Dear CAF Community,
I have been really frustrated recently because of what I am uncovering as a result of my battle to the death to save my family and my sacrament.
In short, for 5 years I have been fighting against my wife and against the Church in a divorce and annulment. We were college educated faithful devout practicing Catholics both from lifelong consistently practicing families when we were married. Because the US Tribunals are now effectively an abortion mill for marriage (high 90s percentage declared null if you only ask) our marriage was found invalid in the first instance court. Only through doing my homework and appealing the case straight to the Roman Rota at the Holy See have I been able to keep our marriage from being disposed of so far, although a final verdict is yet to be rendered (it can take a few years). You may be aware that Rome most often (probably 80-90%) overturns US verdicts with extreme prejudice and upholds the sacrament. In light of this my wife has chosen to marry in the Greek Orthodox which allows divorce and does not care about Catholic proceedings. I am not sure if she intends to try to get back into the Church if our marriage is found invalid by Rome or not, or if she simply intends to stay in the Church and try to conceal her unfaithfulness to it.
I was only 29 years of age when this began and I am 35 now. Although I have connected with a small community dedicated to fighting the US tribunals and upholding the sacrament, I have been just utterly disgusted an amazed at what I have found in the process. I do have a small cadre of very orthodox Catholic friends who have agreed with my non stop battle to preserve my family and save our sacrament despite my wife's best attempts to utterly destroy me and have our marriage erased by the annulment-happy US Church. However, overall I have felt extremely, extremely alone in all this. Many of even my Catholic friends and family have resisted my campaign, offering the trite and cliche "I want you to be happy" and "You should just let the annulment go through and give up, find someone else."
Well, that is not what I have chosen to do. My parents had a troubled marriage that they maintained through hell and high water until my Mom's death, but if they taught us anything, you never, ever give up on your spouse, no exceptions. Not even if your spouse is actively hating you and trying to destroy you. This has been my understanding of God's call to us in what is supposed to be a permanent sacrament that is designed to help us weather utter disaster. I don't believe there is any middle ground between complete commitment and disposable, contract marriage. It simply cannot be both ways.
One of the hardest parts of this whole thing is that I have, through much discernment and prayer, decided to put my future at risk and fight to keep myself sacramentally yolked to my wife who has completely abandoned reason and the practice of the faith regarding marriage. I have chosen this because of the aforementioned reasons and because I strongly believe our marriage to be valid--because the fact is that a BAD marriage does not necessarily mean an INVALID one.
I am very close to alone in this path. The Church's highest tribunal, the Roman Rota, only receives about 300 petitions WORLD WIDE in a year, and only around 75 of these are from the US. This means that out of the approximately 60,000 annulments granted in the US every year, only about 75 people appeal to the Vatican. The rest simply accept it, and go on and try to find someone else, to "be happy."