Vatican court overturns Kennedy annulment

The ex-wife of former US congressman, Joseph P Kennedy, son of the late Robert F Kennedy, has welcomed the decision of the Vatican Rota appeals tribunal to overturn the annulment of the couple's marriage saying that they had had a strong union that unravelled.

BBC News reports that the Vatican court reversed the annulment of the former US Congressman's marriage to Sheila Raunch at her request.

Ms Raunch and Mr Kennedy had two sons together during their 12-year union, which ended in a civil divorce in 1991.

Two years later (93), Mr Kennedy obtained an annulment from the Catholic Church before marrying his former aide Anne Elizabeth Kelly.

Although Ms Raunch is not Catholic, she objected to the annulment because it suggested her marriage did not exist.

She says, "I'm very grateful that the marriage was validated.

"The (original) annulment decision totally overlooked the fact that I felt that we had a very strong marriage in the beginning, we had two wonderful children, and it lasted.

"I was certainly happy in the beginning... Things unravelled, but that doesn't mean you didn't have a marriage."

According to PR Inside Ms Rauch had alleged that the Kennedy family had used its influence in the church to obtain the annulment.

The Vatican reached its decision in 2005 and informed her in May, Ms Rauch said.

She received the notification in Latin and had it translated by the Archdiocese of Boston, the Boston Globe newspaper says.

Mr Kennedy served in the US House of Representatives from 1987 to 1999.

Vatican 'backs ex-Kennedy wife' (BBC News, 21/6/07)
Kennedy annulment reversed (PR Inside, 21/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Joseph P Kennedy (Wikipedia)
Sacra Roman Rota (Wikipedia)

Priest tells politicians JFK was a bad example (CathNews, 15/4/04)

22 Jun 2007