Friday, June 22, 2007
The Nullification of the Nullification
This story seems to be going strong and it seems most are separating into two distinct camps. First you have the Catholics who are happy to see that Rome has upheld the Sacramentality and validity of Sheila and Joe Kennedy's marriage. The second camp have reacted against Sheila Kennedy saying that her views of marriage (which are not Catholic as she is an Episcopalian) prove that the marriage was never valid to begin with.
In perusing around the internet I have found some new information about the case:
1. Sheila and Joe were divorced in 1991.
2. In 1993, before a declaration of nullity had been delivered by the Boston Tribunal, Joe Kennedy married his secretary in a civil ceremony.
3. In 1995 Sheila discovers that Joe Kennedy has obtained a declaration of nullity.
4. According to Sheila Kennedy Joe asked her to lie so that he could obtain an annulment. Joe called the annulment process "Catholic gobbedly gook" and "Catholic divorce". It was a favorite expression of my college roommate that Rose Kennedy, a devout Catholic (the matriach of "the Kennedys" would be spinning in her grave). The expression seems appropriate here.
Phil Lawler on the case here.
Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer here. Who says that after the first decision in favor of an annulment, an annullment still required a second affirmative decision which was never granted.
And Fr. Joe on the huge embarassment this is to the Diocese of Boston, which has been so mired in one debacle after another.
In the popular imagination a new idea has been introduced- the idea that an annulment is not automatic, an idea that Catholic marriage is presumed valid, an idea that marriage is permanent.