Thursday, 4:30 PM
Former wife of Joseph Kennedy II says church has reversed annulment
(Globe file photo)
Sheila Rauch Kennedy, shown above at a press conference in 1997, said today she received a letter from the Vatican in May.
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff
Sheila Rauch Kennedy, the ex-wife of former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, said today that the Catholic Church has agreed to reverse the couple's annulment.
Rauch Kennedy, who blasted the church for annulling the marriage in the 1997 book "Shattered Faith," said she got the news in May in an eight-page letter from the Vatican that had to be translated from Latin by the Archdiocese of Boston.
"It's been a long process," Rauch Kennedy said today in a telephone interview. "It's had more downs then ups. This is definitely an up."
The reversal of the annulment was first reported by Time magazine, which spoke to Rauch Kennedy on Tuesday.
Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, declined today to discuss the decision.
"We would not comment on any matters which a person or persons might present to a diocesan Tribunal," Donilon said today in an e-mail. "Such matters are appropriately private and confidential."
While the couple got a civil, no-fault divorce in 1991, an annulment declares a marriage invalid and allows a person to marry again in the church. Kennedy filed for an annulment in 1993, when he was preparing to marry his secretary, Anne Elizabeth Kelly.
Kennedy could not be immediately reached today for comment. In 1997, he told the Globe that he sought the annulment so that he and his new wife could fully practice their religion. Divorced Roman Catholics and subsequent spouses cannot receive the church's sacraments unless the previous marriage has been annulled.
"Getting an annulment is the only way, the only way, that I can go to Communion with my children and my wife, and that is important to me," Kennedy said. He filed for the annulment in 1993, while he was preparing to marry Kelly.