In 1993, Sheila Rauch Kennedy received a letter from the Boston Catholic Archdiocese announcing that her former husband, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, was seeking an annulment of their marriage. If the Church granted the annulment, the marriage, which had lasted twelve years, would be rendered nonexistent — not simply ended, as was stated in the divorce decree, but invalid from the start. And their two sons would be regarded as children of an unsanctified union. Joseph Kennedy needed the annulment to remarry within the Church, and he encouraged his ex-wife to ignore the details. Stunned by the hypocrisy of the process and the betrayal of trust it involved, Sheila Rauch Kennedy was determined to defend the legitimacy of her former marriage.
Shattered Faith is the fascinating chronicle of that struggle, and of what Kennedy uncovered about the uses and frequency of annulments in the United States. Interweaving her own experiences with those of other women whose trust in the Church was shattered by annulment, she tells a story that will surprise, anger, and move readers of every faith.
A courageous book about a courageous act. Sheila Kennedy’s effort to preserve the validity of her marriage against the hypocritical annulment process of the American Catholic Church is a compelling affirmation of the power of truth. Her account of the anguish of other women whose trust in the moral authority of the church has been betrayed reminds us how critical integrity is to anyone seeking to live a meaningful life. —Julia Thorne, author of A Change of Heart: Words of Hope and Experience for the Journey Through Divorce