Re:Annulments - Kathygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Well....it says in the paper.."lack of discretion of judment on the part of the Respondent" which means me. My reason for getting so aggitated about the issue is because I really don't agree with the whole process and what it stands for. My ex has always shifted blame onto me for one reason or another for any number of things, no matter what I try to put behind me for the sake of raising our son in a friendly environment.
Another question I have is that during a recent conversation with my ex he told me that he has no plans on becoming Catholic, but he's doing this so that his new fiancee can still participate in the Church. Doesn't he need to become Catholic for them to be married in the Catholic Church and to be seen a a valid marriage in the eyes of God AND the church??
I am even MORE confused that I was before.
If he doesn't need to become Catholic to have his marriage valid in the eyes of the Church, then isn't that a bit...hypocritical to have MY marriage to him annulled?
Call it ignorance on my part, or what have you. I came here for answers because I don't know the answers. :)
-- Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2002
A Catholic and a non-Catholic can contract a valid Catholic marriage as long a priest is present plus the required number of witnesses. The lack of due discretion is, in my opinion, (and I know I'll be scolded for this by the other regulars on this forum) a catchall excuse for the annullment when no other really concrete reason (like the inability to consummate the marriage) can be found.
-- Christina (email@example.com), July 21, 2002.
"The lack of due discretion is, in my opinion, (and I know I'll be scolded for this by the other regulars on this forum) a catchall excuse for the annullment when no other really concrete reason (like the inability to consummate the marriage) can be found."
I would say it this way: this "lack of discretion of judgment" can be a valid reason for an annulment; but individuals can abuse the system by claiming this when it was not the case.
Kathy, you write:
"My ex has always shifted blame onto me for one reason or another for any number of things..."
It sounds as if your husband isn't too mature. As you state things:
1) He doesn't have much respect for Catholicism. He isn't interested in the faith, and he seems to be using (abusing) it in order to marry another Catholic.
2) He doesn't have respect for you. I'm amazed that he's placing blame on your "judgement." Was he the victim?
I hope that your efforts will prevent him from abusing the annulment process. His actions seem terribly unjust, selfish, and deceitful.
"My reason for getting so agitated about the issue is because I really don't agree with the whole process and what it stands for."
Are you saying here that you don't believe that the Church should grant annulments?
Kathy, I'd like to compare your husband's actions with the sacrament of penance. Let's say that a sinner goes in to confess his sins, and tells the priest all of his sins, and leaves out an adulterous affair. He conceals the affair from the priest and he fully intends to continue the adultery. At the end of confession, the priest will say, "I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." This is an official declaration of the Church. The Church declares that the penitent has been fully forgiven by Jesus Christ. In reality, God will not forgive this unrepentant sinner because the sinner has not brought his sins to the priest. The Church pronouncement is not consistant with the reality that the sinner still suffers from the mortal sin of adultery.
Similarly, your husband may make a case that a true marital bond never existed because of a "lack of discretion of judgment." If he is misrepresenting the facts (lying) to the Church representatives, their decree of nullity (annulment), though pronounced by the Church, may not be correct. As others have written on the forum, a valid marriage cannot be broken (even by the Church). But the Church is no more to blame than the priest who heard a false confession. Your husband's deception won't work when he stands before God at the end of his life. If your marriage is valid (but is annulled because of his deception), your husband's new marriage is just adultery.
Kathy, you and your son are in my prayers. I pray that God gives you the strength to stay faithful and not lose hope in these difficult times.
-- (MattElFeo@netscape.net), July 22, 2002.
Mateo - You have summed up this very very well. Nice going guy.
-- Jean Bouchard (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 22, 2002.
You stated: "The lack of due discretion is, in my opinion, (and I know I'll be scolded for this by the other regulars on this forum) a catchall excuse for the annullment when no other really concrete reason (like the inability to consummate the marriage) can be found."
From time to time in the past, Christina, I have disagreed with things you have stated on the forum, but this is the first time, I think, that you have posted something truly offensive. Consider the two possible meanings of what you wrote:
EITHER (1) "I'll give you the facts about this, Kathy, so just ignore those who will come along later and bash me."
OR (2) "I really don't know much about this, Kathy, but I can't control myself, so I'll share my uninformed opinion with you. Then someone can come along later and correct me."
Regardless of which you intended, Christina, it's pretty nasty of you.
It turns out that #2 is right: You clearly don't understand this subject (nullity and the legitimate grounds for it, according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law). You are just parroting the prejudices seen in the writings of people who are mired in the ignorance of an earlier era. Worse than not having the facts, you exhibit an appalling lack of faith in the desire and ability of the Holy Spirit to help the pastors and tribunal judges. Also worse than not having the facts, you berate the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, in replying to a non-Catholic.
Christina, I recommend that you contact your local marriage tribunal and ask how you can learn the facts about the nullity process and why it is legitimate and trustworthy. Meanwhile, I suggest that you avoid responding to nullity-related threads here. [Note: These are suggestions, not demands. You can continue with the status quo, but I will have to speak up each time you err.]
The fact is that Kathy's husband [i.e., they are still putatively married] is -- at least from "surface" evidence -- doing the right and charitable thing. (She should not have started this new thread, but should have continued the thread she started on the 18th. Please read it for necessary background.] A careful reading of what Kathy has written on both threads shows no evidence of deception on the part of her husband. In fact, this man wants the woman he now loves to be truly and sacramentally married to him, so that she can continue to receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. He is not trying to rush her to a Justice of the Peace, but is willing patiently to wait for the work of the marriage tribunal.
We have to keep in mind that the tribunal is going to consider only the facts that were in existence on the day of the marriage. I can picture Kathy's husband sitting down with his friend's pastor [she can't yet be his "fiancee"], explaining everything that was true before and on the wedding day, and then being encouraged to prepare his written testimony. It is silly to think that HE chose the grounds of "lack of discretion of judment on the part of the respondent." Those grounds must have been chosen by the pastor or the tribunal, based on the man's testimony. It is now time for Kathy to present her version of the pre-marriage facts, which will either confirm or refute her husband's testimony. As charitable Catholics, we trust that the tribunal will then deal with the whole thing fairly and wisely. If (God forbid) a Decree of Nullity is wrongly granted because of deception, the new "wife" will not be guilty of sin, though her "husband" will be; if granted because of human error (on the part of the tribunal), neither party will be guilty of sin (adultery).
Kathy, you are not required to give any testimony, but, given your present frame of mind, I think that it would do you some good to get things off your chest (and potentially set a wrong record straight). Nothing given in evidence will be made public.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), July 23, 2002.
"He [Kathy's husband] is not trying to rush her to a Justice of the Peace, but is willing patiently to wait for the work of the marriage tribunal."
To look at this in the worst light, her husband may not be "patiently waiting," but instead, his girlfriend is standing her ground and refusing to marry him outside the Church. Either way, it's all speculation when we attempt to read into their motivations.
-- (MattElFeo@netscape.net), July 23, 2002.
John, c'mom, the annulment process IS abused in this country (the U.S). An article in The Latin Mass magazine a few years back stated that something like 50% of annulments granted here that are appealed to Rome are overturned (that is, denied). Annulment is known as "Catholic divorce." Sure, there are many marriages nowadays that aren't valid as the participants have no idea what they are getting into. However, if the same standards that are used by tribunals now were used on our grandparents and great-grandparents, I'm almost positive that many of those marriages would be declared invalid. Read the book by Sheila Rauch Kennedy on her annulment. I know of 2 or 3 folks who are casual friends whose spouses got annulments who feel that their marriages were indeed invalid. There is abuse in the system!!!! The Pope has spoken out on this! Don't stick your head in the sand!
-- Christina (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 23, 2002.
Christina, there is a difference between acknowledging abuse occurs and assuming that one's own tribunal is corrupt and will abuse their authority. Now, if 50% of annulments are denied, doesn't that mean that the marriage is still valid? What does that say about the system? To me, it sounds as if the Church has ways to protect against those who would attempt to abuse the system.
What do you think? Do you feel that the Church should never allow an annulment because of "lack of discretion of judgment"?
Well, if this is any consolation, the pre-Cana and priest meetings that my fiancee and I went through were quite thorough. I think that getting married in the Church is the best way to foster two partners who are clear in their judgment of what they are getting into. Prevention is the most effective solution.
WRT Kathy, John's advice was good: if Kathy is concerned that her husband isn't presenting the facts, she has an obligation to stand up for herself and make sure that her position is heard. Avoiding the tribunal won't help. I think we can all agree on John's advice, right?
-- (MattElFeo@netscape.net), July 23, 2002.
..but what about the fact that he has told me over the phone that he has NO plans and/or desire of becoming Catholic?
When we were both Baptized and married in the Methodist Church, to me, that marriage was valid in the eyes of God and of our Church.
HOWEVER, there may be a few people who think I'm trying to hold on to him by fighting this annulment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not love my ex husband. My love for him died the day I found out he would sacrifice our marriage and the health of me and our baby for the physical pleasure of another woman.
As I stated before, I don't necessarily believe in this process. I believe that God nullified our marriage when he stepped outside the sacramental bonds of our union, AND then refused to accept responsibility for his actions (pushing the blame onto me by saying it was my fault strayed because I was suffering from severe post partum depression and didn't show him enough "attention").
I don't believe that a piece of paper from the Catholic church needs to tell me what I already know. He however might feel it necessary. He has told me that the only reason why he's doing it is so that he can marry her in the Catholic church. It sounds to me that she is in fact refusing to marry him outside the church, and it sounds to me that he is being a hypocrite.
-- Kathy (email@example.com), July 23, 2002.
BTW, I have filled out the questionairre and requested repesentation from those in the church who will lend it to me.
I do have one problem...the 2 witnesses I wanted to have questioned I don't remember their last names, phone numbers or addresses (since this was 5 years ago.) All I have is a first name and the last known place of employment and the city where they last resided. I feel these 2 are the most important because 1 was his best frined at the time and the second was the woman that he had the affair with.
Like I stated before, I don't have a problem giving my isgnature to the annulment papers because I already believe that our marriage was null and void in the eyes of God a long time ago. I just want the terms of the annulment changed because they are in fact, false and the 2 witnesses I do (don't) have are 2 of the 3 who can verify all the facts. The other witness was my best friend at the time who I later found out also was involved with my ex huband. (I can't believe how naive I used to be! He used to spend night at her house, I didn't think anything of it because they were pretty close friends too, I never thought she would do it and she was dating HIS other best friend!!) Lesson learned, enough said!!
-- Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 23, 2002.
Hello, Mateo, Christina, and Kathy.
Your alternate explanation for what is occurring is definitely plausible.
Thank you for partially responding to Christina. I agree with the points you made -- particularly the fact that there is a system of safeguards/appeals. More about that in a moment.
I continue to maintain that you have been partially misled about this subject by what you have read from "traditionalists" who basically think that most change in the life of the Church (liturgy, ecumenism, these marriage matters, etc.) is a bad idea. As you must know by now, I am definitely not a "liberal," as I reject all dissent and sin. But I rely on the pope to guide my attitudes toward change, not half-informed, overly pessimistic, and ultra-conservative entities like the "Wanderer" and "The Latin Mass Magazine" people.
You wrote: "An article in The Latin Mass magazine a few years back stated that something like 50% of annulments granted here that are appealed to Rome are overturned (that is, denied)."
I am sure that this is false or a misunderstanding of what was reported. When a tribunal finds grounds to issue a Decree of Nullity, an automatic appeal occurs, with a second diocesan tribunal reviewing the case. If the opposite verdict is reached, there is an automatic appeal to the Vatican (a court called the "Roman Rota," I think). It stands to reason that 50% of these appeals are going to result in agreement with the second tribunal. What you have forgotten in all this, though, is the fact that, in the great majority of cases the second tribunal agrees with the first, and the case is not forwarded to the Vatican! Therefore, your 50% figure is completely bogus. I would bet that the Roman Rota overturns fewer than 10% (maybe fewer than 5%) of all decisions made by the original tribunal.
You wrote: "Annulment is known as 'Catholic divorce.'"
How terrible of you! It is only wrongly known by that slur. On several occasions on this forum, I have blasted anti-Catholics for using that phrase. For me to have to correct you for using it too is an absolute disgrace. Please get over your misconceptions today.
You continued: " ... if the same standards that are used by tribunals now were used on our grandparents and great-grandparents, I'm almost positive that many of those marriages would be declared invalid."
Undoubtedly true -- but that doesn't prove anything. Some of those "marriages" really were invalid. Saying what you said is no proof that today's tribunals are doing anything wrong.
You continued: "Read the book by Sheila Rauch Kennedy on her annulment."
I don't need to read it. I heard (or read) her being interviewed. She is a non-Catholic who clearly lacked understanding of Catholic marriage and the nullity process. I could see that her book would have nothing worthwhile to offer.
You continued: "I know of 2 or 3 folks who are casual friends whose spouses got annulments who feel that their marriages were indeed invalid."
[I presume you meant to say "valid."] Terrible, Christina! What your friends "feel" is irrelevant! This is a matter of facts, not feelings, as judged by the tribunal. Moreover, your friends probably have little or no idea about how the tribunal evaluates the facts and makes the decisions.
You concluded by saying: "There is abuse in the system!!!! The Pope has spoken out on this! Don't stick your head in the sand!"
I know of NO cases of "abuse" having been proved. I know that the pope has spoken out to caution tribunals to use due care. He reacted to what seemed to him to be alarming statistics coming from the U.S.. But what you apparently don't know is that some of the U.S. cardinals (including O'Connor, no "liberal") went to visit him to discuss this subject. They explained to him the reasons that he should expect (without alarm) a very large number of nullity decrees being granted in the U.S..
You stated: "... but what about the fact that he has told me over the phone that he has NO plans and/or desire of becoming Catholic?"
I think that someone already told you that this is irrelevant. He does not need to become Catholic. His future marriage to a Catholic can be approved by the woman's Catholic bishop. With a "dispensation" (special permission from bishop), a Catholic can marry a person of any faith (or no faith).
You continued: "When we were both Baptized and married in the Methodist Church, to me, that marriage was valid in the eyes of God and of our Church."
Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but the Catholic Church (to whom Jesus gave the Sacrament of Marriage) has a right to make its own judgment on that. The Church may end by agreeing with you. Notice that the Church is not automatically accepting the opinion of your husband, but is making its own independent inquiry and judgment.
You continued: "I believe that God nullified our marriage when he stepped outside the sacramental bonds of our union, AND then refused to accept responsibility for his actions ... "
Again, you are free to have this opinion, but Christianity has never taught that God "nullifies" marriages that he originally recognized as valid. No. A marriage that is valid on the wedding day remains valid "till DEATH do us part" -- and only death (not unfaitfulness, etc.).
You continued: "It sounds to me that she is in fact refusing to marry him outside the church, and it sounds to me that he is being a hypocrite."
She may, in fact, be so refusing -- but I see nothing hypocritical in his actions. You can be sure that he revealed to his pastor that he was not faithful to you. No point in his hiding that, since he knows that you would mention it in your testimony (even though it is not relevant to validity on the wedding day).
You continued: "I have filled out the questionairre and requested repesentation from those in the church who will lend it to me."
Very good. You have done the right thing.
Concerning what you said about witnesses:
I suggest that you ask the help of the marriage tribunal in contacting your husband's best friend and partner in adultery. Contrary to what some ill-informed people think, a tribunal is not "itching" to issue Decrees of Nullity. It is itching to do justice and get the right answers, so the judges should want to help you locate these witnesses. Of course, we are not talking about a civil court, so these witnesses, if located, cannot be compelled to testify. (Nor can your best friend, who was also involved in adultery.) Really, though, there would be no point in getting testimony from the two women, since only your husband's male friend could provide facts about the relevant truth as it existed on and before your wedding day.
God bless you.
-- (email@example.com), July 24, 2002.
John, the fact that Cardinal O'Connor was a conservative means nothing. Cardinal Law is also known as a conservative, yet look at the abuses that he allowed under his nose.....
-- Christina (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 25, 2002.
Christina, in no way is yours is a valid analogy.
First, none of us knows just how much Cardinal Law really knew and ignored in a sinful way (if anything).
Second, there is a big difference between Cardinal Law not exercising due care and Cardinal O'Connor forcefully defending what he was sure was orthodox tribunal activity.
Finally, your words contain an explicit charge that Cardinal O'Connor knew of wrongdoings in tribunals, but "allowed [them] under his nose." Christina, you are even more misguided than I could have dreamed possible. Cardinal O'Connor was a saint. He would never have lied to the Vatican, and he would never have allowed improprieties (e.g., phony "annulments") to take place.
-- (email@example.com), July 25, 2002.
Cardinal O'Connor did many wonderful things, like standing up to the pro-abort politicians, speaking out against the gays who profaned St. Patrick's and tried to march in the St. Pat's parade. But only God knows if he has worked his way out of purgatory yet. Don't jump on me and say I'm misguided. Don't go canonizing people ahead of their time; it's uncharitable. Remember Our Lady of Fatima said to the children that one of the girls in the village who had died would be purgatory until the end of time because she read bad books. I know Cardinal O'Connor has lots of folks praying for his soul, and maybe he is smiling down on us right now. Anyway, that's off subject. I don't know how many annulments are granted in New York and whether it's higher or lower than the national average. Nor do I expect a bishop in any diocese, much less one as large as New York, to have knowledge of every intimate detail of every case. All I'm saying is that though Cardinal O'Connor was for the most part very orthodox and went to Rome to defend the horrible annulment statistics in this country to the Pope, it doesn't mean that all the annulments granted under him were warranted. I know I'm no expert; the only first hand knowledge I have is that my mother worked at a tribunal for 2 years typing testimony, and one very orthodox priest I'm friends with was basically relieved of his duties as a judge on the tribunal because he was not willing to go along with the status quo in granting annulments left and right.
-- Christina (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 25, 2002.
Can anyone tell me what eventually happened to Sheila Kennedy's appeal to the Roman Rota? Was her appeal heard and decided upon yet? Thanks. Please email me!
-- Henry Weaver (email@example.com), December 05, 2002.
Regarding some inplications in this thread.
Cardinal O'Connor had knowledge of wrongdoings in his tribunals and apparently did nothing to answer my personal accusations.
His successor, Cardinal Egan, in spite of his apparent orthodoxy based upon his writings and his service on the Rota, knows similar facts and does nothing as well.
Draw your own conclusions. It is the tip of the iceberg!
-- Karl (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 2003.
Draw our own conclusions, Karl?
I conclude that you are not to be trusted.
You bad-mouth a holy, deceased man.
You are far less likely to know the truth and how to respond to it than these prelates.
I conclude that you are your own worst enemy.
Please stop bothering people here. The forum won't let you get away with it. OK? OK.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@Hotmail.com), April 24, 2003.