The Annulment Process: A Right And A Healing

Here’s a thought – maybe the annulment process can be a good and healing experience.

Last week, I posted a guest perspective from Christine Cavanaugh, an annulment advocate in Seattle. Christine compared the apprehension that people feel about the annulment process to the feelings that they have about a root canal. I was struck by that because the concept of root canal is worse than the procedure itself.

Based on colloquial expressions I thought that a root canal was one of the worst things to endure. Then, I had a root canal. It was a huge relief. When I walked into the doctor’s office, I had spent 24 hours vomiting from the pain. A late night trip to the ER was useless. The root canal took all of that away. After the procedure, I went out and had a big lunch. I felt fantastic. I became a fan of root canals. That procedure was certainly better than all the pain I felt before.

So I’ve continued with the idea that the annulment process can be a good thing in a new piece at Our Sunday Visitor.

Many people do not know they have a right to have the Church examine their marriage if they think that there are serious reasons why it might not be valid in the first place. Consider, for example, a couple who thinks their marriage may not be valid but wants to rectify whatever is lacking so that they can be in a valid marriage with each other. Canon law provides for this with a two-fold process called the clarification and sanation of the bond. However, this can only be done if the Church determines there was no marriage in the first place.

I would further argue that allowing people who have serious concerns about their marriage to petition the Church for a decree of nullity might have a therapeutic and pastoral effect… Read more.


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