Annulment

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KST

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I was married in the Catholic Church and divorced. The marriage was declared invalid by a tribunal of the Catholic Church. I am now remarried in the Catholic Church with two children. I have of late been reading articles that say that annulment decisions are not infallible and it seems to be their opinion in these articles that the Catholic Church in America has granted many annulments when they should not have. If that is true, for those of us who have had annulments granted in America, what obligation do we have in this regard?
 
KST,

I don’t know the articles you’re referring to, but perhaps this will help.

Your obligation in the proceedings of your annulment was to provide factual information to the tribunal regarding the state of your relationship prior to and at the time of your first marriage.

The doctrine of Infallibility has to do with the Holy Spirit preventing the Pope from teaching error in matters of faith and morals.

Can an annulment be granted under false pretenses or without the appropriate due process? Sure. Many people inside and outside the Church think there are far too many annulments granted in the U.S. I agree. But, the reason too many annulments are granted is because too many people get married to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, not because of some rogue tribunals.
 
It has been said that the reason there are far too many Annulments is that there are far too many invlaid Marriages. You would not have started the annulment process if you had thought that the Marriage was in fact valid. You have not declared the Marriage “Null” the Catholic Church has based on informtion not only from you but from many other sources. Let go of it.
 
Most of the articles did not deal with anyone not telling the truth when answering the questions, or even tribunals who didn’t follow proper form, it was more about the emphasis being placed on the individual’s psychological readiness for marriage. The articles made it sound like the Church in America uses modern day psychology as a means to determine full consent and this seems to be where they feel the problem is. Because psychiatry and clinical psychology are not exact sciences, decisions made based on them are more like quesses than the embodiment of moral certitude.

This is what has me concerned - what if they quessed wrong? Where does that leave me in trying to live a holy life? If they quessed wrong, then I’m living in sin, whether I know it or not, and the mere fact that I now have this doubt is a huge problem for me and I don’t know what to do about it.
 
To those who responded – thank you for your feedback. I sincerely appreciate it.
 
KST,

The psychologist meets with the person requesting the annulment. Their role is not to make a diagnosis, but to advise the tribunal based on what the individual reveals about their mental state. It is important to remember that people may request annulments simply to be remarried in the Church.

The psychologist legitimizes the process. It is much more difficult to sit down with a medical health professional and discuss your deficiencies than to simply write, “I was mentally ill at the time of my first marriage and therefore, it is invalid.”

We must also remember that in our society, people are much more emotionally immature than they were more than 50 years ago. It’s not a case of using modern psychology to determine validity. It’s more a case of using professional knowledge and experience to advise the tribunal. The psychologist does not determine validy.
 
KST -

It seems to me that the important thing is that you did your part, and you can rely on that just as we rely on the grace of the sacraments regardless of the ‘spiritual state’ of the priest administering them. In other words, your annulment is an annulment, and you are free to receive all of the sacraments. God bless you and your marriage!

Chuck
 
Much criticism has been leveled against the number of annulments grated. Many, if not most of the people making such criticsims are the same people criticizing the general status of catechesis. Do I sense a disconnect here? If one enters into marriage with an intent to contracept, isn’t that almost a guarantee that one did not enter with full consent, if full consent means being completely open to the other spouse? And given the statistics of 80% or more married Catholics contracepting, does’t that put a very large portion of that group in a position of having valid grounds for an annulment?

A comment was made earlier, "what if they guessed wrong?
They don’t guess. They make a judgement based on the facts. Even given the fact that psychology and psychiatry are part art, they are also part science; if the psychologist/psychiatrist is well grounded and not given to the most recent fads, their judgements are for the most part sound, and based on facts and observations.

Let go and let God.
 
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