Friday, February 11, 2005

Responses to questionnaire

Q: Why do you think the Church is okay with annulment but not with divorce?

OVC: The Church accepts that there can be a marriage that is null and void from the moment itself that it was entered into. And when after the proper judicial process is made and the said invalidity were proven, then there is the declaration of nullity of the marriage.

The Church does not honor the so-called “annulment” and “divorce”. Annulment means that a valid marriage is invalidated. Divorce on the other hand means that a likewise valid marriage is simply cancelled.

Q: So far, since you started handling the matrimonial tribunal, how many couples have filed for annulment? On what grounds?

OVC: I have been working at the Marriage Tribunal of the Church since 1971. And roughly speaking, there are about some 150 marriage cases files every year.

By and large the grounds for nullity since then to these times have been force and fear, mental disorder, volitional adversity, emotional impairment, socio-affective immaturity.

Q: Rate per year? Is the number alarming? Why, yes/no?

OVC: Based on the actual marriage case filed before the Church for declaration of nullity, there is no significant cause for alarm.

What is alarming is the increase in “live-in” arrangements. Also, there must be hundreds of “broken marriages” that are not brought to the Tribunal, or presented thereto but they have no ground for a declaration of nullity.

Q: What’s the process in filing annulment? What exactly do you do?

OVC: The basic steps for a marriage nullity process are the following:

First, going to the tribunal for inquiry what documents are needed. Second, knowing from the Tribunal if there is a possible cause for marriage nullity (if not, it stops here). Third, hearing of petitioner, respondent, witnesses—and experts if necessary. Third, judgment on the case in the Tribunal of First Instance. Fourth, review of the case in the Tribunal of Appeals. Fifth, recourse to Rome if opted by either the petitioner or the respondent.

Q: Advice to couples who might want to get married someday?

OVC: Practical advisories to couples:

One, teenagers should not get married. Two, dependents should not get married. Three, unconvinced of marriage for a lifetime should not get married. Four, incapable of observing marriage obligations should not get married. Five, having preference for single life should not get married.

Q: Why do you think getting marriage is so expensive nowadays?

OVC: Marriage in Church ranges from altogether free to a sizable amount of money, totally depending at the option of the couple (parents/relatives) getting married. Marriage in Church can be most simple or very elaborate at the instance of those getting married and those advising them.

One thing is certain: The fundamental focus of marriage are the persons of the couple getting married for life—not definitely the celebrations before and after the wedding that last but for some hours.

Q: Reaction to latest fad (garden weddings, kasalang bayan, etc.). Is the Church okay with these?

OVC: In principle, Church wedding being a serious and sacred reality should be celebrated in Church. “Garden Weddings” should be discouraged as much as possible. Whereas the wedding place contributes much to the solemnity and propriety of the wedding itself. It is doubtful if gardens have these attributes.

(Honest, I do not know nor have seen any so-called “Kasalang Bayan”. It is motivated for the purpose of advertising something? Is there a business angle therein? Is it done for religious, financial reasons or what?)

Q: Among the 7 sacraments, is matrimony the most administered by the Church? If not what then? (Pls. rank if possible).

OVC: Among the seven sacraments in the Church, the most administered in quantitative ranking appear to be the following:

First: Baptism
Second: Confirmation
Third: Communion
Fourth: Confession
Fifth: Marriage
Sixth: Anointing of the sick
Seventh: Priesthood

13 February 2005