FoC 085: Finding Healing Through Annulment with Patty Breen


Divorce and annulment affect so many Catholic women (and men), but they’re often topics that aren’t discussed much in Catholic circles. And annulment is an incredibly misunderstood Church teaching (hint: it’s not Catholic divorce!). We’ve been moved by Patty Breen’s story of her experience of seeking an annulment and we knew that she was just the right person to speak on this topic. But Patty’s expertise on annulments goes beyond personal experience. Helping couples who are seeking annulments is part of her job as a pastoral associate at her parish!

Patty works as a pastoral associate for a Catholic parish in Michigan,  is a runner, and writes for the Catholic women’s ministry Blessed Is She. In this episode we talk with her about her story of discovering her spouse’s addiction problems and the difficult work of trying to save her marriage as well as the discernment she went through to make the decision to end the marriage. We also discuss how the annulment process can be very healing for those walking through it, what to expect when seeking an annulment, how to be a good friend when someone you care about is in the annulment process, and more!

We hope that shedding some light on annulment helps women in difficult situations feel less alone. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the conversation!

Links we discussed:

God hates divorce. But God doesn’t hate divorced people: Patty’s piece for America Magazine

Our episode discussing pornography and it’s effect on women with Matt Fradd. 

To connect with Patty:

Our Sponsor:

Over West Quilting + Design is an online quilt shop, operated by Gillian Kantor. A wife and mom to five, almost six, Gillian loves designing sweet and simple quilted pieces for the home.

Her Etsy shop features pillows, sleeping bags for dolls or stuffies, lap quilts, and baby blankets. Her newest line includes custom Saint pillows, featuring your favourite Saint, and the Rosary quilt, which has a picture of our Lady, as well as a pocket right in the quilt to hold your rosary or Saint card or small special memento.

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5 thoughts on “FoC 085: Finding Healing Through Annulment with Patty Breen”

  1. As with all your episodes, I found this thoughtful and informative. It did leave me with a question (as a non-divorced United Methodist): what counsel does the Catholic Church offer for those whose marriages are valid, but they have a pressing need to leave? (I guess I’m thinking of cases of abuse or severe addiction that did not arise until after marriage. ) Thank you.

    1. The Church would definitely support the spouse in danger to leave the situation and to live apart from the abusive spouse, either until the problem can be solved, or indefinitely. The spouse leaving would be protecting themselves and any children. The spouse leaving would still be in full Communion with the Church. Often these situations are very unique and require a lot of pastoral care from a priest and/or canon lawyer to navigate unique circumstances, but the Church would never consider it right for someone to stay when they are in danger.

      1. I was just about to jump in but I see Christy has already answered, Libby! Yes to everything she said. In my understanding, a spouse leaving an abusive situation in what is believed to be a valid marriage could even seek a civil divorce and permanent separation for their legal safety and that of their children. They are under no obligation to live in the same house with an abusive spouse where they would be in danger of physical or psychological abuse. But a spouse, separated or otherwise, could not get remarried if the marriage was determined valid by the tribunal and their spouse was still living.

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