Cannon 1097

Technorati Tags: ,
Question from Charlie Szatkowski on 5/25/2008:

I have some questions about cannon 1097 (error about the quality of the person). My current wife of five years has led me to think that she is not in full communion with the Church. I am a "strong" Catholic that agrees with everything that the Church teaches regarding faith and morals, but I have come to see that my wife holds more Protestant positions on things I view as crucial (missing Mass on Sundays, the Church was instituted by Christ, the Pope is infallible, etc.) We argue about religion so much that I have dropped the subject. She says that I'm "brainwashed" and a "freak" for thinking as I do. I am not happy with the loneliness I experience due to the friction we have. My faith is the most important thing in my life, but I cannot share this with my wife. This leads me to think that I may be able to annul the marriage using cannon 1097. I initially thought that she was a "good Catholic wife" of my hopes and dreams. But even she tells me that she's not what I thought she was, and that she can she me marrying someone else... someone who would be "a good Catholic wife." I thought she would be one at the time of our marriage. If I knew just how divergent our views were about religion, I would not have married her. Also, two years into the marriage I learned of a cocaine addiction she had that I was not informed of. It took a forced drug test to reveal this. To this day I still have issues with trusting her when she goes out with friends. It turns out that this was going on during our courtship as well. I was naive enough not to see this because I didn't know the signs of cocaine addiction. I have forgiven her regarding the drugs and lying, but do not want to see a relapse, especially if we ever had children. Drug and alcohol abuse runs on her side of the family. She says she's clean now. But I have huge concerns about the validity of our marriage union. Would I have a case for an annulment using cannon 1097? -My apologies for the length of this question.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 5/26/2008:

An error based on canon 1097, 2 must be an error directly and principally intended. I don't see anything that you directly and principally intended in what you have described.

Let me give an example of a situation where canon 1097, 2 would apply: A woman intends to marry a man whom she believes to be a doctor. He lies and tells her that he is a doctor, and she would not have married him if she had known this to be a lie. Then a couple of months after the marriage, she finds out the truth and immediately leaves him in anger.

What you are describing is a woman who is as not as strong a Catholic as you would have hoped. But it is hard to see how this rises to the level as required by canon 1097, 2.

(Canon 1097, 1 only applies if it is completely the wrong person -- like when Jacob married Leah while intending to marry Rachel in the book of Genesis.)

I would say that there might be other grounds for nullity, perhaps psychological grounds related to the drug use.

No comments:

Post a Comment