In his first Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis encourages the institutional Church to go out to the peripheries to encounter people and to bring them back into the fold of the Church. In his Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of Love” Pope Francis devotes a large section to caring for the divorced and remarried, people who often see themselves on the periphery of Church life.
The staff of the Office of Canonical Services goes twice a year to different parishes in the diocese to meet with people who are interested in filling out a petition for a declaration of nullity of marriage (an annulment). This is done in part to give a face to Pope Francis’ exhortation at our local diocesan level.
We generally meet with about 30 people from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. we review their written petition, ask them additional follow-up questions, and address any concerns they might have. If everything is in order, we begin their case that day. In the Diocese of San Bernardino, everything is free (since August 2014 there are NO FEES for any kind of help with annulments).
Although almost every parish in our Diocese has someone (called an ‘advocate’) trained to assist you with preparing an annulment petition, we have found that our presence helps alleviate some of this work in the parish and offers people a push to get started on an annulment. On Thursday, October 11th Canonical Services is going to St. Anthony’s Church in San Jacinto. If you are ready to begin the annulment process, or if you would simply like more information, please see us on October 11th. Anyone from St. Anthony’s or any parish in the surrounding area is welcome; we will not turn anyone away, no matter what your parish.
Please come prepared! What do you need to do?
Call the Office of Canonical Services at 909-475-5320 or email email@example.com in order to make an appointment time for October 11th, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Bring the annulment application already filled out including a 4 – 8 page narrative answering all the questions. You can attain an application from your parish office, or online at https://sites.google.com/site/canonicalservices/church/formals.
You must bring a copy of your baptism certificate, a copy of your final decree of divorce, and a copy of the marriage license for each of your prior marriages (if you’ve been married more than once).
We must have an address, phone number, and email address for your ex-spouse(s). You do not need to contact him/her, but our office must contact your ex-spouse(s).
Bring addresses, phones numbers and email addresses of potential witnesses for your case; good witnesses include parents, siblings, friends and ex-in-laws.
Be prepared to spend an hour honestly answering detailed questions about the history of your relationship with your ex-spouse.
There is no cost or fee. We are grateful to St. Anthony’s for hosting this event. Your regular tithe to your parish is your partial return to the Lord for all He has given to you. The staff of the Office of Canonical Services will kindly, compassionately and confidentially guide you through the application for a marriage annulment.
Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.
What kind of help do you offer to parents whose children cry uncontrollably because they just want Mom and Dad to get back together?
I heard one child tell his Father that he asked Mom when Dad gets to come back home. As he repeated her answer, “Never!”, he was crying so hard that he could hardly get the words out. He was choking on them.
It was absolutely the saddest moment I have ever experienced. (There was NO physical abuse in this case as there is not in the majority of divorce/nullity/remarriage cases.) I have read multiple experiences of people in concentration camps. This child, and millions of others, has been there. The Catholic Church actually teaches the validation of marriages that are not valid and…
Matthew 16:9 (with a gloss in brackets ): “What God has joined together, let no one [but a marriage tribunal]put asunder.”
Warren, the operative phrase is “What God has joined together”. If the marital consent of either [or both] “spouses” was defective when exchanged at the wedding, God DID NOT JOIN THEM TOGETHER. The Church tribunals do not “annul” a marriage in the sense of undoing what once really existed. Rather, the Tribunals declare, after examination of evidence, that the apparent marriage never came into being because it lacked an essential prerequisite to validity.
But they often do.
We live in an imperfect world. In my imperfect vision, annulments are an official effort to recognize that some marriages were ‘mistakes’ from the start. Yes, many are hurt when a marriage fails. Perhaps, sometimes, recognizing failure is long term better than trying to continue an irreperable situation.
mike m— a mere mistake does not a null marriage make. there needs to have been, at the time the marital vows were exchanged, on the part of either or both parties  the absence of some element essential for valid consent or  the presence of some invalidating impediment to marriage. before a marriage can be declared null  or  must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a Church tribunal of expert judges.
“Expert” judges? That’s the stretch here. What constitutes an expert? Seriously.
Would that those subject to such tribunals could examine the 1) Essential elements necessary to render someone a so-called expert. (These individuals do not receive a special charism from the Church, nor do they have the guarantee of Our Lord God to be infallible in their judgments. 2) The background of said judges that may, in truth, bias their judgment regardless of training. They are, after all, only human. 3) Be shown proof that such judges are, beyond a reasonable doubt, capable of making such a weighty judgment that will affect their lives, their children’s lives, and the salvation of the souls of all involved.
So while you imply that a mere…
In reality, many tribunals are declaring valid marriages null. They are mockingly referred to as Catholic divorces.
Thank God Pope Francis has made the annulment process more available to all Catholics. I remember an uncle who paid a fortune to obtain a Catholic annulment. It used to be annulments were accessible to the very wealthy; the poorand middle class Catholics suffering in a horrible marriage (consider an alcoholic and abusive spouse) had to just tough it out or get a divorce and be cut off from the sacraments if the person remarried.