Friday, June 22, 2007

Justice is done - Kennedy annulment overturned

Its appropriate that today is the feast of St Thomas More (a pioneering feminist, by the way, who championed education for women) as we read with great pleasure that the Roman rota has overturned Joseph and Sheila Rauch Kennedy's annulment. If reports are to be believed the original annulment stank to high heaven. The annulment was granted by the Boston archdiocese to pampered princeling, Joseph Kennedy jnr in secret on the ridiculous grounds that he lacked the psychological capacity for marriage. Sheila Rauch Kennedy was only informed of the secret annulment of her marriage in 1996 a full five years after it was granted! As if all this wasn't enough, Rauch says that the archdiocese refuses to inform those facing annulments that they have the right to appeal to Rome. This is frankly scandalous.
What on earth is going on in Boston? For that matter, what on earth is going on with the American Church? There are something like 60,000 annulments granted in the US each year. It beggars belief that there are so many invalidly contracted marriages in America. Notwithstanding some game attempts at explaining this away, this disgraceful statistic lends weight to the argument that the process is being abused and annulments are being handed out far too easily in the US.
In such circumstances its hardly suprising that there is so much confusion and misunderstanding about Catholic teaching on marriage in general and annulment in particular. Note - annulment is not, repeat not, the same as divorce. And Roman Catholics can not, repeat not, 'marry' a divorced person or 'remarry' after divorce, these being explicitly forbidden by one, Jesus Christ, not an unimportant figure for Catholics.
There's an informative article on annulment with particular reference to the Rauch Kennedy case here and Jimmy Akin does a good job of fisking the original Time story on the annulment here.

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