Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
August 19, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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August 19, 1990

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PAGE 8 ARKANSAS CATHOHC AUGUST 19, 19 "Tribunal," from page 7 prior union and is not free to remarry, until his or her original spouse has died. Such cases are called "prior bond," or "ligamen" cases, and they are handled in an administrative process, with proper documentation and affidavits. What is a "formal" case? Because of certain personal factors and the societal pressures endangering the sanctity of matrimony, many mar- riages entered into with the best inten- tions still fail and end in divorce. These failed unions, which do not fall into the categories described above, are called "formal" cases. What is an ecclesiastical declaration of nullity? The Church presumes that every marriage is valid, as long as certain essential elements are present. As civil law has its requisites for the civil bond of marriage, so too, the Church has requirements for the religious bond. These factors include the religious be- lief that marriage is a life-long and faithful union of two persons, which is open to children. Also involved is a minimal level of maturity and personal commitment and a celebration in some publicly recognized form, be it civil or ecclesiastical. THE DISCALCED CARMELITES Priests and Brothers Prayer is Our Foundation... Nuestro Fundamento es Orar . . . Write t0: Vocation Director The Discalced Carmelite Friars P 0 Box 5280 San Antonio, Texas 78201 If fide evidence shows that from the to a declaration of nullity in the U.S. (3) the petitioner has a residence ii beginning, a particular marital rein- It does not affect in any manner the Arkansas, and after consent has tionship suffered from some impedi-legitimacy, custody of children or visi- received from the Tribunal of the El meat or radical defect, the original tation rights, alimony, division of prop- spondent. This Tribunal can also acCC![ presumption of validity no longer holds, erty, inheritance, or names, etc. the case if (4) most of the suppo | In order to render a marriage invalid, evidence can be obtained here. .] i the impediment or serious defect must Once a case has been accepted [ be proven to be present from the timeWhat about the legitimacy of the process can continue here even if I of the wedding ceremony. A problem children? , parties move out of the diocese. I-I [ that might arise during the marriage The Tribunal s study of the failed ever, it is the petitioner s responsibi ![ I would not have the power of turning a marriage is an investigation of theto keep the Tribunal informed of / valid marriage into an invalid one.spousal relationship exclusively. An change in address or telephone Examples of some serious deflects annulment only effects the right tober, so as not to delay the case. ![ would be fraud, undue pressure, devi- remarry in the Church and has no other ant behavior, intentions against fidel- effects. Church law protects the status il ity, permanence, or children. The Tri- of children, and specifically states that What about documentation? I burial looks for a translation of the children born of a marriage which has A case cannot be accepted untilI marriage vows into the lived human been declared null are always consid- the necessary documents have [ reality. When, it can be determined by ered legitimate, submitted. The petitioner will need !l I proof that a particular union was supply: (1) a signed and legallycertiti ! I originally never what the Church un- copy of the final divorce decree; ] derstands marriage to be, then a dec-why.:: eii h !!i :many eases? Church marriage certificate for][ [ !aration of nullity i 5: : nly:called an Th ::ii /: !::] i!i eiiifiUmber: :ofcases Catholic wedding or a legally cer [ I a ................ ii~ii ii~::~i~i;:!i:i~ ~ ~i~ii::: ! ! !iiiii!i; :::i~ii:ii ? !i!!!ii :ii !i~?:i::iiiiii~ii~i~ i i i ii: ' .... nnu!m t; ; :.bei!de ed i!i::iii!i!iii!iiii::il;i. of copy of the civil marriage certificatef ! ] It:!isiiii:i:m : ::ii! oiii!u a rs nlali!ii e a non-Catholic wedding; and (3) I pr peri ::me !pgliolf:i iite i! :, tismal certificates for the Catholic fion o iinul i iiii fi !ii! e !iiia i: ted ties issued within the last six mo ' j[ I deny ienfly, In particular cases, other records[ ' existed iiN!!neiii !iler ! iiii: !ifiis : a|i:ev n iif o tional as birth certificates, profession of deny prob- medical records, and statements professional agencies could be reqU',.--,i[ TI " " ohol to 1989 pa of :i1 ce HoW does the process begin? " fai to In order to initiate the proceedi ,,| or only annul- i:.iiforward to icil fostered in the""theology of or b0 i:: the q Personi their ........, . human heart. Rather, this meat that from the it appears in the estimation of the Tribunal, that not all of the essential elements were present from the be- ginning of the particular union to constitute a marriage bond in the true Christian sense. Therefore, an ' annul- meat" is simply an ecclesiastical decla- ration that a particular union, pre- sumably begun in good faith and thought to be a marriage, was in fact not a marriage as the Church defines it. the inter- p of the spouses as an essential component of marriage. Advances in psychology have provided new insights for understanding per- sonality and behavioral development. In 1968, Pope Paul VI streamlined the annulment process, and many of these changes were incorporated into the present Code of Canon Law which was promulgated in 1983. All of these ad- vancements have had a recent effect on the Church's laws concerning annul- meats. Isn't it really a church divorce? No, there is a vast difference. Whereas. a civil divorce dissolves an existing marriage and attempts to divide "what God has joined together," an ecclesiastical annulment is a declaration that a certain marriage has been proven from its onset to lack some essential element necessary for a true sacra- mental bond. Not every failed marriage is able to receive such a declaration of nullity. Are there any civil effecta? There are absolutely no civil effects Which Tribunal is the proper place to fide a petition? In order to make an application, the individual seeking the annulment, who is called the petitioner, must approach the proper Tribunal which has juris- diction to handle the case. The Tribu- nal of the Diocese of Little Rock would have automatic jurisdiction in the fol- lowing circumstances: (1) if the mar- riage in question took place in the state of Arkansas; (2) or if the former spouse, called the respondent, resides within Arkansas. If the respondent fives in an- other American state, the Little Rock Tribunal could also handle the case if the Petitioner, the party questioning,]l marital validity, should usually co# | the parish priest, deacon, advoca , | other pastoral minister for an initi l ] terview in order to explore the posSib ity of an annulment. An advocate pastoral minister will be assigned t0. [ vise and assist the petitioner thro $ I out the process. In the initial phase, the petiti0 completes a brief "preliminary tionnaire," which is forwarded to Tribunal. Each and every marri l contracted will have to be studi separately. Upon receipt of this i ie form, the petitioner will then further questionnaires, includin8 formal petition asking that the ca. accepted. During the investigation phaS [ I more detailed "petitioner's queSti l I naive" concerning the backgroUr d::j[ l the individuals, the courtshin, a.i[ I history of marital life will ther need '| ' , be completed. Because the burd [ I proving the nullity is on the pefid I he or she will be asked to submit by offering full testimony. The queStl j I i often provoke painful memories, "tO[:t the investigation has been com~ [' performing an autopsy on a relatio | which has been dead for some I The petitioner s full cooperation [ point is vital, and a lack of suffici i, t information can cause needless and/or seriously jeopardize the aC tance of the case, or its outcome, i The testimony is then reviewed lq ;