Jul 13, 2009

Annulments like pancakes

It's 2 a.m. and I felt the need to get up and publish this. Perhaps, someone needs to read it.

First of all, I pray that this will never happen to me and I will do everything in my power together with the grace of God to make my marriage persevere in holiness and love. The reason I'm on this topic is perhaps because of what I saw last week. The hotel where we stayed while attending a professional conference was just across a "gentleman's club". I know that patronizing that is evil but others consider it a harmless pastime. (I did not go, BTW.) So, I say purity or chastity is not just for virgins or celibates. Married folks have to be pure not only in actions, but also in thoughts and words. Furthermore, the consequences of impurity can lead to infidelity then divorce. Since the Catholic Church does not accept or recognize divorce, people seek annulments to break out of their marriage vows.

But an annulment is not a divorce. It is stating that there was no marriage to begin with and that can be caused by either a lack of freedom as when someone was forced by shotgun or a lack of knowledge e.g. ignorance that marriage was meant for procreation. Bottom line, it is not a Catholic divorce because there is no divorce in the Catholic Church. If the couple was freely married and knew what it entailed, then that is an indissolvable union. Jesus taught, "What God has united, let no man separate." And if there are problems, then the grace of God is sufficient for the couple to surmount it and remain faithful to their promises to God. Problems are developmental events that can help the couple grow in their commitment to God and each other. I've heard how others have betrayed their spouses. And while this may be horrendous and excruciatingly painful, it is not a justification to break one's vows. Two wrongs don't make a right.

What I don't get is how easily the Church dissolves these bonds. St. Thomas More was beheaded for not yielding to condone the king's divorce; yet, the Church grants annulments like pancakes. I find it hard to believe that all those marriages were defective to begin with. Is the Church compromising the holiness of this sacrament and succumbing to expediency?

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