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Understanding Catholicism

Understanding Catholicism

Similar to lawyer Catholic church  “What God has joined, men cannot divide”: This quote taken from the bible was interpreted by the Church to mean that a marriage cannot be dissolved by man. The only proper way for a bond to end would be for God to choose death for one of the spouses. At the time of marriage, the couple becomes interlocked through a spiritual bond. Divorce is only a legal recognition of the dismissal of marriage. Although it divides assets and wealth, it does not break the eternal bond that the covenant formed. The annulment is the only resource available that can void this bond. Annulments erase the sacrament of marriage, it dissolves them as if the marriage never took place. 
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. therefore, what God has joined together, no human must separate, unless the marriage is unlawful”:This line taken from Matthew 19:6, is perhaps the starting point for the creation of annulments. Simply translated, Catholics believe Jesus was referring to a situation where a marriage never actually existed in the first place. The genesis of annulments arise from a situation where a marriage was contracted under false pretenses. 
The laws of annulment are deeply rooted in the Catholic church and the bible. In regards to more modern history the annulment underwent a minor face lift in terms of process, but not use. During revolutionary times, northeastern American colonies passed laws enabling courts or legislatures to grant annulments. Conversely English common law did not provide for an annulment, so the sentiment was mixed when the United States was first established. 
Currently most states offer annulments, and those that do not provide courts to honor the laws regulating marriages that are not observed. There are many misconceptions when it comes to annulments and its origin. Granted a wedding ceremony is a celebration, but it’s also a public display of a contractual obligation.

Understanding The Catholicsm Process

Understanding The Catholicsm Process

The process of a marriage annulment through the Catholic church can be tedious and lengthy. Often times lasting over a year, there are a few distinct steps one should know before beginning the time consuming trial. First you must decide if a marriage annulment is indeed the logical course of action. If children or considerable assets are involved the difficulty of obtaining a marriage annulment increases dramatically. In order to streamline the decision making process one must understand what the grounds for annulment are. 
If there is a direct violation of church law, the process should go relatively smoothly. If your vows were exchanged under false pretenses or neither of you wanted to enter into a life long commitment then a nullity of marriage can be granted. If a spouse never intended to have children and withheld that information a justifiable ground for annulment is achieved. Other permissible reasons include-intoxication at the time of consummation, incest, bigamy, underage marriage, marriage that didn’t take place at the Church, insanity, or infidelity. A marriage annulment will be accessible if any of these violations occur.
Once the ground for annulment has been established the process begins. To begin the procedure, the petitioner (individual who is filing for the marriage annulment) will contact his/her parish or Tribunal staff member. When the religious administrator hears your case he will present you with an application. Unlike a civil ceremony, the documentation needed to begin this application or petition is a baptismal certificate, current address of former spouse, a fee of around $100, and lastly a marriage certificate. 
After the documents have been filed, the petitioner will have an interview (or write a letter) with the religious administrator conducting the procedure. The reasoning for this interview or letter is to lay out the grounds for the annulment and gather information regarding the couple. The questions will encompass factors such as: description of childhood and home life for both spouses, description of dating process, details about how the decision to get married was reached, descriptions of problems and subsequent solution methods during marriage, description of marital roles, and lastly description on how divorce was reached. After the interview the tribunal will contact both parties and reach a decision regarding the grounds for annulment.
If grounds for annulment are granted a witness list must be constructed by the petitioner before the formal trial begins. Witnesses include at least 2 people who were present during the time of consummation or who have a relationship with both parties. At the formal hearing both the witnesses and the petitioner will be questioned privately by the members of the tribunal. Once again, this is an information gathering procedure used by the tribunal to determine if a marriage annulment should be permitted given the situation.
When all of the information is gathered through background checks and questioning the testimony will be gathered and sent to the court members. During this time the petitioner nor respondent are present at the hearing. Representation will be given by an advocate and defender of the board (an individual who represents the actual marriage.) Once both sides present their case a judge will come to a decision and notify the petitioner and respondent within on average fourteen months. According to Church law, when the annulment is being reviewed, neither couple can remarry. If the decision is unfavorable, a petition or appeal process is available to either party. Like the trial itself neither husband nor wife will be present at the trial for appeal. The decision will be sent by the judge to an appeal court and they will preside over the case.
Marriage annulments, although a laborious process can be necessary for some marriages. A firm understanding of the intricacies involved in the annulment process can provide a form of relief during a stressful time.

Criticisms for Allowing

Criticisms for Allowing

As in the instance of many controversial topics, exist numerous criticisms against the practice of a marriage annulment. A common argument refers to societal norms. People are more individualistic in modern times, women are more independent, thus creating a societal leniency towards divorce and annulments. Individuals in marriage find loopholes and ambiguous reasons for annulment. The second argument which goes in hand in hand with social implications is the modern interpretation of annulment law. 
Further criticism on the part of the general public illustrates the Criticism of annulment includes the Catholic church and the implications that it carries. Obviously when annulment law was written centuries ago, the policy makers could not predict the complexity and diversity of our society today. It is only logical that such an archaic law would have deficiencies when applied to contemporary times. Reasons for annulment have not evolved as society has. Spousal abuse for instance is looked at today with great disgust and held in utter contempt. That being said, it is still not a suitable reason for annulment under the canon law. If a devout Catholic is in an abusive relationship she would have no means to end her marriage. In order to adapt to modern day beliefs and policies there has to be innovations, unfortunately for annulment law, policies have been left unchanged.
Many devout Catholics who have substantial reasons for annulment choose divorce instead to save considerable amounts of time. As divorce rates skyrocket past 50% the sanctity of marriage has clearly been put into question. The logic of waiting 14 months to uphold this divine sense is nonsensical to many. The time is a particularly important issue because the Catholic church does not allow a re-marriage during a pending annulment verdict. 
During that 14 months, if one finds someone they would want to marry, they would have to wait till the pending annulment is granted. Annulment law restricts its users greatly, it restricts them from making decisions in their personal life. Reasons for annulment vary as do consequences but to the church they are placed under the same umbrella. It is nearly impossible to uphold annulment law, which was written thousands of years ago, while adapting to an ever changing society.