Null & Void?

When I married my third wife, after two divorces, we eloped, and the ceremony was performed by a Protestant minister. My wife is a woman of faith, an Irish Catholic who, despite misgivings about certain aspects of the church, still holds to its sacraments and prayers. She had had her first (and only prior) marriage annulled. After the two of us were married by the Protestant minister, she continued to attend Mass, but abstained from receiving Communion—since for her to be in full communion with the church, I would have to go through the annulment process myself. 

To be honest, as a Jew I did not understand why that was necessary, and the explanations offered by priest friends weren’t very convincing. Still, according to church law I needed an annulment before the church would recognize my marriage to my Catholic wife. And so I began the process.

My application arrived in the mail. The form was quite detailed. As a doctor and government worker I am all too familiar with paperwork, and carefully went about providing every required bit of information, lest it be returned on some technicality. After sending in the forms, I scheduled a meeting with the appointed priest. Driving to that meeting, I tried to resist the feeling of being summoned to the principal’s office. It had been a long time since I sat before someone for what felt like an assessment of my moral life. In fairness, the...

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About the Author

Lloyd I. Sederer is a psychiatrist and medical journalist.