SOS Support and Education Goals
Integral to these goals are the validity of the marriage sacrament, the dignity of the individual, and the sanctity of each child.
What we do: SOS encompasses a world-wide community of Respondents. By sharing our collective stories we encourage one another to transform the adversarial process of annulment into an experience of self-empowerment.
- SOS provides advice to Respondents who are currently facing the annulment process at the “Court of First Instance" level
- SOS works with Respondents at the "Second Instance" level on their Appeal process to the Vatican Rota in Rome [Canon Law 1628)] (See Canon Law page)
- SOS raises public awareness of the devastation that children, both young and young adult, experience as a result of annulment when tribunals decree that children are NOT part of a sacramental marriage! (See Daughter of Annulment page)
- SOS provides education and resources, usually not given out by tribunals, to all interested including members of the clergy and women religious who recognize tribunal-bias against Respondents
- SOS provides guidance and information to Respondents who are considering legal action against tribunal-employed lay counselors who act unethically regarding diagnosis of Respondents
- SOS supports the reopening of past annulment cases by those who have experienced 'tribunal-abuse' when their marriage sacrament is declared "null"/ invalid [Canon Laws 1641-1644, 1732-1739]
When Respondents communicate with a caring, non-judgmental, SOS Advisor they:
- Feel empowered to deal with the devastating reality of annulment
- Gain perspective on past experiences of the annulment process
- Gain strength which can lead toward healthy closure
- Feel less alone in their annulment experience
- To empower Respondents to save their sacrament by providing advice and education to Respondents who are opposing the annulment Petition
- To work with Respondents as they prepare their Appeal to the Vatican Roman Rota
- To support children of annulled marriages by encouraging Respondents to be a courageous model for their children
In hundreds of annulment cases, children have been terribly affected by both the process and the result of the annulment process on their Respondent parent. Too often the 'legacy consequence' of annulment for these children is their choosing not to remain a member of the Church, and dismissing the value of a Catholic marriage.
We believe that for ourselves and especially our children, the abusive and invasive process of annulment (the “external forum”) must be stopped.
- To encourage Respondents to remain true to their informed conscience and beliefs
- To expose the bias against Respondents by Tribunal personnel
- To raise public awareness to the hypocrisy permeating the annulment process
- To raise public awareness that marriages of faithful Protestants are being "annulled" by Catholic tribunals
- To educate Catholics about the need to abolish annulments, and reinstate the Internal Forum process
- To work on civil litigation against Tribunal-employed mental health professionals who abuse Respondents
Alternatives to Annulment
There are valid alternatives to the to the current process of Annulment (the 'external forum' of annulment which is mandated by the Tribunal system). The Catholic Church could also consider the following two alternatives:
- The Internal Forum process
- A second marriage can be deemed valid but not sacramental