Q: I’m dating a guy who got an annulment, and I’ve been assuming all along that maybe we’ll end up getting married. Recently though I met his ex-wife totally by accident. She has already remarried in [the Catholic] Church. She kind of rolled her eyes and said some things to indicate that her ex (my boyfriend) can’t get remarried in Church.
Well that didn’t make any sense, so I just ignored it. Until I mentioned it to him, that is, and he was evasive and tried to change the subject. I can see he’s hiding something… I don’t understand how you could get your marriage annulled, and yet still be unable to marry again in Church. How is that even possible? –April Continue reading
Q: A coworker and friend needs help with a really tough question about canon law. This one has stumped some of the best canonists in our area.
My friend is an Anglican who wants to convert to Catholicism badly. He is married and was never married before. His wife was married before… she and her previous husband are both Fundamentalist Baptists (staunch anti-Catholics).
Obviously she needs an annulment for my Anglican friend to enter the Church. However, she doesn’t want him to become Catholic…. She is familiar enough with our canon law to understand that refusing to get an annulment is enough to keep him out of the Church. So she does this to try to force him to choose between the Church and her.
My friend is heartbroken over this. He knows the Catholic Church is the only true Church, and he wants in, but he is being kept out by his wife’s refusal to cooperate with the annulment process.
Is there any hope for him in canon law? Is there any way he can bring a case before the Church against her previous marriage, without involving her in the process? –Shane Continue reading
Q: I want to try to get an annulment, but my ex-wife has already informed me that if I do, she will not cooperate with the marriage tribunal. She is taking this position out of spite, of course, because she wants to prevent me from remarrying in the Church.
I spoke to both my pastor and a tribunal official, and both of them said I can submit the annulment petition anyway, and they can proceed without my ex-wife’s input. But I can’t tell if they’re just saying this to try to be nice to me. Does my petition have any chance of approval, if they’re only getting my side of the story? Additionally, I’m wondering if my ex-wife won’t cooperate, and I manage to get an annulment without her involvement, can she later get the decision overturned? –Craig Continue reading
Q: There are certain enumerated acts which trigger automatic, latae sententiae excommunication. Some of these acts could conceivably be performed by a Pope; for instance, it seems a Pope could help procure an abortion. Is it, then, theoretically possible for a Pope to be excommunicated?
When I have asked others about this in the past, the response has usually been, “God forbid that a Pope would do such a thing!” I agree with that sentiment, of course, but it dodges the question.
My guess is that, were a Pope to abuse his free will in this way, God would short-circuit the dilemma by striking him dead before the theoretical problem became a real dilemma. –Howard Continue reading
Q: In theory, can a Pope commit heresy? If so, I’m trying to figure out who could declare that he was a heretic. What would happen? –Thomas
A: This question had already been asked, before the September 24 announcement that a group of Catholic scholars from around the world had issued a “filial correction” to Pope Francis, warning him that some of his statements and writings have caused heresy to spread within the Church. Needless to say, the news renders this discussion more timely than ever. Continue reading