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Topic: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law (Read 5831 times)
Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
April 23, 2007, 06:34:18 PM »
This is undeniably the most contentious and largest area within Canon Law, which directly affects the laity. All Matrimonial cases are exclusively dealt with by the Church's Marriage Tribunals, and on appeal, by the Rota based in Rome. Each Tribunal consists of Canon Lawyers and Judges, and with variations from area to area; depending on the requirement of each case, engage outside experts in the area of Psychology and Psychiatry.
In the beginning, there was God, and He said: - "It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helpmate". So from the soil God fashioned all the wild beasts and birds of heaven. These He brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts - but no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. God built the rib He had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed:
This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh!
This is to be called woman. For this was taken from man.'
"This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife,
and they become one body
." - Genesis: 2:18-24
Can. 1141 A marriage which is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power or by any cause other than death.
What is necessary for Matrimonial Consent, to make the Sacrament of Matrimony valid? The simple explanation is, that it is the opposite of what Canon law requires, making it invalid.
The following are
of contracting marriage
1° those who lack sufficient use of reason;
2° those who suffer from a grave lack of discretionary judgement concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted;
3° those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
Can. 1096 §1
For matrimonial consent to exist,
it is necessary
that the contracting parties
be at least not ignorant
of the fact that marriage is a
permanent partnership between a man and a woman
, ordered to the procreation of children through some form of sexual cooperation.
If any of these conditions exist, then the marriage is "Invalid ab initio" (
invalid from the beginning
). However, it has to be proven, and since each case differs from the next, it would be impossible and unwise to try and attempt to deal with it here. While the details may vary, the principles of these canons remain. It is true to say, however, that large volumes of cases determined by the Tribunals do fall under
Canon 1095 - 2° and 3°
. Perhaps, it is in this area, that Parishes and Dioceses need to do a lot more work with "engaged" couples.
Perhaps it is well to look at some of the 'terminology'; it's meaning and context first. It has become common practise for both Tribunals and the laity to refer to "Declarations of Nullity" as "Annulment", yet, in it's entire history, from the time of Peter, the Church has never granted an Annulment of the Sacrament, because it totally lacks the authority from God to do so.
"Annulment" means to "dissolve", "separate", "un-join" or "un-attach". Some may call this semantics, but like it or not, words do have meanings and often serious implications. Within law, especially, within God's law, cognisance must be given to this.
Since all Christian marriages are presumed to be valid until proven to be invalid, then the use of the word "Annulment" in itself is a contradiction, since this proposes 'dissolution' etc., of a presumed valid Sacrament of Matrimony. If the Marriage were found to be "invalid ab initio", (invalid from the beginning), then it would be impossible to grant an Annulment (or dissolution) of a Sacrament, which never existed.
There is no official or logical explanation for the use of this word, in the context in which it is used today, other than to say, that laziness in the proper use of words has become the 'norm'. However, it is true to say that an Annulment/separation from the marriage while the Bond remains (which is distinctly different from an Annulment of the Sacrament) can be granted.
Where canon 1141 (
as stated above
) clearly shows, and underlines the indissolubility of the Sacrament, based on the 'perfecting' the Sacrament i.e. consummation; Canon 1142 clearly shows that where the Sacrament has not been 'perfected' (non-consummated) it can be Annulled/dissolved "
for a just reason
by the Pontiff, and
as some may think, by the Marriage Tribunal.
between baptised persons or between a baptised party and an unbaptised party
can be dissolved by the Roman Pontiff for a just reason
, at the request of both parties or of either party, even if the other is unwilling.
It is worth mentioning here on this point, that such declarations by the Pontiff are very rare in the extreme.
So the use of the word Annulment, as it is used today, is not only erroneous, but also, extremely dangerous and damaging to the Church, since its usage has been flaunted to mean - "Church Divorce".
Re: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
Reply #1 on:
May 14, 2007, 06:50:03 AM »
I hope I am correct in posting here.? If not, please move it and notify me. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. I am filled with despair and extreme anxiety. I need knowledge, advice, and assistance. Today, May 14, would be my 13th anniversary. My wife left me June 17th of last year, and forcibly kidnapped our 10 year old daughter. In asking for help I have no interest in false pride, denial, embarrassment, or appearances. I will type only the truth because my heartfelt desire is to reconcile with my wife and put my family back together. Our marraige has been difficult from the beginning. Jill, my wife, has resented me from our marriage day. This was not communicated to me directly but through 12 years of verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. The abuse included making me feel as if I was to blame for every unhappiness in her life and accusing me of being the abusive one. I sought counseling and treatment several times only to find that I was not the abuser. Very few people outside of our home know of this behavior. Those that do repeatedly ask me why do I stay. I answer them that I truly believe that God brought us together and that she and our daughter, Madeleine Mirabell, are the most important persons in my life. Every day I thanked God for the great gift that he gave me, first in Jill and then through her, Madeleine. I beieved that our difficulties were a result of my not knowing how to lead my family in a proper christian mannor since I had grown up in an extremely dissfunctional and maternaly abusive home. The two items that I relied on to believe that things were acceptable was the fact that Madeleine was healthy, happy, and doing well socially and at our parrish school. The other was that Jill converted to Catholocism and continued to build friendships and a personal support group within the Catholic community. I believed that this community would eventually provide the foundation for our family and that with enough love, faith, and prayer everything would continue to improve. I was mistaken. What happened was that I was wrongly accused by Jill for everything she felt imperfect about. I can't say it was an intentional distortion campaign, but it turned into one. I ultimately became known as the no good, abusive, drug addict/dealer, unemployed, chronically depressed, violent, hoplessly anti-social, atheist. Without my knowledge a group of afluent, influential, and politically connected women from our parrish had taken my wife under their wing and decided to rid her and Madeleine of me. And this they did in the most unchristian manner possible. The result is that my wife received a default divorce decree Jan 19, 2007 through countless fraudulent and illegal methods. Fraudulent affidavits, perjured testimony, falsified court docket sheets, altered minutes, fraudulent notaries, missing court records, etc. A recently retired judge when reviewing my records and that of the court made the comment that "This case is riddled with legal and judicial malpractice". His advise and that of learned others is, it would cost in excess of $250,000.00 US and several years to undo and correct. And what would change? I'd still be divorced. Because even though my wife wanted to reconcile at the beginning, her support group wouldn't let her. And now the mob mentallity has created hatred for me. The truth is she didn't really want the divorce, she didn't know what she wanted. She only wanted the inner pain to go away. She used me as a scapegoat because I was safe. She knew that I was non of those things and that I could never hurt her. But how could she ever admit to her lies and distortions? The reality of losing her support group and the tremendous shame she might expect outweighed the love she had for me. She didn't even sign the divorce petition. The banshees photocopied it while she was out of state. All for her own good. So thourough were they that even the pastor and associate pastor participated. I have been essentially ex-communicated. (Not offically, just in treatment). I haven't spoken to Jill since she left. They wouldn't let her. They are utilizing a feminest strategy known here as NO CONTACT, NO INFORMATION. These holy women, empowered by the pastors support, went so far as to push her into several, yes several, adulterous affairs. In front of our daughter, the first time I had visitation with her after almost 3 months, two of them, one being a teacher of hers, snarled at me and screamed that they had to help Jill "move on" so that I would finally get the understanding that I needed to "move on". I am now encumbered by a fraudulently obtained protection order to further limit any possible contact and now an arrest warrant in effect since 4/27 issued for a perjured complaint and testimony, all ex parte for alledged violation thereof. Our daughter says that Mom is totally crazy and doing horrible evil things. She only wants to come home and be with me and make these women stay away from her mother so that maybe we can get help before its too late. She means life or death for her mother. Jill is currently living a very dangerous lifestyle. My finances are exhausted. No attorney will help without an exorbitant retainer because they all consider it to be a "legal basketcase". I can't get any help form the church. I think they are hoping I'll just eventually give up and go away. I assume they may think that they offered their initial support without verifying facts and in our current litigous environment errors and omissions can be very costly to the church. The largest factor that these women had to overcome was the fact that my wife through all of her complaining about me still wouldn't leave because we had a valid marraige. Guess what? For 12 years I believed that we had a valid marriage. Not sacremental but still valid. Somehow without my knowledge a determination was made without the convening a a tribunal that an error was made and that the assertions given me almost 10 years ago by my wife's annulment advocate that we could both recieve communion because after review and discussion we were considered to have a valid marraige.......we all of a sudden weren't considered to be married any more. The last words on the telephone that I heard my wife say when I called her my wife 10 months ago was, "I'm not your wife. We aren't married. This divorce is just to clear up some legal issues regarding a mistake made a long time ago." Our pastor had an outburst of anger when finally, after six months of refusing to see me I asked for his help in reconciling with Jill and his comment was, "I think the best thing for you and Jill is to get divorced as quick as posssible" When I quoted several of John Paul II's comments to the Roman Rota about always assuming the validity of a marraige until a competent tibunal determines otherwise and the local churches should support marraige not divorce, (our diocese has many, many, programs for supporting divorce and life after divorce but only one for marraige), he got up in anger to call the vicar general to preempt a meeting I was to have and state his feeelings on the futility of my desires. I feel helpless, alone, betrayed by both church and family. Not one person has called to speak with me or just ask me how I was doing in the last 10 months other than a former business associate who happens to be epsicopal. He checks in regularly to offer support and encouraqement even though he thinks I'm beating a dead horse. He thinks that I make people uncomfortable because I am so determined. He says that in reality, people claim to have high ethics and ideals but my situation brings up too many possible challenges that could create vulnerablities and difficult explainations. It's much easier to condemn and forget about me than take on an unpopular stance that poseses uncertainty and possible ridicule. Please offer any suggestions. I have always been faithful. And I still am and will remain faithful. Even with all of the dificulties, there is no other woman I desire. I still believe that God brought us together and gave her to me. Please help me with your knowledge and faith to accomplish this. I willingly answer any question you may have. Nothing will be considered too personal. Thank You
Re: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
Reply #2 on:
May 15, 2007, 12:56:52 AM »
I am truly sorry to hear such a heart-wrenching set of circumstances, which you have had to live through. To call it a "mess" would do it a gross injustice to the reality of the pain you are suffering, and I can only include you in my prayers, as I'm sure others who have read your story will also do, in the faithful hope and belief that God's eternal Mercy will bring you hope, peace and happiness.
To try and attempt to deal with your case here would be unwise and un-authoritative on my part. All I can hope to do is to try and point you in the right direction, and where necessary explain the laws concerning marriage based on what you have said.
There are two specific statements which seem to stand out in your post - you said;
"I beieved that our difficulties were a result of my not knowing how to lead my family in a proper christian mannor since I had grown up in an extremely dissfunctional and maternaly abusive home."
This statement alone gives rise to the question as to the Validity of the marriage since the following Canon is quite clear:
Canon 1095 - 3°
those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
The Canon on it's own, while not proving your case, goes a long way to making a case which I believe could be argued successfully once, in my opinion, a psychological examination has been completed. This is something the Tribunal in its investigation would most likely undertake.
The second significant point you make is;
"Somehow without my knowledge a determination was made without the convening a a tribunal that an error was made and that the assertions given me almost 10 years ago by my wife's annulment advocate that we could both recieve communion because after review and discussion we were considered to have a valid marraige.......we all of a sudden weren't considered to be married any more."
First of all,
no determination can be made by anyone
without a formal case being made before the Marriage Tribunal, and certainly
not without your knowledge.
Even if it were remotely possible, which it isn't, that a Bishop was to make a determination, he would have to get it ratified by the Tribunal. So the
"assertions given me almost 10 years ago by my wife's annulment advocate"
simply carries no weight in law whatsoever. You then said,
" we all of a sudden weren't considered to be married any more."
The question is by whom? Which to a point is irrelevant, unless the Marriage Tribunal has issued a declaration of "Invalid ab initio" (
Invalid from the beginning
) - they are the
authority, who have the authority to make such a determination, and until such a determination is made by them, then your marriage will always be given the "presumption" of being valid.
With regard to receiving the Eucharist after a Civil Divorce has been issued, there is absolutely no bar against receiving the Eucharist
you are not committing Adultery, through "re-marriage" under the Civil Law, or simply living with another person even if they were never married.
In so far as your comments regarding the Civil Law, I can't make any comment, as I am not an American Civil Lawyer. However, on the face of it, my only personal comment is that it certainly appears to be an unholy mess, which deserves to be resolved properly for all concerned.
The only thing I can suggest is that you phone the local Regional Marriage Tribunal,
without referring to anyone else.
Ask to make an appointment with a member of the Tribunal, and then ask that person for a complete investigation of your marriage with regard to its Validity. There are forms to be completed, which should be given to you at the time.
There are variations from one Tribunal to another, but in general the procedure is that a statement under Oath is taken from you, being the Petitioner. You will also most likely be asked to provide names and addresses of witnesses, whom the Tribunal can interview and take statements from.
This is important to remember
- the only value that witnesses have is their ability to inform the Tribunal of circumstances, which existed
to the marriage. The Tribunal is not concerned about events or circumstances, which occurred
the marriage had taken place, even though pre-existing events may have had a significant impact on the relationship after the marriage. While your wife will also be asked to attend an interview, and most likely have a statement under oath taken, if she refuses to assist the Tribunal, the Tribunal has the authority to make a determination without her co-operation.
Once you have taken that step, all you can do is pray that God's inspiration through the Holy Spirit will enlighten the members of the Tribunal.
I hope, and pray, that this is of help to you.
May God and Our Lady, give you peace.
Re: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
Reply #3 on:
May 22, 2007, 02:50:48 AM »
Terrence, Hello Again.
I appreciate your prompt response to my first posting. I have been trying to pull together
information in response. First of all thank you for your prayers and your concern. I haven't gotten much of either where I live.
1) Circumstances concerning our marriage.
I was 31 years old, first generation USA of a Catholic immigrant father from East Prussia and a Catholic immigrant mother from Salzburg. My father was confirmed with the name Josef. My mother never was confirmed since she was at the correct age during the NAZI occupation and then traveled to the US in her teens before her confirmation. I was baptized in the local cathedral but with a Jewish Godfather and a Baptist Godmother. I attended private catholic schools until college. I received my first Holy Communion at age 12 in my school chapel. I was the only one. There was no group of children.
I attended mass every Sunday with my parents until at age 20 I moved into an apartment of my own. During college I actively participated in the functions of the Catholic Student Center located on campus. After college I did not attend mass regularly except when accompanying family.
Until my marriage I dated infrequently and had no sexual relations. Because of considerable mental and emotional trauma that my mother suffered in an internment camp as a young girl she was less than the perfect caregiver for an only son. She had regular fits of rage and frequent suicide attempts or preparation for attempts. I was usually the focus and according to her the grounds for both. My father never knew. She said that no one could ever know or I would go away forever. I appealed for help to priests and nuns at school and our parish. I was never taken seriously. I survived the best way I could. I stayed to myself.
I didn't like women much. I didn't like anyone much so I maintained a very private existence. I met my wife quite by accident. She was the best friend and former roommate of the wife of one of my employees. He had been ill for many weeks and when I went to check in on him Jill was there visiting. It was one of those magnetic moments that attract people to each other.
Jill was estranged from her family and going through a difficult divorce.
The man she was married to happened to be her former high school teacher, a friend of her parents, and twice her age. I was amazed at the story, especially to find out that she was pushed into the marriage by her parents and only agreed to marry because it’s what her parents wanted for her and she longed for their approval and to be a part of her family again. He was in retirement, she was 28. They were married less than a year.
I thought that her parents were very "sick" people but still I saw the need to help her reconcile with her family and assist her out of the "sick" marriage she was in. I also leaned that she had been married immediately out of high school but it was also of short duration and only entered into as a vehicle to get away from home. It supposedly ended by her leaving when her husband moved his gay lover into their apartment. She said she would never marry again although she longed for children.
I was her "protector". We became best friends. I experienced for the first time a woman's touch that I didn't flinch and recoil back from. She experienced a friendship with a man that didn't center on trying to get her into bed. Jill was and still is an attractive and desirable woman. Incredibly charming and alluring. We maintained our friendship for several years until the word got out that I had to be gay since our relationship was platonic. All of a sudden the "wolves" started to attack and I was left with the decision of would I allow another man into her life or could I trust her enough to accept the possibility that she could actually be the one God had chosen for me?
I didn't have much time so I prayed almost continuously until I believed I received an answer. The answer was simple. Was my life better, more fulfilled, and happier with her in it than before? It was. What would my life be like without her in it? I couldn't imagine the thought. I realized that as much as I had become her protector, she had become my salvation. I daily thanked God for her in my life and I felt that this was a tap on the shoulder letting me know that It was time to fully accept the gift that I had been given.
I made a few moves to muzzle the wolves, and took her to a special dinner where I told her that I was madly in love with her and wanted to get married and make babies. She felt the same! So, I designed a beautiful hand made ring, flew us to Salzburg to meet my extended family, took the Orient Express to Paris which I thought was a fitting place to officially ask for her hand in marriage, and went on an engagement trip to Venice. And then back to the States to prepare for a wedding.
We discussed that I didn't require her to become Catholic but that she needed to agree that our children would be. She agreed and said that she wanted to become Catholic as well.
In the mean time my father had been battling for more than a decade an untreatable blood disease. The most recent prognosis was that his liver had entirely given up and he had two to 6 months to live.
We went with to the church office with this information and a request to expedite our wedding in light of my father’s illness. We were told two bad things. 1) We had a new Bishop and the diocese had adopted new more conservative quid lines for marriage which included a pre-marital course that would take 6 months to complete before any priest would be allowed to marry us and the prerequisite for the course was that at least one of us had to be Catholic. 2) The course had already been started so we would have to wait and since I was not considered by the diocese to be Catholic, at least one of us had to enroll in the RCIA class which had already begun so we would have to wait some more. Before I became argumentative I asked how long it would conceivably be before we could be married in the Church. A good estimate was about two years.
The major dilemmas were clear. My father didn't have two years. And if we wished to have children neither did us. I was 32 and Jill was 35. He OBGYN tests indicated that her body was on the onset of shutting down her reproductive system since she had entered her mid 30's and hadn't ever given birth. Her doctor told us that by 37 it would be nearly impossible to conceive. We went again to the Church with this information and again we were told that the guidelines were quite specific. That the local Church had adopted a much more conservative stance however, since neither of us were Catholic (that statement still bugs me) there would be nothing standing in our way of us having a civil ceremony and still going through RCIA if we chose to become Catholic. But we couldn't have the ceremony in a Catholic church since it wasn't a Catholic wedding.
I couldn't understand why or how they could say I wasn't Catholic. It was explained that since I never took the initiative to place myself on the Church roles after moving out of my parent’s home that indicated a willful intent to leave the Church. Also I was never confirmed as a Catholic. I argued that I never placed myself on the Church roles separate from my parents was because I wasn't married, didn't have a wife and family of my own, and still considered my home to be with my parents and still received all official mail at that address. It didn't matter. The Church had very specific guidelines.
So, this establishes why I was officially told by the local Church that I was not a Catholic and under their specific direction married outside the Church in a civil ceremony performed by a "former Holy Roman Catholic Priest" (He married and went to work for the Episcopal Church as director of religious education).
Our daughter, Madeleine Mirabel, was born 14 months later. We went to arrange for her baptism because she would attend Catholic school and we would attend weekly services.
Again we were told that neither of us were Catholic. Therefore, our child could not be Baptized until at least one of us became Catholic. I argued that I was Catholic. They argued that I wasn't. I argued that my understanding of the Church's official statements is that "The sacrament of Baptism will not be withheld from anyone. Anyone requesting Baptism shall receive it." I said that I was requesting Baptism on behalf of my infant daughter and I expect her to receive it. If they had problems with the fact that they didn't consider me a Catholic then they didn't have to worry, her Godparents would be prominent Catholics and they were the ones who would be entrusted with her religious development not just us. Again the drone went on..."The diocese has developed very specific guidelines..."
The answer was no.
Almost two years later the pastor of our Parish intervened and agreed to Madeleine's Baptism due to the fact that Jill had initiated annulment proceedings simultaneously with her enrollment in the RCIA program.
Her 2nd husband, the old man, had died so he was no longer an issue.
Her 1st marriage was quickly determined to be null because of their age, shortness of term, and the agreement that it was a ploy to get her out of the home and away to college.
After notification that her 1st marriage had been annulled I was approached by our associate pastor who happened to be formerly with the tribunal and currently acted as my wife’s advocate. He informed me that everything seemed to have worked out as hoped for and no impediments to our marriage existed. He said that was a big concern because Jill was about to graduate from her RCIA class and they wanted to be sure that nothing stood in the way of her being able to receive her first Holy Communion. He also wanted to discuss with me setting a date for the ceremony to elevate our marriage to the sacramental level.
For me the most important issue was whether or not we had a valid marriage as recognized by the Church. He assured me we did as was evidenced by the fact that Jill was now allowed to receive Holy Communion with the rest of the RCIA class. If we didn't have a Church recognized valid marriage we would both be considered to be living in a sinful state and Holy Communion would not be allowed for either of us. His concern right now was to schedule (I believe he called it) a convalidation(?) ceremony which would elevate our marriage from just valid to sacramental.
Now nearly 10 years later, I'm told I am not married. Never have been as far as the Church is concerned. ]
Terrence, Everything you've written that I've read has been flawlessly accurate as far as I've been able to determine through months of reading and research. I have been maligned in my community to the extent that I can't even get a return phone call.
When I do get a return call or answer form someone from the Church I have to play semantics game of what do they really mean or is it just not the truth? I must think this way in light of the statement that our Vicar General gave me regarding lies. He said, " A lie is not really a lie, or a sin I should say, if the recipient of it has no right to the information or answer." "This would particularly be applicable when a person's safety is at stake."
The pressure is being put on me to stop what I'm doing. I can be arrested at any moment because of the perjured testimony on the affidavit and arrest warrant. More and more people are beginning to see that something isn't quite right but too many people have placed themselves in compromising positions for the truth to come out.
The best hope I have of slowing down this out of control tragedy is to somehow grab hold of some solid fact that will make people have to justify their actions. The same people have been driving the civil actions as the religious ones. The tribunal office says that it only hears matters relating to annulments. It also says that it will only hear requests for proceedings 6 months after any civil judgments have been final.
I'm not looking to embarrass anyone. I don't want to compromise anyone in the Church. A terrible wrong is being committed. My family has been torn apart. My once innocent daughter has told me she's finally learned to hate. My wife is secretly planning to remove my daughter from the state after 6/1/07. And ultimately she plans to move to another state. She knows that all lies eventually reveal themselves and she won't let herself be here to have to answer to them.
I still refuse to fight in civil court. There would be no winning just absolute devastation to everyone. I am praying that my marriage has been wrongfully determined invalid and that through cannon law I can appeal to the Church and reveal that. Then maybe I can get some help dealing with the other issues that were affected by it.
What people don't know is that my wife was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is unknown to her or anyone else in her family. She is currently in psychotherapy for co-dependency.
Her actions and behavior are totally inline with this diagnosis. Her current therapist is totally unqualified for this condition which is part of the reason she doesn't recognize it. As long as this defamation campaign continues against me, I don't have a chance of people listening to me. It isn't a matter of pride. It’s about love, responsibility, and commitment. Please give me your thoughts.
Last Edit: May 22, 2007, 09:48:21 PM by PST
Re: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
Reply #4 on:
May 24, 2007, 07:29:02 PM »
There are a number of inconsistencies throughout your last post, which confuses the situation even further.
"I received my first Holy Communion at age 12 in my school chapel."
On that basis, you are a catholic, a lapsed catholic perhaps, but a catholic none the less.
You view the Church's stance on pre-marriage courses as being based on a
"more conservative guideline".
Pre-marriage courses are a relatively new idea, in that they have only been available for the last 30 years. To have been told that one of you
"had to be Catholic"
to attend, is pure nonsense. The Church can not deny a couple the opportunity of understanding God's involvement in the Sacrament, even if they are non-catholic. If every Bishop throughout the world had this requirement in their diocese, there may well be fewer applications for Nullity. To see this as a
must surely raise a question in your own mind, as to how well prepared you were.
You then say;
"I was not concidered by the diocese to be Catholic."
Who had expressed this 'consideration' - if it was an official determination, what was the consideration based on, and where is the documentation to support this?
"We went again to the Church with this information and again we were told that the guidlines were quite specific. That the local Church had adopted a much more conservative stance however, since neither of us were Catholic (that statement still bugs me) there would be nothing standing in our way of us having a civil ceremony and still going through RCIA if we chose to become Catholic. But we couldn't have the ceremony in a Catholic church since it wasn't a Catholic wedding."
"So, this establishes why I was offically told by the local Church that I was not a Catholic and under their specific direction married outside the Church in a civil ceremony"
I have never heard a more incredible and unbelievable statement, a statement, which I find incredibly difficult to accept. Are you seriously expecting me to accept that a Priest
told you commit a Mortal Sin
; and as a Catholic, if only within your own mind, you went ahead and did it? As for being
" offically told by the local Church that I was not a Catholic";
the Local Church does not have authority to make an "official" statement such as that - at the very least, that is a matter for the Bishop to make it -
"For me the most important issue was wether or not we had a valid marraige as recognized by the Church. He assured me we did as was evidensed by the fact that Jill was now allowed to recieve Holy Communion with the rest of the RCIA class."
There is a complete contradiction here. A former Priest officiated at your 'marriage', presumably without consent from the Bishop, in which case it would most likely have been justifiably and correctly been refused; therefore
it was invalid from the beginning
. So the view of the Church that you were never married has now been proven beyond all doubt. The fact that your wife was allowed to receive communion, which is questionable, due to the fact that you were both living in Mortal sin - does not validate a marriage - it simply has nothing to do with it. As a catholic, you would have already known,
"If we didn't have a Church recognised valid marraige we would both be concidered to be living in a sinfull state and Holy Communion would not be allowed for either of us."
How then, can a Priest, whom as you say was a former member of the Marriage Tribunal, even consider the question of con-validation or retro-validation, when according to the Church there was no marriage? The question of con-validation or retro-validation does not arise in this case since both parties have to agree - and that does not seem to be a possibility based on what you have said.
"Now nearly 10 years later, I'm told I am not married. Never have been as far as the Church is concerned."
In my opinion, this seems to be perfectly accurate since your marriage is merely a civil contract.
"I can be arrested at any moment because of the perjured testimony on the affidavit and arrest warrent."
I'm not sure as to where the alleged "perjury" took place, but, if a perjured statement was made to the Church, then the Civil Authorities have absolutely no role or jurisdiction to prosecute anyone. God will ultimately deal with a perjured statement of that nature.
As I see it, based on what you have presented I would make the following comments.
Your 'marriage' is a civil contract, and nothing more. The alleged statement by the Church on this, that you were never married, is absolutely consistent with the required norms of Canon Law.
It appears that no official determination from the Marriage Tribunal is possible, since its primary but not exclusive function, is to determine the Validity of a marriage, and since it appears that none exists, the Tribunal has no function in this regard.
The 'requirement' of the Marriage Tribunal that a civil divorce is secured at least 6 weeks prior to making an application for Nullity, is in direct conflict with it's function - and is in essence, illegal. This particular 'requirement', which is unique to the USA, has among other serious issues, been a constant thorn in the side of Rome.
Unfortunately, there is nothing in Canon Law on which you can rely with regard to seeking 'justice' in this particular case. However, if you have some documentation from the Marriage tribunal or from the Bishop directly relating to your 'marriage', you are at liberty to appeal to the Rota, in Rome. The person to write to in the first instance is:
Most Rev. Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz JCD
Dean of the Roman Rota,
Should you choose to write, which personally speaking I believe would only be adding to your grief, I would suggest that you stick strictly to the facts and leave out personal opinions; include the names of the Priests involved - particularly the name of the Priest who encouraged and advised you to commit Mortal Sin - and copies of all documentation in your possession which you have received from the Church. As weak as it may seem, the only thing left is for you to fulfill your obligations by participating in the Sacrament of Reconcilliation and the Eucharist, and then pray constantly.
I realise this is not what you wanted to hear, but I am not prepared to mislead a person or add to the lies you have already been told. I can only pray, and will, that God and Our Lady will give you peace of heart.
Re: Validity/Nullity of Marriage - and the Law
Reply #5 on:
June 10, 2008, 06:37:37 PM »
Evening and I hope all is well. I also hope you read this soon for a friend needs a response for direction. The situation is:
Both are Catholic and not married, but are engaged. Her father has taken ill and very possibly has only a couple days, but hoping for more. Due to age and health an operation is very risky. It's been her hope to be married while her father is alive and be able to witness it. Her father is in the hospital and doubtful will ever be able to go home again. There isn't any possible way he can be taken to a church.
What opinion can you advise of how they can have a lawful marriage that he can witness? Thank you for your time and consideration. Peace
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