Yes, an annulment really does mean the marriage never happened

Every now and then I see articles from well-meaning/guilt-ridden Catholics where they are quick to point out that an annulment is not the same as saying “a marriage never happened”.

I get why people are saying it. It’s a big, even huge thing to say.

It is also the truth. An annulment means the marriage, as in specifically the sacarament of Holy Matrimony, never actually happened. You thought it did, and you were wrong.

“Does this mean my children are actually bastards?”

Yes, it does.

[EDIT: No, apparently, not according to canon law. I suppose the legitimacy of the children is a legal issue the church had to settle, and they came down on legitimacy of the children being easier to enforce]

“So all of the sex we had was…wrong?”

Yes, it was.

I found this through an old friend, articles from Catholicmatch. Bizarrely, this article says one thing, then links to another article from the same site that directly contradicts it!

Look, it isn’t just me. Article one says this:

 It is not the Church saying you were never actually married

But look at that link! It links to an article with this exact quote:

“An annulment declares that your marriage never existed.”


If this seems upsetting and frightening, good! If you need an annulment, it means you failed in a very large and visible way. It SHOULD frighten you. It SHOULD upset you. It means you were inadvertently living in sin, having bastard children, against the will of God. This is a big deal.

I dunno. Nothing prompted it except this bizarre series of articles linking to each other as if they agree despite the fact that they contradict each other. Whatever.

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3 Responses to Yes, an annulment really does mean the marriage never happened

  1. ccmnxc says:

    Not to pick too much of a nit, but at least in the eyes of Church law, children born under putative but subsequently annulled marriages are legitimate (cf. 1137 in the Code of Canon Law).

  2. Advenedizo says:

    I thought this was about Boris Johnson marrying last week. Baptized catholic, lapsed, married twice outside the church, plenty of kids left and right, so many that he refuses to say how many he has, and come last week and marries in the church with his current love interest.

    Things are getting bizarre.

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