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Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church from Annulling Her Marriage [Paperback]

Sheila Rauch Kennedy
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15 1998
One the most talked about and controversial books of the year that continues to make headlines.

After twelve years of marriage and an amicable divorce from Congressman Joe Kennedy, Jr., Sheila Rauch Kennedy was shocked to learn that her former husband was asking for an annulment of their marriage so that his new marriage would be acceptable in the eyes of the Church. This is the story of her refusal to acknowledge that her marriage was never sacramentally valid. Stunned by the hypocrisy of the process and the betrayal of trust it involved, Sheila Kennedy, an Episcopalian, is determined to def the legitimacy of her former marriage, especially because of the two sons the marriage produced. Interweaving her own experience with those of other women whose trust in the Church has been shattered by annulment, Kennedy tells a story that will surprise, anger, and move readers of every faith.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Shattered Faith is a fascinating look at divorce within religion. The Roman Catholic Church still does not recognize divorce. Instead it resolves a couple's incompatibility by declaring a marriage illegitimate from the outset. While divorce ends a marriage, annulment erases it--a distinction not lost on a Sheila Rauch Kennedy and many other women with similar experiences. When Rauch Kennedy is forced into annulment proceedings by an ex-husband who seeks to prove that their marriage was based on false presumptions and therefore never really existed, what can she do? Despite the high profiles of the protagonists, this is a down-to-earth account of a woman's attempt to maintain her sense of worth in the face of a church bureaucracy blinded by pride and incapable of compassion. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

When the American Catholic Church annulled her marriage to Congressman Joseph Kennedy so that he could remarry in the Church, Kennedy resisted.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Annullments do not "de-legitimize" children! May 31 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is one of Ms. Kennedy's central objections to annullments, and it is wrong, wrong, Wrong! Here is what the Catholic Church really teaches:
There are two types of marriage: natural marriage, which God established in the beginning for the entire human race (Genesis 2:22-24) and sacramental marriage, which Jesus established for the members of His Body, the Church (Matthew 19:3-6). Any adult can enter into a natural marriage, and it can be sealed in any public ceremony: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan - even a civil ceremony. Sacramental marriage is sealed in the Sacrament of Matrimony, which only Christians can receive.
Divorce is the dissolving of a marriage. A natural marriage can be dissolved by divorce, but a sacramental marriage cannot, since Jesus said "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mt 19:6). Only death can dissolve a sacramental marriage. So if a man in a sacramental marriage gets a divorce he really remains married to his wife in the eyes of God, thus if he "remarries" he commits adultery (Matthew 19:9). That's what Jesus said, the Catholic Church didn't make that up!
Since some people are in difficult marriages, the Church tries very hard to help them, while staying faithful to the teaching of Christ that a sacramental marriage is indissoluble. The Church helps them by issuing an "annulment" (really called a "decree of nullity"), which is a decree stating that a Catholic marriage was never really sacramental in the first place, only natural, and so can be dissolved by divorce.
You see, when two Christians get married, a sacramental marriage takes place unless there was an impediment to receiving the sacrament when the wedding took place, such as no intention to consummate the marriage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Would be an interesting magazine article May 31 2004
By Tricia
Format:Paperback
The book has enough material for a magazine article but is really stretching it to fill a book.
Sheila Raush is not Catholic, so neither annulment nor lack of annulment affects her day-to-day life whatsoever. Yet not getting an annulment does affect her former husband's life adversely by preventing him from participating fully in the practice of his faith. To me, her quest to block the annulment seems just plain mean.
Her poignant stories about Catholic women don't even apply to her circumstances (and they fill up the majority of the book). By objecting to their annulments, those Catholic women were willing to play by the same rules they expected of their ex-husbands -- no remarriage in the Church after divorce. Raush, however, has no impediments to remarriage because she is Episcopalian, but she isn't willing to free up her former husband so that he also can remarry in his church. Again, that seems just plain mean.
The annulment process in the Catholic Church is very private and Tribunals do not interview or expect testimony from the children. Rausch claims she is trying to protect her children by defending her defunct marriage against those mean old Catholics -- yet if she hadn't chosen to broadcast what was happening, her children wouldn't have needed to find out about it.
Raush seems to be a self-centered, mean-spirited woman who rationalizes the damage she is causing to herself and her family by claiming to be right -- but her arguments, while smart and logical, are irrelevant. She is not Catholic and the ordeal she is going through is largely the product of her own mind. It's too bad she doesn't put her energy and intelligence into a cause other than her own self-righteous indignation at a faith that isn't even hers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shattered Faith Sept. 18 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I feel that this book really confuses Catholics that read it. It is one woman's struggle not to let go of her husband for her own selfish reasons. My question is: why can a person nt be able to reconcile with God? What gives anyone the right to try to stop a person from their own reconciliation? It is really sad that anyone can have the power to try to stop another person from moving on with their live. I was really glad to see that the anullment was granted. We have the right to make mistakes. God does not expect up to be perfect. He forgives us for our sin. The Church should not condem those wanting forgiveness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Contrary to what others have said, this is NOT the story of Senator Ted Kennedy's ex-wife. It was actually written by the woman who was married to Joseph Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, Sheila Rauch Kennedy. I could never have survived being dragged through the mess of an annulment by my ex-husband without this book. It is well written, painstakingly honest, and offers resources.
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1.0 out of 5 stars "Pity party" vehicle for misinformation July 19 2000
Format:Paperback
Sheila Kennedy, on the strength of a popular family name, will undoubtedly be seen as a noble feminist voice, her assertions assumed to be accurate. Her statements about annulment procedures are highly inaccurate, and her case studies far from any valid representative sample!If Sheila wishes to oppose a church position, she should do so addressing what is true.
Annulment proceedings, if compared to civil or common law, are definitely in the "contract law" category - not, as Sheila asserts, a criminal trial, where Catholics seek "forgiveness for the sin of divorce." Her being able to present this as some form of misogyny is absurd - nor does she note that it is more often the woman who requests an annulment hearing.
"Case studies" are hardly typical. All are of successful women who <i>want</i> to be divorced and consider it a means to new freedom, and have no concern about remarrying in the Church. One wonders if some of the women were mature enough for marriage at all. One case is of a woman who broke out of a marriage where family outings were interfering with her participation in dog shows. Not one had been in a "horror story" marriage, nor were any, as is often the case, opposing annulment because they were heartbroken about a breakup.
The popularity of this book probably is a combination of the draw of the name Kennedy, the current trends towards male bashing, and the fact that anything anti-Catholic will sell, accurate or not.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ANNULMENT & $$$$
ANNULMENTS were originally meant for marriages that were NEVER consumated - after children have been introduced to a MARRIAGE/UNION then there can be no such thing as ANNULMENT -... Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2007 by TEDDYS GIRL
3.0 out of 5 stars The author makes her point pretty effectively
While Kennedy does not agree with all the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and divorce, she does a good job illustrating with statistics and anecdotes how the American... Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars A little Consideration
Did Rauch even consider the effect that this annulment might have had on her sons? All her husband wanted was an annulment so he would be able remarry with good standing in the... Read more
Published on June 27 2001 by Joe Schmoe
1.0 out of 5 stars A little Consideration
Did Rauch even consider the effect that this annulment might have had on her sons? All her husband wanted was an annulment so he would be able remarry with good standing in the... Read more
Published on June 27 2001 by Joe Schmoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes the Sham of Annulment
Ms. Kennedy's book is a detailed and accurate account of the sham of marriage "nullification" within the Roman Catholic Church. Read more
Published on June 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Catholic Changes
Sheila Kennedy is right about Annulment. I do not believe that after 2 people are married and have children that all of a sudden that marriage did not exist. Read more
Published on March 10 2001 by "lapssm"
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Church" Within the Church
The unofficial but de facto division within the Church is displayed abundantly in Kennedy's book. The American Catholic Church annulment machine grinds forward, shredding into... Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating expose of a secretive process.
Bravo to Sheila! She has done an excellent job of both research & telling her own story. This is a fascinating look at the secretive process of Catholic annulment. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 1999 by Suzanne G. Bowles
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