As promised, today I want to share an email message on the annulment issue from the Rev. Samuel Houser at St. Patrick Church in York.
Father Houser reacted to last week’s blog post about Mindy Boston’s unfortunate experience with the Catholic annulment process.He posed several interesting questions, beginning with this: “Why is it that people are so critical of the Catholic Church’s annulment process but so docile of the civil government’s divorce process?”
Folks like Boston, the “respondents,” are contacted out of courtesy, he noted. While Houser agreed the forms are “detailed and personal,” he said it is entirely appropriate to give them a chance to participate in the process.
“I know for a fact that some respondents ‘choose’ not respond, but at least are given the ‘choice’ — we all want ‘choices’ these days — to do so,” Houser wrote.
As for the sensitive part of the annulment process — the intensely personal questioning — Houser doesn’t see how the proceedings has any impact without it.
“How else can the truth of a relationship — or ANY matter — be uncovered without delving into personal matters?” he asked.
He points out that none of the annulment information is ever made public, unlike many divorce proceedings, which are on file at the local courthouse for all to see.
Finally, Houser said he just wishes people would get the facts about the Catholic annulment process before commenting out of anger. I list the church’s 12 “misconceptions” about annulment in this story.
“Tell me you disagree, but don’t condemn me or the Church for what we believe and teach,” Houser said. “If you can’t believe or follow something, fine, but don’t ridicule me because I choose to believe something you disagree with.”