Catholic Reconciliation

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is an intimate partnership of life and love, arising from the irrevocable consent of husband and wife. This partnership is characterized by indissolubility and fidelity and is ordained by God for the procreation and education of children. For those who have been baptized, Christ raises the marital relationship to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church presumes every marriage (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, non-believer) to be a valid marriage until the opposite is proven. When a relationship has ended and a civil divorce has been obtained, any person may petition the Church to investigate if there are grounds for declaring that marriage invalid on the basis of some impediment, a defect in the person's consent or the lack of some essential element of the marital union. We have a sacred duty to respond to such a petition and to declare, whether a true marriage ever existed under Catholic Canon Law.

What is an Annulment?
An ecclesiastical annulment is a formal declaration by the Church that a particular relationship was not a valid union from the very beginning. It differs from a divorce. In the United States, an ecclesiastical annulment has no effect in civil law. Such matters as the legitimacy of children, property rights, etc. are in no way affected by a declaration of nullity. An annulment process will not be initiated until a divorce decree has been obtained.

Why is an Annulment Necessary?
Christ taught that marriage is meant to be a permanent and faithful union, a sacred bond which, if valid, cannot be broken by any human authority. Thus, a divorced person, seeking a new marriage in the Catholic Church, cannot be permitted to marry in the Church until it has investigated the circumstances of the previous union to determine whether a true bond ever existed. If invalid, the parties to that union are considered free to marry in the Church. The actual history of the marriage and what led to the breakdown of the marital relationship, will be investigated. The guidelines used in the investigation of the circumstances involved in the marital situation are The Sacred Canons of the Catholic Church.

How do I obtain the Annulment?
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Revised: May 16, 2010.