This evening, I was watching “The Tudors’ and it occurred to me what I would use for one of my contributions to Photo Hunt, this week’s theme being “Symbolic”.
As you may know, the main contributions to History by Henry VIII was the dissolution of the Catholic Church in England, the establishment of the Church of England, and the siring of one of the greatest monarchs in history, Queen Elizabeth I. All this came about when he sought an annulment from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Henry had plenty of “reasons” for seeking the dissolution of his marriage to Catherine (no male legitimate children via Catherine) and an “excuse” (his marriage to Catherine constituted an sin because he, in violation of biblical, law, married the wife of his brother — from the oft-quoted book of Leviticus)… but basically it was all caused because he was thinking with “the little head instead of the big head). Whatever his reasoning, between 1525 and 1533, pursued an annulment of his marriage from Pope Clement VII, playing various personages both domestic and international against each other. He finally got a dissolution of his marriage from Thomas Cranmer and married Anne Boleyn… and later had her tried for “High treason” (based on accusations of adultery and incest) and executed. Henry continues “thinking with the little head” pretty much until his death in 1547.
The most famous marriage dissolution in history.
So… what does this all have to do with me and this week’s Photo Hunt challenge?
Here’s the story.
Back in 2000, after almost 10 years together I decided that I no longer wished to be married to my husband. We were legally divorced two years later and we both started getting on with things.
Meanwhile, my ex decided to marry again. Not a problem with me… more or less (for reasons I won’t go into). A few months after I found out he was engaged, I was…. somewhat taken aback by receiving a phonecall from the Catholic Church Marriage Tribunal in town informing me that my ex had applied for an annulment for our marriage from the Catholic Church. I was taken aback for a couple of reasons… firstly because I had no idea he was doing so (certainly hadn’t bothered mentioning it to me) and, secondly, because neither of us had ever had anything to do with the Catholic Church! I am Unitarian and he was a different denomination. We were married in the Unitarian Church.
You can imagine my surprise. In fact, I think I could accurately be described as “royally pissed”. Probably more “royally pissed” than Catherine Aragon was. She at least was Catholic.
I was torn between simply laughing in his and the Catholic Church’s collective faces and defending my honour. As it happened, I went to my lawyer to see if I could sue either him or the Church (No) and finally decided to put up at least an indignant frontal assault. It was, of course, all for naught because the Catholic Church still thinks it owns everyone else on the planet and ruled in my husband’s favour.
A few months later, I got this lovely flammable (seriously… that’s what the cover letter said…) certificate attesting to the fact that, as far as the Catholic Church was concerned my marriage was null and never happened and “permitting” me to marry, “provided that the prerequisites of the Canonical and Civil Laws have been duly fulfilled”. Gee. Thanks!
I shredded it….
It was symbolic of the inanities of a church that, while being a fine institution for those who chose to be members of it, thinks that it can just walk all over people who aren’t.
My one consolation is that the person who demanded the annulment is Catholic and believes in sins, knows that, one day she’s going to have to face her maker who isn’t fooled by a piece of paper.