Skip to comments.Why is the Marriage Tribunal Insisting I First Need a Divorce?
Posted on 06/29/2013 6:03:58 AM PDT by Weiss White
Q: My sister wants an annulment so she can remarry in the Church. But when she began asking questions about how to go about it, she was immediately told that she cant get an annulment unless she is divorced first. Can that possibly be true, or is her diocese doing something heretical? The Church is opposed to divorce, but then it pressures Catholics to get divorced
why is she being told she must get a divorce? Denise
(Excerpt) Read more at canonlawmadeeasy.com ...
Good question! Another good one would be, why don’t more people seek legal annulments?
Hoo boy! First the state makes a mockery out of marriage, and now the Church?
The divorce is to satisfy the state requirements. The Church cannot annul a marriage recognized by the state.
A Church annulment has no legal standing unless accompanied by a civil divorce. Similarly, when you get married in the Church, you also need to get a marriage license from the state, without which your marriage would not be legally recognized.
This is a discussion of the question of legal annulment in North Carolina. (Each state can have different guidelines.) Some of the criteria are similar to those involved in a Church declaration of nullity, but others are not. In particular, the law says that if a couple has lived together and had a child following the marriage, there can be no annulment, except in cases of bigamy.
A weird element: in NC, the marriage can be annulled if “either party” is impotent. That almost seems to be setting up marriage for homosexual men, since “impotence” is unique to men. A woman would have to be drastically mutilated or injured for intercourse to be impossible, whether she consents to it or not.
Is she just assuming that she meets any situation justfying an annulment, or is the church?
Because the church (a) doesn’t want to be civilly liable for alienation of affection by declaring a marriage didn’t exist when the state says it does, and (b) doesn’t want to be accessory to the commission of a felony (bigamy) if or when she remarries.
The answer to this question is given at the linked article.
If the lady is already planning her remarriage while she’s still married both legally and (potentially) sacramentally, that implies adultery.
The wording of that law may be very, very old, and a hold-over from a time when there was thought to be a medical, physical condition called “frigidity” that was roughly an analog to male impotence. Although the word is still in use, the meaning has shifted in that it's no longer a respectable opinion to think that there are women who are literally, physically frigid.
That's very possible. It would make sense that laws regarding annulment of marriage - in situations of consanguineity or deception, for example - would predate by hundreds of years the statutes regulating no-fault divorce.
It’s one or the other - can’t be both.
There are women who can’t conceive, and I know of at least one marriage that ended because he wanted kids and never got any, so he left, remarried, and then had kids. Although “impotent” does connote male failure-to-perform.
It’s usually much easier to do a civil divorce than to do a civil annulment. In most states the court has no discretion and has to grant a divorce if either party wants it. In my state (Kansas) a civil annulment is discretionary. For example, it makes little difference what the reason is, if the marriage of voidable rather than void ab initio, and there is a child, the court probably will not grant an annulment.
The Church believes that the marriage contract/covenant, is with God, not the state. If the state says that you are still legally married, then the Church cannot grant the annulment. It would be very confusing. Although it is possible to have a common law marriage in Kansas, it is not possible to have a common law annulment or divorce.
"Impotent" denotes male inability to perform; that is the word's definition.
If the lawmakers had meant to say that annulment was available in cases of sterility, barrenness, infertility, etc., they had those words available. Perhaps such things featured in divorce statutes, but that was not the topic.
Official declaration by competent authority that, for lawful reasons, a previous act or contract was invalid and consequently null and void. In ecclesiastical law, annulments mainly apply to marriage contracts over which the Church has the right to determine their validity. (Etym. Latin an-, to + nullus, none; annullare, to annihilate, to annul.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
>>>Hoo boy! First the state makes a mockery out of marriage, and now the Church?>>>
If the marriage was never consummated there IS no marriage. If, for instance, the man cannot perform his marriage duty, the Church can grant an annulment.
But to keep it’s marriage records up to date, the STATE will insist on a divorce, NOT THE CHURCH.
In this case, the woman has to obey both the State and the Church. Pretty simple.
Wondered this myself. Though I think everyone agrees that the US Church often uses annulments as a Catholic divorce court.
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