Annulment of marriage and the  paperwork

schult asked this question on 3/4/2001:

I am a non catholic but getting an annulment so we can be married or have it blessed in the church. My question is once I receive the annulment are both parties granted the annulment or just the one who asked for it? This was a marriage that was 25 years ago that lasted legally 4 years, but only 1-1-1/2 years together , she was catholic the paper work was filled out back then but she never mailed her paper work in. The diocese has this on record but now I have to go thru the whole process again, which I don’t understand. This is very frustrating for me.



Dear Mike:

The joy of the Lord be in your heart.

I'm sorry that you find this frustrating. It's no about an administrative measure. Let me explain. The Catholic Church obeys the injunction of Christ: "Who marries a dismissed woman commits adultery with her".

The Catholics believe firmly in the sacramental character of marriage. It's a bond established by God through the authority of the Church until death shall separate them. You can't tell God that he should take off this bond as you can’t' say to the Lord: "Take away my baptism". Once baptized you’re a child of God. The Church never annuls a valid sacrament.

What is annulment? A Church tribunal revises the case in order to ascertain if some essential element required for the sacrament was not present. You can understand that when there is proof that one of the two involved wasn't completely free in his-her decision the sacrament doesn't exist. This is what the tribunal ascertains. Then there will be a sentence that there didn't exist the sacrament of marriage. Therefore, it is not an annulment of the sacrament but of the presumption that the sacrament exists.

Now if there was paperwork done that will help regarding the marriage past. In the meantime, she can have married or so the tribunal has to look at these years too.

You aren't catholic. However, the Church has to look at your case too to ascertain if you are in the condition to be married in Church.

So, be patient. Because it's so important, there have to be many safeguards. In this procedure intervenes the defensor vinculi, someone who defends the validity of the marriage before the tribunal and there has to be real proof that there wasn't a sacrament.