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Annulments, American-Style

A Kennedy fights for her union

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Your article ”Till Annulment Do Us Part” [RELIGION, Aug. 16] erroneously states that Joseph P. Kennedy II divorced me. In fact, I was the plaintiff in our 1990 civil-divorce case, which became final in January 1991. Second, while you note that we have twin sons, you fail to mention the impact of the possible ruling on them or on children of annulment in general. If our marriage were deemed never to have existed in the eyes of the church, then our children, like others of annulled marriages, would have been neither conceived in nor born to a sanctified union. I find this contention untrue, abhorrent and contrary to the church’s teachings that such a union is a desirable prerequisite for bearing children. I am, of course, grateful that U.S. law will continue to protect my children’s legal rights. But should an annulment be granted, such protection does nothing to fill the spiritual void left by the claim that my sons are ”issue” of an unsanctified union. Thus, even though the odds of my prevailing in resisting an annulment are bleak, I will continue to defend the bond that brought my children into the world. I know of few mothers who would do any less.

Sheila Kennedy, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.