Hiding Behind The Sacrament

by Chris Bodenner

My favorite email on annulments so far:

I understand your skepticism of point 5. To demonstrate why such a vague description might be important, let me offer you the story of my parents' annulment.

My mother and father married in good faith, mostly. I say "mostly" because "good faith" on my mother's end meant that she thought God's blessing on her marriage would end her attraction to women. It did not. My parents went through a very painful annulment as a result. (As a response to your later reader: In the eyes of the Church, I was told by a childhood priest, I am not illegitimate.) It's sort of a dramatic case, but I think it's illustrative: a lot of people put a great deal of faith in the sacrament of marriage to cure woes it actually cannot. My mother thought, mistakenly, that marriage would end her conflict about her sexuality by magically making her straight.

I am pleased to report that coming out of the closet actually cured most of her conflict about her sexuality -- by allowing her to accept who she was. Although "Lack of appreciation of the full implications of marriage" is vague enough to include, say, not understanding that marriage is forever, I think the clause is there more for people like my mom, whether it's because they're gay or for another reason. Lots of people, Catholics included, get married to "fix" something and are surprised when it doesn't work. That's human, I think, and although I am no longer a believer, I think the Catholic Church is better than most at understanding the human condition, in all its frailties.