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Annulment Time Frame Pt. 4 - Bob Flummerfelt
Question from T on 12/4/2004:

Bob, Thanks for the reply. I will take your advice to heart and offer it up. I try to look on the process and ongoing delays as a test of faith and patience, but it does seem difficult sometimes. Another quick question/comment. Taking into account other factors, such as the advanced age of one of our parents (80) and their desire to see their child happily married, what truly can be done to try to accelerate this matter. The priest who is/was my advocate has been called to active duty with the Reserves and is overseas, I changed parishes due to relocation and for the most part I feel like I am standing alone against a huge bureaucracy. We have even considered getting married outside the Church and then having our marriage blessed at a later time but are reluctant to do so due to problems this would cause within the family. As well, even more importantly, our desire to remain faithful Catholics and not commit mortal sin. Advice?

Answer by Robert J. Flummerfelt, J.C.L. on 12/5/2004:

HI T.,

Yes, I cannot in good conscience suggest that you civilly marry and then convalidate. If you did this, you would still be morally required to live as if you were still dating each other. Again, I suggest against this, although I appreciate your frustration with the situation to bring you to contemplate this action.

There is one possibility to move your case up, however, given the tribunal's actions to date, I would not hold my breath. Canon 1458 reads, "Cases are to be tried in the order in which they are presented and put on the docket UNLESS SOME OF THEM DEMAND SPEEDIER TREATMENT THAN OTHERS, whcih fact is to be determined in a special decree which states the reasons." [EMPHASIS MINE]

It could be argued, and a sympathetic judge could move your case to the top of the pile for the reason you mentioned above [age of one of your parents], although usually this canon is used when one of the PARTIES [Petitioner or Respondent] are in danger of death, so I wouldn't hold your breath but it is a possibility.

Also, regarding how you got this information/advice, you may certainly mention my name as giving you this advice, it is possible that the judge handling your case and I know each other and this may benefit you - however for your own good, I would NOT mention that you received this canonical advice/suggestion from the EWTN forum. Unfortunately, among many clergy, EWTN is looked down on with disdain because of its 'conservative' views. So, to help you, I would NOT suggest that you learned of this through this forum. Just a practical concern. Sad but true!

Hope this helps.

Peace, Bob

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