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Puzzled Patty wrote:

Hi, guys —

I recently received an annulment through the Catholic Church. My fiancé was told he needed to receive one as well. He was not Catholic at the time of his marriage but converted through the RCIA program after marriage. At the time of his marriage, his ex-wife was a Pagan. She refused to allow their children to be baptized or even go to church.

To make a long story short, his ex-wife is seriously mentally ill. Unfortunately, it is a personality disorder and she refuses to get help. She was very abusive (physically and emotionally) and manipulative to him.

He divorced her after 12 years. She is very bitter that they had to get a divorce and promised to destroy anything important to him. As a result:

  • She has derailed his annulment
  • Lied to the Tribunal, and
  • Made up a lot of stuff that is not true.

Even though my fiancé has turned in credible evidence, the Tribunal has chosen to discard all his testimony and go off her word alone. Most of her responses to the Tribunal involve things that happened after the divorce.

  • How does this matter?

He has been treated very unfairly by the Tribunal. He has even provided proof of where she has lied to them. They simply said that they feel they are both liars and they do not grant annulments on these grounds. He is ready to move on with his life but the Church is telling him, No.

  • What is there to do?
  • What if he feels he did not get a fair shot?
  • Can the decision of the Tribunal be appealed?

He has been to the Tribunal on two occasions now and his ex-wife moved out of state with another man. The only time she has responded is when the Tribunal has called her. She will never marry in the Catholic Church so it has no meaning to her. She just wants to make sure he is never able to marry in the Church.

I would hope that this would not matter but I sense at this moment it does. All three persons working with him at the Tribunal are female.

  • Out of fairness, should there not be a mix of men and women?

Puzzled

  { What does he do if he feels he is not being given a fair shot by the Marriage Tribunal? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Puzzled,

These things are very complicated and it really is impossible to analyze what is going on here on a third-hand basis. These are things I can say:

You say that the former wife manifests a mental disorder.

  • Was this present or hidden prior to the wedding?

    If it was hidden, then find witnesses that can testify to this.

Yes, there is an appeal process.

Most important, he should ask the Tribunal who is his advocate and he should make an appointment to meet with that advocate. If he is unsatisfied with this advocate then he should hire one himself.

Fr. Jonathan

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