A divorce is a civil act that claims to dissolve a valid marriage. From a civil legal perspective, a marriage existed and was then dissolved. The Catholic Church, following the teaching of Jesus, does not recognise the ability of the State to dissolve any marriage by divorce.
An annulment, on the other hand, is an official declaration by a Church Tribunal that what appeared to be a valid marriage was not actually one (i.e. that the marriage was in fact invalid). While a civil divorce dissolves an existing marriage, an annulment declares that a marriage bond never existed in the first place.
While the process of seeking a declaration of nullity may be challenging at times, many people have found the experience can be part of the healing process following the breakdown of a union. The important thing to remember in initiating the process is that our experienced staff care about what has happened to you.
Importantly, an annulment does not declare that the spouses never really loved each other, nor that the divorce was more the fault of one party than the other, nor that one party is a better Catholic than the other. The process in no way concerns itself with compensation, reward, favours, retribution or sentiment in determining a decision.
A declaration of nullity (i.e. an annulment) is a statement that at the time of a wedding a permanent, binding union never came into existence because some essential element for a valid marriage was lacking. The essential elements concern the knowledge, freedom or capacity of a person to enter into marriage. For instance, one of the parties was incapable of marriage due to serious mental illness or a serious psychological condition that prevented him/her entering into a marital union. In practical terms, if a union is declared null, the Church considers the parties free of the marriage bond that would have otherwise arisen. The parties are then free to contract marriage in the Catholic Church.
Christ calls upon the community of believers, the Church, to be a community of healing and reconciliation. The legal procedures of the Church and their application are based on the teaching on marriage of the Lord himself (i.e. that marriage is a permanent covenant between one man and one woman). However, the Church also cares very much about those who have suffered through the pain of separation and divorce, and thus has, over time, developed these procedures with great care. Ultimately, the annulment process represents the Church’s desire to find a pastoral solution for people who have experienced a marriage breakdown while remaining faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and respecting the rights of all involved.
For more information on divorce and annulments in the Catholic Chuch, download the following documents:
Account means the account held at your financial institution from which we are authorised to arrange for funds to be debited.
Agreement means this Direct Debit Request Service Agreement between you and us, including the direct debit request.
Business day means a day other than a Saturday or a Sunday or a listed public holiday.
Debit day means the day that payment is due.
Debit payment means a particular transaction where a debit is made, according to your direct debit request.
Direct debit request means the Direct Debit Request between us and you.
Us and we and our means the Catholic Development Fund.
You means the customer(s) who signed the direct debit request. Your financial institution is the financial institution where you hold the account that you have authorised us to arrange to debit.
Debiting your account
By submitting a direct debit request, you have authorised us to arrange for funds to be debited from your account according to the agreement we have with you.
We will only arrange for funds to be debited from your account:
As authorised in the direct debit request; if the debit day falls on a day that is not a business day, we may direct your financial institution to debit your account on the following or previous business day. If you are unsure about which day your account has or will be debited, please check with your financial
Changes by you
If you wish to stop or defer a debit payment you must write to us at least 5 business days before the next debit day.
This notice should be given to us in the first instance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient clear funds available in your account to allow a debit payment to be made.
If there are insufficient clear funds available in your account to meet a debit payment:
you or your account may be charged a fee and/or interest by your financial institution;
you or your account may be charged a fee to reimburse us for charges we have incurred for the failed transaction;
you must arrange for the payment to be made by another method
Please check your account statement to verify that the amounts debited from your account are correct.
If you believe that there has been an error in debiting your account you should call us on 1800 047 703 and confirm the details in writing with us as soon as possible so that we can resolve your query quickly.
You should check:
with your financial institution whether direct debiting is available from your accounts offered by financial
your account details which you have provided to us are correct by checking them against a recent account statement; and
with your financial institution before completing the direct debit request if you have any queries about how to complete the direct debit
Warning: if the account number you have quoted is incorrect, you may be charged a fee to reimburse our costs in correcting any deductions from:
an account you do not have authority to operate; or
an account you do not
We will keep any information (including your account details) in your direct debit request confidential.
We will make reasonable efforts to keep any such information that we have about you secure and to ensure that any of our employees or agents who have access to information about you, do not make any unauthorised use, modification, reproduction or disclosure of that information.
However, we may use your contact details to provide information about the fund. Should you wish this not to be the case, please advise the fund in writing.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.