Is an Annulment Really Just a Fancy Name for a Divorce?
Nothing in this post is intended to be disrespectful to the Catholic Church but I do believe that the whole concept of an “annulment” is nothing but unadulterated hypocrisy.
And I know this from personal experience after my own annulment several years ago. It all came about after one too many contretemps between my first wife and me. We were young and had no kids and so we decided to call it quits. The problem was my ex wife is Catholic. We had gotten married in her church where she had done her first communion and confirmation and stuff like that. She knew her priest and thought of him as a second father. There is no way we could get a “divorce.” But she assured me that without problem, he would give us an “annulment.”
Make a long story short, sure enough we did get the annulment – and it didn’t take us more than a few months to go from start to finish in ending our matrimonial relationship. It was what you might call a “quickie.” The grounds? Well, we had been using birth control and somehow, in the mind of the church, this is tantamount to us having an abortion – which is against church law and which, therefore, rendered our marriage a nullity.
Good for us. My ex wife and I went our separate ways and both remarried eventually having kids with our respective spouses. There is no hard feeling between us. But later, I am sitting here thinking to myself: Wait a minute. What the heck was that? How was that annulment, that ending of our matrimonial vow any different from a divorce? It really isn’t. It is purely semantic the way the Catholic church gets around canon law and biblical law and the prohibition against divorce that came from Jesus Christ directly.
I mean, I am not Catholic and I have no problems with divorce. I am in favor of divorce if a marriage is not working out. What I disagree with vehemently is this brand of hypocrisy the church practices by ending marriages – essentially allowing folks to “divorce” – but getting around their own biblical teachings by calling it an “annulment” and using trumped up reasons such as “you used birth control so therefore you committed an abortion and so therefore your marriage was null from the beginning.”