An Advent Annulment, More Mass & More Reverance


Advent is offering a period of deeper reflection for Patrick-466954, a 40-year-old seafood salesman from Kent, Wash., beginning the annulment process.

It’s something he hadn’t planned to undergo until he joined CatholicMatch and learned that, although he and his ex-wife had been united in a civil ceremony, he still needs an annulment before he can have a Catholic wedding.

That’s one of many insights the cradle Catholic said he’s been grateful to glean since joining CatholicMatch last spring.  “I feel like I’m part of a Catholic club,” he said.

After hearing from many CatholicMatchers who have had annulments, Patrick took his parish priest out to dinner to learn more. “I left feeling tons better,” he said.

Now he’s approaching the paperwork with a matter-of-fact attitude. “I just see this as a process that I have to engage in to meet my ultimate goal, which is to get married in the Catholic Church,” Patrick said. “You could get frustrated, but I’d rather just hit it head on and just move through.”

He’s confident that he’s looking in the right place. “Marriage is tough enough without the same value system and beliefs, but when that’s separate, it’s just not a great recipe for success.”

Still, he’s practicing patience. “One of the things my boss always tells me is, ‘No doesn’t mean no; it means not right now.’ You’ve always got to be positive. It’s similar to dating or any other thing in your life. Every no just puts me closer to that yes.”

In the meantime Patrick is embracing the richness of this liturgical season. “In Advent there’s the excitement of Christmas and Jesus coming, and there’s a different attitude about the Mass, a different reverence that I see in the congregation and in the priest, and those things, all tied together, make it special for me.”

He’s planning to make the most of the four weeks. “For me it means I’ll be attending Mass more frequently. It’s my goal to attend daily Mass at least once, possibly twice a week.”



  1. Diana-579853 December 13, 2010 Reply

    I am always confused about whether or not I need an annulment, and so I talked to our Deacon, who specializes in helping people who are considering an annulment. Married in 1976 in the Methodist Church, I was a second wife. My husband had previously married a Catholic gal and as I recall, their ceremony was in a Catholic Church. When he and I married, his first wife had remarried. What I don’t know for sure is whether or not she got her annulment before my marriage or after. As I understand it, if she got the annulment after he and I married, then our marriage was not a valid marriage in the eyes of the church and I would not need an annulment. If the first wife got the annulment before he and I were married, then I would need an annulment. I am not familar with the Lack of Form process mentioned in other posts, so it sounds like I need to do some more research on that. Meantime, I know I would have trouble getting an annulment because I am completely out of touch with anyone involved, including my ex-husband. By the way, we divorced because of his drinking, his giving away his two sons from his first marriage, and his refusal to consider having a child with me. I would like to know I am free to marry in the Church, but am concerned I will never know for sure.

  2. Jeanne-363032 December 9, 2010 Reply

    What I don’t understand is if the Catholic Church does recognize a marraige outside the church, why then does one need an annulment form the Catholic church now and not in the past. When did this all come around?

  3. Kathryn-598592 December 9, 2010 Reply

    After my divorce was finalized, I spoke to my parish priest about getting an annulment.He did not see the need for it as I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time. Later, I spoke to another parish priest and he said that even though it was civil cermony since my ex had been baptized that I would have to complete some paper work but it was not a complex case. Again, he did not see the need to start the paper work because I didn’t have someone in my life. So the overall message from both of these priests in relation to my set of circumstances ( maybe they are similiar to yours) was that getting an annulment would be fast and not complicated. Furthermore, getting one would not hold things up if I was engaged to be married and had set a date. Lastly, both priests told me that I could get married after 6 months after meeting with them, provided that the paper work was in order etc…

  4. Mary-25961 December 8, 2010 Reply

    I have never been married, so my thoughts may not be in keeping with those who have been and have sought an annulment or are seeking an annulment. Yet when I saw the word an Advent Annulment what popped in to my mind was. yes, it is like an Advent. A preparation, a time set apart for more reflection, prayer and hopefully a Christmas morning with a Re-birth. Even though the person who this article is about, is a lack of form annulment,it is still a process for him and a cleaning house spiriually and personally of getting ready for Christmas but also putting his own life in order to enter into a truly Catholic Marrige. Yes, David there are many “catholic” marriages that are not good. Many of them although they had a “catholic” ceremony never partook of the actual sacrament for various reasons. For those of you who are applying or are thinking of apply for an annulment I applaud you and know that I pray for all of you whether known to me or not. God is love and He wishes to bestow this love on us but in order for this to be done, we must be in the state of grace. Applying for the annulment is the first step in the path to living a truly sacramental marriage.

  5. Pamela-460659 December 8, 2010 Reply

    An annulment means there wasn’t a true vow to begin with. Getting an annulment through the Catholic Church means that you first had got married in a Catholic Church with, of course a license from the state. If you had gotten married through the state (justice of the peace, judge etc) but did NOT get married by a priest, you DO NOT need an annulment through the Catholic Church since you never married in a Catholic Church. I am very close to my Roman Catholic Religion, but I will say that Bishop took money he should had NEVER taken. Someone should be reported this Bishop to the Diocese and if the Diocese doesn’t want to listen tell them you will call your local TV stations and see how fast the Bishop who took that money, stops what he is doing. I would also write the Vatican.

    My ex-husband (divorced through the state, but still married under the eyes of God, since I did get married in the Catholic Church) tried to get an annulment. His only reason is that we were too young. He (according to the regulations of annulment), was suppose to get 2 witnesses before they even sent me a letter stating that an annulment has been started. My husband had only 1 witness, which was his father. (Note: A witness has to be someone who knew the both of you before you got married.) We dated for 5 years before I married and also did not have to get married, was married for 27 years and 5 children had been born during the marriage, It wasn’t right whatsoever for anyone to annul my marriage and no one was going to tell me any different. What made the priest think twice, was that I told them if the charade continued that I would go to all 3 local TV news channel in my state and ask them to do an investigation into my Diocese how this could possibly happen. It would have been a joke if the annulment was granted, which it was never was. My children are all grown and gone but it effected all of them. My daughter especially felt that if he father got the annulment that she never was meant to be; she felt alienated. She herself is married with 4 children. The church will tell you that this isn’t true, but they forget that you can not take away true feelings and also what we were all taught through the Roman Catholic Church, but now the American Catholic Church is changing everything.

    If you and your spouse know in your heart that you both loved each other and meant the vow you both spoke, which was witnessed by a Catholic priest then there isn’t a reason for a annulment unless there were drugs or alcohol involved and the other didn’t know it (since that wouldn’t have been a true vow).

    My ex lives with his girlfriend and attend mass and Hold Communion together. This, I was always taught, was a sacrilege. I have dated, which didn’t happen until years after my divorce, and had also lived with someone for 2 years, but I knew that I was sinning by being intimate, but at least I knew I was sinning. It is what it is. This annulment process can be such a farce. Someone I know that is Protestant, mentioned to me that in the Bible it states that since my husband abandon me and left to be with another, that I am free to marry, which I would call that a divorce, BUT that still wouldn’t be grounds for a annulment since there still was a “true” vow at the time I was married.

  6. Randy-262758 December 8, 2010 Reply

    Good for you, Bro. You’re definitely taking the right step, as I have already. I too, hope to marry the girl of my dreams, at some point in the future once she gets through her own annulment process. As Catholics, we need all of the blessings we can get IF it truly is to be, “til death do us part!” Good luck to ya. You’re in my prayers.

    With kindest regards,


  7. Theresa-110510 December 8, 2010 Reply

    Carolaine – if your husband’s marriage was ‘annulled’ because his wife cheated on him and that is the only reason – I’m sure that wasn’t right. That is a divorce. An annulment means the marriage was never valid to begin with. From what I’ve always understood – adultery has never been grounds for an annulment (and we supposedly don’t believe in divorce (yeah right. I wish we’d just be honest and accept that we do already. At least Protestants are honest about their stances on marriage.)) Cheating, as I see it and refer to it – is grounds for the ’til death do us part’ clause to come into effect. (ha ha…)

    Everyone else: People should just save priests valuable time and all just have civil marriages. If it doesn’t last, who’ll care? The couple can then just walk away and with what’s learned make a more mature choice the second time around when they want to marry in the Church with no impediments to do so. If it lasts say 20, 25 years later; they can always renew their vows in the Church. If this was encouraged the Church wouldn’t be the laughing stock on its amount of ‘annulment’ divorces as it is today.

  8. Carolaine-631526 December 8, 2010 Reply

    My late husband was divorced prior to our meeting.
    When we became engaged and wanted our wedding…my first…to be in the Catholic Church, our Priest, whom we talked with in regard to our Pre-Cana, stated my husband would need an anullment from the Bishop, costing $25 as opposed to a Vatican anullment costing perhaps $1000.
    My husband and his first wife were married by a justice of the peace in a civil ceremony.
    So, trust me, that kind of anullment, from a civil ceremony marriage, was not that big a deal, and we never missed a beat with our wedding plans.
    Hope this helps.
    The best of luck and God bless…

    • Carolaine-631526 December 8, 2010 Reply

      Our Priest stated that any marriage needed to be anulled in order for two Catholics to be married in Church with a full Nuptial Mass as we had.
      In my late husband’s case, his wife had cheated on him and there were no children…so as I said above, he received his anullment from the Bishop of our diocese and the cost was $25.

      Also, my husband and his first wife never saw one another after their divorce, something that seems very rare these days.

  9. David-422801 December 8, 2010 Reply

    I think it’s kind of sad to use “Advent” and “annulment” in the same sentence. especially the way it’s placed in the subject line. Annulment, in my opinion, is a deeply hurtful and even intrusive way to establish a stark set of facts, namely, that a Christian sacrament of marriage never existed. True, “lack of form” annulments do not, in and of themselves, have an emotional element to them, but it’s more the way the headline was worded, than anything else. I am still “of the old school” and think of annulment as something to be spoken of in hushed tones, “on the down low”, you might say. Worth reflecting on: what Our Lady of Fatima said about many marriages not being good, not being of God and not pleasing to Our Lord. Just my two denarii worth.

  10. John-645900 December 7, 2010 Reply

    i was annuled 25 yrs ago and never remarried only because i want to make sure she is the wright one, not that i haven’t met nice women,but i guess marriage spooks me a bit still! i want to live and be intimate and develope love again before i re-marry inside the church because i want it to last.


  11. Jennifer-604226 December 7, 2010 Reply

    Can you provide the links for the forms for those of us that may need the resources to consider going through the process?

    • John-645900 December 7, 2010 Reply

      since the church is universal,you can visit any Catholic church you want to begin the process. however, it would be in your best interest to visit the diocese of witch you were first married and go from there since they probably still a record of yopur original marriage.

      john mcfarland miami,fl.

  12. Noreen-634937 December 7, 2010 Reply

    Andrea K., I really think you are correct. A Lack of Form process is very different than a true annulment . . . and if this is what “Patrick” needs, it’s not difficult and doesn’t take much soul searching to complete the 2-3 page form.

  13. Andrea K. December 7, 2010 Reply

    I was under the impression that if a person had had a completely non-religious wedding, he or she didn’t have to have an annulment because in the eyes of the Church, there hadn’t been a marriage anyway (other than in the strictly legal sense).

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