Resources highly recommended by SOS:
Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church from Annulling Her
by Sheila Rauch Kennedy
Respondent's Guide to
see the Respondent's Guide web page on this site
Has Joined Together: The Annulment Crisis in American
April 1998 by Robert H. Vasoli
See also our WebPage “Changes in the Annulment Process” for links to the new changes to the Annulment Process
Pope Francis' Apostolic
Exhortation on The Joy of Love - Vatican Radio
by Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger, Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
From the article: Obviously the United States suffers from a divorce mentality... the American divorce mentality has found its exact counterpart in the scandal of American Catholic annulment mentality, all the more scandalous because it has come to affect non-Catholics and non-Christians as well as Catholics...
The Annulment Mentality: What You Can Do About It
By Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger at CatholicCulture.org
From the article: quoting a Rotal Judge, Msgr. Thomas G. Doran: "Whenever, as it seems, priests of the Church of the first or second instance think that the only and better pastoral solution for reconciling the Catholic parties of any shipwrecked marriage with the Church of Christ is a process of nullity, ecclesiastical tribunals are going to receive an immense number of such cases which, although they proceed with the most sincere good will, must turn out to be absolutely useless, not to say void, since they manifestly lack any canonical foundation." ... "Eliminating the annulment mentality among those in the pews is not nearly so important as eliminating the annulment mentality among tribunalists."
Marriage, Annulments, and Gobbledygook
by Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger Dec. 28, 2001
From the article: The key question for Church tribunals to answer is not whether a sacramental marriage has taken place, but whether there has been any marriage at all...
Divides Divorced Catholics
USA Today, Oct 30, 1997
Three Catholics, including Jan, share the reasons behind their annulment decisions.
Til Decree Do Us Part: The Catholic Church holds traditional marriage
sacred, but it's handing out annulments by the
by Joan Bryden in the Walrus (Canadian magazine)
Annulments, and the Catholic Church: Healing or
by Richard Jenks
... examines the use of annulment by the Catholic Church to grant divorced Catholics the right to remarry within the Church... explains in lay terms what annulments are and what the acceptable grounds are for annulment... also contains case studies of individuals who have been hurt by annulments...
Boston-area woman confronts the Annulment
(Jan's experience dealing with the then Tribunal Judge of the Boston archdiocese):
Annulment Process Leaves Local Woman Feeling Demeaned'
By Margery Egan
Boston Herald, April 24, 1997
Sheila Rauch Kennedy, author of "Shattered Faith," began her massive publicity tour on TV last night. Among viewers who heard Sheila say her ex-husband considered her a "nobody" was a Natick woman now contesting an annulment of a 25-year marriage.
To this woman, and to countless others like her, Sheila Rauch Kennedy is no longer just the ex-wife of a famous man, Joe Kennedy. She is a heroine, a whistleblower, a scholar who's shone a spotlight on a heretofore secretive and coercive process, one which is "dishonest, demeaning, intrusive. . . which devastated me and hurt my children," says Janice, who asked that her last name not be used because she works for a Catholic institution.
This is how Janice remembers her annulment hearing before the tribunal last January:
She remembers coming to a huge fortress, the same building Sheila Kennedy describes. She remembers waiting for more than half an hour on a hardwood bench in a cold, marble-floored vestibule. She was alone: the tribunal allowed no one to accompany her. She remembers being greeted by one of the three tribunal judges, Robert Deeley.
"Before I even sat down, he wanted my advocate out of sight behind me, where I couldn't see him. The same thing happened to Sheila When I moved the chair two inches to the right so I could see my advocate (a very good and fair man), the judge demanded that I move the chair back. When I saw the tape recorder ready on his desk, we engaged in a 10-minute discussion of whether I could have a copy of the my words on that tape. He became argumentative and then insisted I call him 'father' instead of by his first name. I call no man 'father' except my own.
"So before we even started, I've been intimidated, demeaned, and put down."
Janice is a practicing Catholic. She has a Ph.D., and Masters in Counseling, and a Masters in Divinity. For her hearing, she prepared a three-page statement about how deeply she values her sacrament of marriage.
"As he's taping he is peppering me with questions and I'm answering, then he starts to close even though he saw the papers I brought in with me. I told him I wanted to read them aloud to be part of the record he was taping. He said, 'You don't have to. I know what's in them.' I could not believe he was telling me not to read what I've prepared, until I realized he assumed I'd written some tirade against annulment. I felt the breath knocked out of me. 'No,' I said, 'this is about the value of my sacrament.' He told me, and this is a direct quote, “We don’t care about the sacrament here, we only care about the law”.
"Shattered Faith" has so inspired her, she says, "I may be like the pro-lifers. Get my placards and set up a protest table outside the (annulment tribunal) on Lake Street" in Brighton. Then she laughed. But she was not entirely joking. Her anger is directed at church hierarchy that devise rules which put her ex-husband in the same place they put Joe Kennedy: where he was pressured to lie about her, her family, their love and marriage all to prove that he, like Kennedy, lacked "due discretion" (i.e. lacked normal maturity) on his wedding day.
"Please know," Janice says, "my husband is the father of the three most important beings on this Earth, my daughters. He and I had an amicable divorce and were friends for 13 years after it. We went to lunch. We talked about our lives. It is very sad now- we have not spoken since this annulment began". "But, she adds, this experience has helped me to separate my faith from the rules, to remember that sacraments, like marriage, are part of my faith. But annulment is part of the rules -- the part made by men."