Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Honesty is such a lonely word

I subscribe to "America" magazine, a Jesuit publication. A couple of months ago, they ran a big story on annulments. What's an annulment? Go here, it's a great resource:

I'd post links to the articles I'm talking about, but they are available only to subscribers. If you subscribe to America (, go ahead and look for them. But I digress. A man wrote about how his life was affected positively by his annulment. Then 2 weeks ago, another man wrote about how difficult his wife's life became when she was applying through the annulment. He said that if they knew then what it would have been like, that his wife would not have pursued it and he would have been content to refrain from the sacraments, effectively living his spiritual life on the fringes of the Church.

He writes that he and his wife decided to keep the application under wraps for a while and not to tell anyone. Her adult children weren't practicing and neither was her mother. Her ex-husband was not religious at all and I guess they didn't feel the need to broadcast it in the preliminary stages. During the process of writing down her side of the story for the tribunal, which included a lot of information on her life before she was married, his wife decided to tell her mother, thinking she would be supported by her in this endeavor. Her mother was hurt by some of the things the wife wrote and then called the adult children to inform them about the annulment and told them that they were not going to be recognized by the Church if their parents' church marriage were dissolved.

It was terrible for me to read, and I can understand the pain that this man's wife must feel. As the child of divorced parents who have not gotten an annulment, I can absolutley relate to the pain her children must have felt on getting that phone call from their grandmother. Anything related to your parents' breakup takes you right back to whatever age you were when your parents split up in the first place.

It just seems to me that if the wife had gotten her kids together after she and her new husband sat down and talked to the priest as they started the application process and simply explained to them what she was doing, why she's doing it, and what it meant for them, everyone could have been spared much pain.

See, a marriage is not really a private thing, epecially when your marriage is blessed with children. You are living witnesses of the love of God. And your children are a testament both to the love of the spouses and the Love of God for all that he has created. "See, I make all things new." I think it was unreasonable for her to expect that her application for annulment could progress without it impacting all of the people directly involved in it (parents, ex-spouse, children.) Openness and honesty at the beginning would not have been easy, but it would have been better for her children and her mother and the man and woman in the second marriage in the long run.

Can't we say that about all situations in our lives? I can't say for you, but everytime I try to keep something important on the down low, it explodes in my face. I haven't been around that long (I'm 29), but the more I go through life, the more i understand that being open about your motives and expectations with the people that you love is always better.

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