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Annulment and reality

July 21, 2007

Re "The church's 'loose cannon,' " Opinion, July 16

I applaud Sheila Rauch Kennedy's efforts to fight the liberalized annulment process in the American Catholic Church. After all, Jesus just said, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery" and that two people joined in marriage become one flesh for life. He never said anything about annulments.

However, Kennedy misrepresents what an annulment is. In her article, she points to the Orthodox Church, which says that a marriage may be valid but not "sacramental." The Catholic annulment says essentially the same thing. When an annulment says a marriage was invalid, it means that there was no sacrament. It has nothing to do with the existence of a marriage.


Columbia, S.C.


Maybe if I sat on a tack I could empathize with Kennedy's pain -- but probably not. I don't know how she came to imagine that the opinion of some celibate moral dilettantes could have any bearing on her relation to her ex-husband or anyone else, but let me disabuse her. They don't get to define "marriage" or anything else. It's a pairing off that humans have engaged in since there were humans. And before that, animals engaged in it.

So getting all in a twist because some robed reactionaries think you weren't really married, even though you were there and they weren't, makes no more sense than being upset because the Taliban thinks you're a slut for not wearing a burka. If the tack hurts, get up!



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