Letters to the Editor

Two Views of Annulment

Dear Editor: This is in reaction to the comments posted on The Tablet website about Father Catoir’s column about the annulment process.

If we begin to bias toward invalidity rather than the presumption that marriages are valid (Can. 1060), then this “mercy” does practically change the doctrine of indissolubility.

Mercy is very important in all areas of Christian life. The person seeking the annulment is most often the person who chose to end the family life, very often with very weak reasoning that would not stand up to the commitment lived by most of the faithful in marriage throughout Church history.

The choice for mercy in cases like these is mutually exclusive between the perpetrator of the breaking of a family and the committed spouse plus the children. Getting soft on doling out annulments is not truly merciful to the most innocent in these cases. It’s prioritizing the wants of the more guilty party, which is a violation of both justice and mercy.

We’ve got to start steering back toward protecting the innocent and the faithful. The Church will be greatly damaged if these are the people that we alienate and push out, which is what happens due to complicity with disposable families.


Hanover, Md.

Dear Editor: As a Catholic who sought and was granted an annulment, I must agree with Pope Francis’ call for “mercy.” The views seem to be judgmental and harsh.

Brad calls the person seeking the annulment a “perpetrator” of the breaking up of the family.” A civil divorce has usually already been granted prior to the annulment process. Often the divorce has been granted years before and the family has already dealt with the breakup.

Either spouse can seek an annulment whether they are the “perpetrator” or the “committed” spouse. It would seem to me that it would be the spouse more committed to the Catholic faith who has the desire to remain within the Church who seeks the annulment.

Another respondent seems to feel that divorced Catholics do not deserve a second chance. Who is he to judge others and the circumstances that brought them to divorce?
There are many reasons for seeking an annulment in the Church. Despite the changes made to streamline the process, it remains a soul-searching process for the petitioner. If mercy is in the hearts of the Tribunal members, then so be it.



5 thoughts on “Two Views of Annulment

  1. Ms. Jennings. Why do you equate mercy with granting annulments? Why wouldn’t mercy mean refusing an annulment? And why would an annulment years after a civil divorce mean that the damage done no longer matters? And why do you assume “soul searching” can never be self serving?

    1. Absolutely, and I am offended by your abuse of the concept of mercy that assumes it necessarily comes to fruition with the evil practice of divorce rather than resistance to divorce. It is absurd to characterize a coherent principle as “judgmental” in the popular sense that attaches a negative connotation. Jesus commanded us to resist divorce as an absolute.