Annulments and the Roman Catholic Church
The RCC’s unbiblical back door for re-marriage
Throughout the world a hideous unbiblical practice is taking place that is causing quite a stir in multitudes of homes. Here is a typical example: A protestant sixteen year old marries her catholic high school sweet heart without the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church. They have three children together. They stay married for ten years and then trouble comes. The ideal became an ordeal and now the husband wants a new deal. He divorces his wife who was a non-catholic and starts dating another women who is catholic but has never been married. They can’t be married in the RCC church because he is divorced and had married previously outside the RCC. His new Roman Catholic love refuses to marry outside of the church. Let the annulment begin! After a tedious process the Catholic Church declares that the catholic man was never married and allows him to re-marry with-in the church.
Alas, the poor former wife was never really a wife, says Rome. But be of good cheer woman, the royal church has blessed you with the wonderful pronouncement that though you were never married, your children aren’t bastards. Ten years of your life after having made holy vow before God annulled in a single swoosh. NAY! NAY! YOU SAY BUT YEAH YEAH! I SAY
The Pre-Vatican II View
Pope Leo XIII, Dum Multa (# 2), Dec. 24, 1902: “It follows then that the marriage of Christians when fully accomplished… cannot be dissolved for any reason other than the death of either spouse, according to the holy words: ‘What God has joined, let no man put asunder.’”
The proper term for an annulment is "An Ecclesiastical Declaration of Nullity." Suchdeclarations can be issued by a church tribunal to cover marriage and other sacraments. Divorces are not permitted within the Roman Catholic Church, because valid marriages are considered to be indissoluble. Church canon law 1055 states that any marriage that takes place is legally presumed to be a valid sacrament, and is thus permanent. However, if sufficient convincing evidence can be shown which indicates that it was not a valid marriage, then a Declaration of Nullity may be given. This is, in effect, saying that the marriage never existed; it was not an ecclesial reality. Only after an annulment is granted may the couple be free to marry other people. This requirement is not restricted just to Catholics. A Protestant may marry another Protestant, and later divorce. If one of them wants to marry a Catholic, they must first receive an annulment from the Church for their first marriage.Even though an annulment implies that no valid marriage occurred, children of that marriage are considered legitimate. (CCC 1138 & 1139). An "annulment can't affect children's status retroactively."
And the RCC annulment may be obtained on a number of grounds. Some are listed below:
1. It may be granted if it can be proven that there was "a defect of consent on the part of one or both ministers [i.e. the bride or groom]. Or, the consent was not legitimately manifested. Or, one or both of the parties may have been incapable according to law to exchange consent."
a. Consent of the parties requires that the bride and groom, at the time of marriage:
1) Understand the nature of marriage: that it is permanent, that they are to remain monogamous, that they are open to having children, etc.
2) Not having placed conditions on their marriage, like marrying only if they would live in a certain city, or would have no more than two children.
3) Be free of mental illnesses -- including latent illnesses that have not been diagnosed -- that might restrict their ability to give consent.
4) Be free of fraud and deceit.
5) Be "free of coercion or grave external fear." (CCC, 1628)
2. An annulment may also be granted "by reason of a defect of form" if it is determined that the officiating priest lacked the proper authority. Alternately, if two baptized Catholics decide to get married in a civil service by a Justice of the Peace, their marriage is not recognized as valid by the church.
a. The bride and groom must have met certain requirements at the time that they married. Some are:
1) They must be old enough (16 years for the groom; 14 for the bride).
2) The groom or bride must not be a member of a Catholic religious order.
3) Neither has lied about the existence of a previous marriage.
4) The bride and groom are not too closely related, either by direct blood relationship, or adoption, or marriage.
5) They must have been baptized as Catholics, or have obtained special permission to marry.
b. The pope may dissolve a marriage that was not consummated.
A good example of “an annulment” in the RCC that could be given on solid grounds would be if a woman were to “marry” (through no fault of her own) a man whom she later discovered to be a validly ordained priest. Since priests cannot enter into matrimony (canon 1972),4 the union between this priest and the woman was not a valid marriage. She would be given a decree of nullity that she was never married. She would be free to marry another person. Another obvious example for an “annulment” would be if the person you “married” turned out to have been married before, but he hid this information from you. An example from the past would be if a woman married a slave whom she actually thought was a free man, but was not. A declaration of nullity would be given, since that particular error about the person one is marrying is so grave that it renders the marriage invalid (canon 1083.2).5
In all of these cases, the reason must be grave and the evidence that there never was a valid marriage must be clear. That’s why only 338 annulments were granted in 1968 in the U.S., when the pre-Vatican II teaching on marriage was still held by most. (My how things have changed)
However, with the explosion of the post-Vatican II apostasy, the teaching of the indissolubility of marriage has been thrown out the window along with the other dogmas. From 1984 to 1994, the Vatican II Church in the U.S. granted just under 59,000 annually, even though the number of Catholic marriages has fallen one third since 1965!
In 2002 alone, the Vatican II sect granted 50,000 annulments in the United States! An astounding 97% of all annulments requested are granted in the United States! This means that almost everyone who wants an “annulment” of his or her marriage gets one! This means that almost 100 percent of requested annulments are granted in the first trial, with thechances of such an annulment being overturned in a second trial being less than 1/2 of 1%! Thisis a total rejection of the indissolubility of marriage in fact and in deed. (If the RCC didn't do this there wouldn't be much of an RCC left in the US)
Most individual Roman Catholics appear to ignore the Church's teachings about remarriage. After divorcing, they often remarry without first having received an annulment. The Holy Roman Rota (the Vatican court that handles some annulments) processes about 200 marriage annulments per year, while civil courts in Italy process over 100,000.
A whole lot of Roman Catholics are damned to hell by the church because they are caught between a wall and a sword
Twenty one percent of adult American Catholics have experienced a divorce. RCC resources estimate that fewer than 20% of the couples that can apply for an annulment do so. Since over 80% of divorced individuals remarry, it is obvious that many Catholics remarry outside the church, and that the church does not recognize their new marriages.
Couples that obtain a civil divorce and remarry without first obtaining an annulment are denied access to the Sacraments of Penance (Confessing your sins to the priest) and Holy Eucharist. (One of the primary sacraments by which salvation is being merited in the RCC) If they continue in the new marriage, then they cannot repent of and confess their sins through the Sacraments of Penance, and return to Communion. Meanwhile, their sins are accumulating.
Because the church does not recognize their new marriage, it considers every sexual act within the marriage to be a new act of adultery -- a mortal sin.(That means, “If you die, you go straight to hell.) According to the church's teachings, this means that they will not attain Heaven when they die.
There are only two ways of avoiding this state:
1. To be fortunate enough to not die suddenly (e.g. car accident/ heart attack). This way, they might be able to receive the Last Anointing by which their mortal sins are forgiven. The odds ain’t on your side amigo.
2. To make an "act of perfect contrition" instead of Confession. But this requires the individual to repent of what the Church considers their sins of adultery, and sincerely intend to never engage in "adultery" in the future.
The mother of all questions: I know I can hear you already.
“What if the man from the opening example did remarry outside the church and wanted to come back to momma Rome to get her blessing?"
The RCC says - If they separate from their new spouse, and live alone, and sincerely intend to remain separated unless an annulment is granted, then they can resume their access the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. But that would require them to violate their new marriage vows, and terminate their marital relationship. This option often seems profoundly immoral to the couple, particularly if there are children involved. Few are willing to do this. (They decide the highway to hell is better than the RCC option.)
Judging from the overwhelming percentage of Roman Catholics who never apply for an annulment, it would seem that most have abandoned their idea of mortal sin leading them to Hell or don’t care. For those Catholics who believe in the teachings of their church, it would seem expedient to apply for an annulment as soon as possible.
Merv Griffin once said of the Pope, “If he no playa da game, den he no shoulda maka da rules!”
This attitude seems to prevail in a relativistic society like ours. If people don’t like what you say, they just change the rules and live out their own lives. The RCC has discovered this well in the U.S.. Because the RCC no longer has her former powers to enforce her teachings, all she can do is roar while the people ignore. But for those that still think salvation comes from the skirts of Rome, the RCC has made a way. Pay your dues and all is well.
It is amazing to me that at one time in history the Roman Catholic Church was willing to wage war in defiance of a king who wanted to divorce his wife and remarry. The Anglican Schism (16th century) resulted from the Catholic Church’s just refusal to grant King Henry VIII of England an annulment of his valid marriage to Catherine of Aragon. But my how have things changed.
The RCC's use of annulments is just a back door sham to compromise the word of God. It is a means of survival in a pluralistic world where she no longer bears the world-wide authority she once held so dearly.
Read the bible my friends. See what it says about marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. If your ideal has turned into an ordeal, then go to the great physician and counselor and get His advise.
God created marriage long before the Roman Catholic Church ever came into being. Men and women married under all kinds of religious diversification. In every case God recognized their marriages. Jesus recognized even the woman at the well as having had five husbands. God even recognized that men that had more than one wife were still his wives, and called them such. The bible is replete with such cases.
No One said All The Answers Are Easy
Admittedly, there is diversification today as to how to handle divorce and remarriage. The following are the primary prevailing points of view within ecclesiastical circles:
Position 1: No Divorce - No Remarriage,
Marriage is a covenant agreement, meant for life, therefore it must not be broken under any circumstance; remarriage further violates the covenant and therefore is not permissible.
Position 2: Divorce - But No Remarriage,
Divorce, though not God's desire, is sometimes the only alternative when all else has failed. The divorced person must remain unmarried for life thereafter.
Position 3: Divorce - But Remarriage Only In Certain Situations,
Divorce, though not God's desire, is sometimes unavoidable. If the grounds for the divorce are biblical, the divorced person can remarry, but only to a believer.
Position 4: Divorce - Remarriage,
Divorce, though not God's desire, is also not the unforgivable sin. Regardless of the circumstances, all divorced persons who have repented, should be forgiven and allowed to remarry
Position 5: Divorce and get the RCC to annul the marriage and then remarry because you were never really married the first time. This is a fable no where found in scripture. Its practice today by the RCC is appalling.
Some verses to consider are as follows:
"Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 "But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (NIV)
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. (NIV)
Rom 7:1 -3
Or are you ignorant, brothers; for I speak to those who know the Law; that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman was bound by law to the living husband. But if the husband is dead, she is set free from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress by becoming another man's wife.
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 7:12-13
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 7:15-16
But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (NIV)
1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (NIV)
The scripture is full of promises to help those who are going through marital difficulties. Most marriages merely reap the fact that they weren’t built on the rock of God’s word. Divorce should be the very last option under certain circumstances, and no option under others. God bless you as you seek the mind of the Lord on this big subject. I am not writing this to condemn anyone but only to point out the completely unbiblical teaching of a false teaching to annul what God has joined together.