grounds for annulmentgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Just wondering... mariage was between two atheists but like many marriages took place in a church (anglican) because the girl wanted it that way. They are now divorced. He wants to marry in a Catholic church (but is still not a believer) are any of the following grounds for an annulment?: - she is quite opposed to having kids whereas he wants them - her father was dying prior to the marriage and he felt pushed to marry her as it felt like the right thing to do - her behaviour changed so radically after the marriage that he thinks there may be grounds of mental instability
Is it possible that he could ever marry again inside the catholic church? Would it change things if he were to have a true conversion to the faith?
-- Helen (email@example.com), January 30, 2005
If the marriage was between two atheists it was strictly a civil matter. If they are divorced, the civil contract is terminated, and the marriage is ended. He doesn't need any further "grounds for annulment". The fact that they held the ceremony in an Anglican Church building doesn't mean they were married "in the Anglican Church".
The other matter is his wanting to marry "in a Catholic church", even though he is not Catholic. Is he marrying a Catholic woman? If so, he needs to obtain a annulment for his former civil marriage. Then they can marry in THE Catholic Church - not just in "a" Catholic church. However, if neither he nor his intended are Catholic, they will not be able to use a Catholic church as a "set" in which to stage their marriage. The Catholic Church takes marriage seriously. It officially witnesses marriages "in THE Church", not just in "a" church. If the parties marrying, or at least one of them, are not members of THE Church, the Church has no jurisdiction over the marriage, and cannot officiate.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 30, 2005.
A marriage between two baptized persons is called a sacramental marriage. A marriage between two unbaptized atheists (or one baptized person and a non-baptized person) is called a natural marriage. A valid natural marriage lasts until the death of one of its members. A civil divorce does not end a natural marriage.
The following link from a canon lawyer who writes for EWTN supports this (remove any spaces that might be added to this link):
One may petition the Church for an annulment of a natural marriage, on many of the same grounds that one petitions for an annulment of a sacramental marriage. If a natural marriage is declared null (i.e. invalid) then the parties are then free to marry in the Catholic Church.
Unlike a sacramental marriage, in some circumstances a valid natural marriage can be _dissolved_ in "Favor of the Faith" of the party who receives baptism, if the unbaptised party is unwilling to live with the baptised party (Can 1143). This is known as the Pauline Privilege and is based on 1 Cor 7:12-16 ("But if the unbeliever chooses to leave, then let the separation take place: in these circumstances, the [believer] is no longer tied." 1 Cor 7:15). Cases such as these proceed through a process similar to an annulment, but are sent to the Holy See for approval.
In the case you describe:
(1) If the woman was opposed to having children at the time of the marriage, that may be grounds for an annulment, based on Canon 1101.2:
"If, however, either or both of the parties should by a positive act of will exclude marriage itself or any essential element of marriage or any essential property, such party contracts invalidly."
One of the essential properties of marriage is the right to receive and bring up offspring in the context of marriage.
(2) If the man had a true conversion to the faith, he might be eligible for the Pauline Privilege and dissolution of his natural marriage.
If he is seeking to marry a Catholic, he should discuss these issues with the parish priest of the parish of the Catholic party, to see if there are grounds for an annulment.
-- Fr. Terry Donahue, CC (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 03, 2005.