Four Scriptural Arguments for Annulments

This is a compilation of Scriptural arguments for annulments. I wanted to make this resource because I've seen some people argue that annulments are an invention of the Catholic Church to get around Jesus' prohibition against divorce. In reality, the Catholic Church is the world's strongest defender of Jesus' prohibition against divorce, and annulments actually strengthen our defense of marriage, they do not weaken it.

Anyway, I hope this list of Scriptural arguments for annulments helps readers use the Bible to defend Catholic teaching. BTW I'd love to add to this. Do any of you know of other passages that can be used to support annulments?
  1. Some authors cite Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 as proof that some marriages are invalid. If I understand it correctly, the Greek word translated "fornication" or "unchastity" in those passages refer to any kind of sexual immorality, not just marital unfaithfulness. Because it refers to many kinds of sexual immorality, the verse is frequently interpreted as referring not to marital infidelity but to an immoral or illicit sexual relationship between the spouses. Under that interpretation, these passages support annulments because if the couple's relationship is illicit from the start, then their marriage is invalid and they have an obligation to separate.
  2. Two other passages that support the practice of annulments are Matthew 14:3-4 and Mark 6:17-18. In those passages, John the Baptist confronts Herod because he married his brother's wife. John the Baptist does not tell him that he must divorce her. He tells him, "This marriage is unlawful." Unless I'm missing something, that's basically a declaration of nullity.
  3. A similar argument for annulments can be made from John 4:16-18, where Jesus speaks to the woman at the well: "Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered him, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You are right in saying, "I have no husband"; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.' " From this it appears that Jesus recognizes that her current marriage isn't valid. That seems like a recognition of nullity, at least to me.
  4. Another biblical argument for annulments is the argument from marital rules. The Old Testament contains rules about who you can and can't marry in Deuteronomy 22:30 and 22, Leviticus 18:5-20 and Leviticus 20:10-21, and other places. The New Testament contains rules about who you can and can't marry in 1 Cor. 5:1, Mark 10:1-12, and other places. Now if someone tries to marry in violation of these rules, then their marriage is invalid because that's what rules do. If nothing was different when you violated the rules, then they wouldn't mean anything. So the very existence of rules suggests that some marriages (those in violation of the rules) are invalid, and that's all an annulment says.

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