Faith/Spirituality Forum: annulment of conscience

annulment of conscience QUESTION from Bob on January 7, 2003 Is there such a thing as an annulment of conscience? Currently, I am going through the annlment process. If the church denies my annulment, and in good faith I believe it should be annulled, is there anything such as an 'annulment of conscience? I think I remember reading about it, but I am not sure.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 14, 2003 Dear Bob:
There are some theologians and priests who believe that one may procede with a valid marriage when the Church has denied an annulment application on the basis of internal forum.
Internal Forum is when through the confessional or in one's own conscience it is truly believed that the previous marriage was invalid despite the Church's decision.
Internal Forum, however, is rejected by the Church as a means to decide the validity of one's own marital state.
Marriage is NOT a private act, but a public one. Thus the Church does have jurisdiction on how, where, and when marriages can take place and on the conditions for which a nullity can be declared based upon the teachings of Christ concerning marriage.
Just as in many other issues, the old maxium, A man who has defends himself in court has a fool for a client, certainly applies here. We certainly cannot be unbiased about the validity or lack thereof concerning our own marriages.
The Church, therefore, reserves judgment of Nullity to itself:
Canon 1085.2: Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason whatsoever, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or the dissolution of the prior marriage has been legitimately and certainly established.
Canon 1671: Marriage cases of the baptized belong to the ecclesiastical judge by proper right.
Bottomline: One cannot reject the Church's decision to deny a Nullity by Internal Forum. What the Church decides is binding. There is no such thing as an annulment of conscience.
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