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Fidelity – to Spouses and Christ’s Words Print E-mail
By Fr. Gerald Murray   
Thursday, 27 March 2014

Is the most serious problem confronting Catholic families today the fact that the Church does not consider divorced and remarried Catholics suitable to receive Holy Communion? I don’t think so. I doubt most Catholics would. But in the run-up to the October Synod on the Family a number of influential churchmen seem to be of the opinion that this is the most significant problem we must deal with, and deal with in a way that the Church has never done before. A full court press is on by those who advocate that the Church change her teaching and practice on this matter.

That teaching and practice concern the indissoluble nature of marriage, and hence the adulterous nature of any second marriage entered into while one’s spouse is still living. In 1994, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), in a statement issued under the instruction of Pope John Paul II, stated quite plainly: “Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion.”

That teaching and practice also concern the clear obligation that anyone who is conscious of being in a state of mortal sin may not receive Holy Communion. If someone who is knowingly in a state of mortal sin receives Holy Communion, that person commits a mortal sin of sacrilegious reception of the Body of Christ.    

That teaching and practice also concern the public nature of marriage, such that any claim that a marriage was entered into invalidly must be proven before an ecclesiastical tribunal. It is not sufficient for one or both of the spouses to assert that, in good conscience, they consider their marriage to be invalid, and thus they consider themselves free to marry again. If this standard of private judgment were adopted, how would we deal with a claim of invalidity by one spouse when the other spouse was equally convinced that the marriage was valid?

The CDF stated in 1994: “The mistaken conviction of a divorced-and-remarried person that he may receive holy communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of ones own convictions, to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissible.”

Marriage is regulated by canon law in order to safeguard the sanctity of the sacrament, to set forth and uphold the rights and duties of the couple, and to provide for the common good by defending the nature and purpose of marriage. Catholics are obliged to marry in the Church and to submit to the laws of the Church on marriage. This is part and parcel of the Christian vocation to be living members of the Mystical Body of Christ, with due submission to the Pastors of the Church and the laws enacted to safeguard the Faith and the unity of the Church.

The Code of Canon Law teaches (canon 1134): “From a valid marriage there arises between the spouses a bond which by its nature is perpetual and exclusive. Moreover, a special sacrament strengthens and, as it were, consecrates the spouses in a Christian marriage for the duties and dignity of their state.”

This leads to the question: How do we know if the marriage is valid? Canon 1060 states: “Marriage possesses the favor of law; therefore, in a case of doubt, the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.”

This presumption of validity is absolutely crucial to the life of the Church: What you vow at the altar has a real effect: you become married for life. It is not make believe, it is not a contingent thing subject to reversal. You are married and you will be treated as such by the Church. If a cause exists that rendered the vows ineffectual, that has to be proven, not simply asserted.

A lawfully married person is permitted to formulate a doubt about the validity of his or her marriage, but that doubt must be submitted to an ecclesiastical tribunal where it will be adjudicated.

So the notion that an individual should be allowed to judge the validity of his own marriage, with the juridical effect that he would be able to declare the marriage invalid and then remarry in the Church is truly revolutionary. It destroys the objective legal order in the Church. The reality of any marriage bond would be subject to self-decreed disappearance based on the personal judgment of the person involved.

It has also been have suggested that even when the validity of the first marriage is not impugned, it would be merciful to give Holy Communion to “contrite” persons who remain in invalid second marriages. The strange notion that Catholics who persist in an adulterous second marriage should be able to receive Holy Communion is completely wrong. Adultery is a serious offense against God’s law.

Again, the CDF stated in 1994: “In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ, the Church affirms that a new union cannot be recognized as valid if the preceding marriage was valid. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes Gods law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists.”

The CDF also warned: “If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Churchs teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

So it comes down to this: misplaced charity seeking to eliminate the hurt that some divorced and remarried Catholics experience in not being able to receive Holy Communion has led to insistent proposals that, if adopted, would depart from Christ’s own words, gravely offend against Catholic doctrine, and threaten the unity and peace of the Church. Let us pray for the Synod Fathers.

 
The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is pastor of Holy Family Church, New York, NY, and a canon lawyer.
 
 
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Comments (31)Add Comment
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written by Jack,CT, March 27, 2014
Thanks Fr for a great piece!
I learned alot and it was a
wonderful refresher-
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written by Ted Seeber, March 27, 2014
I am not fooled, and neither should anybody else be. This is a backdoor shot towards other non-standard marriages being allowed in the church. Same sex and polygamy to start, but the rest will come quickly if this comes to pass.
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written by Walter, March 27, 2014
Well-written, lucid and insightful. Fr. Murray does not need hyperbole, images of violence or sarcasm to effectively communicate Church teaching.
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written by GKC, March 27, 2014
In general agreement with the author, I can appreciate the pastoral concern for these areas concerning the modern family, while I can't help myself but be gravely concerned that any nuanced conclusion or document coming out of the Vatican that while not changing any Church teaching throws such teaching into a gray area will only come to hurt the Church and its commitment and practice to truth and virtue. The modern world just doesn't do nuance; rather, it bulldozes through it onto the lowest common denominator of what is supposedly nuanced, undermining the original principle that which the nuance responded. The strength of the teaching that JPII communicated and that Benedict underwrote brilliantly related to their commitment to firm principle. They were equally pastoral, naturally, but the pastoral care followed the principle. I am concerned that the reverse is soon (now?) happening out of the Vatican, and the modern world will devour it ultimately.
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written by maurice sheedy, March 27, 2014
Excellent article. In another area that gives rise to public scandal the Bishops need to be more outspoken with politicians publicly supporting abortion and same sex marriage.
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written by Deacon Paul, March 27, 2014
Fr. Murray, thank you for being insightful, truthful, and faithful. Should the Church also publically and universally address the propriety of receiving Holy Communion by self-proclaimed Catholics, especially politicians, who are supporting, enabling, or encouraging the murder of innocents through abortion?
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written by william manley, March 27, 2014
Does the Pope read this website every day? I hope so.
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written by Jim, March 27, 2014
I understand that the existence of annulment proceedings with respect to a particular marriage, and any outcome, is confidential. Thus, if a remarried person receives Communion, one cannot know if that person's prior marriage was annulled. (Even if one is bold enough to ask, the person doesn't have to answer, or could lie.) So, how can the receipt of Communion by a remarried person cause scandal?
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written by Rosemary, March 27, 2014
@ Jim - because their friends and family know.

Thank you, Fr. Murray, for this wonderful articulation of the problem. However, I am waiting to read the explanation as to how the Church performs so many (60,000+) INVALID marriages each year!

It is appalling, the rate at which annulments are granted. Are our priests really that clueless when it comes to protecting the sacrament? Perhaps this is why it has been suggested that annulements be handled at the parochial level: if Fr. "Smith" saw the same couples being married and annuled, he might think twice before he next marries or annuls.

Please don't blame the culture. This problem rests right within the bosom of our Church. When I ask about it, the response is always squirming and shrugs.
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written by cermak_rd, March 27, 2014
Rosemary, an awful lot of those annulments are simply lack of form. It means a Catholic didn't have a member of the Catholic clergy witness their wedding nor have a dispensation from the Bishop.

I think the reason this is a concern for the Vatican is that when a marriage fails and the couple divorces and one remarries, there is 1. a long wait for an annulment and 2. a likelihood that the new family will leave the Church for either a Protestant church down the road or for a religiously independent expression of spirituality. That hurts the Church as it loses their bodies in the pew; their donations of time and treasure to the parish; and their children.

One solution to the problem in the US is already in the offing. Catholic marriages have fallen by close to half in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Less Catholic marriages--less annulments.

Which leads me to my last point. In an age where cohabitation without a Church marriage was unthinkable, there was a very big incentive to get married in the Church. Now with cohabitation and civil marriage being no big deal, couples can simply forgo the Church and if their de facto union splits up, and they feel contrite and make a good confession, then they now have a chance to have another marriage. This seems to set up a scenario where playing by the rules has a worse possible outcome then ignoring the rules.
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written by Seanachie, March 27, 2014
Seems to me (married in the Church for decades) that much of the discussion about divorced and remarried Catholics is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. What is a fact is that some married (in the Church) Catholics will divorce. What is equally factual is that some of these Catholics will remarry (without annulment) and continue to practice their faith, including reception of Communion. Ultimately, they will be judged by God and if He determines that they are of goodwill, they will be saved.
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written by Layman Tom, March 27, 2014
Ok,
I have remained silent on this issue for a while; mostly because I don't understand the annulment process very well. But I have an observation that I think begs some relevant questions.

I believe that the entire issue is not so much being driven from within as from without by the cultural disintegration of our society. i.e. our sexually liberated, instant gratification oriented society has directly led to the explosion in the rate of divorce. Coupled to the civil code change to "no-fault" divorce, these factors have coincided to become the main reason marriages fail. Yes, I truly believe that Catholics are different, or should be. However we are also the same in many respects. We live and work and socialize in the world. Secular forces affect us just as they do our non-Catholic fellow human beings. Is it the dark one? Yes, I believe it is. But absent that belief, I would still be subject to the way things are now. So I don't think it is an apples to oranges comparison to look at the annulment rate 50, 20 or even 10 years ago and say the Church is failing. Sure these forces have acted for all those years, or at least since no-fault became the law, but things take time. Catholics probably were more immune to the initial effects and, although lagging, are still being affected and are now catching up.

My question is this: What is to become of the man whose lovely ex-bride pulls the rip cord and blows up his family? Because that is exactly what is happening all around us. Please don't be offended ladies. I know it happens in reverse order, but my question is from my point of view. I certainly considered my marriage to be valid and fought like hell to save it. However, now that I have failed in that effort, what is left to me and all the others? The church would tell me that absent an annulment, my life, if it to be truly devoted to the Word and if I wish to remain in the communion of saints, shall be devoted to being a Chaste single man. I know that can be a wonderful thing, but I don’t think it’s my cup of tea. It’s almost as if the Church is adding insult to injury. I had no intention of ever being single again. I had no intention of living outside the sacrament of marriage, but now if I be true and honorable, I must totally commit myself to a life that I never chose and for which I have no desire. My fellow travelers here would consider me a statistical part of the problem if I am granted yet another annulment by our wayward bishops.

So tell me? Am I reading any of that wrong? I have no problem following the law and "asking" for the annulment and going through the process...one day. However, Should it be granted? I’m not being sarcastic. I truly don’t know. How do I prove that I was living a valid marriage and then one day, it just wasn't anymore? If it is valid, would her remarriage constitute adultery thereby freeing me? What if she never remarried? Is her refusal to have “relations” after divorce sufficient to invalidate the marriage? If any of those are sufficient grounds, it becomes crystal clear how the annulment rate is ballooning. Just by merit of the proliferation of walkaway spouses, the thousands of left-behind spouses may have justification to annul their marriage.

One more thing: It chaps my a... um, hide, to think that I face the choice of never talking to girls for fear I may fall in love one day and want to get marrried or no longer taking communion while the aforementioned public figures can directly fly their renegade behavior in the face of the bishops without any fear of reprisal because they are important or powerful enough that they know they will NEVER be excluded from the communion line. Why are we losing membership? I suggest part of it may be disproportionate enforcement like this. People will go along with tough love, but only if there is no favoritism.
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written by Manfred, March 27, 2014
This is a very excellent article, Father Murray. I am reminded of the years before the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992). Cdl Law had asked that it be produced in order to codify, in the aftermath of Vatican II, EXACTLY WHAT THE CHURCH TAUGHT. Many of those teachings have never been accepted by many in the Church especially in the Hierarchy!
There can only be one answer- shut the Church down and hold Vatican III. A precedent would be Constantine locking up the Catholic and Arian bishops at his estate in Nicea in 325. His orders were simple: I don't care who wins, but only one will be tolerated. The Catholics won, but Arianism (Christ was not a Divine Person) lingers to this day. There is a schism coming, but let it come. The Church and Catholicism have become laughingstock. Intelligent laity, with the best intentions, no longer truat the hierarchy, including the Pope. How could any serious person commit him/herself to a marriage when nothing but good will binds the other spouse to the contract? Who would risk bringing a child into this world if the serious Catholic spouse anticipates he/she may end up raising the child(ren) him/her self? The Church is replete with antinomianism. It was Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who forced the feckless churchmen to hold the Council of Trent. Paul III(?) called upon a group of cardinals whom he named to discover the causes of the Reformation. Their answer?: hundreds of years of bad popes.
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written by Mary Catherine, March 27, 2014
Layman Tom - Thank you for hitting upon my own exact concerns. I am fighting desperately and, I fear, futilely, to prevent the destruction of my own 17-year marriage. My lifelong Catholic husband is having an affair with a much younger, married woman and wants a divorce. We live in a no-fault state, so I have no recourse to stop it. I can forgive him his infidelity, but i will be much harder to forgive the destruction of our sacramental union and our children's lives. Perhaps this is God's plan for me, but it will likely mean isolation and poverty (I have an engineering degree but haven't worked in many years since my children were small.). I certainly do not want to change the fundamental teaching of the church on marriage change, but wonder how we (the church) may show compassion to those who find themselves divorced having had no choice whatever in the matter.
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written by Branch, March 27, 2014
Thank you, and praise God for this article for solid Catholic teaching!
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written by Hope, March 27, 2014
Mary Catherine, you still have access to Holy Communion even if your husband divorces you. It is different for those who pursue another civil union that cut themselves off from reception. Also, your diocese should have retreats/resources for you as a divorced person. I don't think that the Church abandons those who are in your situation, the help is there.. even financially speaking.

On another note, I am commenting because I am divorced and currently involved with, though not married to someone else. I have sought an annulment and was granted an affirmative decision in the Court of First Instance, however I had waited almost a year now since my case was sent to the Second Instance Court. The first decision itself took 15 months from the time it was submitted, while my former spouse was given multiple extensions on deadlines (along with his witnesses), and my case was shelved and nearly forgotten while they waited and waited on him. Now I have waited nearly another year for the Second Instance... I know that these are small swathes of time in the grand scheme of life, but I am growing weary of the process. Please pray for me, and others like me who go through an annulment instead of judging all of us based on a large number of cases. It is not an easy road to travel.
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written by Layman Tom, March 27, 2014
Mary Catherine,

I will pray very hard for you to prevail and save your marriage. The way ahead is hard, but you are taking the higher road. Keep it up and never quit! Even if you are successful, it will be very hard to forgive, but I will pray for God to give you the neccesary grace. It took a miracle in my case, but then, I'm probably dumber than you. Afterwards though, everything got a lot easier. God will get you through this!

Either way, Keep the faith. I'm pulling for you!
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written by Beth, March 27, 2014
Layman Tom, Mary Catherine and Hope~your suffering is palpable. I will offer my mass for all of you tomorrow. I do hope you get answers soon!
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written by Jack,CT, March 27, 2014
Hope;You are in my prayers.....God Bless You
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written by Pnkn, March 27, 2014
There isn't a one of us who knows what the future holds for us, except to know that God is with us in all things and that we are to trust in Him and obey Him in order to bring ourselves closer to life with Him.
No one knows or expects to struggle with cancer, loss of a child's life,.... so what is the reason for not accepting what comes and learning a new way of living and loving?
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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, March 27, 2014
I have heard of cases where marriages are "irregular" and pastors of the couple will invoke the "internal forum" which couples interpret to mean, "Go ahead and receive Holy Communion if, in your conscience, you think it's OK." Usually, this is said to the high rollers in a parish (notice I did not say "holy rollers).
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written by Howard Kainz, March 27, 2014
This may sound too strict, but I believe the Church should require tests for psychological compatibility before sacramental marriage. Also tests for moral compatibility (e.g. regarding attitudes to contraception)and tests for spiritual compatibility (e.g. regarding family prayer life). I'm not sure if there are satisfactory tests for the latter two factors, however -- maybe just an astute pastor.
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written by Tony Esolen, March 27, 2014
Hope, Tom -- everybody who is struggling against the evil of a faithless spouse abandoning the marriage and the family: a very brave woman, whose husband did that to her and her children, has been waging a battle with her beloved Catholic Church to follow their own canon law and their own theological precepts to safeguard the sacrament and to hold bad spouses accountable for their behavior. Her name -- I don't believe she would mind my sharing it -- is Bai MacFarlane. Look her up.

The Church should take care of the innocent sufferers first, and, second, should take care that there will be as few of such in the future as possible. THOSE are the people who never get any mercy, eh? In the old days, somebody with authority would show up at the man's office and say, "Bud, we have some talking to do."

I used the example of a bad man, above. In the large majority of cases in both the US and Canada, it's the woman who initiates the divorce, and in the large majority of THOSE cases, the man has not been abusive or unfaithful. The principle applies: if you want to corrupt any group of human beings, just make sure they come to know that they can get away with whatever they like.

Yet you can't corrupt one sex without corrupting the other. I know a lovely Catholic homeschooling mother whose husband has abandoned the family. To this day he wouldn't get away with it if they lived in Italy. Some brothers would pay him a visit, and, well, bring him back to his senses.
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written by Paul, March 27, 2014
My deepest sympathies to those whose spouses have betrayed them, I can't imagine what you are going through.

If unrepentant adulterers can receive Holy Communion, then who could be excluded? I left years ago over doctrinal differences and this change would not give me a reason to return.

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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, March 28, 2014
I have often thought that, when a couple who were married in the Church divorce and the Church grants an annulment, it is a violation of the virtue of hope. What this has implied to me is that the party who initiated the divorce is beyond redemption. Rather than the Church praying for and supporting the couple's reconciliation, the Church instead says that this marriage is beyond hope. Why doesn't the Church say, "We do not accept the fact of this divorce, we place our hope and trust in Christ who says He can make all things new"? Suppose the wayward spouse (not unlike the prodigal son) came to a conversion of heart, sought forgiveness from God, the Church and his or her spouse and was open to a reconciliation. Isn't this line of thinking more in synch with what the Church is about than the secular notion of "it's not working; toss it aside"? The Church seems to have capitulated to the world's vision of how things operate.
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written by cermak_rd, March 28, 2014
My understanding of annulment is that it is a recognition that a marriage never took place. Suppose one of them were pressured into the marriage? Or suppose no Catholic clergy witnessed it? Or suppose one of them had no intention of having children or no intention of permanence? I believe all of those would be grounds to declare that no marriage was intended and therefore no marriage was created.
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written by Charles Gruich, March 28, 2014
Father Murray’s piece, with all due respect, drips with legalism, and I think, an unwitting disregard for some aspects of the person. Christ never taught a legalism, nor a legalistic form of behavior. If Canon Law is seen as an orderly structural way to apply the teachings of Christ, to maintain and hold to the traditions of taught truth, then how do we comport this with Jesus’ prevailing teachings of mercy and justice. One may answer, the Tribunals, and their discernment. But we all know the Tribunals are handcuffed, if they follow Canon Law, in applying mercy and justice in cases similar to Kathleen’s, especially if there are no legitimate breaches of a valid marriage.

To follow only laws (Canon Law) without the consideration of, or at the expense of mercy and justice, not to mention discernment, is to fall into the abyss of a debit/credit, or moralistic absolute, which if we are to hold to the theological anthropomorphism taught by our theologians and pastors, makes us hypocrites. To say to a divorcee, since your marriage failed and while it may not be your fault, you will no longer be able to receive the Blessed Sacrament, regardless of your orientation to God, or your Church, is to me a myopic application of what Christ intended. While Jesus opposed divorce, his commandment against divorce did not also disregard or discount failure or forgiveness. To view Canon Law and Canon Law alone without regard to particular circumstances and the discernment thereof, to me is myopic, and could be described as Churchism. Even non-religious civil judges exercise discretion when applying justice with respect to fixed laws. Not everyone can, nor should be painted with the same brush, because everyone is not everyone else.

It’s refreshing to learn there are churchmen who will address and treat this boil on our Body, and enrich its spiritual health. Because if they fail to do so, then the best we can hope for is to pray the Church, with respect to this issue, will not continue pushing people away from the Church; the worse would be for it to be complicit in pushing people away from God.

I agree with Father Murray: Let us pray for the Synod Fathers -- for our service to God, individually and as a Church, is measured by our service to man.
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written by Christina Steele, March 29, 2014
I have two thoughts; first, why are non-Catholics required to get annulments? Since the Church already doesn’t recognize marriages of couples not baptized, maybe they shouldn’t recognize marriages not performed by the Catholic Church. I know baptism is universal as long as you are a Christian, but maybe marriage should be like communion, it is a sacrament only recognized within the Church it was instituted by. It seems crazy someone who isn’t Catholic would have to get an annulment by the Catholic Church.

Second, I’m not sure without seeming to condone divorce how the Church uses a more loving hand when dealing with divorced individuals. We are all on a faith journey, and I know that my divorced Catholic mother would have made different decisions when she was younger if her faith had been stronger. I know I have made decisions I regret now because my faith was weak and rocky. Of course, individuals choose to be remarried, but I can attest that when my mom got remarried to my non-Catholic step-father, she was just so emotionally beaten down by my dad; she was just thrilled someone loved her as much as my step-father did. She wasn’t thinking of the spiritual ramifications.
I know in hindsight now that she is older and a stronger person, she would not have rushed into a marriage with him or maybe married him at all, but after 17 years, she is not going to abandon my step-father whom she loves very much now. Is that loving? Now she is stuck with no path to forgiveness. What would you recommend she do? If a murderer or an abortionist confess their sins, they are forgiven. My mom, who made a bad decision years ago is now stuck for life.

The Church must overhaul and re-evaluate the annulment process. I would never encourage the Church to make divorce more acceptable or easy, but there has to be a path to forgiveness for these individuals who are faithful, loving individuals being punished for bad decision making.
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written by Bai Macfarlane, March 29, 2014
Thank you for your story.

You might be interested in the fact that some of us are working to have the Church instruct a marital abandoner of his or her obligation to reconcile the marriage and restore common conjugal life --- long before any second so-called marriage occurs.

An updated Vindicate Rights Petition is available from MarysAdvocates.org
Reconciliation
Rights
Separation Decree
Initiate Process to Inflict Penalty
Repair Material / Financial Damages
Prevent Sacrilege and Scandal
Request For Suspension Or Simultaneous Adjudication, Response To Accused-Spouse’s Filing For Decree Of Invalidity

A multi-sectioned word.doc available as free download. The Petition to Bishop is 5th section

Instructions (6 pages)
General Facts and Circumstances That Will Prove the Allegations (6 pages)
Wife’s Cover Letter to Bishop for Petition (5 pages)
Husband’s Cover Letter to Bishop for Petition (5 pages)
Petition to Bishop to Pursue Reconciliation, Separation, Penal Process, Denial of Holy Communion (5 pages)
Historical Background of the Rights on Which the Petitioner Bases the Case (10 pages)
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written by Christina Steele, March 30, 2014
Thank you Bai. That is very interesting. That won't help my mom though. She has an annulment from the Church for her marriage to my father. It is her husband, my step-father, who does not have one. The thing that makes no sense though is that he and his ex-wife are not Catholic and were married in a protestant church. That is what I think is silly; that he should have to have his marriage annulled by the catholic church, when he never got married by the catholic church in a sacramental way. Therefore, my mom is stuck. The only way she can receive communion again is if my step-father dies, or she divorces him after 18 years. I'm not sure what anyone would recommend she do. She has been married to him longer than my father. She is in limbo and very sad. She is a faithful Catholic, goes to church every Sunday and prays all the time. I know if it was today, she would not have married him, but after 18 years, she can't just kick him to the curb. That is why I say there must be a path to forgiveness. She has done everything right; why does her non-Catholic husband and his non-Catholic marriage have to receive a Catholic annulment?
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written by Val, August 15, 2014
The Church can interpret and define the teachings of Christ, but the iron-clad approach to legalism against the merciful forgiveness of Christ contradicts if not opposes the other. The law interpreter cannot be opposed to lawgiver. If Christ's approach toward the adulterous woman was of non-condemnation but of mercy against the determined group of stone hurlers, where is the balance in the Church today when judgments, prejudices and presumptions are hurled at people who most need the mercy of Christ. Christ was not about legalism, judgment or condemnation. He was above all about emancipation, mercy and forgiveness. If the Church represents Christ, why is there emphasis on firmly drawing the line against "them" at the cost of the love that we were taught to perform by Christ? I sincerely believe that our Church is progressing to know the Truth, the Truth that ultimately defines and embraces all human sinfulness and weaknesses, that we may be saved rather than be condemned. And, so, this time of contradiction and uncertainty will be for the triumph of Christ and His Church, especially for those oppressed and silenced for things beyond their control and conscience.

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