Joseph Kennedy, Bobby's oldest child, married an Episcopalian. I remember a time when those mixed marriages were tantamount to a Muslim marrying a Jew. Needless to say, like everybody else these days, they got divorced. Without her knowledge, because he could do that, Joe Kennedy got an annulment through the Catholic church, mainly so he could remarry someone else a couple of years later. I find it interesting that only one party can be permitted to pursue an annulment. Without the knowledge of the party of the first part, if they so choose.
Surprisingly the former Mrs. Kennedy, who would seem to have no ax to grind with the church since she's not a member, appealed the annulment and she won. Which means Kennedy's second marriage is not valid in the eyes of the church right now. Of course it's not over yet, because now Joe Kennedy can appeal the appeal, and so on and so on and so on. Betcha it ends up being a money thing -- the spouse with the biggest donation to the church wins. Sorry, did I say that out loud?
As the wheels of irony begin to turn, you can't help but wonder is a Catholic annulment just one more example of religious equivocacy? Things can mean whatever the Church wants them to mean depending on the situation. In this case, annulment means the church agrees with you that the marriage shouldn't have happened in the first place. Not that it didn't happen. That it was, in effect, an error. Ooops, sorry.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have a Catholic annulment on my list of accomplishments. I don't actually need it since I won't be getting married in the Catholic Church again. Most likely because I have the wrong attitude. I was informed that if I want to marry in the Church next time I have to be counseled first. Ha. Not in this lifetime.
Sometimes you begin to wonder if there isn't a way around all the church bureaucracy. Funny you should ask. It so happens a couple of people I know figured out one way a few years ago.
She was Catholic and never married. He was Protestant and twice divorced. No way he was pursuing two Catholic annulments, mainly because he wasn't Catholic. Regardless, they got married in a Catholic church anyway.
First, a judge married them by standing just in front of the pews and nowhere near the altar or anything that might smite him down. This was achieved by a great deal of subterfuge, since the parish priest church thought he would be involved. Luckily the bride's family had their own priest.
When the judge was finished with the ceremony, he quickly left by the side door and the bride's ordained cousin stepped in to conduct a mass. I wonder if he had to hide anywhere during the actual ceremony so he could say he didn't know what was going on. No matter. Things moved so quickly, it all seemed like any other Catholic wedding. They just avoided all the paperwork.
You can say it's not nice to fool the church. But church folks have been playing fast and loose with us for a long time. Time for some payback.