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 Post subject: Canon Law Question on Annullment
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:17 pm 
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Sons of Thunder
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My son has married a young lady who is divorced from her abusive first husband, but who has not gotten an annullment. She did not do so because of a number of problems, one of which being that she is deathly afraid of her abusive moron x hubby. The diocese told her that for her to have an annullment, they would have to send papers to him and she wants nothing to do with him.

Also, she has been out of the Church for a long time. We had a good talk this morning and she said that she is beginning to think differently about the Church and realizes that the problems that she had with the people in the Church does not mean that the Church itself is wrong. However, she was never confirmed in the Church. The diocese told her that because she was not confirmed, that the annullment would be very difficult.

So.........

What's the answer here?

Does she go to confession, make an act of contrition, then be confirmed and then go for annullment after she is reconciled with the Church?

Or does her lack of confirmation mean that she doesn't need an annullment?

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh.........why isn't ever the EASY problems? :)!!

I see God working through this mess. Y'all keep on praying.

Brother Ed -- looking for the OFFICIAL WORD on this all.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:29 pm 
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Jedi Master
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Marriage law is confusing and complex, and you're not going to be able to get official word from any of us on this. If you want to pursue it, you need (or, more accurately, she needs) to talk it over with a priest and trust what he tells you.

From my own very limited knowledge, I believe that it is necessary to give the other party a chance to respond to an annulment request, if he or she can be located. Perhaps there is an exception when that would threaten personal safety, but I don't know. I also don't know about how confirmation would or would not play into it.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:29 pm 
The answer is vague and often confusing.

Here is an example of how it worked for us and how each circumstance is different...

My wife is Catholic--converted when she was 14 because the non-denom. church she was attending always bashed Catholics, so it peaked her interest, she researched it, and she converted--and divorced her ex-husband (verbally and physically abusive among other things). When it came time for us to get married we approached our priest about what we had to do. I was never married so I had nothing to worry about. My wife had a stack of papers to fill out and it asked about her previous marriage, his background, what her ex-husband is doing now and since he is remarried it asked about his current marriage and the background of his current wife...it was ridiculous. However, she never had to get in contact with him.

When they married it was by the justice of the peace and he belonged to no church. The priest said that this actually helped her because she was never married in the church and never had it recognized by it. What also helped was that her ex-huband never attended any type of church and really never allowed her to attend. In addition, she had 2 children and he never allowed her to baptise them. So these factors helped her (us) out. Our priest brought the truckload of papers before the Diocese Tribunal and they signed off on it. We are now married and the kids are now Catholic and love it!

Come to think of it, I don't believe it was called an annulment but something else (something with the fact that an annulment is a civil procedure and the other is a church procedure).

Confusing, isn't it? :?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:38 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Marriage law is confusing and complex, and you're not going to be able to get official word from any of us on this. If you want to pursue it, you need (or, more accurately, she needs) to talk it over with a priest and trust what he tells you.

From my own very limited knowledge, I believe that it is necessary to give the other party a chance to respond to an annulment request, if he or she can be located. Perhaps there is an exception when that would threaten personal safety, but I don't know. I also don't know about how confirmation would or would not play into it.


I agree... I have never heard about confirmation coming into play... That seems like an odd thing to say... But, the advice to talk to a priest is the best course of action...

FJ

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:54 pm 
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Master
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My sister's ex did not cooperate in the annulment process. We had to fill out lengthy questionnaires. She met with a canon lawyer several times. The annulment was granted within a year or two.

Most parishes have liaisons who help parishioners deal with the marriage tribunal process. I am sure that you will find help and support as you work through the process.


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 Post subject: Re: Canon Law Question on Annullment
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 1:40 pm 
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Journeyman
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Altar Boy wrote:
However, she was never confirmed in the Church. The diocese told her that because she was not confirmed, that the annullment would be very difficult.

Ditto on everything Obi-Wan said about not getting your answers about this very important question on the internet.

Here's my two cents: Catholics are required to marry in the Catholic Church. Thus, a Catholic who marries outside the Church has a very easy ground for annulment, called "lack of canonical form". A lack of form annulment can be obtained without contacting the ex spouse at all. The exception to this requirement is if the Catholic "defected from the Church by a formal act" prior to the wedding. In this case, the Catholic is no longer required to marry in the Catholic Church, and therefore does not quality for an easy lack of form annulment, but must apply for a formal case annulment, with the mountains of paperwork, and which is not guaranteed to be granted. (Also, for a formal case annulment, the tribunal will contact the ex spouse.)

The only interpretation of the confirmation comment that makes even the slightest sense is that the diocesan representative thought that her lack of confirmation constituted a formal defection from the Church, thus ruling out the easy lack of form annulment and necessitating the lengthy formal case annulment.

I'm not a canon lawyer, but I don't believe this to be the case at all. A "formal act" of defection is required; acts of omission, such as failing to get confirmed, do not qualify.

Altar Boy wrote:
Does she go to confession, make an act of contrition, then be confirmed and then go for annullment after she is reconciled with the Church?

Having divorced and remarried outside the Church, she is not currently eligible to receive any of the sacraments, including confirmation. The annulment must be handled first.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:25 pm 
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Jedi Master
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I agree with all that Obi and Neophyte have writte. I can't imagine how one's confirmation status changes anything. Marriage law in the church is complicated. Even when dealing with a person on the phone or in person, it is easy for there to be confusion and misunderstanding.


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