In Catholic teaching, the valid marriage between two baptized Christians is also a sacrament. The love between the spouses symbolizes Christ’s love for the church. For the baptized, it is permanently binding and cannot be broken by any human power. Marriages between two non-Catholics are also presumed to be valid, even if they are not always sacramental.
What is a marriage?
By God’s plan, marriage is an enduring and exclusive partnership between a man and a woman, established for the giving and receiving of love, and the procreation and education of children. Married love requires a lifelong commitment.
How, then, are annulments possible?
If evidence shows that a particular marriage suffered from some radical flaw from the very beginning, that marriage could be declared sacramentally invalid. An annulment or declaration of nullity is a judgment by the Tribunal that a particular marriage fell short of at least one of the elements considered essential for a binding, lifelong union. There was a wedding, but it did not produce a marriage. The defect must be present in some way from the time the couple exchanged their wedding vows. An annulment does not deny that a real relationship existed, nor does it mean that the marriage was entered with ill-will or moral fault. Rather, it is a judicial declaration by the Church that something essential was missing.
Marriage in Trouble Programs
As marriages face challenges and stress in their daily life effecting in a strained relationship, the Diocese of San Jose is offering ways of helping troubled marriages. The DSJ is partenring with Retrouvaille, an International community of disciples that provide programs committed to the continued healing of marriages and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sharing their stories, talents and gifts to promote and spread the healing ministry of Retrouvaille. For more information on Retrouvaille and their program schedule, please visit their website at http://www.retrouvaille.org/.