The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

I am a divorced Catholic woman. I have not yet remarried, but neither have I attempted to gain an annulment. The idea of seeking an annulment to declare that no “valid” marriage ever took place causes me anger and frustration. This process suggests that some imperfection existed at the time of the marriage. Does the Church think anyone gets married who is without imperfection? Clearly the celibate male hierarchy has no real understanding of marriage and has idealized it beyond reality.

My husband and I married with full hearts and full commitment to each other. We brought the best that we had to the marriage. We raised our children and created a life together for 30 years. When I came to see that he suffered from multiple addictions, I tried to work with him for 4 years toward recovery. That failed. After nine months of daily prayer and meditation, I felt strongly guided by the Holy Spirit to leave him and create a healthy life for myself and for my children.

The process of annulment suggests failure because we had imperfections. My actual experience suggests that we are all imperfect and the marriage relationship is an opportunity for mutual growth beyond those imperfections. Sometimes growth happens; sometimes not. Rather than setting up judges to determine whether a couple is worthy of annulment, the Church would have served me better by supporting my prayerful discernment, honoring my individual conscience, and offering solace during the painful time of divorce.

I still have not sought an annulment, and I will not…even if I decide to remarry.{jcomments on}