The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Fewer annulments?

posted by jmcgee

Some people are predicting a “crackdown,” at least in the United States, but the people in a position to know disagree:

American Catholic marriage tribunalists are denying rumors of a Vatican crackdown on the high number of annulments granted in the United States.

Secular news reports on Pope Benedict XVI’s late January comments to the Roman Rota, the Church’s court of final appeal, used “crackdown” in headlines and singled out the Church in the United States as the target of Benedict’s comments about tribunals showing a “false charity” untempered by justice and granting annulments erroneously.

But these stories failed to back up their sensational headlines with documentary evidence or named sources.

“U.S. annulment rate may spur Vatican crackdown,” warned the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a March 20 story, which began with a discussion of the therapeutic value of annulment for one St. Louis woman previously divorced by her husband. Beyond the headline, it said nothing about a crackdown; it did attribute to “some Vatican sources” the opinion that “the Church may decrease the number of annulments.”

A Jan. 29 Associated Press story interpreted Benedict as having told the Roman Rota “that they shouldn’t confuse ‘pastoral charity’ in granting annulments with their need to uphold Church law.”

The story goes on to claim, without giving evidence, that “the Vatican’s concern is seen as being mainly directed at the United States, which in 2006 had more annulment cases launched than the rest of the world combined,” though only 6% of the world’s Catholics live here.

The Vatican’s Annuario (statistical yearbook) of 2007 shows 60% of the Church’s annulments coming from American petitioners, 5% from Italy, 4% each from Poland and Brazil, and 28% from the rest of the world.

Check out the link for more details.



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pagansister

posted March 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm


If the RCC isn’t going to grant annulments, then I expect the Catholics who need to get out of a marriage will just do the civil divorce thing and forget the Vatican! I’ve known several civilly divorced Catholics, and they said it takes too long to bother with an annulment.



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ron chandonia

posted March 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm


I cannot recommend highly enough Sheila Rauch Kennedy’s Shattered Faith, the account of former Congressman Joe Kennedy’s nearly successful effort to get his marriage annulled so he could have a Catholic ceremony for his mistress.



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Curious

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm


Civilly divorced and invalidly remarried “Catholics” live in adultery. That’s their prerogative to live in grave sin. No one forces anyone to get an annulment. As for Sheila Kennedy, when was the last time anyone paid attention to a Kennedy on things Catholic?



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Dana MacKenzie

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

terry

posted March 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm


Formal case process might have some healing aspects if done properly and quickly. The rest Lack,Pauline,Ligamun,and Peterine can all be done away with as quickly as possible. These latter are just cya for Chancery’s justification for being.If you insist they are necessary move them to the parish rectory where pastoral concern can be implemented and face to face conversations should occur.



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Karl

posted March 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm


I pray that this is true and that Rome opens a direct line for Papal interventions when there are abuses of marriage, both pastorally and canonically, especially when the counsel is to divorce against the will of the other spouse who wants to work on the marriage. The American Bishops are completely irresponsible and do nothing even when proof is in their hands and/or is self-evident. They welcome adulterers openly and avoid/ignore faithful abandoned spouses who ask the Church to work to heal their marriages. Child abuse is alive and well in the Catholic Church through what goes on with divorce/annulments.
This should be VERY CLEAR to Benedict.
What goes on here is an open cancer. Rome knows this well and has for many, many years. Thus I think this “talk” is mere talk.
I expect to die, so that my wife and her long-time lover, already fully involved and welcomed in the Catholic Church everywhere(for 20 years)they have lived(numerous dioceses), can “marry” in the Church and make all the crimes……go away in a faked confession. How easy it is to be “sorry” when a co-conspirator gives you absolution!
There is no end to what the Catholic Church will “tolerate” in the obliteration of a sacrament. There is no one to help us. No one among the clergy. No one. They are all corrupted. Very many bishops and very many priests should be denied their faculties for their actions and inactions, some even awaiting a Red Hat! But such appropriate justice will NEVER happen. never.
Where are you Benedict? Where are you?



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Mike

posted March 29, 2010 at 10:23 pm


Civilly divorced and invalidly remarried “Catholics” live in adultery. That’s their prerogative to live in grave sin.
It’s hateful and unholy nonsense like this that makes me grateful I am no longer Catholic. I hope you grow out of your foolishness.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted March 30, 2010 at 12:36 am


It’s not hateful and unholy, Mike. It’s what Jesus said. Do we believe that Jesus is the son of God or not? If we do, and he said divorce and remarriage was a no, then…it’s not hateful and unholy. It’s law.
But there is a whole couple generations out there who think: “if you don’t give me what I want, when I want it, you’re hateful and unholy.”
Hold your breath a while.
I wish everyone would grow up.
Christianity is not a free pass, and its not easy. It’s a challenge. As Chesterton said, “it has not be tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”



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Curious

posted March 30, 2010 at 7:34 am


Mike could you clarify what is “hateful and unholy nonsense” in the above statement? Did you not know as a Catholic that a sacramental marriage is indissoluble? Isn’t that what Jesus himself said? DId he say something unholy? As for being grateful that you are no longer Catholic, hopefully you will admit that you left because you couldn’t keep the rules. It is easy to blame everyone else.



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Curious

posted March 30, 2010 at 7:37 am


Karl, in the midst of your rant it is difficult to figure out exactly what your issue is. It seems clear your former wife did not want to work things out. As for a “faked confession” and absolution, no sin is forgiven in a fake confession if there is no contrition.



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Judi

posted March 30, 2010 at 7:53 am


Karl, you sound very bitter and angry. Try looking further than your own pain to see the whole picture and consider that “it takes two to tango”. Self pity is never productive, but a cancer that eats you alive. The rest of you all sound very judgemental and proud. Try humility and leave the judgement to God and remember: But for the grace of God go I.



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Mike

posted March 30, 2010 at 7:57 am


Sorry, but the Catholic Church is not Jesus’s Church. Believing it is, and being stupid enough to give any credence to infallibility, is evidence of being non-Christian. I’m quite able to keep rules, btw: I’m unwilling to follow lies.
Seek the Truth: it will take you away from the pederasts in Rome.



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Holy Cannoli

posted March 30, 2010 at 8:12 am


>>>the Catholic Church is not Jesus’s Church.
With all its warts and imperfect clerics and laity, like it or not, He founded it.
>>>stupid enough to give any credence to infallibility
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm
>>>Seek the Truth:
Good advice, Mike. Give it a try sometime.



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Holy Cannoli

posted March 30, 2010 at 8:13 am


Speaking to the posters on this thread who, in some cases, have suffered deeply as a result of Church policies regarding annulments, Judi patronizingly addresses the posters:
>>>The rest of you all sound very judgemental and proud.
Followed by:
>>>Try humility and leave the judgement to God
Judi, does it make sense to you to take your own advice before YOU try to JUDGE others?



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Curious

posted March 30, 2010 at 8:17 am


As I figured you would do, you ignore the question as to what is unholy and nonsense. Did Jesus say those words about marriage or not? As for the Catholic Church being Jesus’ church, if it isn’t what is?
That you left it seems to be a result of the fact that you never really were there at all if you didn’t believe the Church was established by Christ.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted March 30, 2010 at 9:24 am


“Sorry, but the Catholic Church is not Jesus’s Church. Believing it is, and being stupid enough to give any credence to infallibility, is evidence of being non-Christian. I’m quite able to keep rules, btw: I’m unwilling to follow lies.”
Mike. Dude. Whether you AGREE or not that this is Jesus’ church…Jesus SAID WHAT HE SAID.
Unless you’re ummm…”stupid” you should realize that.
You’re unwilling to follow ANYTHING that tells you you can’t do something.
You should grow up. You’re tiresome.



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JML

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:11 am


Good for you, Holy Cannoli. (We know each other in real life, btw.)
It is a good thing, no doubt that fidelity to the law should trump misguided charity. However, deference should be given to the notion of continuing conversion of those who wish to grow closer to Christ despite a failed marriage. The number may be unfortunate, but here kind (i.e., legitimate appeal) should be of primary consideration over number.
I believe that the Church needs to reconsider its sacramental prep for and support of newlyweds in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Perhaps if we stopped weddings that should not take place, they would not end in divorce and petition for annulment.



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Mike L

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:53 am


It has always been my thought that an annulment was granted when it could be shown that for some reason the marriage was invalid. It seems to me that in such a case you are asking a couple who are not married to live together, kind of a strange position for most Catholics. I also know of a few cases where a person has been called in by a bishop and told that although there was insufficient evidence to grant an annulment there was also some cause to believe that the marriage was not valid, and that they should use their conscience to decide if they could return to the sacraments. A serious decision for them.
It must be very painful for people like Karl who believe that the marriage is valid, but with a partner that does not. I would think that such people either accept the authority of the Church and believe that they are free to remarry, or else follow their own feelings and remain celibate. In either case I don’t think I would like living with a wife that had no interest in working on the marriage.
What greatly discourages me is the hate and anger toward others for this beliefs that I witness in these discussions and the refusal to show any compassion toward those that hurt. Where is the peace of the Lord?



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pagansister

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:57 am


If indeed Jesus said marriage is forever, how is it that a human ie THE church can pronounce words and say it never happened? That makes no sense. It is either forever (no matter what) or it isn’t. To have a priest or whoever makes that “untimate” decision just say “oh, the person who made those vows really wasn’t ready, you are “poof” a free man/woman…go forth and remarry in the church(of course). What happens to the children of that marriage that never was? Do they somehow now become what used to be called “bastards”?
I’m sure there are some RC answers to this, but getting a legal divorce makes a heck of a lot more sense…at least it says you were actually married…not that it never happened!



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Curious

posted March 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm


If people wish to comment about annulments, it would be helpful if they knew of what they speak. First, an annulment does NOT say that a marriage did not take place. The couple was indeed married civilly. It DOES say that a SACRAMENTAL marriage did not take place. It does not render the children illegitimate as a civil marriage did occur. It is saying that something was lacking at the time of the marriage—usually a lack of maturity or full understanding of the nature and permanence of marriage. Something could have been concealed from the intended spouse like an addiction or psychological problem or the refusal to have children. It has nothing to do with the civil effects of marriage (alimony, child support etc.) which is why a couple needs a civil divorce before obtaining an annulment. Is that clear?
There is no question “If indeed” Jesus said something about the indissolubility of marriage. It is quite plainly stated in Matthew’s Gospel.



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NM

posted March 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm


And it’s not either an annulment or a civil divorce — it’s neither or both.
I suppose you could seek an annulment and remain civilly married if you were intent on severing all ties with the Church, but it seems like an awful lot of bother just to make a point.
If you receive an annulment from the Church but don’t proceed with civil divorce, you’re still married in the eyes of the law. If you are granted a civil divorce but are not granted an annulment, you are still married in the eyes of the Church.
However, the only one who ever really knows the truth of the matter — whether or not you are indeed committing the sin of adultery — is God.
There are those who have been granted annulments because they had connections — Giuliani, D’Amato, various Kennedys, etc. — and whose annulments might not, in the eyes of God, amounted to anything more than a civil divorce, only the Church got the money rather than a bunch of attorneys.
There are those who may have been refused an annulment and who should have been granted one — certainly in decades past — it is far easier to get an annulment based on domestic abuse now than it was fifty years ago — and who may have gone on to divorce and remarry and whose second marriages may be considered perfectly valid and holy by God.



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pagansister

posted March 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm


If it is also a civil marriage, why can’t the couple just get a civil divorce? Why does the church have anything to do with the split? It sounds much like the church is playing psycologist with the couples lives, to let them out of their sacramental vows.



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Curious

posted March 31, 2010 at 3:48 pm


The couple can get a civil divorce but it doesn’t affect the sacrament nature of marriage only the civil effects. The problems arises if they want to marry again in the church. Then they will also have to obtain a church annulment delclaring the marriage was not a sacramental marriage. Is it clear now??????? Are you getting it now???? How many times does this dead horse have to be beaten?



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pagansister

posted March 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm


Have a great Easter, “C”.



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No Fault Divorce Product

posted April 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm


Curious stated that if people wish to comment on annulments “it would be helpful if they knew of what they speak.” Does Curious think that the Vicar of Christ knows about annulments? Pope Benedict XVI also gave a speech to the Members of the Roman Rota on January 29, 2009, denouncing the abuses of automatic annulments and the widespread pessimism this creates about marriage. His comments echo earlier concerns raised repeatedly in the past 25 years by the Vicar of Christ. How many times do the Popes have to beat this dead horse before the pro-divorce and phoney annulment crowd gets it??????
The pro-divorce culture has infected “catholic” theologians and diocesan tribunals. They are pandering to the pro-divorce crowd like Pontius Pilate and will not defend the indissolubility of perfectly valid marriages that were torn apart by the sinful choices of perfectly capable spouses. The tribunals will look for any loophole to declare a marriage invalid and regularly pass the buck to the psychological “experts” to provide psychological evidence that one or both of the spouses was not psychologically able to understand or live up to their marital obligations. They ignore the fact that all the founding figures in psychology had a very anti-Catholic bias and had a very deterministic view of human nature that does not include the concept of “sin”. Therefore, the experts will always find that one or both spouses were not “self-actualized individuals” capable of making a lifelong obligation. However, with a little counselling at $200 per hour, these two unfortunate individuals can be healed and moved on to enter into another Catholic marriage or however many serial polygamous Catholic marriages they want.
The marriage tribunals defer to the psychological experts in the same manner the church deferred to the psychological experts on the pedophile scandal. Instead of holding vow breaking pedophile priests accountable for the “sins”, they sent them for counselling and to another parish instead of a monastery on a deserted island. In a similar fashion, the experts employed by the marriage tribunals will always find excuses for why somebody was not capable of living up to their marital vows. The abuse of annulments are just as scandalous as the pedophile abuse scandal because there are many innocent children who will suffer the inevitable negative effects of divorce. The Church hierarchy is covering up for Catholic parents who break their marriage vows and cause their children to suffer.
St. John Fisher, pray for the Holy Father to end the annulment abuse scandal!
St. Thomas More, pray for an end to spouse-induced family abortions through no-fault divorce!



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Curious

posted April 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm


I know perfectly well what the Pope has said about annulments and agree with him. I was trying to clear up some of the misinformation from some of the more obtuse here about what an annulment is and what it isn’t. There are indeed cases where an annulment should be granted. If you can’t understand that then you are not any better than some of the others here.



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non-catholic

posted July 10, 2010 at 11:15 am


There should be a time limit on how long after a divorce a person can petition for an annulment. My ex-husband petitioned 7 years after our divorce. Although I chose not to participate, it was like reliving our divorce. Of course he received judgment against me, because he participated and had an opportunity to say whatever he wanted, true or not. It has had a negative impact on my self-esteem to receive this information from the Catholic Church when I do not chose to.



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Michele

posted July 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm


Non- Catholic, it’s not a judgment against you and it’s not only his word against yours. Witnesses are called to testify and it should not affect your self-esteem. It’s a healing process, and an annulment reveals that although you may have gone through a wedding ceremony and lived together as husband and wife, there was no marriage from the beginning. Annulment is not like divorce- it does not say the marriage ended or didn’t work and no blame is placed on one person or the other. it simply examines the facts leading up to the marriage, if both parties fully consented to the marriage, and if the form was correctly followed.
When a Catholic marrys a non-Catholic outside of the Catholic Church, that is never recognized as a valid reception of the Sacrament of Marriage. Catholics are required by their baptism to receive the Sacrament of Marriage, so although a civil marriage may occur, it is not a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church. It’s not your fault-and you should not accept blame.
You are notified by the Church in the event that you chose to marry again, because the Church considers you free to marry. And who knows, you may chose to marry a Catholic again, but one who will marry you through the Sacrament of Marriage. Best wishes and prayers for you. I know divorce is painful and difficult, but annulment should not be.



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No Fault Divorce Product

posted December 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm


Non-Catholic is right to be hurt by the annulment process. Pope Benedict has observed, in his addresses to the Roman Rota, that many tribunals are abusing canon law, under the guise of false charity, by issuing declarations of nullity for each and every petition and discarding the truth in the process.
It is abusive and cruel to abandoned spouses for tribunals to simulate a truth finding inquiry, when the outcome is pre-determined. Every petition = annulment (100% guaranteed). After being dragged through a diabolical “no fault” divorce initiated by the abandoning spouse, then the abandoned spouse has to endure yet another deceitful and immoral process that utilizes pop psychology to find defects in the abandoned spouse.
In addition to being abusive to the abandoned spouse, annulments are a form of child abuse perpetrated by the clergy. Divorce harms children and tribunals are rubber stamping this abuse. If the bishops will see no evil when their priests are sodomizing little altar boys, then I guess it is no problem to turn the other way when abandoning spouses want the church to cooperate with them in pretending it is not sinful to divorce their spouse and subject their children to the hell of a broken home.



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