what is the Difference?
"What GOD has joined together, let no man put asunder."
Jesus Christ has said that those who are united in the eyes of GOD
in matrimony until death do they part.
The legal dissolution of a marriage, a severance of the
marriage bond in a civil environment. The civil laws of our country
accept the premise that two married people can terminate their
with the blessings of the state.
The Catholic Church teaches that if two baptized persons marry
in the eyes of GOD, neither they, nor the
state, nor the Church itself
has the authority to dissolve that marriage. The
key word here is validly.
Many people believe that an annulment is the Church's equivalent to a
divorce. This could not be further from the truth.
To make or declare a marriage is void or
An act of making or declaring a marriage as being
The Church, however, can examine a marriage that has failed and
determine if the marriage was lacking an essential quality for a
complete and valid union from the very beginning. This process can
six months or more and is performed by a tribunal from the Diocese
the parties reside.
There are many valid reasons for the tribunal to grant an annulment.
have to do with the two parties involved, not openly revealing
to each other
at the very beginning, their feelings on certain matters.
I will list only a
few valid reasons for illustration here.
1. The primary purpose of
marriage is the procreation of children.
After the marriage one party says,
"I do not want children."
2. Either or both parties are married to third
3. One is homosexual and did not reveal this to the other.
party has a criminal record and did not reveal it.
There are many more
valid reasons for which an annulment may be
granted by the Church. I would
advise the consultation of a Catholic
priest for more on this subject.
A divorce breaks the civil bond of a marriage.
annulment declares that the marriage was invalid from the beginning.
annulment does not separate what GOD has joined. It merely
declares that what
had been joined was not fully what GOD had intended.
Written by Bob Stanley, January 14, 1999.
Updated December 10, 2006
Back to Home Page...