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Author Topic: The RCC finally does something right!  (Read 3431 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: June 19, 2007, 10:47:21 PM »

The most controversial "marriage that never was" in recent U.S. political history is back. Sources tell TIME that the Vatican has reversed the annulment of Joseph P. Kennedy II's marriage to Sheila Rauch. The annulment had been granted in secrecy by the Catholic Church after the couple's 1991 no-fault civil divorce. Rauch found out about the de-sanctification of their marriage only in 1996, after Kennedy had been wedded to his former Congressional aide, Beth Kelly, for three years.

The annulment was the subject of Rauch's 1997 book Shattered Faith, which lambasted her ex-husband and was severely critical of the Catholic Church's proceedings, which made the marriage (which had produced twin boys) null and void in the eyes of the church. Rauch argued that Kennedy was able to unilaterally "cancel" nearly 12 years of marriage because of his clan's influence in the church. Kennedy argued at the time that the annulment was the right thing to do in religious terms. Few observers thought the appeal to Rome by Rauch, an Episcopalian, had a chance against the well-connected Kennedy. With women's groups loudly on Rauch's side, the controversy may have contributed to Kennedy's decision to give up his plans to seek re-election to Congress in 1998.

Reached by TIME in her Massachusetts home on Tuesday, Rauch said that she had just recently been informed by Boston Archdiocese officials of her successful appeal. "I am very pleased," she told TIME. "There was a real marriage. It was a marriage that failed, but as grown-ups we need to take responsibility for that. The [annulment] process was dishonest, and it was important to stand up and say that." But Rauch says she worries that the practice, particularly in the U.S., of giving what she called "easy annulments" will continue. "They don't give people a fair defense. The Boston Archdiocese doesn't even tell you that you can appeal to Rome." Reached by TIME, Kennedy's office provided no reaction from the former congressman.

Erroneously dubbed "Catholic divorce," an annulment in fact holds that a failed marriage was never valid in the eyes of the Church. With divorce strictly prohibited in Catholicism, annulments allow Catholics to remarry before a priest and continue receiving the sacraments. Several years after his 1991 civil divorce to Rauch, Kennedy obtained an annulment from a Church tribunal in Massachusetts so he could have a Church ceremony with Kelly. The couple had already been married in a 1993 civil ceremony, but needed the Roma Rota appeals tribunal at the Vatican to uphold the Massachusetts annulment verdict before they could be married by a priest. Now with Rauch's successful appeal, that cannot happen, unless Kennedy wins a counter-appeal.

The Roma Rota's ruling, written in Latin, was reached in 2005, and had been kept secret while the official written notice was being prepared, said a source in Rome familiar with the case. Rauch's successful appeal effectively reinstates the Kennedy-Rauch marriage in the eyes of the Vatican. The case once again highlights this unique Catholic Church proceeding. Some 75% of annulments each year are from the United States, where there are an estimated 8 million divorced and remarried Catholics. The subject came up in the 2004 presidential campaign after word spread that John Kerry had obtained an annulment of his first marriage. Another prominent Catholic who has had a marriage annulled is former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who is now running for the Republican Presidential nomination.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI has indicated that he wants to streamline the Roma Rota to respond to the desire of divorced Catholics to stay inside the Church. But there is also concern that some Catholics, particularly in the U.S., abuse the practice. "People think it's their right," says one Rome-based canon lawyer. He adds sternly,"It's not a right."

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1634956,00.html?cnn=yes
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Jakub
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2007, 10:55:28 PM »

Ain't got anything more better...

james
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2007, 12:20:46 AM »

The annulment is an absurd procedure that turns those who thought they were married in to fornicators and their children into bastards in the eyes of Rome. Furthermore, another logical implication of the practice is that sometimes when the Holy Spirit is called down in a Sacramental context he just thumbs his nose at everyone and says 'I told you so' at the annulment...give me a break. The only rational and consistant practice would be to forbid remarriage, but that's unrealistic. So our practice of divorce and remarriage seems to be the best, it admits that there once was something but through human sinfulness at times sacramental bonds not only between two people, but between them and God, can be broken...but the Church like God is loving and understanding, and thus will give people additional chances. Glad that Rome realizes the practical problems with their system, if only they could realize the logical absurdities.
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2007, 12:36:28 AM »

I have always found the idea of annulments puzziling.  I find the idea of now reversing even moreso.
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2007, 01:43:20 AM »

The annulment is an absurd procedure that turns those who thought they were married in to fornicators and their children into bastards in the eyes of Rome. Furthermore, another logical implication of the practice is that sometimes when the Holy Spirit is called down in a Sacramental context he just thumbs his nose at everyone and says 'I told you so' at the annulment...give me a break. Glad that Rome realizes the practical problems with their system, if only they could realize the logical absurdities.

This is not going to stop RCs from seeking annulments though.  ON a personal note, a friend of mine who was chrismated and received into Orthodoxy along with me is a former RC whose husband sought an annulment so he could marry his mistress.  The four children they had were considered illegitimate.  2 of those kids essentially hate their father and the other 2 reluctantly visit him because of his custodial rights.  If you have an annulment why would you still want to cultivate a relationship with bastard children?  It's a screwed up situation and that is one of the reasons why my friend left the RC, because she was clearly abused by their absurdities.
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2007, 07:46:06 AM »

I've never understood them either.  In the Orthodox Church, the service for a 2nd marriage is a little different from the service for a 1st marriage.  I think there are more penitential prayers/hymns.
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2007, 08:30:44 AM »

I'm a bastard. It's no big deal. Canonically, bastard children are no different in the Church. It's not even worth making the distinction.

The tribunals in many parts of the United States are a travesty, even approaching rubber-stamping annulment requests for all kinds of reasons. Yet another thing ignored by our Let's-Not-Rock-the-Boat bishops. Rome even believes that many of the annulments are invalid themselves (which explains why the Kennedy annulment was "reversed"---it's just that in most cases, neither party will appeal an annulment decision because both want it). And of course they are. The people in the tribunals are doing a grave disservice to these couples because of their lack of discernment.

It's yet another messy collision of Christian virtue and American "values." It's so hard to run a church of 65 million in this country of consumers.
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2007, 08:39:05 AM »

In the Orthodox Church, the service for a 2nd marriage is a little different from the service for a 1st marriage.  I think there are more penitential prayers/hymns.
And there is no crowning in a second marriage.
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2007, 09:40:34 AM »

That's right--I forgot about the no crowning.  I've only been to one 2nd marriage that I can remember, and that was a long time ago.  However, I will be going to one next month.  Ironically, the groom is a divorced (for 15 years or so) RC.  He is having trouble getting an annulment, got fed up with waiting, and will marry without the annulment.  He is not planning on converting to Orthodoxy, but I don't know what will happen if the annulment never comes through.
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2007, 09:50:54 AM »

I've only been to one 2nd marriage that I can remember, and that was a long time ago.  However, I will be going to one next month.  Ironically, the groom is a divorced (for 15 years or so) RC.  He is having trouble getting an annulment, got fed up with waiting, and will marry without the annulment.  He is not planning on converting to Orthodoxy, but I don't know what will happen if the annulment never comes through.
My cousin who was Orthodox was married in an Anglican Church to his first wife, and later divorced. He then married an Orthodox wife in the Orthodox Church, and the couple were crowned, so I'm not sure that in the case where the first marriage is outside the Church that it is considered a "first marriage". Although a civil divorce is still required in this case, an ecclesiastical divorce is not required, since the Church didn't bless the marriage in the first place. So I wouldn't be surprised if the couple were to be crowned at the wedding next month. I'd be interested to know if they are or aren't, so let me know!
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2007, 09:59:53 AM »

In the Greek Church, a marriage outside the Church doesn't count, so is crowned.  In all Orthodox Churches, if one partner is marrying for the first time, the couple is crowned anyway to give the benefit of the doubt.  In Catholic annulments, it is my understanding that factually speaking, the children are not considered bastards as there was a "natural" marriage; the question is whether there was a sacramental marriage. In Catholicism, there are these distinctions, so while I disagree with them, let's try to represent their views fairly.

I think annulments make sense in cases of clear deceit (like you married someone that turned out to be gay) but other than that, no way.

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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 10:05:51 AM »

Suffice it to say that the bishop is the authority in this issue. Years ago when I obtained my ecclesiastical permission to remarry I was told I would have a penitential second marriage service. When I asked how that would work with this being my Orthodox wife's first marriage, I could see the three priests mulling that over; then "OK, first marriage service". I am sure this varies just about everywhere.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2007, 01:58:55 PM »

There may be Orthodox readers who are somewhat puzzled at how the Catholic Church claims to be able to reverse the action of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of marriage.  It is because Catholics have a different understanding of how the sacrament "works."  Here are a few paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that might clarify the matter, footnotes omitted:

"1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. *  *  *  *

"1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage." If consent is lacking there is no marriage.

"1627 The consent consists in a "human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other": "I take you to be my wife" - "I take you to be my husband." This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two "becoming one flesh."

"1628 The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. No human power can substitute for this consent. If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.

"1629 For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed. In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged."

By the way, the Catholic Church does not consider the children of an annulled marriage to be in any way "bastards" or illegitimate.

For the record, I am still Catholic but I'm rather disgusted by the abuse of the annulment process in this country.  This is posted only so Orthodox readers may have a better understanding of the theory behind the practice.

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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2007, 02:42:07 PM »

My cousin who was Orthodox was married in an Anglican Church to his first wife, and later divorced. He then married an Orthodox wife in the Orthodox Church, and the couple were crowned, so I'm not sure that in the case where the first marriage is outside the Church that it is considered a "first marriage". Although a civil divorce is still required in this case, an ecclesiastical divorce is not required, since the Church didn't bless the marriage in the first place. So I wouldn't be surprised if the couple were to be crowned at the wedding next month. I'd be interested to know if they are or aren't, so let me know!

The bride is a convert, but I'm pretty sure they had their marriage blessed.  In your cousin's case, I think you're right that since his marriage wasn't blessed by the Church, no ecclesiastical divorce was required.

Please remind me if you don't hear from me--the wedding is 7/21.  Since our choir director is the sponsor, I'll have to be in charge of the music!

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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2007, 03:23:43 PM »

Excellent info, Jim Cole. I read somewhere that the Roman Rota overturns about 9 out of 10 American annulments that are appealed to Rome. The diocesan marriage tribunals in the USA are VERY fallible. The bishops are asleep on the job (as usual).
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TomS
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2007, 10:15:09 PM »

In the Greek Church, a marriage outside the Church doesn't count, so is crowned. 

Right. My 2nd marriage was in the Orthodox Church. Not only that, but my second marriage is even listed as my first marriage in the document sent to the diocese.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2007, 08:46:21 PM »

ozgeorge, the wedding was today, and the couple was crowned.  Most of the Order of Crowning was omitted (or maybe substituted with other prayers).  There were other prayer substitutions as well.  The church was packed, but my nerves went away once the service started.  In fact, a few people told me I sang well and that I had a beautiful voice.  I don't know about that, but I did appreciate the compliments.
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ozgeorge
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2007, 09:06:48 PM »

Thanks for that Sarah! Many years to them!
I'm sure you sang like an Angel!
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2007, 08:51:11 AM »

Thanks!   Embarrassed
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« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2007, 10:36:55 PM »

I think annulments make sense in cases of clear deceit (like you married someone that turned out to be gay) but other than that, no way.
There are many other such valid reasons for granting an annulment ie saying that a marriage never took place.
The problem is some tribunals are allowing too many things and apparently Rome is cracking down.
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« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2012, 02:08:38 AM »

I'm a bastard kid, my parents had me when they were fifteen about three years before they got married. In the Roman Catholic Church's eyes does that mean I am of less importance? My mother growing up attended a RC Church sometimes before she became a Protestant and they used to harass her sometimes when she got pregnant with me.
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