Posted by: littletoe | May 11, 2007

Ugh! Annulment!

Well there go all my pious thoughts about submission!  I’ve been nagging my deacon for several weeks about finding out what it’s going to take to get this process started.  He referred me to the diocesan website where I read that it will take a lot of time and no small amount of money, especially if my husband has to do it too.

I’m really struggling with what I perceive as a Catch 22.  Assuming that I am committing adultery by “marrying” my current husband while still “married” to my ex, how do I remedy this?  If I got married while I was outside the Catholic Church, why would Catholic Church rules apply?  What about 1 Corinthians 7:20 “Each man remains in the condition he was called?”   What does the Catholic Church do with people in other cultures where polygamy is allowed?  Do they divorce all but one of their spouses?  Should I divorce my husband?  Should we live together but abstain from sex?  Wouldn’t these be the only “solutions” and wouldn’t they cause me to sin further?  How can I repent and be absolved?  How can there be a situation where I cannot repent and be absolved outside of blaspheming the Holy Spirit?  THESE are the questions that are troubling me.  I don’t understand WHY I need to go through this process.

For anyone interested in the details, I was married the first time in a civil service in October 1989.  My ex-husband was a German national, baptized Lutheran but a non-believer.  We got married then so that he could get his green card.  I was baptized into the Episcopal Church in July 1990.  The priest noticed that I had been attending fairly regularly since April and thought baptism was a good idea.  I had no faith formation to speak of.  (Ask any orthodox Anglican Episcopalian about the faith formation they think a person would receive in the Diocese of San Francisco.)  In fact, I believe I was taking communion BEFORE I was baptized.  That should give you an idea of how well I understood the sacraments.

If it ended there, the annulment would be a slam dunk.  I was married before I was baptized.  But I wanted a church wedding and I pressured the priest to perform a wedding for us instead of a blessing for a civil service.  We had married in secret and I didn’t want to tell everyone the truth and have them come to my civil service blessing!  I was young and it was all about me back then.  That, of course, makes everything more difficult.  The Episcopal Church believes that Holy Matrimony is a sacrament and the Catholic Church assumes I had that knowledge.

Deep in my heart, I know that God is using this to grow me.  Even if my previous marriage is never annulled and I will not be able to receive communion, I know God can, if He wills, strengthen me in other ways.  He is not bound by the sacraments.  He will honor my obedience and submission.  Lord, Thy will be done.



  1. Not sure what the situation is now, but 23 years ago, Mark and I were looking inot annulment. I was divorced after a civil ceremony to a non beleiver, but the Catholic church still required my first marraige be annulled. Mark’s was in the Catholic church, and he wanted ot remain Catholic, so he had already started his annulment independent of our situation together. Three years later, and I don’t want to tell you how much money, we gave up and married in the Episcopal church. Another option to consider may be the American Catrholic Church – big congregation here in our little town of Warrenton, which would surely close it’s doord if the Roman Catholic’s gave up on the divorce issue, BTW, probalby hte same thing for Episcopal. About 1/3 are .compromise couples’ like Mark and I, where a Orotestant and catholic both marry, and meet in the middle. I was formerly Baptist.

    Our experience for what it is worth – CMC

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