Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Catholic Church, Sanctity of Marriage, and Annulments (for the right price)

There has been a fun little discussion thread developing over at Andrew Sullivan’s blog (here, here, and here) about Nicole Kidman and her very recent second marriage in the Catholic Church to Keith Urban. Andrew, a devout Catholic himself, wonders aloud how Nicole can get married in the Catholic Church since she is divorced (a big no no in the eyes of the Catholic Church) after 10 years of “legal” marriage to Tom Cruise and 2 children. He then asks:

Do weddings with scientologists not count?

A BBC news article clears up some of the confusion:

In fact, Kidman didn't need an annulment for one simple reason: in the eyes of the Catholic Church her 10-year union with Tom Cruise, a renowned Scientologist, never happened.

The original wedding was performed in the Church of Scientology and wasn't recognised by the Catholic faith.

The divorce granted to the couple in 2001 was a legal rather than religious procedure for Kidman.

To which Andrew responds:

I love my church. Its rules are inviolable and eternal, except when they're not. Kidman was legally married for ten years, had two kids, but, as far as the Catholic church is concerned, her marriage to Cruise did not exist! She didn't even have to seek an annulment. But the stricture against a Catholic's divorce and remarriage is absolute - and a Catholic who obeyed the rules all along, and got married in a Catholic first wedding, would be denied the sacraments and barred from re-marrying in church. I guess because I am deemed objectively disordered by my own church, I haven't been as aware of this transparent nonsense as I should have been. (emphasis mine)

To which I must respond to Andrew:

Well Andrew, as a non-objectively disordered ex-Catholic I have been paying attention to this “transparent nonsense” in the Catholic Church for quite some time and I can tell you this: annulments are nothing more than a racket, a religious loophole for those with the bucks who need to skirt the system and move on to spouse #2 or more. I have watched many a devout divorced Catholic sit in the pews with broken hearts and souls while the smarter divorced Cafeteria Catholics waltz up to the altar with a wink and a nod and receive communion and other sacraments normally forbidden to them because they are divorced and then return to the pews where they polish their halos and plan their exit strategy. This longtime abuse of annulments makes such a mockery of the Catholic Church’s “Sanctity of Marriage” argument. For me this is reason #999 in my long laundry list of WTF?‘s that ultimately convinced me to say adios to the only Church I had ever known.

Another of Andrew’s readers has this to say:

I'm surprised and charmed by your unfamiliarity with the Church's annulment practices. One thing I would emphasize is that even for Catholics married in Catholic ceremonies, annulments seem easy enough. I have a friend, a fund-raiser for the Church, who has had two marriages zapped into oblivion, and may have her third erased as well. Just think, some sunny day gay Catholics will be able to take advantage of this particular brand of Church magic. (emphasis mine)

And to this overly optimistic reader I must say:

And what have you been smoking? The Catholic Church is never going to stop with the homophobic, hateful, exclusionary treatment of gays. If they did they’d lose their perfect scapegoat and have no one to blame for all of the pedophile horrors that went on for decades.

Whew, now I am really riled up! I know better than to get started on this subject so late in the evening. Well forget a good night’s sleep now…


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Terrific insight into the anuulement process SM.