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Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop…

Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church from…

by Sheila Rauch Kennedy

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3046 Shattered Faith, by Sheila Rauch Kennedy (read 17 Jan 1998) This is a depressing book and highlights the adverse side to easy Catholic annulment. The author acts as if such is for the benefit of men, but obviously it can benefit either side. This book, written by an Episcopalian, over-emphasizes the effect of an annulment. An annulment does not say the parties were in bad faith--it simply finds that the marriage, even though both parties may have been in good faith, was invalid. The author is perfectly happy with divorce, and recognizes herself as free to marry, but apparently wants to be sure that Joe Kennedy cannot practice his Faith. It strikes me as a dog in the manger attitude, in view of the obvious fact the marriage is dead. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Dec 23, 2007 |
Mrs Rauch Kennedy's book "Shattered Faith" exposes the absurdities in logic which can occur when the rules are just too inflexible. The Catholic Church's process of "annulment" requires history to be erased and re-written - an impossible notion - and yet it is the only procedure open to a person from a failed Catholic marriage who wishes to marry again within the Church. The notion of marriage as a "sacrament" forbids the possibility of a mistake, so in order for a second marriage to take place the first must be wiped from history. Thus all must pay lip-service to an impossible belief in order to gain what they want.

But *does* the end justify the means? This brave book points out what most of us have suspected all along - namely, that when the Church "annuls" a marriage it needs to find a pretext to declare that one partner was not of sound mind when the ceremony took place. This means that in practical terms, the Church takes the side of the more influential partner (usually the husband) and does everything in its power to find the other partner guilty of some weakness of character that would render the marriage invalid.

When Mrs Rauch Kennedy's ex-husband wished to marry again within the Church, she found herself under attack from Church investigators who did everything they could (including asking for reports from her psychiatrist - a particularly low blow) to make her appear the one at fault. Mrs Kennedy fought this apportionment of blame not only because she considered it an attack on her character, but also because of the effect an annulment would have on the status of her children. If her marriage was "annuled" - declared officially never to have existed - then didn't that mean that her children, raised within the Church as believers, would be considered to have been born out of wedlock?

It is a source of sadness that the Church condones such a tragic, tortuous and ultimately ridiculous state of affairs. I hope that within my lifetime I will see the Catholic establishment forgive the divorced person and allow them to remarry with the Church's blessing. Then "annulment" can be dumped into the waste-bin of history, along with "indulgences" and such outdated concepts that strain both one's faith and one's patience. ( )
1 vote bibliotheque | Jan 28, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679439951, Hardcover)

Shattered Faith is a fascinating look at divorce within religion. The Roman Catholic Church still does not recognize divorce. Instead it resolves a couple's incompatibility by declaring a marriage illegitimate from the outset. While divorce ends a marriage, annulment erases it--a distinction not lost on a Sheila Rauch Kennedy and many other women with similar experiences. When Rauch Kennedy is forced into annulment proceedings by an ex-husband who seeks to prove that their marriage was based on false presumptions and therefore never really existed, what can she do? Despite the high profiles of the protagonists, this is a down-to-earth account of a woman's attempt to maintain her sense of worth in the face of a church bureaucracy blinded by pride and incapable of compassion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

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