Post # 1
Okay so a very good friend of mine just went through a divorce – they were married for over 4 years, she ended up being unhappy cheated and left him.
Shortly after leaving and before being divorced she met another guy. They became serious right away. It’s only been 13 months since she left her husband and she is now engaged and wanting to rush to the alter.
The new guy is catholic so she is going through the process to become catholic and getting an annulment for her previous marriage. She has asked another one of our friends and three members of her family to be character witnesses. The friend is the only one of the four that knows about the affair (NO she did not tell her parents or siblings.) My friend wanted to see if the others knew before she filled out the questionaire so she made a comment to my friend. She said her family doesn’t know, thanks. Then left.
Now my friend is in a rock and a hard place because she is asking her to lie to the church. We both are very upset about this and do not know how to handle the situation. We don’t want to lose her as a friend but we want to make sure she is starting off this new marriage on the right foot and not based off a bunch of lies. This also makes us wonder if her new fiance even knows about the past.
Oh and to make matters worse she considers me a best friend and has not told me about the affair – I got married last year in the catholic church and she was my matron of honor. Pretty hurtful.
Any suggestions of how to confront her without losing the friendship?
Post # 3
Well, I’m not catholic, but I am christian, and I do truly believe that you when stand up at the altar, both parties need to know of the other’s past. I also believe that people should only get married if they truly respect marriage. (it seems your friend does not) As for confronting her, personally I would not say anything until she asks you to be Maid/Matron of Honor, or Bridesmaid or Best Man. I, for very spiritual reasons, do not believe that you should stand up for her on a marriage that is started off on lies, so I understand your viewpoint very well, and agree with it.
Maybe when she asks, then you should talk to her about the importance of starting a marriage off on the right foot (not bringing up her past, but instead alluding to your experience being married and the importance of truth) Talk to her as a friend who just wants to make sure she’s making the right decision (that is a short time to date someone before getting married) That way you are supporting her, but most likely, her conscience will take hold (hopefully) and she will want to come clean.
Post # 4
This is definitely tough. If i were in your friends shoes, i think i would return the form to the bride to be and tell her she cannot complete it.
Post # 5
I’m confused. How can she begin the process of an annulment in the Church if she isn’t even Catholic yet?
Post # 6
You can have an annulment w/o being Catholic.
What I’m confused about is how do you know for sure that she really cheated if you didn’t hear it from her? The other friend might be lying. Were you asked to give a reference or just your friend?
Post # 7
@ItWasntMe: To get married in the Catholic church, neither party can be married. So even if one person isn’t Catholic, the Church has to verify that that person didn’t have a valid Catholic marriage. Thus the annulment process.
@Westie82: Does the friend have to testify in front of the family members? I don’t really know how it works. I’m sorry; that’s really rotten. I would just encourage her to say she doesn’t feel comfortable doing that.
Post # 8
Does she really consider YOU her bff? As a bff you would have known about the affair and probably wouldn’t have judged quite as harashly as you are now (I would too). But still don’t lie for her, you’ll continue to resent her for it. If your friendship can’t withstand this, then it wasn’t all that strong to begin with. It’s perfectly alright to lose friends over moral issues such as this. Sad, but okay.
Post # 9
I just wouldn’t be a witness for her if I was unsure about how her last marriage ended. Or you could say you’d heard something about it and wanted to know the truth before you put yourself out there and told the church something that wasn’t true.
Post # 10
I know any marriage can be annulled, but I assumed this was in reference to being married in the Catholic church. I’m Catholic, but wasn’t married in the church, so I never knew someone of another faith also had to obtain an annulment before a marriage could take place.
Post # 11
I’m not sure I entirely understand why you feel the need to confront your friend. You haven’t been asked to fill out a questionnaire, so she hasn’t asked you to do anything you are uncomfortable with.
If you are simply worried she is making a bad choice, I’m sure plenty of opportunities to talk to her will come up long before her wedding. If she is just now applying for an annulment, it may take up to a year before it is finished…and only once it is done can she start the required marriage preparation…which takes another six months.
As for your friend who is asked to be a witness, my understanding is that witnesses are sent questionnaires to complete and mail back. They don’t have to actually go befpre the tribunal and testify. I’m not sure how much, if anything, the questionnaire will ask about infidelity in the marriage. Infidelity is not a grounds for annulment (unless it was going on at the time of the marriage, thus indicating a lack of intent at the time of the marriage to be faithful). Unless there is an obvious impediment to marriage (such as one of them having been previously married), the tribunal will be focusing on the parties’s intentions and mental state at the time of the marriage — not during the marriage. Also, the future bride may be able to read the questionnaires, but the other witnesses won’t be given copies of each other’s questionnaires, so if even if your friend mentions the infidelity, the bride-to-be’s parents won’t necessarily read or hear about it.
Post # 12
There are legal annulments and then their are religous annulments. She just needs the church to annul the marrige it doesn’t need to be legal. (A church annulment does not effect a legal annulment or vice versa. You would need to have 2 annulments if you wanted the church and state to recognize it)
Post # 14
Does her fiance know what happened? Because if he does, surely he must be expecting that the annulment won’t go well/at all. Which means they would both be party to a lie, or if he doesn’t know, that’s also obviously horrible!
Post # 15
@ItWasntMe: To be married in a Catholic Church, you must be free to marry (i.e., haven’t already entered into marriage or have been widowed or have had any previous marriage annulled). The Church does recognize marriages of non-Catholics as being valid. It doesn’t consider non-Catholic marriage a sacrament, but it still recognizes it as valid.
So if the bride-to-be and her ex-husband were both non-Catholics and were legally married, the Church recognizes that and will require it to be annulled if she wants to marry in the Catholic Church. A significant number of annulments are granted to non-Catholics who want to marry Catholics.
Post # 16
@Westie82: Ugh. Maybe not a bad idea.
That being said, I don’t think cheating will prevent the annulment, especially since it wasn’t a Catholic marriage. The whole purpose of that kind of annulment, as I understand it, is to verify it wasn’t a Catholic marriage. The Church doesn’t grant annulments because of cheating, but I don’t think they will not allow one because of cheating either. So it may be a moot point as far as the annulment goes.
Not saying she shouldn’t tell her family, and definitely should tell her fiance.