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Concept: Marriage annulment in the Catholic Church

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Fr Constantin Alecse
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject: Concept: Marriage annulment in the Catholic Church Reply with quote

Marriage annulment in the Catholic Church


To whom it may concern

Re: Petition for marriage annulment
Petitioners: R.E. and N.H.

I, an Orthodox pastor of - the Name of the Church - (address above), herewith want to make the following statements:

· Sometime in November 2012, Mr R.E. approached me personally to confine to me some of his „family problems”...

· Based on an official document, presented to me by Mr. R.E. (i.e. „The Religious Marriage Certificate”, issued by .............................. Church of (City), (State), on July 11th .............(copy attached), Mr R.E. (DOB: December 11, 0000), married N.H (DOB: November 1, 0000), on July 11th 0000.

· According to Mr. R.E. and N.H. ’s testimony, the couple separated from one another since April 30, 0000, for „deficiency reasons, rendering the marriage invalid, according to certain church canons” (specifically: „unknowingly and unintentionally refusal or inability to consummate the marriage, caused by both parties”). Mr R.E. and N.H. state that both: HIMSELF and HIS WIFE share the same opinion about their „incompatible relationship”, and therefore are willing to both sign an official document stating their desire to have their marriage annuled.

1. Preamble

In the Orthodox Church, the marriage is a solemn commitment of a man and a woman to be faithful unto death. Therefore, the marriage is a Sacrament in which this commitment to each other is blessed by the Lord.

Being married in the Church means a life of fidelity to each other as Christ himself is faithful to his Church.

Unfortunately in our society today, there is a wide-spread phenomenon of marital breakdown. This is a sad and troubling situation that we must all face. Members of the Orthodox Church, like in other Christian Churches, are no less affected by this, than the rest of our society. The Church believes in and is committed to the permanence of the marriage bond. The Church will do all in its power to defend that, and in concrete circumstances, to encourage and promote stable and faithful marriages. However, the reality is that some marriages in our society will not succeed.

For this reason, in the Catholic Church, when it has been established that an essential ingredient for valid marriage was missing from the beginning of the marriage, the Church find herself in a position to act in considering the granting of an annulment (this practice is not found in the Orthodox Church, however). Having followed the canonical process instituted by the Catholic Church, a Diocesan Tribunal may make a declaration of nullity of this marriage.

2. Reasons for annulment in the Catholic Church

a). Argumentation

One of the reasons (in the Catholic Church) for getting an annulment is that the sacrament of marriage wasn't valid. In other words, if one or both spouses didn’t intend to enter a permanent, faithful, and fruitful (if God wills it) union, then that deficiency renders the marriage invalid. Even if a couple gets married in a church and has every intention of entering though into a valid sacrament, other factors can greatly obstruct the validity anyway, even unknowingly and unintentionally refusal or inability to consummate the marriage (Source)

b). Biblical and Traditional reasons

Christian views on divorce find their basis both in biblical sources dating to the giving of the law to Moses (Deut 24:1-4) and political developments in the Christian world long after standardization of the Bible. According to the synoptic Gospels, Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage, but also its integrity. In the book of Matthew Jesus says "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery".[1] Paul of Tarsus concurred but added an exception, known as the Pauline privilege.

The Orthodox Church prohibits divorce, but permits annulment (a finding that the marriage was never valid) under a narrow set of circumstances. The Eastern Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage in church in certain circumstances,[2] though its rules are generally more restrictive that the civil divorce rules of most countries.

Nowadays, the separation of husband and wife and the annulment of marriage are well-known and recognized by society at large. What is today referred to as “separate maintenance” (or "legal separation") was termed "divorce a mensa et thoro" ("divorce from bed-and-board"). The husband and wife physically separated and were forbidden to live or cohabit together; but their marital relationship did not fully terminate.[5] …. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Christian views on divorce)

According to the Roman Catholic teachings and practices (not found in the Orthodox Church teachings and practices), underlined above, and based on the reasons and arguments, presented by Mr R.E. and N.H., one could arguable interpret that their Wedding could qualify for a „NULL and VOID STATUS”.

Respectfully yours,

An (Orthodox) Pastor
Fr Constantin Alecse
Blog-ul in Romaneste
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