What the church says on annulment

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Dear Father: I would like to know if a marriage can be annulled by the Church or how you can obtain a permission from to be remarried by the Church


The Church does not annul a validly performed and consummated marriage (i.e. when after the marriage ceremony it has been consummated by the marital act); in such a case marriage is absolutely indissoluble. It happens, however, that in some cases at the time of the marriage contract, some essential elements may have failed for the marriage to be valid (knowledge of the essential requirements, immaturity to assume the responsibilities positive exclusion of some of the essential elements, etc.) and for this reason the marriage was, from the first moment, invalid, that is: there was never a true marriage between that man and that woman. In such cases, and after a delicate investigation, the Church may declare that ‘there was never marriage’.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: ‘Consent must be an act of the will of each of the individuals, free from violence or external grave fear. No human power can replace this consent. If this freedom is lacking, marriage is invalid. For this reason (or for other reasons that make the marriage null and void); the Church, after examining the situation by the competent ecclesiastical court, may declare ‘the nullity of marriage’, that is, that marriage has not existed. In this case, the individuals are free to marry, although they must fulfill the natural obligations arising from an earlier preceding union’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1627-1628).

Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE


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