The Church’s Code of Canon Law summarizes the essential Catholic teaching on marriage by stating:
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized”.
“For this reason, a valid matrimonial contract cannot exist between the baptized without it being by that fact a sacrament” (can. 1055).
What is an annulment? Rather is a statement of fact concerning the marriage bond itself.
For a valid marital consent are necessary:
– the capacity of the parties for making such a commitment and fulfilling the obligations of marriage;
– the intention of the parties to enter into marriage as the Church understands marriage;
– the knowledge of the parties on marriage itself and of the person they are marrying.
When there is a serious deficiency in any one of these three areas, the marriage is/could be considered and declared invalid.
The Catholic Church comes to a decision about marriage validity or invalidity through a formal judicial process governed by Code of Canon Law, with no civil effects, that follows certain step and is designed to respect the rights of both parties and to allow both parties to have their say.
The formal process is not adversarial and does not make a moral judgment on any person involved, it simply makes a statement of truth regarding the validity of the prior bond according to Church teaching.
The Church presumes that every marriage is valid unless proven otherwise.
In order to declare a marriage null it must be proven that at the time of consent an essential element of marriage was lacking even though it may not have been obvious to the couple at that time.
Ex. gr.: adultery or other serious problems taking place during the marriage, are not necessarily sufficient proof that a marriage was invalid at its inception.
First of all talk to one of the priests in your parish, then call us