Saturday, January 30, 2010

Annulment of Marriage: Seeking your opinion

Over the past week an alarming number of subjects has built up, and with which I had hoped to deal. I made a short list off the top of my head just now and hope that the coming days will afford the time to deal with the following issues at least: the strategies of Bishop Williamson; the false Twitter and Rome's reaction to the discovery of its existence/ the Pope and the digital planet; an assessment of the role and efficacy of kto tv in France; and of course the thorny old issue of Media slant.

For tonight, I simply want to ask your advice in connection with Annulment of Marriage. Last night I posted the news that the Pope had discussed this with the Roman Rota during Friday morning's Audiences. It now appears that both myself and one of my commenters have experienced the process of Annulment (see combox on that post).. Regardless of the details of our cases, or whether we were granted an Annulment or not, the term 'easy' is entirely inappropriate. Spiritually and emotionally, if you are a faithful Catholic, it is the most harrowing and painful experience, although in my own case I have to say that my advocate at the English Tribunal of Westminster did his utmost to reduce the inevitable trauma as far as he possibly could.

Now, my question is this. Many people go into the Annulment process with little, or as in my case, no pastoral preparation as to what they will experience. Things may have changed during the past 20 years, but would it perhaps help others if I described my own experience and at least answered the basic questions about cost, the length of time it takes, and how matters are conducted? Certainly, I wish someone knowledgeable at parish level, had taken me on one side and explained a few things before the process started. I am happy to do this, or if anyone prefers to email me about it, to share my own knowledge with them through that medium. This is not a facile offer, but as a qualified Counsellor, I am trained not to let my own past traumas impede in exhanges with those I seek to help.

I will of course be praying about the way forward in this matter, and also appeal for the guidance and opinion of my friends in this Oasis.

God bless,
email address


David A. said...

"but would it perhaps help others if I described my own experience and at least answered the basic questions about cost, the length of time it takes, and how matters are conducted?"

I need to say straight away that maybe I am not qualified to answer your question as I have reached the age of 64 while remaining unmarried! But this is a topic that has interested me and I feel it is a topic that is, as you have intimated, kept under cover to quite a degree.

I know from a friend who went through the long long process that it can embitter the most well intentioned soul. I think blogs so often seem to talk about 'nothing' but I think some words on this very serious topic could one day be read by someone for whom they could prove extremely helpful.

Jane said...


Thank you very much for your comment. I will keep what you have said in my thoughts and prayers.

epsilon said...

people suggested I should seek an annulment when my marriage ended in divorce. I was not prepared to do that as I felt it would be hypocritical in my case.

It would be interesting to hear about this subject as it seems to be shrouded in mystery to me.

Fiona said...

I know very little about the annulment process other than what I have heard from others who know something about it. When it has been explained to me, I have never got the impression that it is something 'easy', as you say. It seems, from what little I have heard, to be a very long, drawn out and particularly unpleasant process.

I think many lay Catholics are, unfortunately, under the impression that it is an easy process. One particular person I know blithely informed a meeting I was in that many divorced people are not aware that they can get their marriages annulled. She said this without making any qualifying statements i.e. that it is only granted in some very special cases and also made it sound like something relatively informal and easy to obtain.

Londiniensis said...

In the part of Catholic Europe where I have my roots, it was universally acknowledged that if a member of the aristocracy had an unhappy marriage which could turn into a public scandal, and remembering that even murder was more acceptable than civil divorce, a quiet word with the Bishop, who very probably was a relation of a relation, would secure the necessary Annulment from Rome. Hoi polloi need not apply.

The world has no doubt changed very much since the early 20th century, but in the only annulment procedure where I was a direct witness of the marriage, it was the extremely well-connected parents of one of the parties who secured an outcome which left their family honour unspotted, and the other party tainted, by setting conditions on any re-marriage. (In natural justice, the party who got off scot-free was stinkingly guilty of adultery, deceit and neglect.)

I can only testify to the one case which I witnessed (and at third hand), but the cynicism with which my parents' generation viewed an annulment was certainly not mitigated by my own experience of the process.

Jane said...


I was thinking about Princess Michael of Kent this very afternoon and spent some time checking up on details that I half-remembered from the early 80s. Please rest assured, I won't let naivety cloud any future posts I may publish on this issue. In the meantime thanks again for your valued comment.

Pastor in Monte said...

I am under no illusion that your offer is a most generous one. These subjects touch on the rawest parts of human nature and experience: I think that what you had to say would be very useful indeed. As a priest, I have never myself (obviously) gone through this, though I have helped many others on the way. Anything that gives me, and others, more information about what to expect would, I think, be useful, and bless you for offering it.

Jane said...

Pastor in Valle:

Dear Father,

Thanks very much for your comment and your blessing. Both immeasurably increase my already growing conviction that I should go ahead with these explanations.It won't be until next week though. As I said, have to dig out that old folder.
(Thanks also for your comment on the Chinese/Japanese comments. I wouldn't know the difference, being confined to Western languages, some 'Latin and less Greek'!