21 June 2007

Who's on first?

It's a complete disaster. First, they're married with children. Then, they're not. Now, they are again, except he's married to someone else already. What in the world is going on with annulments? Yes, he's a Kennedy, but that shouldn't matter, right? How Joe Kennedy got an annulment and his "ex"-wife got it unannulled, certainly muddies the impression of the whole process. No wonder non-Catholics, and some Catholics alike, are skeptical of what they call "Catholic divorce." Now, he gets to appeal the appeal. Stop the insanity! It's always somethin' with the Kennedys.

I just learned that Joe Kennedy was NOT given an annulment. Like many, I'm not well-versed in this. Below is a brief summation of the subject taken from Canon Law blog:

"Now, as near as we can figure (oh, how I hate relying on the secular media here), Joseph Kennedy petitioned for, and received, at first instance a declaration of nullity regarding his marriage to Sheila Rausch. But Rausch apparently exercised her right under 1983 CIC 1417 to appeal directly to the Roman Rota, which would mean that the Kennedy-Rausch annulment case was not completed when it went to Rome. Thus the Rota sat as a tribunal of "second instance" (JPII, Pastor bonus, a. 128, 1) in which capacity it rejected Kennedy's petition. This annulment, then, was not so much "reversed" by the Rota, as it failed to win completion therein. Granted, the effect is the same, no second marriage is permitted Kennedy (or Rausch), but it's not as if Kennedy "had" his annulment for ten years, and then mean old Rome took away. Kennedy, it seems, never had his annulment in the first place. (Not that that technicality prevented him from marrying civilly, but, hey, he had already done that before Boston reached its first instance decision!)"

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