Sunday, October 11, 2015

Am I an invalid?

Here's my problem with the way the annulment process is in the US.  I get the whole "not a Christian marriage" or "married outside the Church" parts, but there is an increasing (it seems to me) trend towards "it's not a valid marriage because they didn't intend to do what the Church teaches (because they were poorly catechized)." I understand that the Church wants to treat people in difficult situations with as much mercy and leeway as possible, but there's a problem.

When I got married, I didn't intend to do what the Church taught (because I was poorly catechized). I have been married for 20 years to a wonderful woman...or have I? If that is the criteria for an annulment, and an annulment is not a "divorce" but an objective determination that a marriage did not take place (despite the fact that the couple considered themselves married), then my marriage, by that same criteria, objectively never took place, and my wife and I are living in a state of sin.

Conversely, if the Church is going to accept my marriage as objectively valid, then they need to hold those tough case situations to the same objective standard.

Of course, the solution is that we need better catechesis. When my wife and I were going through marriage preparation, we went on a retreat and did all sorts of stuff, but when it came to things like life issues, the best we got was "well, you do intend to have children someday?" And nothing about our spiritual duties as parents. And nothing about the indissolubility of marriage other than "there's no divorce, but there's annulment if it doesn't work out." And nothing about contraception, nothing about abortion, nothing about attending mass or grace or sin... just a lot of feel good crap about how God loves us and our love is a reflection of His (which is true, just not helpful).

We got more guidance on the ceremony and reception than we did on the marriage itself. Now, pastorally, would catechizing people properly on marriage cause more people to skip a church wedding? Maybe, but wouldn't that at least mean that those who were married were married? That we actually practiced what we preach (or don't preach) about marriage?

And so we got married... or did we?  Should I ask the Church to (conditionally) marry my wife and I? What do you think?


Post a Comment