Horror stories about annulment
MollyMc asked this question on 7/20/2000:
Can you tell me more about the annulment process? I have heard horror stories, that it costs an reasonable amount of money, that you have to produce "witnesses" (how can I do that when it was so long ago?) and the type of things these witnesses have to testify to seem to be things that most normal people would forget over the years. I am intending to make an appointment with my Parrish priest, but I would like to know from you what this process is like. Thank you so much, (what can I call you if not "father"?). I intend to respond to your most recent shortly, and thank you!
The joy of the Lord be in your heart.
Before answering your question I would like to tell you a wonderful experience. Some 15 years ago the communities celebrating the Pentecost vigil after hearing the Word of God were invited as is customary in their celebrations to answer if God had illuminated something in their life. One lady stood up and told that she and her husband had married again (civil marriage). I invited her to leave her community and sit with the community of her husband.
What had happened? They had been divorced 12 years. God had touched the heart of the husband who had gone away with an other woman. He repented and sought forgiveness in the Church. He began to frequent one of the Communities of the parish and was even elected coordinator. His wife, very much hurt, couldn’t bear his sight. So when he asked her to forgive him she didn’t accept. But her participating in the celebrations and hearing God’s Word shook her up. She told me later that everything she heard was about forgiving. She stayed away some time but came back because she couldn’t live without God’s love and without God’s Church. So she admitted him to the house but to the most distant room from hers. The Lord continued to talk to her and then she gave us the surprise mentioned. They are now are wonderfully happy Christian couple. He was working at a bank. He lost his job and could get no other work than driving a taxi. He told me that God is wonderful. I asked him how so? He explained that one evening a sculptures blond lady asked him to drive her home and there she invited him in. He told her that he loved his wife and to pray that God might give her a husband so she might be as happy as he was. Afterwards he was surprised about himself. It was so easy because God’s love was in his heart.
I have seen that the sacrament of marriage is powerful even after years and years. People change, you know.
I am in favor of reconciliation and suggest annulations only when there seems really no other possibility. One reason could be that in the new relationship there are little children that need their father-mother. Annulment would be a choice only it there is no other way to remain in or recover the grace of God.
The annulment supposes a process of going back in your life and find out if there are "causales", i.e. reasons to show that there has been no sacrament. Obviously it’s about essential elements. I cannot alleviate your fears. I can only tell you a Spanish proverb: "Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked". (You phrase it elegantly, you are the writer).
But in the meantime why don’t you live in chastity if not in fidelity?
Dt 6: 4 "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 "And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
PD. As for how should you call me you chose:
Mt 23:"But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 "And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.