Catholic Marriage Annulments.

First, I want to acknowledge most religions and Protestantism have ceremonies and customs that I do not enjoy.  Communion and baptism are a couple.

But, these ceremonies, as far as I know, do not harm anyone.  They do not play with peoples’ heads in any important way.  I was given communion in a church last Easter and it was quickly over.

In my experience, the same is not true for the Catholic practice of annulling marriages.  As I understand it, the practice pretends a marriage never took place.

An elderly friend, a devout Catholic, confided with me a couple of years ago his sadness.  His female partner of several decades had died.  He was excluded from the grieving family because they had not married.

They had not married because she was divorced and had not received annulment.  “We would be living in sin according to our church.” he explained to me.  I thought it pecular they did not consider living together without marriage a sin while while marrying without annulment was.

When we were younger, our friends included a Catholic couple who were full of energy and love for each other. They built a house themselves and had children.

Years later they divorced.  To marry another Catholic man the wife had the first marriage annulled.  Their children were appauled their parents were  “unmarried” at the time of their birth and grappled for an explanation to give their own children.

Catholic annulment seems to me both bizarre and harmful.

 

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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94 Responses to Catholic Marriage Annulments.

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:” I was given communion in a church last Easter and it was quickly over.”

    Jon, I am surprised. Your taking communion is fellowship with the church body in which you partook it. It is a statement of faith that you share with the other communicants present. Welcome to the holy catholic church, brother Lindgren.

    • entech says:

      Brother Henry, please make up your mind, and tell us when you do. Are you a young earth creationist, a Lutheran or a Catholic or what? You talk like all of them at different times to suit your purpose, please give us something definite at which to point our “personal attacks”.

      • Henry says:

        The holy catholic church is not the Catholic Church. I am not your brother. You do not have a Christian statement of faith like Jon does when he took communion.

        • entech says:

          Wondered if anyone would pick up on the upper case for specific and lower case for universal in a more general sense. I knew Henry the pedant would.
          I was baptised and confirmed.
          The last is certainly true.

        • entech says:

          PS. You didn’t divulge your denomination. :) Brother, fellow member of the brotherhood of the human race.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 12:16 “…is a statement of faith you share with the other communcants present.”

      No it was not. It was a requirement to get the scambled eggs at a Sunrise Service.

      • Henry says:

        1 Corinthians 10:17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
        1 Corinthians 11:26 Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

        Definitely a confession of faith with the specific church body you communed with. Jon, welcome to the universal Christian church. I am not in fellowship with you, but we belong to the universal body.

        The Greek for “Communion” is fellowship.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 1:06 “Definitely a confession of faith with the specific church body you communed with. Jon, welcome to the universal Christian church.”

          It’s in conversations like this I realize how limited my imagination is.

          • Henry says:

            Jon, I am relying on the stated meaning of communion. Are you relying on an assumption (imagination) of yours concerning communion?

          • entech says:

            I know how yoiu feel Jon, there are so many imaginary things out there, people like you and I with a limited imagination, miss out on so much.

            On the other hand, you have to think that people who accept all that funny stuff they were taught as children don’t have the imagination to see anything different.

            Either way the truth is out there.

          • entech says:

            Perhaps we could find it in the Universal Church of Truth :)

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 3:18 “Perhaps we could find it in the Universal Church of Truth.”

            Isn’t that the subtitle of every church that ever exisited?

          • entech says:

            Yep isn’t it a Marvel, almost comical.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“Isn’t that the subtitle of every church that ever exisited?”

            Jon, quite frankly I am disappointed in you. My hopes have been dashed. Instead of you receiving communion with the understanding of its meaning, you took it to your own judgment.

            1 Corinthians 11:28
            Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
            1 Corinthians 11:29
            For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

        • entech says:

          communion (n.)
          late 14c., from Old French comunion “community, communion” (12c.), from Latin communionem (nominative communio) “fellowship, mutual participation, a sharing,” used in Late Latin ecclesiastical language for “participation in the sacrament,” from communis. Used by Augustine, in belief that the word was derived from com- “with, together” + unus “oneness, union.”

          note the bit about from communis, better be careful this could lead to excommunication.

      • Avatar of realist realist says:

        The scrambled eggs are a ruse to increase membership. Same think happens to homeless people just trying to get a plate of food at the salvation army shelter. Bet you will think twice before you go to your next church supper. :)

        • Henry says:

          r:“The scrambled eggs are a ruse to increase membership.”

          That explains your motives and why you are where you are today.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        Jon I fear Your God is Your Belly!

      • Fr. James says:

        How easily you compromise your beliefs.

        • entech says:

          Jon, don’t compromise so easily, hold onto your lack of beliefs. don’t give anyone the chance to misrepresent you.

  2. entech says:

    I guess it is not free either, bit like selling indulgences if you want to think about it that way :lol:

  3. Avatar of realist realist says:

    Forcing communion on people is probably not as bad as baptising them after they are dead, but it’s still poor form. Yours is a cautionary tale. I will be careful next time I walk by a confessional in case someone with a hook pulls me in.

    • Henry says:

      Churches do not force communion on you. Some offer it. Some also deny it to you. You have much misinformation. With so much of it, that is just the way you like it, obviously.

    • StanB says:

      It was freely given assuming he was Christian, you read in forcing on your own…

  4. Adam Heckathorn says:

    Let Me add a little Hearsay. I was out skiing up at M.B. Johnson park on the most perfect day for it all winter. I got in a conversation with a Man during which I mentioned I was an Atheist. He said He was also then He told Me this bizarre story in which His Ex wife (Whom He gets along with fine.) wanted to get remarried. Next thing You know some investigator is circulating slanderous stuff about Him His Ex doesn’t know anything about it and supports Him. his Lawyer sends a cease and desist. Turns out His Ex is forced to pay for this process He said He felt bad for Her and felt She was being taken advantage of by The Church. It was the first time I ever heard of such a thing. This was just a conversation with a Guy I don’t claim to know anything in detail about Annulment but it seems a little convoluted.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      I have a cousin that divorced an abusive man around 20 years ago…
      She never remarried or dated again because to remarry would be to commit adultery. Another cousin of the family married a divorced woman. I heard for over a year how she was used goods, damaged goods, and not appropriate for my cousin to marry.. I guess no matter how old one is, one is always supposed to marry a virgin. Kinda explains a lot…

      • entech says:

        Wolfy, I have a theory about the fetish about marrying a virgin. Our friend Josh came on one time about battering at the gates, that’s what men do and other such violent, almost rapist type talk – if this is a common attitude among Christians the answer is simple. They do not want, and with very good cause, to have any standard of comparison.

  5. H.P.D. says:

    Another good reason to avoid organized religion altogether. Besides the annulment issues, other denominations have different forms of censure, disfellowship, “the get”, shunning, the list is long you can read about it online. When I was growing up in mixed religious neighborhood (most major faiths were represented) many people not just a few were pissed off about one or another of the actions taken by various faiths. Instead of just going on with their lives, they became very bitter people, and remained so through out their lives (carving out their own hell on earth). Caveat Emptor, be ware of what you buy into, you may not like the results. Some denominations will say oh we only do this to get the person back in the flock, I say BS.

    H.P.D.

  6. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    This group tends to have really strong opinions on what constitutes marriage. I’m surprised there were zero comments on the topic of annulment.

    • Henry says:

      Quite honestly, I do not know anything about annulment. I see a couple of atheists have piped up about it contrary to your claim. They must “know” about annulment. However, based on the atheist’s understanding of communion, I am not holding out hope on them knowing anything about annulment.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 2:19 “Quite honestly, I do not know anything about annulment.”

        You can learn a little at FargoDiocese. The forms and prices are listed.

        • Henry says:

          Jon, I am afraid it would require a little longer study. If it is for good order and doesn’t compromise theological principles, then it would be their Christian freedom to have that process. Again, it would have to be studied closely. I would presume you have studied this very closely with your conclusions you offered.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 3:11 “..then it would be their Christian freedom to have that process.”

            Certainly it is. And, it is my freedom to say I think it is sometimes harmful to those affected by it.

        • Fr. James says:

          In fact there is no charge besides a 25 dollar filing free. You obviously didn’t read enough to learn the facts.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Fr. James 4:37 “In fact there is no charge besides a 25 dollar filing fee. You obviously didn’t read enough to learn the facts.”

            I happen to notice that in the Fargo ND Diocese there is a sentence that reads approximately, “consider the minimum contribution of $750.00″ for an annulment. Maybe I misread that.

            http://www.fargodiocese.org/tribunalquestions#servicesfee

          • entech says:

            Jon, this reminds me of an event in my seagoing career, a ship I was on going into Bangkok (I think it was) had a new Chief Officer and experienced a very long delay ion getting clearance papers ready for beginning cargo work, asking his captain about it he was told that amongst the Bills of Lading an extra pink copy was required, pink being the colour of a large denomination bank note.
            Far be it from me to suggest that this would make any difference in this case.

          • Fr. James says:

            Jon, yes you did. It is a suggested contribution, NOT a charge. No one is obliged to pay it. You read into it the negatives you wanted to find there.

  7. Fr. James says:

    Jon, an annulment is a declaration that a marriage was invalid because at the time of the wedding one or both of the parties were incapable of consent or the consent was defective in some way. They may have entered the putative marriage with good intentions, but something was wrong at the time. It is not an “unmarriage.”

    For example there may have been issues of substance abuse, or they were young and immature, or they married with the idea that it was not really for life. Catholics believe that marriage is a life long union of man and woman that is ordered towards children and forming a community of life and love. In our current culture of divorce many marry without the proper intentions or even knowing what they are getting into. Instead many, like yourself, have undermined marriage and family. This has a deleterious effect on many people. We have, thanks to liberalism and the beliefs you propound, a throw away culture with throw away marriages and children. We Catholics choose not to compromise on marriage and uphold what it is. We take marriage seriously.

    When you stand before the altar and promise to take this person as your spouse for life you are doing just that. There are no do overs. We do not recognize divorce. If you choose to divorce that has consequences. Any adult knows that. Don’t blame the Church for holding you to your promise. No one forced you to marry, but if they did then you do have grounds for an annulment. The idea of annulments is not unfair.

    Jon, I do wish you would do your homework before you post. Your ignorance of this subject is simply appalling and it shows. Would you teach a class you were unprepared for? You simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Henry says:

      FJ:“Your [Jon's] ignorance of this subject is simply appalling and it shows.”

      No doubt. I think the whole lot of them are fake atheists. Let’s call them a Fake Atheist Group. A real atheist would use logic and reason like they supposedly embrace. Instead, fallacy after fallacy is endorsed by them.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Fr. James It is My understanding that Jesus allowed divorce because of fornication including but not limited to Adultery. Is that how it is viewed in the Catholic Faith?

      • Fr. James says:

        No, adultery is not what he meant and is insufficient for an annulment. They would have to prove the person married with an intention against fidelity to his o her spouse.

    • Henry says:

      Adam:“It is My understanding that Jesus allowed divorce because of fornication including but not limited to Adultery. Is that how it is viewed in the Catholic Faith?”

      Of the numerous times the Pharisees, filled with satan, tried to trick Jesus with an entanglement of words, they once used the issue of divorce in the gospels to that effect. I believe they already knew the answer before they asked the question. Any good litigator (accuser) worth his salt would know the question before asking it.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 9:42 “Or the numerous time the Phraisees, filled with Satan, tried to trick Jesus with an entanglement of words.”

        Does it actually say, “filled with Satan”? I think of the Phraisees as what we call today “the establishment”. Christians are what makes up most of the establishment today.

        • Henry says:

          John 8.

          • entech says:

            Are, the probably apocryphal lady discovered by the voyeuristic priests, how else would she have been caught in flagrante delicto?
            The final verse is an inspriation and example to all would be martyrs and a consolation to all who have martyrs in their family history.
            59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

          • Henry says:

            You do not follow Jon’s question followed with my response. Off on your own tangent.

          • entech says:

            Sorry must be a different Bible and a different Book of John Chapter 8.
            Some gnostic version perhaps knowing the direction you mind leads it would probably be John Thomas.

          • Henry says:

            You are still on a tangent, just the way you like it.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        I wasn’t trying to be tricky I was honestly curious.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Fr. James I agree with “We take marriage seriously.” I like to think I also take Marriage seriously in fact if You knew the conditions in which I’ve stayed married to My Wife Kari You might see Me as a Martyr to Marriage. “Issues of substance abuse.” I think on that Senator Franken has set a good example in proving to put the interests of His Wife above His own convenience although I don’t think I’d judge some Gal who left a Guy that habitually got drunk and beat Her. It seems to Me that annulment is a way to have Your cake and eat it to. I think it would be more straight forward to say sometimes its better to get a divorce. “There are no do overs.” Isn’t that the whole point of the concept of annulment?

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Adam 3:35 “It seems to me that annulment is a way to have your cake and eat it to.”

        A GREAT way to explain it. One can have sex while married and later say it was not an immoral period, just a techical mistake. Or, instead of saying we were divorced, we can say we never married.

        Annulment is another form of miracle like the belief Jesus (and others) rose from the dead and walked on water. Priests can perform this miracle many times somewhere every day.

        • StanB says:

          Jon, we cannot simply say “we were never married” on your own, and technically if you marry in the Catholic Church knowing that it was going to be marriage #1 you are committing fraud against the Church. Tell me, in a civil court isn’t fraud illegal? Couldn’t committing civil fraud be considered a civil sin?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stan 1:13 “you are committing fraud against the church.”

            My guess would be most couples go into marriage with good intentions. Perhaps everyone who every anticipated marriage had a tiny misgiving or two. When the marriages don’t work out, and they want to stay in the church, they come up with some trumped up reason like they never intended to stay married. To the extent all this is a ruse to get an annulment is a kind of fruad also.

            I’m just saying Catholic annulment seems stange and causes heartache for people I’ve known and known about.

          • Fr. James says:

            Jon, I answered you on this, but I assume you could not respond to my lengthy post. Instead you repeat your errors.

      • Fr. James says:

        No, there is nothing to do over if the marriage was null from the beginning.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      “We take marriage seriously.”

      Father, have you ever been married?

      • Fr. James says:

        In a sense yes. When I was ordained I gave myself to the Church in a way that is analogous to marriage.

      • Nate says:

        Does the oncologist need to have cancer to understand cancer and take it seriously, or the mechanic a professional driver to know the engine and fine tune it? I find your logic irrational.

        • entech says:

          Good points, but I would expect a mechanic giving me advice on how to handle my car on the road to have some practical experience, or more appropriately a driving instructor or licensing tester.

          • Fr. James says:

            Okay, since you have not studied theology and I have multiple degrees then you have no business commenting on religious period.

  8. H.P.D. says:

    Back in the cage Henry take Fr James with you, neither of you know about atheists or annulments. Look it up on line,
    really understand how it works before commenting

    H.P.D.

    • Henry says:

      The bull from the fake atheist group sets the Catholic priest straight on his own doctrine.

    • Fr. James says:

      I know all about both.

    • entech says:

      Drifter, fascinating follow up to your comments from H and J. H has invented a new acronym for us, we are the Fake Atheist Group, FAG :?:

      They both claim to know a lot about FAGs, :lol:
      What is that old line about set a thief to catch … , or was it “takes one to know one”

      • H.P.D. says:

        Yes Entech

        And I am sure they know them all!
        No wonder we can’t get any info on them, they are buried deep in the closet, too many people on top!

        Drifter

      • Henry says:

        entech:“FAG ?”

        If it fits, wear it. You made the connection to that. I was talking about how atheists do not seem to be true to their ideals.

        • entech says:

          I thought it an appropriate connection coming from you you seem to link the homosexual to everything you don’t like. But the main reason was that you two do seem to know an awful lot about this sought of thing, even linking them all together in your smutty little minds.

          Tell me what do you consider to be atheist ideals, the good Father doesn’t seem to think that atheists are capable of anything decent, anything like morals, ideals and so many other things I lose track. That is one thing you two have in common “The Atheist” is a blanket term you can apply in an ad hominim fashion to anything you don’t like.

          What about the fake Christians, your friend Josh seem to think that anyone you did anything wren while claiming to be a Christian was not, just using the supposed goodness as a cover for their own evil ends. Does this mean that all the priests that have been accused of and admitted to unlawful sexual activity and all the hierarchy that covered for them and permitted them to carry on were not Real Christians, the churches must be full of phonies from top to bottom.

    • StanB says:

      While generally an annulment is costed out at more then $25 to defray the costs of the investigation and the tribunal. In many cases where a person doesn’t have the income or funds the cost is $25. Don’t worry about not understanding, many Catholics know just as little as you do…..

  9. H.P.D. says:

    Fr James

    This is not a subject you can not flippantly sum up in a couple of hundred words. Your know it all attitude is atrocious, sounds like you are pandering your faith. Here are some of your own Catholic websites that tell it like it is and the encyclopedia information on annulments

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/parish-diary/pope-francis-should-consider
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/marria
    http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/…/faq.as.
    Annulment – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    http://www.usccb.org/…/marriage
    free encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annulment_(Catholic_Church)

  10. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Fr James, thanks for the info. I’m confused as to how a couple can spend years together, create a home and family and then say is was false or they were misinformed or didn’t know what they were doing. Isn’t the very definition of a Catholic marriage the union to create a home a family? I don’t understand how can one partake of that for 30 years and then suddenly say it didn’t exist or wasn’t valid.

    It’s not my intent to be confrontational or necessarily expect any explanation. As you might have observed, I’m really intrigued by how people define marriage.

    • StanB says:

      Mac, in my case there are several areas for an annulment. First off is that I at the time didn’t really believe in God, but it was easier to take RCIA and cheat then to get permission from the bishop to get married.

      The second reason was we had a typical 1970′s marriage proposal “YOU’RE WHAT!!!!!” She missed her period, she thought she was pregnant or manipulated me into proposing? Then suddenly she wasn’t pregnant! What do you do? Be a cad and drop her to suffer the ridicule of friends and relatives for being dumped when you think you love her?

      Third, she wanted a wedding not a marriage. Spent 22 years in hell trying to make it work, then she pulled the plug.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        The harmful part of anullment is trying to make it seem as though it didn’t happen, invalidates everything one has learned during the “wrong” or “bad” marriage. I learned a lot of very good life lessons (the hard way) over a 12 year bad marriage. (bad in terms of harmful and extremely damaging to me.) Despite those 12 years and How much I’ve forgotten and wish I could forget I learned a ton from them. How to set boundaries, how to give myself respect and to be more respected by others. Gaining self confidence and I equate my marriage to realizing I’m not worthless as my religion I had grown up with told me I was. I didn’t feel I deserved better in my marriage because my faith told me I didn’t deserve anything and that I should be rotting in hell. The religion had taught me that to want anything worldly is wrong. That we’re apart of heaven not earth and therefore shouldn’t want anything earthly. So wanting to be loved, accepted, cherished, honored, etc, as a married couple should maybe be, was selfish, and self centered, and morally wrong. Because it was putting what I wanted on a pedestal. So, for 12 very long years, I accepted I would be belittled the rest of my life, I would be put down the rest of my life. Because well, my vows were ’till death do us part’. I had considered an early death for myself as a solution since it was continue to be degraded and abused or die. those were my choices… Thanks to Christianity…

        I chose a third option to divorce and regain my what little dignity I had left regardless of what christianity thought of me.
        As to a life long commitment, I think most people plan to be married for a long time if they marry, the problem is they don’t know what it’s going to be long. Whether one person is abusive, or they think they love someone but they’re in love with the idea of marriage, etc, there’s many valid reasons for divorce, and many very valid reasons to stay married.

        The key is to learn from those choices, not to try to forget them.

    • Fr. James says:

      Lot’s of people get married and have no idea of what they are doing. We see it all the time. Certainly if a marriage is a long one it is harder to prove nullity. But sometimes people marry into a codependent situation and it takes a long time for them to get out of it.

  11. Simple says:

    Ted and Joan Kennedy got an annulment after 23 years of marriage and children.

    • entech says:

      I did read that the Vatican has since said the annulment was invalid. I guess it must have been some kind of local indulgence. :)

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 11:26 “I did read that the Vatican has since said the annulment was invalid.”

        I think you are talking of Joe Kennedy’s annulment, not Ted. Joe is Ted’s nephew. Joe’s wife, an episcopalian, was never consulted about an annulment and was outraged. She wrote a book exposing the corrupt nature of the annulment concept and the Vatican overruled the locals.

        The reason for an annulment does not have to be made public. A person can simply say, “I never intended to be faithful, I never intended to be married to her/him the rest of my life,” etc. and off you go. It remains one of the strangest and most bizzare practices in all of religions’ bizzarness.

        • Adam Heckathorn says:

          A big shell game going on for millennia

          • Fr. James says:

            Not at all. The case has to be proven. In the Kennedy’s case she appealed.

            Jon again has it wrong. Almost every religion has some kind of marriage law. Jews have their own courts and issue a “get” for divorce. I am surprised that he was once a teacher. His performance here gets an F.

        • entech says:

          Sorry Jon, we foreigners don’t really know too much about your minor royalty. :roll:

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 9:06 “we foreigner don’t really know too much about your minor royalty.”

            There is not a really good reason why either foreigners or locals need to know the difference between the marriages of Joe or Ted Kennedy. :)

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