Monday, August 31, 2009

Catholic Church, Divorce, and Annulment

Q: My mom and dad want to come into the Catholic Church, but the priest says they can’t until my mom gets her first marriage annulled. Is an annulment like a Catholic divorce?

A: The same situation happened with my parents. They explained to me that an annulment is when a marriage is reviewed by a Catholic tribunal to determine whether or not there was something existing when the couple got married that would make their marriage null (lacking characteristics that would make it a fully blessed marriage in the Catholic Church). Divorce is a civil action. The Catholic Church does not grant divorces. An annulment is not a Catholic divorce. In the eyes of God, you are married till death do you part. However, certain conditions could be present that would have made the marriage invalid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Therefore an annulment could be granted, and you would be free to marry in the church again.