This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.
Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
Learn More: Saint Eugene De Mazenod and Saint Fabiola
All the more reason for the Church to fortify the marriage prep process - it should be harder to get married! And all the more reason for divorced men and women to approach the annulment process seeking God's will for their lives, not demanding the right to remarry.
Yup! I thought the same thing - fix the prep before the vows. However, a careful inventory of annulments granted is likely to show many marriages outside the church where a priest would have no influence. Additionally, it's possible that the number of annulments have increased with the number of "mixed" marriages, or a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic. Before Vatican II, those marriages were not celebrated in the church. Perhaps there's a corrolation between those two dramatic increases?
Wow on the reversals.
I immediately went to the response, "it is right and just".
I don't believe that even if a future Pope personally wished some annullment to be reversed, that it would be just to do so. Just think of people who have re-married. It would not be just for reversals to take place.
I, being a rule follower, think I remember that I was instructed not to discuss the particulars of my annullment. I have spoken very little about it because of this. I think I was also told that I could not bring things said to a court of law. Were other people told this as well?
Yes, Mary, vaguely, There was something about confidentiality and our governmental courts. I suppose it's a slipperly slope as some of the obvious grounds would be public knowledge or at the very least, parts of one's own personal history. I think we've also mentioned on here that once the anullment is granted, the records are pretty much sealed.
Excellent point, Mary. The damage is done when a spouse leaves. I don't know of any children, anywhere who were fine and had no problem when their parents divorced but then were devastated by an annulment decree. Even Sheila Rausch Kennedy can't make that a convincing argument as much as she tried.
I understand that the damage is done when a spouse leaves, but there are times a spouse wouldn't be so quick to leave if they knew that they could not remarry in the Church. This wasn't the case with me as my husband is clearly not able to be a husband/father as a result of his mental illness so the children were already damaged from living with a mentally ill parent for many years. I am very much an advocate of "in sickness and in health, til death do us part". And Bernard is "right on" in regards to the Pope's power to overturn annulments; it has been done before and it can be done again.
The annulment crisis in the Church
By Fr. Leonard Kennedy
Issue: March 1999
The Catholic Church does not accept divorce. Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble (Mt 5:31-21; 19:3-9; Mk 10:9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-11). However, the Church can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., declare that the marriage never existed (Code of Canon Law, #1095-1107; see also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under "Divorce"). Last October Pope John Paul II, meeting with a delegation of US bishops, expressed his dissatisfaction with the number of annulments being granted to Catholics. US Catholics receive a disproportionately greater number of annulments each year.
The Holy Father said that annulments should be a last resort. "The indissolubility of marriage is a teaching that comes from Christ himself, and the first duty of pastors and pastoral workers is therefore to help couples overcome whatever difficulties arise. The referral of matrimonial cases to the tribunal should be a last resort."
The author of this book is a sociologist. After he had been married for fifteen years, he was notified that he was the respondent in the case for annulment of his marriage, which he was perfectly sure had been valid. In order to oppose the annulment he had to spend all his spare time reading about annulments and fighting to save the validity of his marriage. He has now become an expert in this matter and has decided to share with others what he has learned. He examines every aspect of annulments in the United States.
The United States has 6% of the world's Catholics but grants 78% percent of the world's annulments. In 1968 the Church there granted fewer than 600 annulments; from 1984 to 1994 it granted just under 59,000 annually. But more than 90% of the cases which were appealed to the highest matrimonial court, the Roman Rota, were overturned.
The author gives several reasons for the incredible growth in American annulments;
1. There is advertising in church bulletins, Catholic newspapers, and even the secular press, that annulments are available, sometimes with a suggested guarantee that they will be granted. "Some invitations practically promise an annulment to all who apply. The promotional efforts . . . may evoke responses from . . . spouses who dream of greener marital pastures but would not seriously consider separation and divorce were annulment not presented as a convenient and acceptable alternative."
One brochure said: "Usually once a request for annulment is accepted, a favorable decision is given. However, a careful review is made before a request is accepted . . . . A ëfavorable' decision is synonymous with annulment; evidently upholding the validity of marriage is ëunfavorable.'"
2. Most petitions are presented to judges without proper screening. "No fewer than 66 of the 165 diocesan and archdiocesan tribunals . . . decided to go to trial with every petition presented."
3. A high percentage of cases that are tried end in a declaration of nullity. From 1984 to 1994 it was 97% for First Instance trials. All cases however have to have a second trial. The percentage of decisions overturned in the United States is 4/10 of 1%. "What the picture reveals is that mandatory review, and appeals leading to retrials at Second Instance, have done very little to tarnish America's reputation as the annulment capital of the universe."
4. Many matrimonial judges are not well qualified for their work, lacking a doctorate or a licentiate in canon law. Sometimes judges of the First Instance are also judges (on other cases) of the Second Instance, which is not good practice. Three judges are recommended for trials, but most often there is only one (which is allowed with permission).
5. "In practice . . . many if not most tribunal experts seldom conduct a direct, face-to-face examination of either spouse." "Cases have come to my attention where the expert . . . arrived at a diagnosis of defective consent solely by means of a telephone conversation with a tribunal judge . . . . In most judicial systems, attempts to introduce into evidence expert diagnosis of that nature would be laughed out of court."
6.Sometimes the Defender of the Bond does not have a canon law degree and his opinion can be easily overruled by a highly trained judge.
7.Respondents are usually not fully informed of all their options.
8.Rather than considering the detrimental effect on respect for the sacrament of marriage which is caused by the scandal of almost automatic annulment, and the cynicism produced in some of the parties to an annulment and in Catholics generally, those handling the annulments concentrate on sympathy for their clients, or often just for the one initiating the annulment.
9.Theologians argue that in certain papal documents, such as Gaudium et spes and Casti Connubii, the Church has changed the definition of marriage. This argument is fallacious.
10.Many judges think that, if a marriage is not an ideal one, it is not a valid marriage at all, and that therefore an annulment should be granted to any marriage that has broken up.
11.68% of annulments today are granted because of "defective consent," which involves at least one of the parties not having sufficient knowledge or maturity to know what was involved in marriage. The ingenuity of judges in confidently asserting that such knowledge or maturity was lacking is amazing. Vasoli says that it is done by substituting "junk psychology" for sound psychology and psychiatry. He quotes the statement of one matrimonial judge: "There is no marriage which, given a little time for investigation, we cannot declare invalid."
Continued ---> catholicinsight.com