I don't think "none of your business" translates well into Catholic
June 20, 2012 5:27 PM Subscribe
I'm in the process of applying for an annulment to my marriage in the Catholic church, and am already feeling incredibly violated and offended by what the tribunal wants to know in order to pass judgement. Help me figure out if I want to suck it up and proceed.
posted by anonymous to Religion & Philosophy (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When I got engaged at 20, my parents were the only ones who cared that it be a proper Catholic wedding - I'm not particularly religious, neither were my fiancee or his family. I think of it more as family tradition than anything spiritually meaningful in my life. But to make my folks happy, we got married in a church. Fast forward about a decade - I've been officially divorced for over 4 years now. It was a dreadful experience I'd just prefer to let go and not think of again. I have zero contact with anyone from that period in my life besides my own family.
I've been dating a wonderful guy R for 1.75 years now, we are pretty solid together. He recently converted to Catholicism. He came into the fold via his roommate S and S's circle of friends from the catholic youth organization, who are now dear friends of R's too. Though his friends are very strict religious types, he's a lot more liberal about it, and I agree with his personal views. I actually like going to church with him because it's familiar, friendly, and I find the singing and ritual meditative. He likes that i go with him and am supportive of this aspect of his life. He's still a fair bit more religious than i am, but it's a level I'm comfortable with. I am indignant at the idea of very traditional Catholic values being imposed upon me though, which has resulted in my having issues with his best friend S a few times, and now with this annulment business.
R and I see our relationship lasting for the long haul. Knowing he'd like to eventually seal the deal in a Catholic church, I have been looking into getting an annulment. The Catholic church doesn't recognize divorce, if I want to get married in the church again I need to have a tribunal review my case and judge whether they will grant an annulment.
To even get the info to begin an annulment, i had to be interviewed by a staff member at the Catholic Family Services Centre so she could decide whether I had a case. She asked every last detail up front and basically gave the impression a) she is holding this in confidence so why should I hold back? that's not helping your case to hold back and b) she might not even let me try unless she was really convinced I would have a solid case. Since I need to prove it was never a real marriage to begin with, I must submit a written testimony of all the sordid details of the marriage. I also have to provide them with my ex's contact info, and 3 consenting witnesses, so they will all be interviewed too. Preferably these witnesses will be from both sides to make a stronger case. It will take 18 months or longer, and they will charge me $800 to cover *part* of the expense.
Reading through the application package, the whole process just leaves me sour and offended because it is far more prying than I feel is necessary. Beyond my recounting all the miserable, despairing details of my failed relationship, which will be judged by a tribunal as valid or not. They're even asking for personal information on our present circumstances that I don't feel pertains to the former marriage, so it's none of their beeswax. The other problem is that most of my marriage problems were hidden from others, so no one knew. Witnesses won't really help. It all feels worse than having a room full of strangers peek in on my pelvic exam, it's literally going through the divorce a second time. I feel like if it was just the money, ok. Or just the invasiveness, well maybe. But together it feels insulting, taking advantage, punishing, vengeful for not taking my marriage seriously.
Yes I've talked to my bf about this, and he says if it upsets me this much then maybe we shouldn't worry about it. Part of me is relieved because I don't particularly look forward to getting married in the Catholic faith again, especially with his mega-catholic friends possibly getting involved - we've been to at least 10 weddings in the last 2 years heavy on the religion and I've found them all rather uncomfortable. That's a bridge we'd cross when we get there though. I don't really care about having a wedding at all, I've already done that. I'd rather let R decide what he wants to do since it's his first wedding, and he said he wants this option to be open for us when the time comes. It's just not a small thing to ask of me.
I react strongly to things I'm morally opposed to, but in some ways this shouldn't be that big of a deal and I know it. I wish I could not care about my privacy being invaded by a bunch of strangers, and their dragging other people into it too. It feels like a sacrifice I should be willing to make for my current bf, to show good will. But I'm very torn and I need your input to decide whether I can actually go through this or not. Am I blowing it out of proportion? Do I suck it up and proceed, and make this sacrifice for my boyfriend? Has anyone gone through the annulment process and can tell me what it was like?