Questioning Faith

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2003
Questioning Faith
5
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 8:45pm
Before I start, I just want to say that I truly do not wish to start a debate of any sort. I am very much questioning my faith right now and would like to have some input.

I am searching for an opinion with respect to annulments granted in the Catholic church.


First some background information. My DH is 38 and grew up attending church in a very Catholic home. I am 34 and became a Catholic about 8 years ago after going through RCIA. My husband was married in his early 20's and the marriage only lasted 20 months. His ex-wife had an affair and she did not want to salvage the marriage. They separated and we met about 2 years later at which time his divorce was being finalized. We married in 1994. He never had an annulment and we were never married in the Catholic church. Although, we did have an Roman Catholic priest who attend our wedding(a family member that we were very close to). He had no objections to our wedding other than he

could not officiate (we knew he could not marry us and understood this and did not mind). 1 or 2 years later I started RCIA and became a Catholic. Our parish priest at the time was aware of our situation and never took issue. We subsequently had our DS in 1999, who was baptised and our DD, who is 6 months old, who is also baptised. The same priest babtised both our children and was aware of our situation and never took issue.

My DH and I looked into getting an annulment but decided against it because many of the

witnesses had moved throughout the country and at that time the cost was more that we could afford.

We attended church regularly until my DS attained the age of 18 months at which time we moved out of Province and waited until he got a little older. Since then we have been attending church weekly for the last few months, but after the service we attended this past Sunday, the results of which have me questioning my faith.

We live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. On September 28 we were hit with a devastating hurricane

where we along with hundreds of thousands of people have been hit with substatual personal and property damage. Many people are still with out power. We were lucky and our power was turned back on after 5 days. We were hoping to go to church this Sunday to find comfort with others and help find solace in the aftermath of this event.

We expected a sermon along the lines and with respect to the unfortunate current event. But instead, the priest maybe touch on this for about 3 minutes and instead lectured us about annulments and that person who was married before and, even if re-married, was with someone else they were nothing more that adulaters (spelling unsure). He said many times using this word that they were unwelcome in the church and that they were unable to take communion. I mean he went on and on and on. My husband was very embarrassed and uncomfortable as well as I. It was awful. I can’t express how he hammered on about how this topic. He used many times that word adulaters and my husband was nothing more than this.

Now my husband and I are not stupid we knew the position of our marriage with the church, but to hear it put that way was really too much.

Questions

What does that make our children, who in the eyes of the church, were both born out

of wedlock while my husband was married to someone else?

and

What does that make me? This is my first marriage and my last (I hope)?

and

How do you explain to your children what their father is and why he can’t take communion? This short marriage happened 15 years ago. We have been married for 10 years. We never even thought about approaching this with our children.

All I wanted was for our family to have a foundation in the church. Something my husband did and I did not. I wanted them to understand Christmas was more than Santa and Easter was more than a bunny. When I was doing a history report in grade 8, I had ask my mom if the Pope was Catholic (I’m not kidding - that’s how little religion I had in my life). I wanted more for my children.

Questions

Do I continue to attend without my husband but with my kids. My DS is due to start

children’s liturgy shortly?



or

Do we sit in silence feeling as we do not belong?

or

Do we look for another religion more accepting of our family circumstances?


What I feel like now is filing a human rights complaint. That’s just because I am tired, stressed and saddened. We have really had a terrible week. I went to church Sunday to find solace in the wake of tragedy and ended up leaving with my heart even more deeply saddened.

If you made it this far you deserve a big bowl of ice cream on me. If you think we are heathens,you need not reply. I could not even imagining feeling any lower than I do now if I tried.

Traci

Traci & Kate (4/16)

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
In reply to: mctlm
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 10:30pm
Mmmmmm.... I love Ice cream.

Sorry to hear about your hurricane woes. We had Lili visit us last year. We were without power for 6 days and 5 nights. Not fun! One of our friends lost his house and all of his possessions. All in all, though, we mostly felt lucky. She was a category 4 that miraculously dropped to a 2 (or 1) in the hours before she hit us.

The marriage question has no easy answers. The best thing to do, IMHO, is to revisit the anullment process. It is possible that there is financial assistance available. The process, while it seems overwhelming, intrusive, etc., is meant to be one of healing and closure, and often is.

We got this speech the other night at our First Communion meeting, although it was very tactfully and kindly stated. That if there was anything keeping us from receiving Communion with our children, that we should do what we can to remove those barriers - whether it's laziness, remarriage, etc. And he would be happy to assist with something like an anullment.

Of course, one woman pops up and says she was widowed, now in a living together relationship with someone else (I assume a man), and Father told her he'd be happy to talk with her about marriage. She says she's NEVER getting married again. Well....OK....a little too much info for me, thank you. Probably too much for you, too.

While your priest may not have been very tactful, and it seems like his timing was pretty bad as far as you're concerned, he is technically correct.

I'm not going to attempt answers to your specific questions. Brother Rich or someone who knows more than me, and give them a shot.

I would suggest that this might be something worth praying about. Bring your burdens and your troubles to Jesus, and see where He leads you. Sometimes that heavy hearted feeling is there to help initiate a change. It is too bad that your priest family member or the priest who baptised your kids (that you perhaps felt a little closer to) didn't try to gently point you guys the Church's teachings in this matter.

Heaven knows you're not heathens. We've all done things that we shouldn't have done or might have done differently under other circumstances.

Truthfully, my advice is to go back down the anullment road. My DH was married many, many years ago (my stepson is 27 now), and we've been married for almost 10 years. He DID go through the anullment process. There WERE a lot of personal questions to answer, but once you're done with that, it was mostly waiting. I do not remember any witnesses being called in person. I think it was mostly done through the mail, and I think it was mostly family members. There was no face-to-face divorce court confrontation with the ex.

I hope you find some peace and solace soon. And I hope things get back to normal from the hurricane. The debris was pretty well cleaned up here within a month or two. The blue tarps on the roofs stayed for months. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Karen

 


PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

Avatar for munchies
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
In reply to: mctlm
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 6:10am

Hi Tracy.

Kim mom to Brad, Matt, Emma, Sarah, and Meagan

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: mctlm
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 8:57am
You are not so much questioning your faith as the Gospel is challenging your understanding of the faith. It was said here Sunday there are three ways of looking at the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are (1) the teachings of the Catholic Church, then there are (2) what we think the teachings of the Church are and then (3) what we would like them to be.

"Our parish priest at the time was aware of our situation and never took issue."

This unfortunately this gets many people into trouble.

"We subsequently had our DS in 1999, who was baptized and our DD, who is 6 months old, who is also baptized. The same priest baptized both our children and was aware of our situation and never took issue."

The irregular marriage situation would not have a direct impact on the Baptism of your children.

"We expected a sermon along the lines and with respect to the unfortunate current event. But instead, the priest maybe touch on this for about 3 minutes and instead lectured us about annulments and that person who was married before and, even if re-married, was with someone else they were nothing more that adulterers."

The homily at a Catholic Mass is supposed to explain how we are to apply the Gospel message to our lives. It may reference current events but should primarily address the Gospel message. The priest did not lecture you, Christ did through His Gospel.

"He said many times using this word that they were unwelcome in the church and that they were unable to take communion."

Divorced and re-married persons cannot receive the Sacraments or persons married to divorced persons. Divorced but not re-married are able to receive the Sacraments. ALL however are welcome to attend Mass and are members of the Catholic Church.

"My husband was very embarrassed and uncomfortable as well as I. It was awful. I can’t express how he hammered on about how this topic. He used many times that word adulterers and my husband was nothing more than this."

The Gospel should make us examine you conscience and can make us uncomfortable.

Questions

What does that make our children, who in the eyes of the church, were both born out

of wedlock while my husband was married to someone else?

It does not have any effect on the standing of your children in the Church.

What does that make me? This is my first marriage and my last (I hope)?

It means that you are at this point living with someone who is not your husband (recall the woman at the well)and is married to someone else.

How do you explain to your children what their father is and why he can’t take communion?

Explain that no one no matter who they are should receive Communion in a state of mortal sin. That is something that we need to teach to the children. As far as explaining the marriage situation. I do not believe that it is necessary to explain that mommy and daddy are not married to each other and are living in an adulterous union. What you need to do is work on correcting the situation.

Why are parents unwilling to teach their children about the Sacrament of Marriage and the laws and teachings of the Catholic Church on Marriage?

"Do I continue to attend without my husband but with my kids. My DS is due to start

children’s liturgy shortly?"

You do belong but neither of you can receive the Sacraments. You also need to speak to the pastor about your reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. If I read this correctly you were in this irregular Marriage situation at the time you were in RCIA

Which would have placed an impediment to you receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

"Do we look for another religion more accepting of our family circumstances?"

The answer to this would be the answer of the apostles in John 6 "To whom should we go?"

I do not think you are heathens, but you are in a serious situation that cannot be ignored any longer.

Avatar for ruthv
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: mctlm
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 11:31am
Hi Traci,

This link might be helpful. http://frpat.com/annulments.htm

An annulment does NOT mean that your children are illegitimate - that's a common misconception.

Ruth

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2003
In reply to: mctlm
Thu, 10-09-2003 - 12:15pm
I just wanted to thank you all for your insight into my situation. We have not slept much this week and I have been praying to Jesus for answers.

I have spoken to my parish Priest and he is supportive in that he encourages me to attend mass and visit the annulment process. His last appointment was on the annulment tribunal and he advised that he saw no reason for my DH not to be granted this. I have spoken with my DH and he is thinking about the process. But I am not sure whether he will be willing to do this. Chances are he may not. Right now, I do not feel comfortable and will not be attending mass for the next few weeks until my husband has decided what he would like to do. What is right for me is that I raise my children in a church that accepts my family as it is. I will continue to pray to Jesus for strength during this time of uncertainty.

If anyone knows of any appropriate readings, I would welcome their suggestions.

Again, thank you.

Traci

Traci & Kate (4/16)