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annulment for non catholics

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million pieces posted 4/24/2014 14:48 PM

Has anyone gone through an annulment process, not being Catholic, but to marry a Catholic? If so, can you please share you experience and your reasons why you went through the process? I only know one person who went through it IRL and he didn't have too many positives to say about it.

Gemini71 posted 4/24/2014 16:15 PM

As far as I know, as long as someone wasn't married within the Catholic Church, they don't need an annulment, because the Catholic Church only recognizes their own ceremonies.

Darkness Falls posted 4/24/2014 16:17 PM

^ That was also my impression.

5454real posted 4/24/2014 16:25 PM

I didn't realize that non-Catholics had an annulment process. That said, the process itself was, while not pleasant, easier than a D. It actually was pretty automatic once I was able to prove adultery.

little turtle posted 4/24/2014 16:33 PM

Found this via a google search:

How can you require an intended spouse who is not a Catholic to endure this annulment process?

In simplest terms, if a Catholic wishes to marry in the Church when there has been a previous marriage, then either one of the partners in the earlier union must have died or the Church must have issued a declaration of nullity, an annulment of that previous marriage. Why is this so?

The Catholic Church views all marriages with respect. It presumes that they are true or valid. Thus, it considers the marriages, for example, of two Protestant, Jewish or even non-believing persons to be binding in the eyes of God, unions covered by the words of Christ about divorce. Consequently, it requires a Church annulment process to establish that an essential ingredient in the relationship was missing from the start of the previous marriage.

million pieces posted 4/24/2014 18:34 PM

Yes, know for a fact that at least in the Baltimore Archdiocese, that I will need to have my previous marriage annulled before I can get married in the catholic church. While that in itself means nothing to me, it does mean something to my fiance. That said, after our conversation with his niece's husband (he was the one that tried over the past year to get his non catholic marriage annulled), if I am too uncomfortable in the process or it if violates my principles in any way, he won't want me to go through with it.

million pieces posted 4/24/2014 18:37 PM

essential ingredient in the relationship was missing from the start of the previous marriage.

I have a problem with this aspect of it. I don't think that there was something wrong from the start. And I'm not willing to lie about something and pay $$$ to make this happen.

fireproof posted 4/24/2014 20:00 PM

If one partner did not convert but was married In a Catholic ceremony there is no annulment process so even if the spouse who is not Catholic wanted an annulment they couldn't get one unless they converted first.

It is as I heard a painful process but to some it is important.

It was also explained that the spouse who is Catholic can't get married in the Catholic Church but there is no enforceable rule just your own honesty and the WS isn't always honest.

If it is important to you then explore but I hear it can take years. If it doesn't matter religiously to you I would let it go.

Good luck!

bpositive posted 4/24/2014 20:37 PM

Million - for the piece missing... That can be anything from immaturity to inability to remain faithful. It's not as bad as it sounds!

Jeaniegirl posted 4/24/2014 20:46 PM

My friend's who had the EXH marry the OW (a Catholic) was NOT a Catholic (in fact he was a non-believer) yet the church required an annulment of his two previous marriages in order for him to marry the OW in the Catholic church. Both his ex-wives received papers with a long questionnaire.

While it may have not be an 'annulment' ... it was definitely papers requiring both ex-wives to respond to several pages of questions. These papers had to be submitted back BEFORE the OW and my friend's X could have a ceremony in the Catholic church.

[This message edited by Jeaniegirl at 8:49 PM, April 24th (Thursday)]

million pieces posted 4/24/2014 20:50 PM

Fireproof, not sure if I understand you correctly, but that is not what more than one priest/deacon said to us. Any marriage needs to be annulled before being remarried in the Catholic church. My fiances niece was just married outside the Catholic church because her husband to be's first marriage wasn't annulled by the time of the wedding, which was over 18 months.

fireproof posted 4/24/2014 21:00 PM

I heard it from a Father. I am not very religious but something like as a Catholic it is a marriage to God. But if you are not Catholic then there is no obligation held against you with God or the Catholic Church. You are not held by the religious proceedings annulments.

It is my understanding someone would have to become Catholic and then seek an annulment.

I would say try but I guess with all religion there are spectrums but I figured I heard the truth and I am not that religious so it made sense.

million pieces posted 4/24/2014 21:09 PM

Ha, took me a while during response, putting kids to bed....

But I truly don't think that my ex wasn't planning on remaining faithful. Immaturity was not on the list given as a valid reason. Not wanting to have kids was a valid reason, but didn't apply to us.

Yes, I've seen the list of questions. I honestly feel like much of it is none of their business. And I'm a little uncomfortable asking anyone to answer questions about my sex life as witnesses. And I know my ex will not respond, which isn't a requirement, but they do allow 6 months for a response so that adds to the time.

I guess I'm wanting to know what frame of mind I need to have to do this as a non Catholic. I want to do this because it means something to my fiance, but I honestly feel like it would be going against my own faith to allow some dude in Italy declare my first marriage as invalid. I think I need to talk to someone in my faith.

norabird posted 4/24/2014 21:40 PM

This is hard. I would resent the process--I actually think Francis is trying to lift the stigma on divorce (allowing communion without annulment is a possibility from the big questionnaire out now I think), which is good, because the way it stands now is just so unappealing. But I'm a nonbeliever. Since your SO cares about this I think it is great that you are thinking hard about it. Definitely speak to someone from your faith about it, and sit with the questionnaire, and keep the lines of communication open with SO. I understand your reluctance to have your first marriage rendered non-existent despite how it ended...good luck to you with finding an answer that suits all involved.

abbycadabby posted 4/25/2014 12:41 PM

I want to do this because it means something to my fiance, but I honestly feel like it would be going against my own faith to allow some dude in Italy declare my first marriage as invalid. I think I need to talk to someone in my faith.

I'm a divorced Protestant dating a divorced Catholic whose marriage hasn't yet been annulled. We've talked about marriage ourselves but no engagement as of yet. Anyway, from what I understand of what my SO says, if we do decide to move forward in our relationship, an annulment would be required for me and my exWH. Ex and I got married in a Protestant church and according to SO's knowledge, our marriage is considered a valid, covenantal marriage.

I can totally identify with what you're saying above. I've even said to SO, "there are so many ruuuuullleesss... why does the Church have to have its thumb on everything and everybody?!" This is something I have struggled with and continue to struggle with.

I actually think Francis is trying to lift the stigma on divorce (allowing communion without annulment is a possibility from the big questionnaire out now I think), which is good, because the way it stands now is just so unappealing

I suspect this as well, and hope I'm right. Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air for the Catholic church and even as a Protestant I respect the heck out of him. He seems to be an amazing, humble servant.

ETA: I didn't really have any advice but just wanted to let you know you've been heard and understood.

[This message edited by abbycadabby at 3:47 PM, April 25th (Friday)]

norabird posted 4/25/2014 13:22 PM

Looked this up a little and it's a timely discussion!

I truly hope that a more humane approach can come into being.

gahurts posted 4/25/2014 13:35 PM

In order to get married in a catholic church if someone has been previously married, the previous marriage must be annulled. This is not a catholic divorce. Rather it is a determination as to whether the previous marriage was sacramental, if a covenant existed. If it did then the marriage is indissoluable. The church views marriage as a permanent bond that cannot be broken. The investigation determines if something was missing and yes that does include the potential that either party was immature in their decision making or did not consider the permanence of the marriage. So if someone went into the marriage thinking they could always get a D then that in of itself may be grounds for an annulment.

So if two non-catholics get married, the church considers this marriage valid. The only loophole that I am aware of where an annulment is not required is if a catholic were to marry outside of his/her faith ie get married at a Justice of the Peace or in a Protestant church. Then they violated the precepts of their own faith which requires that a catholic get married in the catholic church and that invalidates the previous marriage. Then an annulment is not required.

And yes Pope Francis is indicating that there may be room to modify the church's view on divorce to be more inclusive but IDK how much can be done other than make the process much more friendly and less intrusive.

5454real posted 4/25/2014 13:37 PM

my annulment was many years ago so I may not be completely accurate. I am almost positive that infidelity provides immediate grounds for an annulment.

there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get there though. yup, you still have to answer all the questions as annoying and intrusive as it is, but then the Catholic Church does not take granting an annulment lightly. there is that whole " what God has joined" thing to get through.

I believe that the final decision is made at your local diocese. a tribunal here's all the evidence, and bases its decision on that. have your local priest give you a hand filling out the forms if needed.


million pieces posted 4/25/2014 14:58 PM

Again, thank you everyone for your responses!

Given a lot of your answers, I'm starting to think that the Baltimore Archdiocese (which evidently is the largest in the US) is much more strict than others. I was told by the priest in charge of annulments that infidelity was not an automatic grounds, unless it was repeated and from the beginning. As if the person never tried to be faithful. For all my M's problems and the general assholishness of my ex, I truly don't believe he didn't intend to love and grow old with me when we got married. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I in general hate lying, but probably would if my fiance wanted me to do it as I don't think my god/faith cares about those rules. But I guess that is a discussion for my minister and me.

And THANK YOU for the article, I forwarded it to my fiance just now. I can't believe I missed that as I actually get the Washington Post!

gahurts posted 4/25/2014 16:08 PM

Million Pieces,

I was also told by my priest that adultery is not automatic grounds for an annulment. That many people do recover from an affair and fix their marriages so in and of itself infidelity is not an automatic deal breaker. But I do understand that it is certainly looked as a serious offense.

You should be totally honest with your testimony. It really is an oath of sorts that you are telling the truth and honestly explaining the situation. The way it was described in the annulment from my first M, we need to be brutally honest. As brutal as possible but also honest. American Bishops are often criticized for granting annulments too easily compared to bishops in other countries. I do think they are really understanding. And your witnesses should also be brutally honest.

Having said that, yes I am very concerned about my own case and have not even filed for it yet mostly because I am quite nervous about it even though I was able to tick off 4 or 5 causes for which I "qualify".

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