“… for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
until annulment do us part.”
The evidence that the modern Catholic Church is no longer Catholic can be found not only in its heretical teachings, but also in its actions as well. One such action proving that the modern Catholic Church is no longer Catholic is to be found in the “sacrament” of matrimony and the annulment mill associated with it.
Annulment vs. Divorce
Annulments and divorces are two distinct things and a clarification between them would be in order before proceeding further.
A divorce is the dissolving of a lawful civil marriage by the state. The granting of a divorce, in and of itself, is an acknowledgment that there was a marriage in the first place from which a divorce could be granted.
An annulment, however, is not the dissolving of a marriage at all, rather it is a ruling from the Church that there was never a marriage in the first place, i.e., some impediment(s) prevented the marriage from ever taking place – it never happened. The putative married couples were simply cohabitating the whole while and the annulled couples are free to marry “for the first time” if they so choose.
Annulments - From Rarely Granted to Commonly Given
The Catholic Church never permitted divorce because Christ Himself forbad it:
“To sum up, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul alike testify that Jesus Christ taught the absolute indissolubility of marriage: that He forbade divorce under any circumstances…” (Christian Marriage, p. 302, Fr. Joyce, S.J., 1948)
The granting of annulments, however, has always been something that the Catholic Church has done, but very infrequently, because actual marriage impediments are a true rarity. So rare in fact, that throughout the 1960’s, the Catholic Church in the U.S. was only granting about 300 annulments a year.
But in the spring of 1969, things changed. The New Mass became obligatory and many of the radical changes introduced by Vatican Council II came into effect - including changes regarding the granting of marriage annulments. In just two short years, marriage annulments increased from 338 in 1968 to 5,403 in 1970. In 1991, the number peaked at 61,945 and has presently leveled off at about 40,000 a year.i
Of all the annulment cases brought before for Church courts for adjudication in the U.S., the Church grants a staggering 95% of them.ii The basis upon which these annulments are granted? The official finding is that 99.6% of them are granted due to a “defect of consent.”iii
This virtual rubber stamping of annulment applications raises some interesting questions:
These and other troubling questions naturally arise when one considers the above statistics.
The 5% Success Rate
It is, of course, basic math that if 95% of Catholic marriages never happened in the first place, then we may infer that the Church successfully marries only 5% of the time.
Since this has been going on since the late 1960’s, we now have a track record of 45 plus years of failed marriages in the Church. For 45 plus years the Church, by her own statistics, has failed to marry couples 95% of the time and has only succeeded 5% of the time.
Can you imagine any other organization in the world that boasts of a 5% success rate? The thought that any industry could survive on a 5% success rate is patently absurd. For example, would you book a flight with a company who safely lands their planes only 5% of the time? Would you submit to a medical operation where the surgeons boast of a 5% success rate? Or how about driving over that bridge whose engineer’s track record of building non-crumbling bridges is at the 5% mark. Again, it is all patently absurd. But as absurd as it is, this is what the modern Catholic Church itself acknowledges as it success rate in performing marriages.
Also consider this: if the modern Catholic Church is satisfied with a measly 5% success rate for their “sacrament” of matrimony, how about their other sacraments as well? How about the sacrament of holy orders? Are only 5% of the priests actually being validly ordained? And presuming that this 5% of validly ordained priests are as reckless with the other sacraments as they are with the sacrament of marriage, then we have the mathematical equation of 5% of the clergy validly performing sacraments 5% of the time. This means that their “sacraments” of the Eucharist and Confession is good .25%, or ¼ of 1% of the time. So if you want to be sure to attend a Sunday Mass where the sacrament of the Eucharist actually takes place (which is after all what your Sunday obligation requires), then all that you would have to do is to attend 400 Masses by 400 different priests, and you could be relatively certain that at least one of these priests got it right. Hope your car gets good gas mileage. Or if you want to be sure that your sins are forgiven, then you better plan on going to Confession 400 times to 400 different priests. This is not an exaggeration - this is the mathematical reality of a 5% sacrament success rate.iv
And since this is so, why hasn’t the modern Catholic Church taken any corrective measures? If the reason given by the Church is indeed correct, i.e., 99.6% of invalid marriages are due to a defect of intention, then why haven’t they corrected this after 45 plus years!?! Why don’t they spend 30 minutes to an hour on giving instructions to would-be married couples about the necessary intention for the sacrament of Matrimony? There’s nothing complicated about this, in fact, you could probably do it in 5 minutes. Wouldn’t doing this be a lot simpler, cheaper and kinder than forcing couples to spend thousands of dollars and forcing them to go through the time-consuming and stress-laden process of obtaining an annulment? What about all of the families that the modern Catholic Church is damaging to their lack of care in giving proper marriage instructions in the first place? Don’t they count for anything? Don’t the children of these non-married couples matter?
But the fact remains, that after 45 plus years of 95% failure in conferring the sacrament of matrimony, they haven’t done a thing. Absolutely nothing. Why is that?
Their Dilemma and Their Solution
According the teachings of Christ, a married couple can never be divorced:
“The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death.” (Mirari Vos, Gregory XVI, 1832)
Now if the modern Catholic Church were to admit that they are granting divorces and not annulments, they would very visibly put themselves at stark odds with 1900 years of consistent and irrevocable Catholic doctrine on marriage and the direct teaching of none other than Christ Himself:
“For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:15 – 19)
This is their dilemma. If they admit to granting divorces, Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity” would come crashing down on their heads and the whole world would plainly see that Vatican Council II created a new church, one in which divorce is permitted. It would plainly demonstrate that they are not the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ.
So instead of admitting to the truth, i.e., that they grant divorces and are not the Catholic Church of old, they would rather have us believe that they are so inept and incompetent in performing marriages that they can only get it right 5% of the time. But no one is that inept and incompetent, not even them. The true and only logical reason why the modern Church hasn’t taken any corrective measures is because it is not really granting annulments at all. What it is actually doing is handing out divorces under the label of annulments. When they say that they are declaring marriages annulled, they’re lying; they are handing out divorces - pure and simple. But since “annulments” is the only back door process that provides them cover for granting divorces, they cannot take corrective measures – it would blow their cover. It is the ultimate in duplicity. And more egregiously, it is the ultimate in careless disregard to those whom they proclaim to be their spiritual children.
By Their Fruits
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15)
Now ask yourself a simple question. What kind of tree would bring forth the fruit of deceit by granting divorce under the guise of annulments? Would the “Immaculate Spouse of Christ,” His “mystical Body on earth,” the Catholic Church, do this? Would the holy Catholic Church violate God’s prohibition on granting divorces and do it under the camouflage of annulments? Or is this deception more likely to be the work of a counterfeit church? Judge the fruit and you will know the answer.
An Aside – Adding Insult to Injury
Can you imagine returning a defective item to a retail store, and instead of refunding you your original purchase price, they keep that money and add a further charge for accepting the return? Absurd? Yes it is. But this is essentially what the modern Catholic Church does to its parishioners who petition for annulments. Couples spend thousands of dollars on weddings only to later find out that due to a defect of consent, there was never a marriage at all. Since this “defect of consent” is not the fault of the couples, but of the Church who failed to properly instruct them, does the Church return any monies received for the performance of these “non-wedding”? No they don’t. And to add insult to injury, they have the audacity to charge these poor couples hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more for a piece of paper saying that they were never married in the first place. What a racket. They screw up and they pocket the money. I’m surprised that someone hasn’t leveled a class-action suit against them by now and made them answer for their misconduct._______________________
Bishop Joseph Marie @ bishopjosephmarie.org