Shattered Faithby Sheila Rauch Kennedy
In 1993, Sheila Rauch Kennedy received a letter from the Boston Catholic Archdiocese announcing that her former husband, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, was seeking an annulment of their marriage. If the Church granted the annulment, the marriage, which had lasted twelve years, would be rendered nonexistent not simply ended, as was stated in the divorce decree, but invalid from the start. And their two sons would be regarded as children of an unsanctified union. Joseph Kennedy needed the annulment to remarry within the Church, and he encouraged his ex-wife to ignore the details. Stunned by the hypocrisy of the process and the betrayal of trust it involved, Sheila Rauch Kennedy was determined to defend the legitimacy of her former marriage.
Shattered Faith is the fascinating chronicle of that struggle, and of what Kennedy uncovered about the uses and frequency of annulments in the United States. Interweaving her own experiences with those of other women whose trust in the Church was shattered by annulment, she tells a story that will surprise, anger, and move readers of every faith.
Read an Excerpt
In 1993, my former husband asked the Catholic Church to annul our marriage. For him an annulment was a simple matter and his reasons for wanting one were straightforward. We had been divorced for over two years and he wanted to remarry. Since the only way he could do so and remain in good standing within the Church was to have our marriage declared invalid, he was prepared to testify before a church court that in the eyes of God our marriage had never existed ...
My husband and I had known each other for nine years before we married in a Catholic ceremony. We had been married for twelve years before we divorced, and we had two wonderful children. I could not understand how anyone could claim that our marriage had never been valid. It seemed that if I were to agree to an annulment, I would be lying before God.
I knew I would defend my marriage.
Meet the Author
Sheila Rauch Kennedy is a city planner who specializes in housing and community development. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her two sons.
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If you have been blindsided with annulment proceedings, reading this book is a must. I was horrified to see what an annulment can do to so many in one family. It seems that if a marriage fails the spouse can eventully handle that but to be told that the marriage you have had for 20 plus years was not a sanctified sacrament is unbelievable and this puts you and your children in limbo regarding the status of 'non-existent' marriage vows - is the catholic church saying that the prenuptial priests were not properly trained???? but for the church now to place blame on one of the spouses for their mistakes is not acceptable - is the church saying that you have lived in sin for the last 29 years - really, this book is a must and also the web site 'www.saveoursacraments.com' a must review.
I read this book through clenched teeth. While admittedly not a fan of the Catholic church, I was amazed at how much control normal intelligent people will allow priests to exert over their lives by dispensing advice and making rules governing a relationship about which they have only book knowledge. It would be like taking driving lessons from a person who had only book learning about driving a car but had never driven. You're going to let this person teach you how to parallel park? In other words, 'If you don't play the game, don't make the rules.' UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!