Woman feels lucky she defended marriage against charges of nullity
#1
I'm really enjoying LifeSiteNews. They often will report on topics no one else seems to want to touch.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/wom...of-nullity



December 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Headlines emphasize how the Catholic Church provides mercy and healing by granting annulments. However, not all divorces are caused by an invalid marriage. One woman, who was married for 26 years before her husband abandoned her, is grateful that she successfully defended her marriage against the accusation of invalidity in a Catholic tribunal court.

Quote:It always surprises me when a couple separates/divorces after so many years together. I have known several that have after 20+ years of marriage.

An annulment is the common name for a decree from a Catholic Church saying that a valid marriage never occurred and both parties are single. The woman’s case started in 2011 and the woman asked to remain anonymous, so we’ll call her Linda. She said “I take my marriage very seriously, and I was not going to just let someone decide that my marriage was invalid, when I knew in my heart that it was valid.”

About Pope Francis’ new annulment processes which are going to go into effect on December 8, Linda said, “From what the news shows, it appears the Church is changing and wants to be inclusive for divorced Catholics—meaning welcome them to have the sacraments while being married to a second person.”

Quote:I guess we'll see if that's in fact what ends up happening. I share her concern.

Linda married in 1978, and had five children. When her husband left and filed for divorce in 2003, their two youngest were in high school and middle school. “We had tried secular counseling,” Linda said, “and my husband was not honest about what was going on in our relationship.” He participated in a Retrouvaille weekend, but during the follow-up sessions, “he stopped cooperating with the program’s guidelines” said Linda. “He blamed me for everything wrong with our marriage, and when he left, he said it was all my fault.” 

In Linda’s diocese, in the year 2012, the Catholic tribunal granted one annulment for every 5 couples that married that year. In 2011 and 2012, ninety-eight percent of the marriages judged in her tribunal were deemed invalid, so Linda said she feels lucky that the tribunal upheld the validity of her marriage. 

Quote:Yowsers! I wonder what the stats are like for other dioceses. And that's only the number granted - many Catholics never bother even asking for one. Why isn't this being addressed at the front end - i.e. marriage prep?

Though law says each diocese is “bound by the obligation to provide that each spouse is able to defend his rights with the help of a competent person,” when Linda phoned the person that the tribunal recommended to help her, she said “he never returned my calls.” Linda said she learned to defend her own marriage with the help of Mary’s Advocates and its e-mail discussion group.

Linda wonders if her tribunal routinely disregards the rights of defendants from the beginning of every case. The defendant is supposed to be sent her own copy of her husband’s Petition for an annulment which must describe the alleged facts he is using to support the particular reason he is claiming their marriage is invalid. The tribunal was going through the proceedings without ever sending Linda the Petition. After asking to be sent a copy of his Petition, all she received was her husband’s answers to a questionnaire, titled “Preliminary petition for possible annulment” where he never stated the ground on which he was accusing his own marriage of being invalid.

Quote:From what I remember of the process, it's not up to ME to state why my marriage is invalid - they are supposed to determine that. But I do recall getting a letter stating what possible causes they were examining based on my evidence. That seems to be contradicted by the following paragraph, but maybe the way the initially questionnaire was structured that was enough.  I was the petitioner, so I have no idea of my ex got a copy of the letter enumerating the possible reasons as well.

Petitions that do not specify the ground for nullity and include supporting facts are supposed to be rejected outright. Case Law from the appeals court at the Vatican shows that answering a questionnaire that “simply explains the difficulties that occurred in the marriage and its break-up” does not qualify as a libellus (a.k.a. Petition). None-the-less, the tribunal judge himself decided the basis on which the validity of her marriage was being challenged, “lack of due discretion on the part of both.”

This ground “grave lack of discretion of judgment” (canon 1095 §2), is only supposed to apply to people who suffered a grave psychic anomaly, and she never saw any allegations of grave psychic problems in her husband’s Petition. In the section about being “psychologically or emotional incapable,” Linda said “he described how he had trouble communicating and I had communication problems when I was angry.” Even Pope Francis understands that families sometimes have trouble communicating, but he didn’t say that was a basis for invalidity of the marriage. In his speech during the 26 September 2015 Prayer Vigil for the Festival of Families, he said “Certainly, in the family there are difficulties. In families we argue. In families sometimes we throw dishes. In families, children cause headaches. I’m not going to say anything about mothers-in-law! Families always, always, have crosses.”

Quote:Dang right, we're human. Although I'm not sure throwing dishes is an acceptable manner to express anger and frustration.

On the internet, Linda’s diocese teaches that in order for a couple to have a valid marriage, “They must both commit to the project of making marriage a good life experience for their partner.” She said “That is ridiculous. If that were true, then anytime anyone felt they did not get a good enough life experience, they could accuse the other of not committing to the project validly.”

Quote:A result of our feel-good culture.

Pope Benedict and Saint Pope John Paul II taught how important is its to protect the faithful "from the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage being destroyed in practice by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity, in cases of the failure of marriage, on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness on the part of the contracting parties."

Linda learned that everyone has the right to name the Vatican’s tribunal as the court of appeal, so she told her judge that she would appeal to Rome if he decided her marriage was invalid. During the proceedings, Linda participated when asked, but found it difficult to offer rebuttals after being given her chance to read the record of the case. She was forbidden from keeping her own notes. Mary’s Advocates has found that in other tribunals, the parties are allowed to keep their own notes

In April of 2012, Linda said she received the judgment upholding the validity of her marriage. In August 2015, her husband entered a second union with a woman in another Christian denomination. Linda said “he’s committing adultery and it would have been dishonest to pretend he is not by just saying our marriage is invalid.”

Quote:He didn't get what he wanted, so he did what he wanted anyway. Nice.

Bai Macfarlane founded Mary’s Advocates, a non profit 501©(3) organization that upholds marriage in light of no-fault divorce. She uncovered Catholic canon law that can be implemented to try to keep families together. Recently, she was invited to speak in Rome to present a paper that was distributed to the delegates at the Bishops Synod. Mary’s Advocates supports those who have been abandoned who choose to remain faithful to marriage and who defend their marriages against charges of invalidity.
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#2
So basically if this woman hadn't fought hard enough, the Church would bless and even pretend to perform a sacrament (isn't that like a sacrilege?) this second union?

And yet!! when one talks about this to the rosy-colored world Opus Dei guys they act as if you had actually proposed some debauchery and say "imagine that! No, the bishops wouldn't let this happen".
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#3
Not to be that guy, but this story makes me wonder if the outcome of the annulment process is at all determined by the sex of the spouse seeking the annulment. 
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#4
This marriage would not qualify under the new expedited annulment procedures. Good for her defending her marriage from the declaration of nullity.
:) :) :)
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#5
(12-07-2015, 10:21 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: Not to be that guy, but this story makes me wonder if the outcome of the annulment process is at all determined by the sex of the spouse seeking the annulment.

That's a possibility I haven't considered. I wonder if there's stats out there that show which spouse usually initiates the petition and the end judgement.

In all honesty in NO Land, I imagine it's usually the woman that petitions because it's usually the woman that is a practicing Catholic. Usually the man doesn't seem to care because they're not practicing anyway (at least in my experience - I know there are men out there that do care and are practicing, but they seem to be the minority). Most people seem to want an annulment because they've entered into a new relationship already and want to get remarried. I'm only guessing at this point through.
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#6
After a certain age, though, women's marriage prospects are substantially diminished compared to men, who can often succeed in securing younger partners. I would imagine that many of these new fiancées would like to have a nice, traditional wedding in the Church, so they might pressure their men to pursue annulment.

I do wonder, though, whether these men and women who pursue annulment realize that any children of their union would be considered bastards under canon law. Who would want to voluntarily submit to such a procedure, and even pay a fee, for their children being deemed bastards? How do the children of such a union feel upon learning that their mother or father sought to have it declared that the union that produced them was not a holy, sacramental marriage, but rather that they were born in bastardy and, as such, historically would have had diminished rights of inheritance and would have incurred an impediment to ordination?
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#7
(12-08-2015, 02:20 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: After a certain age, though, women's marriage prospects are substantially diminished compared to men, who can often succeed in securing younger partners. I would imagine that many of these new fiancées would like to have a nice, traditional wedding in the Church, so they might pressure their men to pursue annulment.

I do wonder, though, whether these men and women who pursue annulment realize that any children of their union would be considered bastards under canon law. Who would want to voluntarily submit to such a procedure, and even pay a fee, for their children being deemed bastards? How do the children of such a union feel upon learning that their mother or father sought to have it declared that the union that produced them was not a holy, sacramental marriage, but rather that they were born in bastardy and, as such, historically would have had diminished rights of inheritance and would have incurred an impediment to ordination?

That is not true. Children whose parents were in a situation where their marriage was annulled are not bastards.
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#8
(12-08-2015, 02:20 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: After a certain age, though, women's marriage prospects are substantially diminished compared to men, who can often succeed in securing younger partners. I would imagine that many of these new fiancées would like to have a nice, traditional wedding in the Church, so they might pressure their men to pursue annulment.

I do wonder, though, whether these men and women who pursue annulment realize that any children of their union would be considered bastards under canon law. Who would want to voluntarily submit to such a procedure, and even pay a fee, for their children being deemed bastards? How do the children of such a union feel upon learning that their mother or father sought to have it declared that the union that produced them was not a holy, sacramental marriage, but rather that they were born in bastardy and, as such, historically would have had diminished rights of inheritance and would have incurred an impediment to ordination?

I suspect the children of divorce have much to worry, even besides their status under old canon law.

In any case, traditionally the woman is the party that in being abandoned is left in a dire situation. Things have changed a lot, but I doubt most bishops are willing to face the ugly feminist facts. Still I doubt it would be much of a trouble for a man, if he is even bothered to do so, get an annulment. This is just my suspicion, but I really don't see why following the messed up modernist logic and practical considerations (new, bread winning family for the parish) how it would be otherwise.
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#9
(12-08-2015, 04:46 AM)Poche Wrote:
(12-08-2015, 02:20 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: After a certain age, though, women's marriage prospects are substantially diminished compared to men, who can often succeed in securing younger partners. I would imagine that many of these new fiancées would like to have a nice, traditional wedding in the Church, so they might pressure their men to pursue annulment.

I do wonder, though, whether these men and women who pursue annulment realize that any children of their union would be considered bastards under canon law. Who would want to voluntarily submit to such a procedure, and even pay a fee, for their children being deemed bastards? How do the children of such a union feel upon learning that their mother or father sought to have it declared that the union that produced them was not a holy, sacramental marriage, but rather that they were born in bastardy and, as such, historically would have had diminished rights of inheritance and would have incurred an impediment to ordination?

That is not true. Children whose parents were in a situation where their marriage was annulled are not bastards.

I agree with Poche. The marriage was presumed to be valid at the time of conception and birth (even if it was subsequently determined to be invalid), which is different than the members not being validly married to being with. My understanding is that the illegitimicy of children cannot be applied retroactively.

It is also my understanding that the concept of "bastard" is more a secular concept than a Church one.
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#10
(12-08-2015, 06:43 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote:
(12-08-2015, 02:20 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: How do the children of such a union feel upon learning that their mother or father sought to have it declared that the union that produced them was not a holy, sacramental marriage, but rather that they were born in bastardy and, as such, historically would have had diminished rights of inheritance and would have incurred an impediment to ordination?

I suspect the children of divorce have much to worry, even besides their status under old canon law.

At least for me, I would say Renatus' response is pretty accurate for how children of divorce feel. My sister and I suffered a lot as the result of my parents' failed marriage. A declaration of nullity would only add another straw to an already existing pile of everything wrong with the situation. It wouldn't drastically change the practical effect on my sister or me, only change the name of the cause.
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