SOS Goals: Support and Education
The validity of the marriage sacrament, the dignity of the individual, and the sanctity of each child are integral to the goals of SOS.
What we do: SOS encompasses a world-wide community of Respondents. By sharing our collective stories we encourage one another to transform the adversarial process of annulment into an experience of self-empowerment.
When Respondents communicate with a caring, non-judgmental, SOS Advisor they:
- Feel less alone in their annulment experience
- Feel empowered to deal with the challenging aspects of annulment
- Realize a new resilience while dealing with the tribunals
Purpose of SOS
- SOS provides advice to Respondents who are currently facing the annulment process at the “Court of First Instance" level
- SOS works with Respondents at the "Second Instance" level on their Appeal process to the Vatican Rota in Rome [Canon Law 1628] (See Canon Law SOS webpage)
- SOS raises public awareness of the devastation that children, both young and young adult, experience as a result of annulment when tribunals decree that children are NOT part of a sacramental marriage! (See A Daughter's Reflection page)
- SOS provides education and resources, usually not given out by tribunals, to all interested including members of the clergy and women religious who recognize tribunal-bias against Respondents
- SOS offers information about the “Internal Forum” process that is as legal by Canon Law as is the ‘External Forum’ of annulment
- SOS provides guidance and information to Respondents who are considering legal action against tribunal-employed lay counselors who act unethically regarding diagnosis of Respondents
- SOS supports the reopening of past annulment cases by those who have experienced 'tribunal-abuse' when their marriage sacrament is declared "null"/ invalid [Canon Laws 1641-1644, 1732-1739]
- SOS encourages Respondents to remain true to their informed conscience and beliefs, if they either choose to defend their sacrament or if they choose to understand that no person or human institution can ‘take away’ a God-given Grace (See the SOS WebPage “Your Sacrament IS Already Saved”)
- To empower Respondents to ‘save their sacrament’ by providing advice and education to defend their marriage sacrament and challenge the Petition
- To support children of annulment-case families by encouraging Respondents to be a courageous model for their children (children in most annulment cases have been negatively affected by the impact of the process on the Respondent parent; too often the consequence of annulment is that these children later choose to leave the Church and dismiss the value of a Catholic marriage)
- To work toward halting the invasive and abusive annulment process
- To offer support to any person who chooses not to enter into the annulment process
- To expose the bias against Respondents by Tribunal personnel
- To raise public awareness to the hypocrisy permeating the annulment process
- To raise public awareness that marriages of faithful Protestants are being "annulled" by Catholic tribunals
- To educate Catholics about the wisdom of using the Internal Forum/ in good conscience process
- To work with Respondents on civil litigation about Tribunal-employed mental health professionals who abuse the rights of Respondents (via HIPAA laws, etc.)
- To educate Catholics about the need to end the annulment process; that all sacraments are God’s Grace and so cannot be ‘nullified’ by any person or institution (to learn the basis for this understanding read Thomas Berry’s (a Catholic priest) The Great Work and the many related books on this topic)
Alternatives To Annulment
- The Catholic tribunal-process of annulment is called the 'external forum' of annulment. There is a valid alternative to this called the "Internal Forum process". This alternative is non-invasive and is discussed on our SOS "Internal Forum" WebPage.
- The Greek Catholic Church process when a marriage ends is a far more compassionate process. The first marriage is deemed sacramental and a second marriage is valid but not sacramental. There is no adversarial process, including “witnesses”, and both people are welcome in the Church.