Annulment without knowledge

Anonymous asked this question on 6/2/2000:

My husband’s ex-wife had their Catholic marriage annulled. They had 2 children. My husband claims he did not know anything about the annulment until we received the decision paper...which annulled the marriage. Is it possible a Military Diocese did in fact annul the marriage only on her evidence? If not, then what is required to get an annulment?


  mscperu gave this response on 6/4/2000:


It is possible to carry on the process of annulment when one of the persons concerned has changed his domicile and was unreachable or when there has been no answer to repeated invitation to present him/her.

There are many "causales" for annulment. This is not an elimination of the sacrament of marriage. The investigation tries to ascertain if there have been absent essential elements of the sacrament. The more common are:

There was no commitment for lifetime

There was express desire not to have children

Error regarding the essential qualities of the persons involved

Ignorance of essentials


And so on. There are many more. All have to be sustained by prove.

There are some curious ideas in circulation that there has to be a guilty one who will be sanctioned. Not so. It is an investigation to find out if there has been really a sacrament.

Since the beginning of the process there is involved the "defensor vinculi", a church attorney who has to prove that there was a sacrament so that there should be no annulment.

Suppose the Church court comes to the conclusion that there was no sacrament the whole procedure goes to a higher court to be revised.

I will not describe the whole procedure. Only enough so that you understand that the Church defends de sacrament.

When Henry VIII of England wanted his marriage annulled the Pope could not do it because there were no "causales" even under the threat to take England out of the Catholic Church.

So if you have the papers you could now put your own marriage in order perhaps?

God bless you

in Corde Jesu

Gerardo Mueller msc

Missionary of the Sacred Heart


Anonymous rated this answer:  

   Thank you so much. Your answer made it much clearer to me. I am not Catholic so I did not understand what was going on.



  mscperu gave this follow-up answer on 6/11/2000:


I am happy if I have been able to help a little.

I venture to offer an additional idea assuming that your husband is Catholic. If he is not, please disregard this posting.

The experience of a broken up marriage hurts so I can understand that your husband may have taken some distance from his Church. He might even have begun frequenting an other Church.

Even so I would like to suggest that he might go back practicing his faith. This does not mean that I disrespect your faith, ma'm. But he can tell you that as Catholics enjoy the frequent experience of sacraments and perhaps he would like to re-assume life in his Church. What am I trying to suggest?

Well, I am trying to ask you, ma'm, to accept the marriage celebration in the Catholic Church. That does not mean that you change your believes. It will be respected.

But so long as he has not been married with the consent of his Church with you he cannot receive Holy Communion, he cannot go to confession, and so on.

If you have no special reason to be against this it would be a kindness from your side to help him to live his faith fully. It would require a dispensation for this marriage but the Church asks only that if there is a difference of faith that both respect each other in this.

Again, there will be no pressure on you to change your faith, believe me. But he will be much happier because he will live in a state of grace.

I hope you will forgive me if you think this posting inopportune. That’s ok. You have a right to scold me because I am intruding.

But I took the risk thinking that you might have an open mind and that he might live his faith (again).

God bless you both

in Corde Jesu