Annulment must for remarriage: Church

Church refuses to issue baptism certificate to boy as his father’s first marriage is not annulled.

Posted on April 24, 2012, 7:30 AM


Mumbai:Annulment of marriage in Catholicism is a must to marry again was brought home to a man in Mumbai the hard way.

The Church has refused to issue a baptism certificate to Clifford Rebello’s son as his first marriage is yet to be annulled by the Metropolitan Tribunal of Bombay Archdiocese.

After obtaining a civil divorce from his former wife in the Family Court in 2008, Rebello, 42, applied for an annulment as stipulated by Canon Law.

“Since I had already sought a legal divorce by mutual consent, authorities in the tribunal assured me that the annulment procedure would take not more than six months,” he said.

However, he said, “despite keeping in constant touch with the authorities and priests in the tribunal, I was not called for counselling. Thus, I decided to move on in life, get married and start a family.”

A year after marriage, Rebello’s second wife, also a Catholic, gave birth to a boy in 2011 and applied for a baptism certificate, which was refused by the Church.

“We have approached the authorities concerned, but were denied the certificate. We want our son to be accepted by the community because he is legally our child,” he added.

Fr. Savio Fernandes, spokesperson of Bombay archdiocese, said that the religious annulment was independent of a civil divorce.

“When a Catholic gets married, it is a sacrament that they promise to fulfil till the end of their life. This sacrament once undertaken is beyond the couple,” said Fr. Fernandes.

“It is only when the annulment is issued that the couple is free to get remarried. In this case, by not having received a religious annulment, the second marriage is not recognised by the Church. Hence, the baptism was denied,” the priest said.

The tribunal currently has approximately 30 annulment petitions pending.

“We adopt a holistic approach while issuing an annulment. The process is longer than a civil divorce because we consider reconciliation to be a very important aspect,” said Yolande Pereira, marriage counsellor, Bombay Archdiocese.

“During the course of this decision, we meet both the parties involved, discuss their grievances and also undertake their psychological analysis. The time taken to complete the procedure is dependent on the parameters of the case.”

Source: Hindustan Times

Baptism Certificate , Annulment Of Marriage , Catholicism , Clifford Rebello
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