Thank you to one and all. I'm afraid I was a little vague when I first posted this. In response to Christine, I'd like to add a little more background context...
I was a cradle Catholic. I walked away from the church in my mid 20s thinking the church was legalistic, dry, stale, and lifeless. After several years, I met a good Southern Baptist and started going to church with her. We eventually got married in the Baptist chuch. After 15 years of trying to make it work, we realized we weren't doing anyone any favors staying together, esp the kids. There was nothing scandulous. We just didn't see eye to eye and butted heads on everything. Even though neither of us believed divorce should be an option, we did what we felt we needed to do.
After our divorce, I came back to my Catholic roots. My priest assured me an annulment would be easy because we weren't married in the Catholic church. It would be a simple lack of form annulment. My thought was that my vow was to God 'til death do us part. Again, my priest assured me, what's loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.
I turned in my "lack of form" paperwork, and recieved an annulment decree within 5 days. When I read the decree, it was all about legalism. Because we were not married in the Catholic church, it was never valid, therefore annulment decreed. Faith and vows were irrelevant.
So, I'm left feeling cold and numb. Apparently, vows and faith outside of the Holy Roman Catholic church mean nothing. I've learned alot about the good points and short-comings of the protestant faiths in those 15 years, but my perception of the Catholic faith being legalistic, dry, stale, and lifeless is back. I look at priests and see "white washed tombs". If my vows to God mean nothing, Catholic or otherwise, what kind of Christian am?
So hence, I feel like a guilty criminal set free on a technicality. I have my annulment, but I can't accept it. My conscience won't allow it. My faith in God is strong. My faith in the Holy Roman Catholic Church: not so much.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. May God's kingdom come, May His will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Gary.. Every denomination has it's 'rules and teachings'.. In some, women aren't allowed to cut their hair or wear pants.. In others they don't believe in infant Baptism.. Our Catholic faith is no different. There are teachings in place for us to follow as a part of our faith tradition.. Please don't look at it as being a bad Christian. You followed a path that seemed right to you at the time.. Getting the annulment is what is correct now for the Catholic faith..