- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On March 15, 2019
Challenging Catholic Answers‘ defense against “Attack on Annulments”
I could not leave unchallenged statements made by Rose Sweet in her article titled “The Attack on Annulments” published by Catholic Answers in their March-April print magazine.
Their website shows editor (Tim Ryland), director of apologetics (Tim Staples), and senior apologist (Jimmy Akin) take very seriously that many people look to them for the true authentic teaching of the Catholic Church. I ask Ryan, Staples, and Akin to reconsider their choice to have Rose Sweet defend the status quo annulment situation in the U.S.
The article “The Attack on Annulments,” starts by listing three objections to annulments: 1) The Church hands out annulments like candy on Halloween!; 2) All you need is money and you get an annulment. 3) Annulment? What a joke; it’s just Catholic divorce.” Rose Sweet hypothesizes about those who believe there is an annulment scandal:
People who argue there is an annulment “scandal” include those who are:
- Genuinely concerned that marriage is being slowly deconstructed by our culture (it is) and perhaps also by the Church (it isn’t)
- Hurt or even furious (and fighting against the shame) at having their own marriage declared null
- Resentful that they have to stick it out in their less-than-happy marriages and hold to their difficult vows while others seem to be getting off so easily
- Afraid that if the Church loosens any rules, all hell will break loose (by Rose Sweet. The Attack on Annulments. Catholic Answers Magazine. March-April 2019)
Notice how Sweet categorizes those who are most intimately affected by any alleged scandal: the respondents whose marriages were declared invalid despite their efforts to defend its validity. Sweet puts aggrieved respondents in two boxes. They are either hurt, or they are furious and fighting against the supposed shame of having an invalid marriage. She omits those who are aggrieved because the proceeding was an attack against the truth.
Saint Pope John Paul II
When Saint Pope John Paul II discussed the annulment scandal, he discussed the violence against truth occurring when tribunals incorrectly decide a marriage marked by serious difficulties is invalid. “A valid marriage, even one marked by serious difficulties, could not be considered invalid without doing violence to the truth and undermining thereby the only solid foundation which can support personal, marital, and social life” (1990 Address to Roman Rota).
Cardinal Raymond Burke
When Cardinal Raymond Burke gave a talk at Catholic University of America in 2014, he said the annulment process was called “catholic divorce” and he describes the grave damage done in the late 70’s and 80’s to the annulment process by the poor quality of tribunal’s judgments. Cardinal Burke’s statement sounds identical to the assertion that Rose Sweet set herself up to rebut, “Annulment? What a joke; it’s just Catholic divorce.”