It will now be easier for Catholics to remarry

Wake Smith Solicitors 09 September 2015

The Vatican announced on 9 September 2015 reforms to obtaining an annulment for divorced Catholics. As a solicitor I have frequently come across misunderstanding as to what constitutes an annulment. If a legal marriage is to be annulled in English Law, the grounds for doing so are precisely defined and as such are rarely applicable. The grounds for annulment in the English Courts are in general (although not limited to) in relation to mental health or sexual issues, for example non consummation, venereal disease, mistake, duress, mental disorder. Catholics who are not able to legally annul the marriage in the English Court only have the option of divorce as a means to end the marriage. The Catholic Church does not recognise civil divorces following on from a legal divorce, and so Catholics have been able to apply to the Church to annul the marriage because without an annulment, the parties were deemed by the Church still to be married in the eyes of God. Any Catholic who did remarry was considered to be an adulterer and as such could not take Holy Communion. It appears that the grounds for a Catholic to obtain an annulment are not being changed but rather the administrative process will change. The process has, in the past, lead to costly and lengthy delays. It is even intended that there will be a fast track process where both parties are seeking the annulment. So, what are the grounds for a Catholic annulment? Even Henry VIII did not succeed in gaining annulment from the Catholic Church. They are many and varied but essentially they accept that the parties to the marriage did not, at the time of marriage, have the psychological ability or maturity to understand the commitment which they were being asked to make. This is capable of being evidence in may ways, for example marrying to escape an unhappy home life, a Widow or Widower marrying whilst still grieving for their first spouse, one party to the marriage thinking that they could 'change' the other's behaviour (obviously without success), placing a condition on the marriage of not having children or a condition to be able have sex with other people (although oddly, adultery is in itself not a reason for an annulment). The announcement made by the Vatican today in regards to Catholic annulments is another example of the Pope's intention to make the Church more inclusive and able to relate to a modern, fast-paced society.




June 20221May 20227April 20223March 20223February 20223January 20224December 20214November 20213October 20215September 20216August 20212July 202111June 20218May 20216April 20212March 20219February 20218January 20219December 20208November 202013October 20209September 20208August 20203July 20208June 202016May 202013April 20209March 202016February 20209January 202011December 20199November 20199October 201911September 20197August 20194July 20196May 20198April 20196March 20193February 20195January 20194December 20186November 20185October 20182September 20185August 20184July 20189June 20184May 201810April 20185March 20184February 20184January 20183December 20175November 20178October 20177September 20179August 20175July 20176June 201710May 20176April 20178March 201711February 20177January 201713December 20169November 20167October 201610September 201610August 20166July 20167June 20163May 20162April 20166March 20162February 20164January 20165December 20153November 20155October 20156September 20156August 20157July 20157June 20157May 20156April 20159March 20156February 201510January 20156December 20145November 20144October 20142September 20143May 20144March 20146February 20144January 20142December 20132November 20133September 20134July 20132June 20132May 20133April 20131March 20133February 20133January 20136December 20121November 20123October 20122August 20122July 20128June 20123April 20123March 20121January 20124December 20112November 20111October 20112September 20113August 20113July 20117June 20119May 20117April 20115March 20119February 20118January 20111December 20101October 20102September 20102August 20103July 20106June 20101May 20102April 20106March 20102February 20103January 20102December 20095November 20092October 20092September 20092August 20091July 20095June 20095May 20093April 20093March 20093February 20091January 20092November 20082October 20082September 20081August 20083July 20081January 20082

Featured Articles

Contact us