Skip to comments.Catholic Divorce: The Deception of Annulments. [CATHOLIC CAUCUS]
Posted on 09/09/2010 7:44:11 PM PDT by verdugo
Catholic Divorce: The Deception of Annulments is a collection of essays by theologians, historians, and Sociologists who critically examine the Catholic Church's teaching and practice on divorce, annulments, and remarriage. The book opens with a brief essay by Pierre Hegy in which he describes why so many Catholics have become disillusioned with the church's position on these issues. He suggests that the chief reason why 80-90 percent of divorced Catholics simply ignore the annulment process and marry outside the church is because they regard the practice of annulments as deceitful. Because the grounds for an annulment have become so broad that practically anyone who applies for one can obtain it, many observers now regard annulments as "virtual divorces." After all, the same grounds used for divorce in a civil court have "become grounds for the nonexistence of marriage in an ecclesiastical court" (p. 23). To add to the deceit, many couples who receive annulments do so believing that their marriage was, in fact, sacramentally valid -- that the marital bond did exist but that, over time, it began to break down. These couples, understandably, choose not to disclose this part of the story to marriage tribunals so that they can qualify for an annulment.
Perhaps what is most problematic with the practice of annulments, according to Hegy, is that they often fail to deliver the kind of healing and renewal that so many divorced Catholics seek in the process. Nowhere is this illustrated more vividly than in the second chapter, which presents a series of testimonies by Catholics who have either gone through the annulment process or decided, for a variety of reasons, not to. One woman, for example, reports having become disillusioned by the annulment process when the diocesan tribunal hearing her case seemed to trivialize the spiritual conversion that accompanied her divorce by asking "intimate details about our sex life" instead of asking "Where did you find God in all of this?" (p. 39). Yet another woman tells of feeling coerced by a monsignor not to report her whole story to the tribunal in order to create the illusion that the marriage bond did not exist "from the very beginning" (p. 30). In short, these stories reveal that the Church's current teaching and practice of annulments not only inflict emotional trauma, but in some cases, encourage deceit.
Which is why the Church has become so unable to deal with the other moral declines. The plank in thy own eye.
Wow! Who cares?
It is very difficult for a Catholic marriage to be invalid and thus annulable, that is why there were only 35 to 50 per year WORLDWIDE, numerically speaking, practicallly NONE. Quick examples as grounds for annulment:
A shotgun wedding, where one or both are forced to marry against their will (there’s was a time limit. One couldn’t come 10 years and 6 children later, and say they were coerced)
One party or both were previously married in the Church, and did not disclose it
The marriage was never consumated
One of the parties hid his decision to not have children.
I reckon anyone who posts to thread cares enough to post to the thread, even if it’s to only ask “who cares?”.
Is it like when Mormons Baptize the dead?
A few years ago, I read a book on this topic, Shattered Faith, by Sheila Rauch Kennedy, ex-wife of Joe Kennedy II (RFK’s oldest son). He wanted an annulment so he could remarry in the Catholic Church. Though not Catholic herself, she opposed it, taking the position that their marriage had been valid even though it ultimately failed. He won every step of the way in the process until she appealed to Rome, which sided with her and held that the marriage was valid. In the meantime, I believe that the diocese they were in went ahead and allowed him to remarry. I reckon Rome’s decision rendered Joe’s second union invalid (or never valid at all).
There was a period of time after Vatican 2 when annulments were far too easy to obtain. I believe that has been tightened up a good bit over the past several years.
As for the article, it is way over the top. Many annulments are obtained for quite valid reasons. One example would be when a Catholic marries outside of the Church and later secures a civil divorce. As that Catholic’s marriage was not considered valid in the eyes of the Church, for whatever reason, the Church requires that an annulment be secured in order for that person to later marry another person but this time in a Catholic ceremony. Generally, one is automatically issued within a month or two.
Another example is when a Catholic marriage later produces no children because one of the parties refuses to have any children. As the primary purpose of marriage is procreation, the Church can consider the marriage to be invalid.
You would understand and care if you had God's grace. I was blind like you for 40 years, also due to my sins. I could have written the same comment.
For your enlightment: divorce, adultery, contraception, abortion, and fornication, are the MAIN CAUSES, of why God punishes the World with bad leaders, governmental and religious.
Good for Shelia. She showed the hypocrisy of it all and wasn’t going to be caught up with their deceit. BRAVO!
I am a Catholic and go to Mass... on occasion... and went to Catholic HS... I KNOW exactly what the rules are. And in both cases we have a CLEAR violation of the principals set forth by Our Lord in the Gospels. Adultery or other immoral acts would be the ONLY such allowed cases. Annulment MAY have covered the case where a Marriage did NOT exist, but it has become de facto Catholic Divorce. That is the point of the article. And my point is, when the Church begins to treat the LAW like the Pharisees, they get the same results.
[i]For your enlightment: divorce, adultery, contraception, abortion, and fornication, are the MAIN CAUSES, of why God punishes the World with bad leaders, governmental and religious. [/i][/p]
I’m guessing God’s also probably not a big fan of those who presume to know the MAIN CAUSES of His actions.
I think we get bad leaders because of ill-informed citizens who vote and have no idea who they are voting for. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.
I did mentioned the second example. As for the first, I don't believe that before Vatican II, anyone needed a formal annulment decree for a marriage outside of the Church, as it was always considered living in adultery. It must have been so, because there were only 35-50 annulments per year WORLDWIDE.
The post Vatican II persons who received annulments for having married outside of the Church are assured that their annulments are valid, as any Catholic knows that a Catholic who marries outside of the Church is living in adultery.
Check and mate!
It’s in scripture. It’s a teaching of the Church Fathers, it’s a teaching of the Catholic Church.
They have not God's Grace to discern good from evil. They are blind because of their sins of divorce, contraceptives, abortion, adultery, and fornication.
I didn't mean to interrupt...
Give me your thoughts.
A young couple marry in the Church. They go through marriage preparation, listen to the priest(s) about marriage etc.
But they privately agree to use artificial contraception from the first day of their marriage.
Is this a sacramentally valid marriage?
What happens when, five years later, one of the two young folks realizes that what they're doing is wrong, and tries to bring his/her spouse to repentance, but fails?
Even if the Church granted the annulment for improper or nebulous reasons, as long as the petitioners for annulments did not lie and obtain it under false pretenses, the annulments would be valid. No matter how sinful a priest may be, he doesn't lose his priestly abilities unless he is officially laicized. The fault is with those who too freely grant annulments, but the annulments remain valid.This is not to say that many don't lie. For them, the annulment would be invalid, and they will have to answer for it.
“There were between 35-50 annulments WORLDWIDE prior to Vatican II.”
Incorrect. There were actually routinely a few hundred every year in the USA alone before Vatican II.
“From there forward annulments in the USA ALONE got up to like 90,000 per year.”
I’m not so sure about that since the number in 1990 was 62,824
“If the USA had never existed, there would be almost no annulments world wide, as it use to be. what are the odds that the USA annulments are valid 10 in 60,000?”
The odds are excellent. The simple fact is that the marriage prep until recently (and, sadly in many places still today) was horrible.
“All those Catholics who received invalid annulments, if they re-married, are living in adultery.”
Not knowingly and therefore there would be no culpability. The real issue is are those invalid. And the answer is, NO.
Ping for later
And make no mistake, divorce is a much bigger attack against the marriage institution than same sex marriage.
In face if society had kept their respect for marriage the topic of same sex marriage wouldn’t even be broached. It’s because they know we have very little respect for marriage already that they would even dare to demand it.
True, and I believe Cardinal Josef Ratzinger who was a big supporter of that reduction. Marriage tribunals in many Dioceses have undergone major changes in the past few years.
“I forgot. This is the delusional “we believe in fairy tales” page.”
Yeah, I used to say things like that.
Let me ask you a question. If there were a Supreme Being who was capable of bringing the universe into being, ex nihilo, wouldn’t it be reasonable to think He would be able to make Himself known, unmistakably, to anyone He wished?
That is, that He would be able to announce Himself in such a way that there was no possibility of error?
It seems certain that such a Supreme Being would be able to do that...and yet some people dismiss any such phenomena as impossible, on the grounds that there is no God, and they know this because God does not make Himself known.
That’s about as circular as reasoning can get.
Well, wireman, there is a God, and He does make Himself known to people, in ways that are beyond any possibility of error. He doesn’t do that to everyone, and He apparently hasn’t done it to you. I hope He does.
I believe the ruling would still be invalid, but they would not be guilty of adultery of they re-married others:
What if on a later day they read up on annulments and realize they have a bogus ruling. Then I would say their innocence is gone. If they were re-married, they would have a problem, because they would be have the awareness of living in adultery from that day of enlightenment forward.
Incorrect. There were actually routinely a few hundred every year in the USA alone before Vatican II.
My source stats show 392 annulments Worldwide from 1952 to 1956. In the past I was shown stats in the 1930's at 35 or so.
re: Im not so sure about that since the number in 1990 was 62,824
We agree, since I don't have written stats past 1990. I was writing from memory. 60,000 or 90,000 versus 50 or 100, not much difference, amounts to almost nothing
The odds are excellent. The simple fact is that the marriage prep until recently (and, sadly in many places still today) was horrible.
That's a cliche. Any simple illiterate Indian in South America knows that marriage is for life. It does not take much for the priest to teach them JUST THAT before they are married.
re:All those Catholics who received invalid annulments, if they re-married, are living in adultery.
Not knowingly and therefore there would be no culpability.
The real issue is are those invalid. And the answer is, NO.
The culpability does not make or break the invalidity. The ruling would still be invalid, but they would not be guilty of adultery if they re-married others, while still believing they had a valid annulment. What if on a later day they read up on annulments and realize they have a bogus ruling. Then I would say their innocence is gone. If they were re-married, they would have a problem, because they would be have the awareness of living in adultery from that day of enlightenment forward, and would be culpable
yes, I was about 40.
I have a recollection of a statistic from 2006, that there were 50,000 - 60,000 annulments worldwide, with about 60% of them being in the US.
This appears to represent roughly a 40% drop-off in the US from their peak in the 1990s.
You may not have seem my post, or perhaps you think I asked in bad faith, but I'm serious and sincere in asking what you think of the validity of putative Catholic marriages where one or both partners just don't accept the Church's teaching on contraception. Or abortion, or the indissolubility of marriage. Or fidelity in marriage.
A Catholic goes to Mass every week if not every day. Are you sure you aren’t a lapsed/inactive Catholic?
Some of your posts suggest that.
**I KNOW exactly what the rules are**
The rules for annulments are very complicated. Are you sure about that statement?
What is a no-form annulment?
“What happens when, five years later, one of the two young folks realizes that what they're doing is wrong, and tries to bring his/her spouse to repentance, but fails”?
The problem with invalid annulments comes into play when the parties re-marry another person. If this couple you mention seek an annulment based on what you say, and the one party continues to obstinately refuse to have children, then they have grounds for an annulment.
Was the marriage invalid all the time, yes. Do they need to get re-married again with the proper intent, I “think” so, BUT, They really need to talk to a good priest. (I went to 5 different priests to do my FULL general confession after being out of the Church for 40 years, till I was satisfied I had confessed to two good priests.)
Thanks for the response. I don't always agree with everything you post, but I like your style. ;-)
I guess my point is, do you believe that these marriages, where spouses enter privately dissenting from pretty fundamental Catholic doctrines related to marriage and sexuality, like contraception, fidelity, etc., are initially valid?
I'm gleaning from your answer that at least with some of these issues, you don't believe that such marriages are sacramentally valid. I'm not altogether sure. I'm not versant enough in the theology of marriage as a sacrament.
But if the Church teaches that such marriages, at least in some cases, aren't valid, well, then...
I know that there have been abuses of the process of obtaining declarations of nullity.
But I also know that our culture has deteriorated a lot in the last hundred years, and that we Catholics now swim in a cesspool of culture that is largely alien to us, in terms of morality.
Think about it: A hundred years ago, no Christian ecclesial group accepted the morality of contraception. Divorce was a great scandal. Sex outside of marriage, too, was a great scandal. So on and so forth.
Catholics lived in a culture that although it wasn't necessarily Catholic, it was one that upheld much of Catholic morality, especially Catholic morality related to sex and marriage. Catholics were formed by the culture in ways that weren't necessarily opposed to Catholic belief.
But not so today. The larger culture is pretty hostile to Catholic morality. Lots of folks laugh at us for continuing to hold the unchanging teaching of the Church regarding contraception. Pre-marital sex? Marital fidelity? Indissolubility of marriage? What? Are you kidding??
I see this even in the parishes with which I'm familiar. My sons attend a youth group at a neighboring parish (not our own). I permit them to attend because the pastor of the parish is heavily involved in the group, he's pretty orthodox, and he's hired a group of pretty orthodox adult adults (not young adults) trained in apologetics, and especially apologetics to young Catholics. The program, while not perfect, is pretty darned good.
But the problem isn't with the staff of the youth group, or with the priests involved. It's with the youth themselves, LOL!
When the folks started a talk on homosexuality, they asked the young folks what they thought about the topic. My son stood up and said, “Homosexual orientation is a grave objective moral disorders, and homosexual acts are intrinsically evil and therefore never morally acceptable under any circumstances.” Yay, sitetest’s son!!
But he nearly started a riot! The other kids started calling him a homophobe, and worse. It took some effort for the adults to get control back of the situation. Once control was re-established, the adults affirmed what my son say, but in ways to smooth over the situation. They ARE trying to reach these kids, and it does no good to chase them away.
Now, most of these kids are children of good, devout, Mass-attending Catholic families. Many of them go to the local Catholic school. Many are publicly-schooled. But a critical difference, in my view, is that my sons were homeschooled through 8th grade. We sheltered them (yes we did) during the most impressionable ages, and did our best to teach them the Catholic faith. I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the faith, but I've tried to be so, especially so that my wife and I could do the most important thing given to us: transmit our Catholic faith to our sons. The only other young folks in agreement with my son were the children of another homeschooling family. Although even they thought my son was a bit impolitic, LOL.
So, I ask you, would it surprise you that large number of younger Catholic adults are badly malformed catechetically, so malformed that perhaps they don't successfully contract sacramental marriages?
I know that not all declarations of nullity have been on the up-and-up. But I suspect that the number of truly invalid marriages may be a lot more in this country than a few hundred per year. I wouldn't be surprised if a substantial minority of putative marriages are contracted invalidly.
Now, that result points in another direction: perhaps the Church needs to be tougher in whom it permits to marry within the Church. Maybe. But I know the resistance that pastors local to me when they demand that couples stop co-habitating for at least six months before they're permitted to marry in the Church.
Just some thoughts.
“That’s a cliche.”
No, sorry. I have had too many conversations with canon lawyers about this to consider it a cliche.
“Any simple illiterate Indian in South America knows that marriage is for life.”
Exactly - and these AREN’T marriages. That’s the point.
“It does not take much for the priest to teach them JUST THAT before they are married.”
Actually it does. It takes much - much that most priests lack. I have friends who were taught that birth control was just fine BY THEIR PRIESTS IN PRE-CANA CLASSES.
“The culpability does not make or break the invalidity.”
Adultery is what you mentioned.
“The ruling would still be invalid, but they would not be guilty of adultery if they re-married others, while still believing they had a valid annulment. What if on a later day they read up on annulments and realize they have a bogus ruling.”
That is almost logically impossible unless they lied during the process and they would already know that.
“Then I would say their innocence is gone. If they were re-married, they would have a problem, because they would be have the awareness of living in adultery from that day of enlightenment forward, and would be culpable”
And that doesn’t happen so your scenario is essentially meaningless.
The majority of annulments are for psychological reason, unheard of in the history of the Church. 90% of all appeals to Rome come back against the ruling for annulment from the USA Bishops.
If a person that has an annulment and is re-married to another, later learns more about annulments, and realizes that his annulment may have been, likely was bogus, they have an obligation to correct the situation, for they may be living in adultery.
“The majority of annulments are for psychological reason, unheard of in the history of the Church.”
Incorrect. Defects because of psychological reasons have been discussed in annulment cases since at least the 12th century. As the old Catholic Encyclopedia (written a century ago!) notes: “It is clear that the impediments improperly so-called are as varied as the ways in which the validity of the matrimonial consent, psychologically considered, can be affected.”
It should be no surprise to anyone who has actually studied this issue that the Church understands psychology better now then it once did and this is at the same time as a tremendous cultural and ecclesial crisis in which marriage is almost universally misunderstood (especially since the rise of birth control).
“If a person that has an annulment and is re-married to another, later learns more about annulments, and realizes that his annulment may have been, likely was bogus, they have an obligation to correct the situation, for they may be living in adultery.”
And there is no reason to believe that happens. 1) Those who seek annulments always believe there is a valid reason for the annulment. They do not later “learn” that they were mistaken when they filed for the annulment. 2) It is always the reverse. People learn their marriage may have been invalid and file for the annulment.
see my new thread “American Annulment Mills”, for more information on, from article:
“About two-thirds of American annulments are based on canon 1095, which involves psychological opinionshardly an exact science and subject to facile adulteration”..... the tribunal admits that there really is no way to assess the condition of the brides and grooms minds when they exchanged vows (consent), but that the behavior of the couple ten or twenty years hence can reveal, with moral certitude, that they suffered from a grave lack of discretionary judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and obligations of permanence, fidelity and openness to children at the time of their wedding. Yet these same couples, despite allegedly incriminating evidence of contractual incapacity for ten or twenty years, can suddenly transmogrify into having adequate capacity for a second marriage!...
Realistically, the very few people incapable of contracting marriage as specified in canon 1095, are so deranged that they simply dont get married. “
Not only are you beating a dead horse, but you’re beating the wrong dead horse.
There are young people who marry with the intent of using contraception, not having children, and getting divorced “if it doesn’t work out.”
Is such a marriage valid?
People are living in adultery. If they die in that condition they go to hell. I am admonishing the sinners, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful. It’s my duty.
The Nine Ways of Being an Accesory to Anothers Sin
1. By counsel. 2. By command. 3. By consent. 4. By provocation. 5. By praise or flattery. 6. By concealment. 7. By partaking. 8. By silence. 9. By defense of the ill done.
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
1. To admonish sinners. 2. To instruct the ignorant. 3. To counsel the doubtful.
Your impeccable credentials in Catholic Moral Theology from you Catholic High School notwithstanding, I will point out that nowhere in the Catholic "rules" or even the Gospel are adultery or any acts committed after marriage considered to be grounds for either annulment or divorce. The following excerpt explains this common, primarily protestant, misinterpretation of the treatment of adultery in the scripture:
A The passage you refer to is found twice in Matthew: 5:32 and 19:9. Effectively, Protestant interpreters and the Orthodox Church generally think it means that divorce, and remarriage, is allowed if the other spouse has been guilty of adultery. Now, first of all, whatever it says about divorce, I can see no mention of remarriage here. St. Paul does, though, and he explicitly forbids it in very solemn fashion in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11: To the married I give this ruling, and this is not mine, but the Lords: a wife must not be separated from her husband or, if she has already left him, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband and a husband must not divorce his wife (New Jerusalem Bible, emphasis added). Contrast this with the next passage, where St. Paul gives instructions [which] are my own, not the Lords (v. 12). Translators have always struggled with St. Matthews version, so though you have been shown four translations that say except for adultery, I could show you another five that render it differently: except for unchastity (RSV Catholic version and NRSV); except for fornication (Jerusalem Bible); I am not speaking of an illicit marriage (New Jerusalem Bible); unless the marriage is unlawful (New American Bible); not in [the case of] an unlawful union (The Alba House Gospels). Translation always includes interpretation.
Except for fornication might be the most literally accurate translation; the last three, though they constitute something of a paraphrase, best indicate what it means. In other words, except in the case of concubinage. The respected Jerome Biblical Commentary thinks this is the most convincing and probable meaning.
There are at least three strong points in favor of this interpretation, and I think they are hard to argue with. First of all, an exception would be completely at odds with Jesus argument: God has joined man and woman in marriage, so man may not undo that union. He would be supporting the very exception he was criticizing!
Second, the parallel texts in Mark (10:11) and Luke (16:18) make no such exception, nor does St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. They would hardly have ignored such an important exception, if it were one. Indeed, as we have seen, St. Paul explicitly contradicts it. Sacred Scripture is harmonious, and cannot contradict itself.
Third, the word used by Matthew (porneia) actually means prostitution or unchastity in a general sense. Though it could be translated adultery, this would be a very unlikely, awkward and rather nonsensical translation, since it would have Jesus saying that he who dismisses his wife, except for adultery, makes her commit adultery. In other words, as the Jerome Biblical Commentary puts it, He would be saying, The divorced wife commits adultery unless she has already committed adultery. Certainly wouldnt get any style marks in Creative Writing 101.
Moreover, the specific term for adultery (moicheia) is used in the same passage (and everyone translates it adultery): anyone who divorces his wife, except for porneia, commits moicheia (Matt. 5:32). So you would have to say that except for adultery is actually the least likely translation.
“People are living in adultery. If they die in that condition they go to hell. I am admonishing the sinners, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful. Its my duty.”
Your duty is not to invent sinners who do not exist. you have yet to prove that a single person who received an annulment in the last 40 years knowingly committed adultery with a later imputed spouse. Thus, all you’re doing is casting aspersions on the Church and its ministers rather than correcting sinners since you have not identified by name or true example of deed a single sinner.
God knows who they are, and they know who they are. You are in denial if you don’t get it after all that’s been posted.
Verdugo wrote:It does not take much for the priest to teach them JUST THAT before they are married.
vladimir998 responded: Actually it does. It takes much - much that most priests lack. I have friends who were taught that birth control was just fine BY THEIR PRIESTS IN PRE-CANA CLASSES.
Verdugo answers: If something so simple can’t be taught by your priests, then maybe you should find another church with real priests, because your whole congregation must know NOTHING about the entire Catholic Faith, which is vastly more complicated to learn than marriage.
“God knows who they are, and they know who they are. You are in denial if you dont get it after all thats been posted.”
I am not in denial. I simply know the truth. I don’t think you do.
“If something so simple cant be taught by your priests, then maybe you should find another church with real priests, because your whole congregation must know NOTHING about the entire Catholic Faith, which is vastly more complicated to learn than marriage.”
You seem to be extremely ignorant. There is no problem with my priests. My parish, in fact, is perhaps the best catechized in the country. Not a single couple there uses birth control - that fact is plain to see by the enormous number of children. It is a Latin Mass community and, quite frankly, we are simply better catechized on these issues than others. I am not exaggerating in the least. I was talking about a couple I know who did not have the luxury of going to my parish. I don’t mind discussing this with you, by I suggest you eschew your obvious ignorance on this subject or my parish or congregation.
I have yet to see you post anything worth reading. At least I posted two threads on thought provoking articles by people of knowledge an the subject.
Others have contributed comments and information to the threads, while all you've done is complain about the mere MENTION of the subject, and make puerile excuses like "they didn't know about the sacrament".
Sounds to me like your are taking this subject quite personal.