in that lies the problem. I don’t know what the church needs?
…but I think she deserves it.

[/quote]

[quote=NotACatholic]I already stated I intend to be sincere, what is not clear about that?
[/quote]

I am new to this process myself. From what I understand, there will be a letter with some simple questions in it. As long as you truthfully and promptly answer these questions, that will be the greatest help to your sister.

The thought process involved is so complex, that I cannot follow it myself. So please don’t try to guess at what they want to hear. And don’t try to color or spin your answer towards what you think they want to hear.

If you don’t know an answer. Just say you don’t know. Be truthful and prompt and this will be the best help.

John 8:32 … and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


#10

[quote=NotACatholic]For example, what is the catholic definition? What does proper consent mean? :confused:
[/quote]

Here is a webpage that provides brief explanations. This book contains a thorough definition of all the grounds. But if you are interested in the theology and not just the psychology, there are other references that may be more appropriate.


#11

I GIVE UP!
I am a being whose spirit is guided towards goodness, truth and beauty, or what you might call the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

I find this personal attack on my character insulting!

You want honesty?

I don’t care if my sister becomes catholic or not.

I don’t care what the catholic tribunal thinks.

Therefore, they will get the plain, unvarnished truth!

I only started this thread because I was curious as to why anyone would jump through hoops like this to become Catholic…

If there was ever any spark in my being that might guide me towards Catholicism you have extinguished it.

Next thing you know you’ll be condemning me to HELL for not being baptised in a catholic church.


#12

I think the advice was just given in a calm but not accusatory manor. I sort of said a similar thing and I meant no harm or accusations. Here is the deal. When I filled it our for my sister I was worried a little that I might say something to hurt her chances of getting the annulment. I took a deep breath and just wrote what I knew to be true and I did fine. I think that is all we are saying. Your sister may or may not get it, and I am sure it is in God’s hands at that point.

Please don’t take any of this as an attack. Prayers go out to you and your sister.


#13

Dear NotAcatholic,

The only way that truth will be discerned with certainty is for an annulment decision to be sought from the Roman Rota, where the judges adhere to the teachings of the Magisterium.

Others here may disagree with me but they are simply wrong.

We are obliged to seek the truth as christians and as Catholics.
The Rota seeks truth not expedience and all souls are worth that.


#14

Your faith is that fragile?

Scullinius


#15

Dear NotACatholic,

There is a website Vatican.va. On that website can be found some addresses of the Pope to the Roman Rota regarding HIS views on their work in determining the validity of marriages.

He addresses the Rota at the end of every January or early February and these addresses are meant for instructing them, and all Church Tribunals, how to view marriage as a Sacrament and how to adjudicate these cases.

There are addresses in this group from throughout his entire Pontificate and they are FILLED with information on the authentic Catholic view of marriage and nullity among many other things.
With patience there is a tremendous amount to be learned there, especially for Catholics but really all people, especially other Christians who may want to better understand why we as Catholics do some of the things we do(or do not do some of the things we should do) regarding marriage.

I urge you and everyone who reads this to please check out what he has to say. I can tell you from much experience that many, many Catholics, even among Canon Lawyers do not share the Popes view on consent and in doing so much misunderstanding is
perpetrated.

In reality consent is simple and straight forward and NOT IDEALIZED to be perfect. You DO NOT have to have a PhD to understand and share consent for marriage but you must understand and accept that marriage is a permanent state ending only upon death, that it involves exchanged fidelity for life with your covenanted spouse and that this relationship must be open to offspring. These three elements exchanged knowingly and according to the canonical matrimonial form constitute a valid marriage in the Catholic Church.

It truly is a simple consent, according to His Holiness the Pope.

This link should get you there. These are very excellent!

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/index_spe-roman-rota.htm


#16

[quote=formercatholic]Dear NotACatholic,

In reality consent is simple and straight forward and NOT IDEALIZED to be perfect.
[/quote]

What is an annulment: An annulment is an official Church declaration that a previous marriage no longer binds a person spiritually.

I must apologize for my poor choice if words in the beginning of this thread. I simply wished to express my pride in my sister for I know the road she traveled and I am impressed where she finds herself at this point and time. :slight_smile: And for losing my temper. I feel the road to enlightenment has as much to do with truth as with self-control. :frowning:
I should also show the respect for all church and people that I intended in the beginning. THANK YOU to all for spending the time to write. :blessyou:
The second quote above is from a web site suggested in this thread. It helps greatly, I realize it’s vague but it does have direction. It’s a good start. :thumbsup:


#17

Not a C –
Glad you recovered your composure…

Sadly, the secomd quote is worded incorrectly–a valid marriage cannot be annulled, so if it previously bound it still binds. Perhaps the author was implying a perceived binding…in any event, the test will be if the marriage(s) were valid or not, one key to which is proper consent.

Sacramental marriage is different than legal marriage; the couple requires full understanding of what they are consenting to in order to enter a sacramental marriage. If they didn’t know it, they didn’t do it.

Good luck with your search for Truth.


#18

[quote=Catholic2003]But if you are interested in the theology and not just the psychology, there are other references that may be more appropriate.
[/quote]

It’s sounding like you are interested in the theology as well. Here are a few references in that regard:

This online book, “Nullity of Marriage” by Frank J. Sheed, is probably the best introduction to the Catholic theology of marriage and annulment. As a practical guide, however, it is extremely dated, and some of the procedural rules have been changed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

This web article, “How can a Marriage be Declared Null?”, by Rev. Michael Smith Foster, J.C.D. is a more up-to-date guide, but doesn’t dig as deeply into the basics of the sacrament of marriage.


#19

You will be relieved to know that you don’t have to know a thing about proper consent or psychology or canon law or anything like that to be a witness… just as you don’t have to know criminal law to be a witness at a murder trial. You just have to relate all the pertinents facts you are asked about to the best of your knowledge. Whether you think the couple should have an annulment doesn’t matter one bit.

The papers from the diocese will ask specific questions. You are asked to give your answers as to the facts, without interpretation. I have been told it is most helpful to relate incidents and give examples rather than to use labels. For instance, “Bob was controlling” isn’t very helpful. This would be helpful: “Bob expected to know where Susan was at all times, to only have contact with their extended family with his permission, to not have contact with her friends without his presence and his permission (which he gave perhaps twice a year), to have only female friends that he approved of, to call him if she was going to be even five minutes late, and to take care of the house and children to his specifications. Although Susan wanted to work outside the home or to do volunteer work at church, Bob would not allow it. I know this because Bob has told me and my husband on several occasions that these were his expectations for how a ‘good wife’ acts.” You can also relate stories told to you, “Susan told me at the time that Bob usually called her several times a day at irregular times, to be certain she was at home.” Relating particular incidents that illustrate an answer to questions are also helpful. "Susan told me on the night before their wedding that she had doubts about marrying Bob, but was afraid how he would react if she got cold feet. Later, Bob asked me how Susan was, and said that if she didn’t marry him, “I will lose it. Don’t hang around, because I won’t be responsible for what happens.”

Of course, your examples are likely to be much more positive than these! The point is, they don’t want you to just tell the bad stuff, but telling the bad stuff as well as the good is appropriate in this case, because it is necessary. They want your sense of things, but not your opinion so much as what facts lead you to them. You needn’t worry that you would be bad-mouthing either party or anything like that, in any case.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions at all, be certain that you can call the diocese and someone will help you. And just like in court… “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer.


#20

I’m sorry if I offended you.

By the way, I am only in RCIA (in a class learning about the Catholic faith). My knowledge about the annulment procedure is imperfect, but it is from limited first-hand experience (I am a sinner).

Getting an annulment is very complex. Theoretically speaking (don’t take this personally): processing an annulment is sufficiently complex that any one witness who intends to spin the truth (or provide false testimony) in order to help get the annulment may be more likely to make the whole process more difficult.

I assure you that the best any petitioner or respondent can hope or pray for is honesty and prompt replies from witnesses.

By the way, the Catholic Church recognizes the water baptisms (sprinkling or immersion) done by most other Christian Churches. I doubt that any informed Catholic would ever say somebody was condemned for not having a “Catholic” baptism instead of a different Christian baptism. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10-16 wanted Christians to stop arguing about the minor details of their water baptisms.

jmm08


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