Why Would Non-Catholics Get an Annulment?

Q:  As a non-Christian I was civilly married (no kids), that marriage in civil divorce. Later I found faith (I’m Catholic now) and met a wonderful man with whom I’m in love. He’s Catholic too.  I found out that we will not be able to marry in Church, unless I get an annulment.

I was told I have to go through a full annulment process which is quite long in my country due to a lack of people educated in Canon Law.  I brought documents to the tribunal office (one of two) in my country and they said that they will put me on a waiting-list (few years long), but meanwhile I can supply more evidence if I find some.

My main concern, when trying to find more useful information to build my case, is this: are the “standards” the same for both Catholics and non-Catholics—unity, indissolubility, the good of spouses and having children?

What if a non-Catholic at the time of getting civilly married does not know the full information about how Catholic Church views marriage?  In general—I am wondering how non-Catholics can give valid consent, if they don’t know what the Church teaches about marriage? —Lenka Continue reading

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Why Can a Parish Priest Annul This Marriage?

Q: My daughter stopped practicing her faith when she left home, and was married in a civil ceremony to a non-Catholic man.  The mayor of their city married them.  After a few years, the marriage ended in divorce, no children.

Now I’m happy to say she has returned to the Church… she told the pastor of her parish about her marriage, because she wants to request an annulment.  The pastor told her he could annul it himself, when she wants to get married again!  We were shocked, we know that can’t be right.  My daughter then phoned the Marriage Tribunal and told them she wants to do this properly, but they insisted she can only begin the process through the pastor of her parish.

Now none of us knows what to do.  Is there a way to get to the Tribunal without having to deal with this wacky pastor?  What’s the best way to go about this? –Angelo Continue reading

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Canon Law and a Convent of Rebellious Sisters

Q:  Several decades ago a new order of sisters was founded in our diocese.  They help us parish priests by teaching the children and also by catechizing the adults.

But in recent years they have gone out of control.  By challenging the Church’s teachings and the authority of the clergy, the sisters have encouraged rebellion in our diocese.  There have been a lot of battles fought between the bishop and the sisters, and finally the bishop told us privately that he intended to close the convent down.

Before he could do that, however, he retired and now we have a new bishop.  He’s being very cautious about the whole situation… the bishop told us priests that he has no authority to shut down the sisters, only the Vatican can do this.  We are skeptical because the institute was founded not by Rome, but by the diocesan bishop.  So why can’t the bishop close the institute himself?   Some priests suspect that he is looking for an excuse to avoid facing the situation himself…  –Father M. Continue reading

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Why Would a Wedding in Our College Chapel be Invalid?

Q:  My girlfriend and I decided to get married next year.  She wants to have the wedding in the chapel at the Catholic college where we both studied.  She already talked to the chaplain in the Campus Ministry Office, and he said we can get married there since we’re alumni of the school.

He sounded like there’s no issue with doing this, but I remember hearing several years ago about marriages in Campus Ministry chapels being declared invalid.  I searched online but now I can’t find any information… I know I’m not imagining this.  Is there a problem under canon law with us getting married there? –Daniel Continue reading

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Can Catholics Marry in Any Parish Church They Want?

Q: My fiancé and I just decided to get married.  The city where we both live is very far from both of our home-towns and our relatives, but we’ll be having the wedding here in our parish, which is also where we first met.

The problem is my fiancé’s mother, who insists we should get married in her parish, where my fiancé was born and raised, because most of his family still lives in that area so it’s easier for them.  Neither of us wants to do that, we just took it for granted that we would get married in our current parish.  But now we’re wondering what canon law says, because it would theoretically be possible to have our wedding in my fiancé’s mother’s parish, wouldn’t it?  Can we get married in any parish church that we please, as long as the pastor agrees?  Could you please explain how that works?  Thank you. –Felicia Continue reading

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