” If you can afford both, you’re free and clear, right? This uncharitable and, sadly, all-too-common non-Catholic sentiment reflects a gross misunderstanding of what the annulment process is and how it works.Annulment is not “spiritual divorce.” It is, instead, the fruit of a full and thoughtful reading of this same passage in Matthew.Christ does not say People get married for a lot of reasons.
Many marriages occur in reflexive response to an unplanned pregnancy. Is a pregnant teenager fully responsive to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit when she bows to parental pressure and marries the baby’s equally teenaged father?
In some cultures, marriages are arranged by the families, and the bride and groom may never have met before the wedding day. Is God on the scene when a man or woman chooses to marry someone they don’t love in exchange for access to wealth or security?
If an abusive and controlling man hides his real self behind smooth lies and charm throughout the courtship, only to reveal his true personality after the wedding, is that God’s doing?
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?
” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” The whole of Catholic teaching on marriage is summed up in this passage.
Protestant Christians and non-Christians often give Catholics grief over our Church’s firm stand that a valid marriage can’t be ended in this life by a simple civil divorce.Yes, the legal marriage contract can be dissolved and the spouses may go their separate ways, but in God’s eyes, the two remain one flesh, married for life.For either to remarry is adultery, plain and simple.To non-Catholic (and even many Catholic) ears, that sounds harsh and uncompromising, and maybe it is.But there’s no denying that it is word for word what Jesus says in Matthew. “What about Isn’t the annulment process just the Catholic Church’s “workaround” on this?To the extent that the Protestant denominations have compromised on this issue, they have compromised Scripture, and the direct and unambiguous teaching of Christ Himself. Not only do divorcing couples have to pay a lawyer and the courts to get their legal marriages dissolved, Catholics have to pay the Church, too, to get a “spiritual divorce?