Internal Forum Sometimes it is suggested to individuals or couples
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Internal Forum. Sometimes it is suggested to sacraments after divorce and re-marriage (not individuals or couples that they can resolve having first obtained an annulment) or desires Annulment marital issues concerning a first marriage in the greater clarity concerning such issues should Decree of Nullity "internal forum." This means essentially in the seek the advice of their diocese's Tribunal. The confessional or in the privacy of their complexity of these issues requires individual Marriage Is Indissoluble. conscience. Someone who is divorced and attention, such as cannot be provided by a The Church teaches, as does Jesus in Mt 19:9, remarried will be told that they do not have to Forum such as this. that every Christian marriage is indissoluble seek a Decree of Nullity to validate the present except by the death of one of the spouses. No marriage, rather being convinced in their own The Evangelization Station power on earth can dissolve a ratified and conscience that their first marriage was invalid 23260 Joaquin Gully Rd. Unit 6 consummated union of two baptized Christians they can return to the sacraments. This is not, Twain Harte, California, 95383USA (one in which vows have been validly however, the case. Marriage is not a private Telephone: 209-728-5598 exchanged and which has been later affair but a social institution, one safeguarded by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org consummated by intercourse). the Church according to the will of Christ. The www.evangelizationstation.com Holy See has ruled out the internal forum A valid marriage requires the proper intention at solution as a valid way of resolving marital Pamphlet 016 the time that the vows are exchanged. The validity questions. Such issues must be parties must intend to make a marriage, which submitted to the Church's canonical processes (a by definition is a life-long communion open to marriage tribunal). new human life. These are called the unitive and procreative meanings of marriage. If either of Where to go for additional information. the two meanings of marriage (an indissoluble union and procreation) are excluded by the will “Do I need an annulment?” by Jacqueline Rapp, of either the man or the woman no marriage is JD, JCL, and Peter Vere, JCL, Envoy Magazine, made on the wedding day (canon 1096). Vol. 6.3. ww.envoymagazine.com For example, someone who has no intention of Catechism of the Catholic Church, being faithful cannot make a marriage since at SecondEdition, #1621 ff. the very time of exchanging vows he or she http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism precludes the life-long fidelity that is intrinsic to /p2s2c3a7.htm#I marriage. This is often demonstrated right at the beginning, or shortly thereafter, by infidelity. Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Or, someone who intends to exclude the Church in the Modern World, Nos. 47-52. possibility of children does not validly marry. Revised Code of Canon Law, 1055-1057, 1134, (Those who cannot have children due to age or 1141-1142. infertility are not meant here, but only those who http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_v could bear children but intend to avoid this atican_council/documents/vatii_cons_19651207 marital responsibility completely.) _gaudium-et-spes_en.html It should be noted that if a valid marriage is Questions? Anyone who is uncertain about his made on the wedding day later infidelity or a or her marital status, wants to return to the contraceptive will would not invalidate it. It is only when the will of either party in making the • Psychological immaturity that did not allow The Tribunal Process. The process of marriage contradicts the Plan of God from the one of both parties to understand the true nature obtaining a Decree of Nullity entails submitting beginning of marriage that it is invalid. The of marriage at the time of the wedding. An the facts of the marriage, with supporting Church accepts every marriage as valid until example would be a teenage couple who hardly witnesses, to the diocesan marriage tribunal. proven otherwise, however (canon 1060). knew each other, but who decide to marry Either party can do this. Then after a evaluation because of pregnancy. They have not thought of these facts a judgment on the validity of the What a decree of Nullity Is. An annulment, about how they will support each other in marriage is made. A second court, usually a properly called a Decree of Nullity, is a finding marriage, nor do they know each other well neighboring diocese, must verify the judgment by a Church tribunal that on the day the vows enough to make a lifelong commitment. and it must be approved by one's bishop. were exchanged at least some essential element Whatever decision is made, it may be appealed for a valid marriage was lacking, such as, one of None of these conditions are assumed they must to the Roman Rota (the Holy See's court for the parties did not intend lifelong fidelity to the be proven. A Decree of Nullity does not dissolve matrimonial cases). other person or excluded children entirely. the marriage, it cannot. It is a reasoned judgment Another example would be that one of the that one never existed, and as such is capable of Since this is a voluntary process most dioceses parties was incapable of marriage (due to some human error. If the tribunal is fastidious to have a fee to cover administrative costs. If this constitutional weakness, such as mental illness Church law and theology and the couple and fee is a hardship an individual should ask that it or some psychological condition that prevented their witnesses are honest, the decision can be be waived. making the marital commitment – gross followed in good-faith, including a new immaturity, homosexuality, etc.). Other common marriage. If someone is abusing the process Is Divorce a Sin? When the Pharisees asked reasons for an annulment are: through deceit, however, it would be a very Jesus if it was permissible for a man to divorce grave sin for that person. A person who his wife, Jesus said: “Whoever divorces his wife • The existence of an impediment, such as a innocently enters a second marriage would not and marries another, commits adultery against previous marriage or religious vows or a close be guilty of sin, but the person who abused the her; and if she divorces her husband and marries relationship between the couple (a brother and process to fraudulently obtain a decree in order another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11- sister or first cousins). Some of these can be to remarry would commit adultery by 12). Because of this statement, many people dispensed. remarrying. think that divorce (separation) is a sin and • Psychological incapacity, at the time of the grounds for automatic excommunication. In fact, wedding, to assume the duties of marriage; for An "annulment" does not concern whether the divorced Catholics who have not remarried example, if one of the parties suffers from a marriage was a happy one, whether one of the remain in good standing with the Church. They serious mental illness that prevents him or her spouses later became unfaithful, or later decided are not excommunicated. However, individuals from taking up parental or spousal duties. not to have children, but only their intention on who are divorced and remarried without a • The presence, at the time of the wedding, of an the wedding day. If a marriage was made that Decree of Nullity are not permitted to receive intention contrary to marriage or something that day it is a life-long bond, irrespective of Holy Communion unless they agree to live as essential to marriage; for example, one of the what happened later in the marriage. To "annul" brother and sister. spouses refuses to have children, does not intend a marriage based on "failure to achieve to remain faithful to the other spouse, or believes communion" or some other factor not Marriage after a Decree. If a Decree of Nullity in the possibility of divorce. recognized by the Holy See (as has been done) is is given the couple are free to marry, unless the • The presence of a future “condition” for not a decree of nullity at all but a divorce. Such condition that led to the invalidity (e.g. lack of marriage, such as one spouse demanding that the decisions are a source of grave scandal in the intention, mental illness, incapacitating other spouse will achieve a certain level of Church and are both canonically and morally immaturity) still exists. Then the person who has income. invalid. that condition is still incapable of marriage, but the other person may marry.