Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Annulment Nation

The United States, with 6 percent of the world’s Catholics, accounts for 60 percent of the Church’s annulments.

Apart from the papacy, few doctrines divide the Catholic Church from non-Catholic ecclesial communities as does the doctrine of the indissolubility of a consummated Christian marriage. Eastern Orthodox Christians are permitted three marriages; King Henry VIII’s desire to remarry helped lead to the formation of the Anglican Communion. Martin Luther permitted divorce in the cases of adultery, desertion, failure to fulfill conjugal duties, and “where husband and wife cannot get along together.”

The Catholic Church holds that the teaching of Jesus Christ is clear: husband and wife “are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.… Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:8-12).

Thus, in 1563, the Council of Trent decreed that
if anyone shall say that the Church has erred in having taught, and in teaching that, according to the teaching of the Gospel and the Apostles, the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved, and that neither party—not even the innocent, who has given no cause by adultery—can contract another marriage while the other lives, and that he, or she, commits adultery who puts away an adulterous wife, or husband, and marries another; let him be anathema.
In our own time, Pope John Paul II taught that “it is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly…the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage” (Familiaris Consortio, 1981). He affirmed the discipline of “not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried,” adding that
reconciliation in the sacrament of penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.
Read the rest here.


Ingemar said...

It's good that someone brings this up because this is one of the polemical issues between West and East that puffs up the West ("See? If only the East accepted the Council of Florence Constantinople would still be Christian!")

Catholics cannot in all seriousness proclaim the superiority of their religion given the annulment loophople and also given the ascendancy of Islam (which has fairly easy standards for divorce).

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

The Catholic position is good as far as it goes, but the problem is, they don't seem to know anything about oikonomia.

Anonymous said...

Some of us who are Catholics of the Latin Rite, who have defended our marriages in the face of this scandalous onslaught, know WELL of these abuses and have fought hard against the intransigence of
our bishops, clerics and canonists. I defended our valid marriage in ecclesial courts for 12 years and won, in Rome; only to see my wife and her lover accepted with open arms, as a "married" couple, everywhere they went, in Catholic Churches. YES, priests and bishops knew. Still do. The past 10 years
the "adulterous lovers" have been welcomed in the
"eastern wing" of the Catholic Church, in the Byzantine Catholic Church which is in union with Rome. The priest and the Eparchs and Metropolitan, all know and approve(through their open refusal to do anthing on behalf of our valid marriage in spite of my numerous requests in writing) of this welcomed adultery. So, it is through their knowing, wrongful as I understand it, application of their "eastern leanings" regarding oikonomia, that this goes on. To me, all is vanity.

Awhile ago, I commented on this blog.

I humbly ask all of you to NOT take this comment as disrespectful. It is meant to make the point that, I view BOTH traditions as making "strained, weak" excuses for adultery. My "hardship", for having been the one who was wrongfully abandoned DOES NOT justify another spouse to deal with concupisience. What it presents me with is the necessity for concern for the eternal souls of my wife and her "friend", as well as all they continue to scandalize, including two children of their own and our five plus the clergy they have encouraged in violation of God's will..... And it allows me the chance to join my own suffering with that of my Savior. That, I was taught, is a singular blessing. I only wish that I was humble enough to "face
it like a man", each day, rather than having to struggle with it, as I do.

I would shut both down. I would be honored to be excommunicated by both for my position. I think God agrees with me....because I have believed His position and defended it, by living it.

Thank you all and God bless you May the wounds that divide us be healed one day through the mercy of God.

Please pray for ALL of us. I know, I NEED them.

Jon Marc said...

Interesting article! Economy is definitely a two-edged sword, but I'm thankful that we recognize it as such instead of having trials to prove a marriage was never real (and therefore annulled). In Ethiopia the Church has inherited the Coptic Orthodox Church's strong anti-divorce stance and as a consequence very few adults can be admitted to communion because very few marry in the Church. They choose common-law and secular marriages instead for fear that should the marriage go sour (for whatever reason) they will have no way out or, if the divorce is recognized (because of adultery) that they will be required to be single/celibate the rest of their lives.

We certainly shouldn't encourage divorce, but when the lack of it leads to situations where millions of Orthodox Christians cannot take communion it's a bit ridiculous not to have it 'just in case'...

Anonymous said...

How easily we make excuses to justify divorce.

Both lungs of the Church have severe emphysema
and only a few recognize it.

I am embarrased for feeling sorry for myself but so
humbled by the mercy of God to give me the opportunity to kneel at the foot of His Cross.

I would ask the poster after me to reflect upon the
witness that faithfulness to a fallen spouse can be in a world where the "Cream of Christianity" finds
comfort in the "just in case" mode.

It is in this very way, the way of the cross, that the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ draws us to Him.

My son, you are misled. It is not divorce which leads to "lack of Communion", it is lack of communion which leads to divorce, much like among the east and west. This lesson, this loss of communion, is THE open wound in His side, this recognition that both east and west are WRONG, regarding marriage, cannot be justified, not by the bishops now, not by the bishops then. Pastoral action cannot be separated from the communion it shares with the Trinity where all three are one, as must the two become one and no man must attempt to disparage that communion.

This has never been clearer.