I love you, not too crazy about your beliefs - longish

Note to Mods – At first glance this might belong in another forum, but I put it in the pit because religious threads tend to end up there, and I swore a bit. Move it if necessary.

I admit to having issues with the Catholic Church. Not Catholic people, mind you, but the church organization itself and many of the beliefs it stuffs down its followers throats. Like any organization, there are truly wonderful folks (like the one I married) and there are complete assholes. What someone chooses to believe is absolutely irrelevant to me. I take issue with things only when they are imposed on me or society in the name of the church.

My issues, trivial as they are: (this is by no means a complete list)
Abortion – This is no ones business but the owner of the uterus. What she chooses to keep in there or not is none of the churches concern.
Patriarchal Domination – Get over it boys, you’re pissing on half the worlds population; the fun half in my opinion – Oh, but you wouldn’t know that would you.
Defense of pedophilic Priests – Maybe, just maybe, if we would let them fuck other consenting adults they might not abuse children.
No Meat on Fridays? – Excuse me, but if there is a heaven, my diet will have exactly NO impact on whether I get to enter or not (cannibalism possibly excepted).
Guilt, Guilt, Guilt – Um… yeah, that is one way to control your minions, But I don’t see Cecil doing it. He’s got Mods instead. Seems to work.
Organized Religion – I generally distrust all Organized religion, and the Catholic Church seems to be more organized than most.

I willfully go watch the nieces & nephews get their baptism and their first communion, and I truly don’t care what superstitions they follow,(though I am not thrilled at this being forced on them) but now Mrs. Bandersnatch wants to participate in some expensive Catholic hypocrisy known as an annulment of her first marriage.

Now her Catholicism is affecting ME. To the tune of $5000. How did they come up with that figure? Did this come from the Priests hail marys vs. our fathers vs. sins vs. frequency vs. severity decoder ring? Do they somehow know that this is the upper limit I will spend on anything I can’t drive or live in?

Knowing almost nothing about the Catholic religion, here is my take on things.

PRIEST: Mrs. Bandersnatch, you know you are not really married to Mr. Bandersnatch don’t you? You are living in sin (go confess it now-guilt, guilt), and when you die you will have to spend eternity in heaven with Mr. Shithead Firsthusband.
MRS. BANDERSNATCH: Oh No! What can I do? (she’s really brighter than this)
PRIEST: Very simple. Give us $5000, and we will pretend your first marriage never existed, but only if Mr. Shithead Firsthusband agrees, then we will put in a good word upstairs and you can spend forever with Mr. Bandersnatch. You will still be living in sin of course, because you did not give money to the church to have a Catholic wedding. Oh, and artificial birth control is practiced in your home (go confess it again now, guilt, guilt), so you won’t be procreating and giving money to the church to support our schools (guilt, guilt)
MRS BANDERSNATCH: …well I don’t know…(I swear she is brighter than this)
PRIEST: You know, your dead father was a devout Catholic, and he would have wanted this (guilt, guilt)

Truth being told, I absolutely cannot and will not say no to this wonderful woman. I will try to dissuade her in any manner I can come up with, but if she insists on going through with this, she will. But this is putting a strain on our marriage. Five grand will not change my life. I would be happy for her to piss away this kind of money in nearly any other way, but I have a real issue giving it to the Catholic Church. One option I have presented to her is that I will agree to any amount when the Priest agrees that I give the same amount to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or some other organization that is as distasteful to him as his is to me.

If you want to flame me for my opinions; fine, whatever. You won’t change my opinion, and I won’t try to change yours. Save your vitriol for someone who might actually give a shit that you disagree with them.

If however, you wish to enlighten me, share some insight that I am just not seeing, or genuinely fight my ignorance, I welcome your words of wisdom, and I appreciate your advice

I hear you. We didn’t have the annulment issue, thank goodness, but I did have to pretend to be happy to be standing before a strange priest at our “blessing ceremony” 14 years after my REAL wedding,which was in a Presbyterian church and conducted by my father who is, in fact, a real Christian minister.

I also had a great time getting “counseled” on Catholic marriage, by another priest (What the F***K do you know about marriage!?). Yes, thanks for the Natural Family Planning instructions, Father, I know just what to do with them.

Another great moment was when the priest totally ignored our daughter’s non-Catholic godparents during the entire baptism–even though they, not the Catholic sponsors, are going to be her guardians if something happens to us.

I love my husband, but sometimes I wish he’d had the urge to be Episcopalian or something. At least the music would be decent.

I do not agree with what the priest has done, seems to me like scare tactics. You could almost make an arguement that it’s illegal. Seems like a con to me…

That being said, I could be wrong here, but please correct me if I am. It seems like you are trying to give money to planned parenthood in this situation (and I give money to them as well) more because out of spite, rather than a willingness to help. Your wife could be seeing it this way as well(again, don’t know, just a guess).

It sounds like you love her a lot, so my advice would simply be, in the interest of happiness, just give the money, and don’t so much look at it as you giving money to the catholic church, look at it more in the general sense, as a sacrifice for the good of your marriage. It is only money after all…and if a little cash to the church will make your wife sleep better at night you aren’t going against any principals in my opinion (and I disagree with the Catholic Church on virtually every single issue).

I was raised Catholic, but knew nothing about annulments until the last ten minutes or so…

Anyway, the $5000 figure sounded like nonsense, and hunting around a bit confirms it:


Also note that Mr. Shithead Firsthusband does not have to be involved, though he does have to be “notified” and could pop up and be a pain later.

Speaking in an unsolicited way as a very occasionally practicing Catholic, Mrs. Bandersnatch needs to find a new priest. While there are unfortunately many who love to act as God’s appointed deputy and moral judge, there are also those who pay more attention to the spirit of the law than the letter and who care more for the general well-being of the individual than about counting infractions of Church doctrine. I would very much encourage her to hunt around a bit for one of those.

I’m a little confused, because my roommate had an annulment recently and I don’t remember it costing her anything. But then, she wasn’t remarried, and hadn’t been married in the church in the first place.

I’ll have to ask her.

Speaking as a pretty seriously lapsed Catholic, I’d suggest that, first off, any money your wife paid wouldn’t just be going to line the pockets of some blackmailing bishop. It’s not as though you say, “Here’s $5,000, give me an anullment” and they print off the certificate. The circumstances of the marriage in question have to be investigated, people who might be able to give testimony on the issues that led to the anullment being sought have to be found and questioned. The diocese itself will have to do some clerical/records keeping type stuff to make sure that anyone who asks can be assured that the marriage in question was, in fact, not valid in the eyes of the Church. A good portion of the money will basically be going to the salaries of people who do these things for the diocese. These people aren’t all priests, and they need to feed their families, same as everyone else. I’m not trying to tell you that you should immediately turn over lots of cash to the Church (on the contrary, I understand your hesitation)–just that the money likely won’t end up used for some nefarious purpose you’d never support, or in some gold-plated coffer in the Vatican.

An annullment doesn’t say a marriage never took place. It says that the contract wasn’t valid. The parties to the contract can’t be held to it, since even though they entered into it in good faith, for some reason it can’t be considered valid by church laws (which are very specific on this topic).

Now, personally I think the Catholic Church’s laws regarding marriage might have been useful in the middle ages (when the issue of whether a marriage was valid or not had a huge impact on inheritance and the Church was the only centralized authority who could make regulations stick across boundaries), but are certainly not appropriate these days. (I mean, how often in the past century has a marriage been annulled because one partner abducted the other?) But—your wife, if she’s actually thinking about pursuing this, is obviously uncomfortable thinking that she might somehow be in any way considered still married to Mr. Shithead Firsthusband. And obviously, on some level, takes the Church’s opinion in the matter seriously. I take your assessment of her intelligence seriously, and doubt very much that she’s been intimidated or scared into this. I’d bet money this has been in the back of her mind for awhile. And I’d lay a second bet that if she does indeed get the annullment, she’ll be talking about having your marriage validated by the Church.

I’d say you can be flattered that she wants very much to be sure that she’s married to you, not Mr. Shithead Firsthusband, in everyone’s eyes. As for why such a smart lady would place any importance at all on the Church’s opinion in the matter, people who are raised Catholic can never really escape it. I imagine this is true of other religions and cultures, but I have first hand experience of this particular one. I can’t remember when I last went to Mass (wait, I can, my Dad’s funeral two years ago–but it was ages before that), and I’m not always sure I even believe in God, but I have a rosary in my desk drawer, and when things get hard I pick it up.

And I’d advise you not to tick off the priest. I doubt he’s really forced her into this, and most priests I know are regular, decent people, whether you agree with their beliefs or not. And if your wife does want to marry you in the church, he’s the guy she’ll have to see about it.

While I have many issues with the church, I do not believe, and I never will believe that celibacy makes one a pedophile. Sorry, it’s something much more complicated than that.
However, I agree with everything else you said, but, I think we are allowed to eat meat on Fridays now. Right?

Either way, who cares-I like how there are lots of Fish Fries during Lent…yum!

Yeah, the five-grand for the annulment sounds like bullshit to me. I’d “shop around” and see what other Catholic churches in your area say.

Living in New Orleans, which is a largely Catholic town, I can say that Catholics are not NEARLY as asshole-ish as other Christian denominations. I went to a Jesuit high school and, while 90% of the theology classes were total crap, I learned that the Catholic church is actually not that bad.

Now, I myself am no fan of organized religion, but buried at the end of every religious argument ever to take place in these classes (there were sadly few, because the jocks always wanted to goof off) was the Church’s belief that your conscience is a better guide than the Church’s teachings. Not that 2000 years of teachings were all crap, but rather if you’re faced with a situation where your heart is telling you one thing and the Bible (or dogma) is telling you something else, go with your heart. This is a major spiritual leap from not only fundamental bullshit but also the Catholic Church before Vatican II (early 1960s).

First of all, Catholics aren’t alone on this one, nor are they the most ardent. But churches work for what they consider to be justice on earth. Can’t fault them for that.

Tradition. The old customs are hard to break. Hell, they just let the altar servers be female a few years ago, and that was a freaking milestone. As for the meat, that’s no longer a rule. They’re even getting more and more lax about the lent rules.

Also on its way to becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the “you’re going to hell” days.

Depends on what you mean by organized. Baptists and Lutherans and such generally don’t have their own schools through which to teach their dogma, but as far as rules and a belief structure the Catholic church is actually pretty lax.

If it looks like I’m trying to cut you a new hole here, then I’m sorry. If you had posted somehting positive about Catholics I probably would’ve cut them down to size. (I’ve got plenty of those stories too.)

Cher3 - your second paragraph describes exactly why I refused to be married in the church.

mayberrydan - I have not been present at any of her discussions with the Priest. This was only my very biased assumed idea of how the discussion went. Mrs. Bandersnatch has mentioned her deceased father and how he would have wanted this. I have no way of knowing if the Priest brought up the subject or she thought of it on her own. I do regularly give money to PP, but only picked this example as something distasteful to the Priest.

Philbuck - Thanks for the sites (cites?). Mrs. Bandersnatch has not yet given me a clear dollar figure. She say’s “a-lot, but cheaper than the local parish.” (She goes a couple of towns away) A former colleague told me his annulment cost 5k. He is not the type to BS, so I believe it did - I have no idea what other circumstances were involved.

dogsbody - love to hear whatever you find out.

lestrange - Thanks for the insight. I knew it was more involved that a simple cash transaction. And I understand the baggage of being raised in a certain culture. (Lord knows I’ve got more than my share of Samsonite) And you are correct, every Priest I have ever had an entire conversation with, seemed to be reasonable guys. If she wants to marry me in the church, I’m the first guy she will have to see about it. And it ain’t gonna happen.

Guinastasia - You are absolutely correct. That is why I said maybe. And I love Fish Fries. But I like to have options. The meat on Friday thing was stuffed up the asses of aforementioned wonderful Neices and Nephews in my presence as recently as this spring; if the rules have changed, it might still be news to my SIL.
Thanks Again All

"Guilt, Guilt, Guilt – Um… yeah, that is one way to control your minions, But I don’t see Cecil doing it. He’s got Mods instead. Seems to work. "

Right. Cecil prefers to use fear, of course. I kinda picture him as Grand Moff Tarkin, from Star Wars. “Fear will keep the other posters in line. Feat of this message board.” I’m thinking of Manhattan for the role of Darth Vader.

As for the five grand for your annulment, sounds more like the mafia than the Church. Are you sure you were in the right building? Did the priest wear sunglasses and a skinny neck tie? Did he say things like “Be a real shame if you all ended up burning in Hell. I’m not threatening, just saying. Bad things happen. 'specially if you don’t got insurance, know what I mean?”

I’m kidding about Cecil and Manhattan, of course. Really, I ACK! Choke… can’t… gasp… breath… THUD

And my stepfather had an annulment to marry my mother, and that didn’t cost anything either.

Look around, see if anyone else will do it for nothing. Or does you wife insist on it being done bey her preist?

Note: This was in Australia, but surely that doesn’t make any difference to the church?

Do you go to an Old Rites Catholic Church?

Because meat on Fridays has been allowed since Vatican II, I believe, in the 1960s? I know it’s not allowed during Lent…

I just always joke about fish frys. Personally, I think it’s silly that you can’t have a McDonald’s Cheeseburger, but you can have lobster?

I’m sorry, I have nothing to add to this at all, I just wanted to say that this little blasphemy almost had me peeing my pants. :smiley: I love it!

There are plenty of other threads on the boards that discuss the other comments you’ve made about the Church, and if you’re seriously interested in replacing your misconceptions with facts, a few minutes with the search engine would be a fine idea.

Since I take it that the annulment process is the straw that seems to be breaking the bandersnatch’s back, let us focus on it.

The Church, believes that marriage is a sacrament - a sacrament administered by the participants to each other, by the way, with the Church, in the person of a priest or deacon, serving only as a witness. This sacrament, validly conferred, may be dissolved only by death. You may disagree that marriage has any sacramental quality, and that is certainly your right; however, you must also concede that the Church has every right to make its own rules. Moreover, it’s something that was presumably agreed to by your wife and her first husband, assuming the classic “…'til death do us part…” line was part of her original marriage ceremony. In light of the fact that she agreed to this, and no rules were changed after the fact, I think you should ask yourself how much of your ire is valid, here.

Now, an annulment is basically a legal proceeding. It is a fact-finding process that seeks to discern if, despite appearances to the contrary, the marriage sacrament was not validly conferred. As an extreme example, if it turned out that your wife’s first husband was already married when he purported to marry your wife, then it’s clear that, despite the appearances of legitimacy, there was no valid marriage. Or if he agreed to the marriage, all the while thinking, “No way do I want children with her,” then this hidden bad faith approach to marriage on his part would invalidate the marriage.

Just as in the civil world, resolving a dispute in a judicial forum requires lawyers to represent each party - and just as in the civil world, an uncontested court action is cheaper and easier than a contested one.

If your wife’s first husband wants to staunchly maintain that their marriage was valid, the annulment battle will be an uphill one. If he has no objections, it will be easier and less expensive.

Because the marriage was, to outward appearances, valid, the Church assumes it is valid, and the burden is on your wife to present evidence that it wasn’t. The Church’s lawyer is called the Defender of the Bond, and his job is to be an advocate for the validity of the marriage. Witnesses may be called or interviewed, and other evidence presented. Obviously, whether the other party to the marriage is cooperating makes a big difference.

The figure of $5,000 for an annulment in the United States seems quite high to me, and likely describes a contentious fight rather than a mutually-desired outcome. However, the price paid is not evidence of the validity of the beliefs - or the lack thereof. Simply put, the Church requires this process as part of its system. You may disagree with the underpinnings of belief that make it so, but not with their right to make and impose their own rules in their playground.

  • Rick

Heck, if you live in New England, you can even have McDonald’s Lobster! gag

As for the $5k, I’d shop around. I’ve been away from my churchin’ days for quite a while, but like everyone else has said so far, that sounds a bit steep. It might be legit, but then again, it might be a scam. Priests have been known to do worse things than rip off a parishoner.

Can in intervene for one moment for a quick story?

About a year after my ex and I split (he booting me from our home and taking literally everything I owned, all of our money, and saying I could have it back when I returned to him.), I got a letter from his church. (a bishop, I believe, sent it) They said he was applying for an annulment, and wanted to know the reasons, from my point of view, for our split.
Oh. My. God.

The opportunity of a lifetime, I thought. My evil mom and I (and she is damned evil) came up with an impressive list of what I could write back. This was going directly to the Diocese (sp?)in Syracuse.

  1. Caught fucking the dog one afternoon
  2. Caught wearing my pantyhose and bustier
  3. Caught saying “Hi Opal!”
  4. Kept bringing home various STD’s.
  5. Confessed his affair with his mother to me.

We had many big laffs over it all, then I VERY maturely wrote: “irreconcilable differences”, which to me means “He’s a pathalogical liar and I’m not”.

I’m not catholic, and I don’t fully understand spending $5000 to say our marriage never existed, but that was his perrogitive. I heard recently that his re-marriage was ending, too. I can hear the priest now “Whew! That’s gonna run ya’!”



I read your OP twice, and tried to do so in a charitable fashion, but it seems pretty clear to me that you just wish to engage in some generalized Catholic Church bashing.

You seem to have a big problem with the Catholic faith. This is your personal problem. Not the Church’s.

For the sake of any reading, I’ll briefly address your “issues.”

Abortion - The Catholic religion beleives that an unborn child is a human being with an immortal soul. Abortion is murder. A mother should no more kill a child just because it’s in her uterus than I should be able to kill my Sister-in-law just because she’s living under my roof (let me know if this changes.)

Patriarchal Dominion - Get over it, okay?

Defense of Pedophiliac priests - Do you mean a legal defense? Wouldn’t they be entitled? Cite? Your implication that maybe they wouldn’t be pedophiles if they were allowed to screw adults, is pretty damn ignorant. It doesn’t work that way. A pedophile wants to have sex with kids. Period. Making adults available does nothing to change this. Your idea that the church is somehow responsible or creating Pedophilia is an ignorant and unwarranted accusation. I can assure you that no amount of abstinence is going to make me wish to take advantage of children. The truth is that some pedophiles may be attracted to the priesthood either in an attempt to deny their pedophiliac tendencies (maybe they think God will help them,) or, sadly, because they feel it will give them opportunity to realize their desires.

In either case it’s not an issue with the Church.

No Meat on Fridays - You really have an issue with this? What do you think about the Jews keeping Kosher? Your problem with this is equally disingenuous/ignorant. Of course your diet will have no effect on getting into Heaven. It is however an observance, a sign of respect and faith that is expected of a member of the Catholic Church. Why is this a problem?

Guilt guilt guilt - You know, I’ve been a Catholic for 34 years. I went to parochial school, the whole nine yards. Quite frankly, I don’t have the slightest idea where you come off with this. I never had any priest nun, or teacher try to foist off guilt on me to make me tow the line from a religious standpoint. Any guilt I accrued, I usually did so on my own deservedly. Quite the opposite, the role of a Priest in the Sacrament of Penance, and generally as a trusted spiritual advisor is to help one assuage guilt. We are reminded that God knows that we are not perfect, but loves and forgives us in spite of our failings. We need only to accept our failings, seek forgiveness, and try to do better.

You don’t like organized religion - Well big whoop! This seems to be the crux of the problem. Again, sincerely, I think this is your problem, not the Church’s.

If your wife has a bad priest, that’s too bad. I’m sorry to hear it.

My advice to you would be that if you do love your wife, rather than acting smugly superior and grudgingly writing checks, why don’t you by yourself a book? Go get a children’s catechism, or better yet read the Pope’s recent book on what it means to be Catholic. I don’t wish to convert you, but if you love your wife, and this aspect of her life is very important to her, than it behooves you no to be so bloody ignorant about it. Learn about it, and you many disagree with some of the tenets, as I do, but I think that you’ll find the faith itself and those who seek to follow it are worthy of your respect and consideration.

Finally, guessing that maybe you’re being a bit harsh with this Priest, if he seems to be a decent guy, why not invite him over, or take him out one evening, and politely address your concerns and questions? Chances are, if he’s a Priest worthy of the name, he’ll be glad to help you understand the more esoteric practices of Catholicism.

No, defense in the sense of hushing up cases of molestation when they become known (often through the priest’s own confession to his superiors), usually by transferring him to a new parish where his history is not known.

Father Thomas Adamson - Now known to have been sexually abusing boys from 1961 to 1987. Was repeatedly transferred to new parishes around Minnesota following confessions to his superiors or accusations from parishoners. “The diocese knew of Adamson’s sexual abuse of boys for over 15 years. The diocese knew it was recurring. The diocese knew treatment was ineffective. The diocese knew Adamson could not control himself. The diocese knew that he had molested boys in each parish he served, yet allowed Adamson to be placed in situations where he could continue to abuse.” --Senior Circuit Judge Donald Lay, 1996.

Father William Authenreith - Transferred several times to parishes around Orlando Fl. from 1976 to 1985, each time following accusations of molesting children.

Father Carmelo Baltazar - After being expelled from three parishes for sexual misconduct with minors, the diocese of Boise, Idaho assinged him to work as a hospital chaplain. He molested a hospitalized boy, for which he was arrested in 1984.

Father Kevin Benett - Arrested and convicted in 1989 on 36 felony counts of child molestation. His superiors in the archdiocese of St. John’s Newfoundland had been receiving complaints that he was molesting children since 1979.

Rev. Earl Bierman - Convicted in 1993 on multiple counts of sexual abuse dating back to the early 60’s. Victims claimed to have reported the abuse to officials of the Covington, Kentucky diocese during the 60’s and 70’s, but no action was taken.

Rev. Ken Bohlinger - Freely admitted in 1997 to molesting an undisclosed number of boys, as young as nine years old. The bishop of his diocese (Lafayette, Indiana), William L. Higi, admitted that cover-ups on behalf of pedophile priests were common, saying that he knew of 12 molesters (from a diocese of only 75 priests) and estimated 40 victims dating back to 1983. He justified sending guilty pedophiles back to active service on the grounds that teens may be partially responsible for their own molestation.

My source for these cases is Michael Newton’s Black Collar Crimes*. It does not focus on solely on the Roman Catholic Church but rather includes all religious organizations. Note that my examples only go up to ‘B’.

The Bohlinger/Higi case was also covered in a series of articles printed in the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News in February 1997.

A quick Google search also turned up this case in Nashville. The Nasville diocese is (or was, the article is from August 2000) defending itself from two civil lawsuits from victims of sexual abuse on the grounds that blame should be laid on earlier victims for not reporting the abuse to the police.


“2,4,6,8, time to transubstaniate.” - Tom Lehrer


Yeah, but do you have anything to back that up?

Just kidding.

Your point is well taken. I find these actions indefensible. I wasn’t sure what was being referred to in the OP, though.

In case I sounded a little harsh there, I realize that none of it has anything to do with Catholicism, Catholics or Christian faith. The tenets of a faith and the failings of a bureaucracy are two different things.

Coming back to the OP, $5000 seems pretty steep. If you and your wife don’t mind getting annulled by fax, I’ll do it for $50.

–Archbishop sublight, Church of the Illuminated Fnord (reformed), West Tokyo Parish.

“You have to open yourself to the possibility that God doesn’t like you.”