I have a question. Since the catholic church does not believe in divorce, how then can a catholic couple with 4 children and 11 years of marriage get an annulment? I was under the impression annulment meant invalid. Is it declared only by the Pope? How long does it usually take? Thank you so much.

God bless.


Dear Jean,

I couldn't comment on any specific annulment. The diocese of Austin  has a helpful website (Tribunal ) which I think would answer most of the questions you have.  I copied out the first question and part of the answer.

     1. What is a Declaration of Nullity (annulment)?

A declaration of nullity states that, according to Church law, a given marriage was not valid (and therefore not binding) at the time a couple spoke their marriage vows. A person asks this Office to look at a previous marriage which has ended in divorce, and, if possible, to issue a declaration that this previous marriage no longer binds either party to the union. In no way should this process be thought of as a type of "Catholic Divorce." A declaration of nullity states that a marriage was invalid from the beginning. A civil divorce, on the other hand, asserts that a marriage, valid or not, is dissolved. The Catholic Church does not grant divorces.

Neither is an annulment a statement that a marriage never existed civilly. Rather, it is a determination that certain conditions were present at the time the marriage was entered that made it an invalid union according to Catholic Church teaching. The civil effects and recognition of that marriage remain intact and unchanged.

I hope this is helpful, Jean. 

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom