would this be grounds for an annulment?

  • a man and woman were married as protestants
  • this couple later became catholic
  • after 2 pregnancies, the wife underwent sterilization without her husband’s mutual consent.

clearly the wife is not open to life. it could be argued that she was only open to life on her own terms and not on the church’s terms (in other words, not truly open).

would this be a valid reason to seek an annulment?

An annulment is granted upon the conditions present at the moment the marriage vows were made, not upon conditions present years after those vows were made. The wife may have changed her mind regarding her openness to life.

Reason to seek an annulment is neither valid nor invalid. If either party wishes to seek a declaration of nullity they should consult their pastor and get the process moving forward.

Is this a hypothetical question? If not are you currently divorced or still married?

This is clearly a matter for the Tribunal, but after two pregnancies it would seem to be difficult to establish non-openness to life at the time the marriage was contracted, which is the point in time the nullity process examines.

  1. this is a hypothetical question
  2. bullet 3 clarifies your second question. “* after 2 pregnancies, the wife underwent sterilization without her husband’s mutual consent.” - so in the hypothetical, yes, still married.

This is clearly a matter for the Tribunal, but after two pregnancies it would seem to be difficult to establish non-openness to life at the time the marriage was contracted, which is the point in time the nullity process examines.

it would be difficult indeed, but if the time at which the marriage is contracted is the point under consideration, then really 2 pregnancies after the fact is irrelevant, as oppenness may have changed later, and then reverted to the initial non-open position and solidified by sterilization - particularly without spousal consent.


maybe a different question on nullity may bring about clearer answers.

  1. i’ve heard that protestant marriages are presumed valid, but not necessarily sacramental, by the Catholic church.
  2. if merely “presumed” valid, but not sacramental, then is this grounds for possible nullity if one partner seeks it?

vexweb,

Ask this hypothetical question to your pastor.

A marriage between 2 baptized Protestants (barring any impediments to the marriage) is both valid and sacramental.

A marriage between two unbaptized or one baptized and one unbaptized person (barring any impediments) is valid, but not sacramental. If the parties get baptized later, it becomes sacramental.

For question #2, here is how a valid marriage between unbaptized or if only one is baptized is dissolved–not declared null: ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=410268

This is not the same as an annulment, which declares that a marriage did not exist in the first place, but actually dissolves the marriage. A sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved. These questions are best asked to a priest familiar with the process, rather than on a message board, as each case is handled individually, and decided upon by the proper authority–the tribunal or even the Pope. What I have given are just general answers, and I am not a priest.

What is the purpose of this hypothetical? Because most of us are going to be hesitant to say whether there are grounds or not.

This would require a lot of investigation and interviews by the tribunal to determine what the hypothetical wife believed when the vows were being exchanged.

However, I would say this: There is no reason for a divorced Catholic not to seek an annulment. It’s good to know one way or another. I would advise any divorced Catholic to seek an annulment, but I would also try hard not to set anyone expectations.

I pray this is helpful.

God Bless and Happy Holy Week

If two baptized protestants are in a “presumed valid” marriage, then they are in a “presumed” sacramental marriage.

The only way it can be annulled is if the Tribunal finds reason to doubt the validity of the marriage due to some kind of impediment(s) at the time of the vows.

Please consult your priest if you are having marital difficulty. Get a referral to a competent counselor. A breach of trust such as a secret sterilization needs counseling for both parties to help heal the harm done.

Actually, that isn’t clear at all.

I would suggest further study on the matter. I don’t think you can argue that at all. The Church is very specific in what it means regarding a permanent intention against children-- and I don’t think you can argue a woman who was twice pregnant trying to have a family had some sort of intention against children when vows were exchanged.

There aren’t any “grounds” for anything based strictly on what you’ve posted other than grounds to be angry at your spouse and hurt by their actions.

I would suggest you get some counseling.

You are putting the cart before the horse if you are still married. Get some counseling to heal the hurt on both sides.

If this is a hypothetical, well as with all hypotheticals on decrees of nullity-- there is no answer to be found here. Because with a decree of nullity EVERYTHING depends on the actual facts of the case.

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