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Undine
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Retro Week 111
05/07/12 at 07:18:51
 
Oh, jeez.  This is where things start getting really grim.  I haven't been looking forward to this.

I must say, I find this storyline about Mary’s inability to end her marriage exasperating.  When it first aired, I was curious (or, okay, obsessive) enough to spend a few minutes reading up about Catholic annulments.  From what I learned, the facts are nothing like what the SB writers dreamed up.

First of all, Mark’s presence—or even his permission—was completely unnecessary.  In reality, Mary’s diocese would give her a lengthy written form to fill out stating her reasons why they should rule her marriage invalid.  The court would want a couple of witnesses who knew Mary before and at the time of the marriage to also fill out forms saying what they know of the circumstances of the marriage.  Mark would be sent a letter officially notifying him of Mary’s intentions, but that would be all.

Second:  Even if Mark wanted to interfere, he’d have no say in the matter.  If the court decided the marriage was not a “true” one, he’d be powerless to stop them.

Third:  SB gave the impression that Mary’s only available grounds for seeking annulment was non-consummation.  In reality, she had many more possible reasons, including—most crucially—emotional ones.  The Catholic Church sees marriage as a holy sacrament, and if one or both parties entered into the marriage with some sort of ulterior motives, or felt some sort of “duress”—anything that kept them from entering into this sacrament for reasons other than wholehearted love, that would, in the court’s view, invalidate the marriage.  All Mary had to say was the simple truth—that she never wanted to marry Mark, but felt psychological pressure to do so because the doctors told her he was about to die—and bingo, she’d have a slam-dunk case.

I’m not positive about this, but another point in her favor might be that Mark and Janice never annulled their marriage.  If I understand the rules correctly, the Catholic Church would still see them as married—thus, to the church, Mary and Mark’s marriage would be bigamous, and therefore illegal.

The annulment also probably wouldn’t take as long as the show suggested.  The length of the process varies, but if Mary presented her paperwork and witnesses speedily, she could have been free within several months.  (And if C.C. had asked his friend the Cardinal to interest himself in the case, things could have moved even quicker.)

In short, if what I read was accurate, everything the SB writers cooked up was a complete crock.  I don’t expect soaps to be strictly realistic, but when they completely flout facts just for the sake of “melodrama made easy,” it’s annoying.

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Re: Retro Week 111
Reply #1 - 05/07/12 at 20:37:08
 
And even if non-consummation were the only grounds for an annulment, would that have been an obstacle in this case? Mark forced himself on her. Surely that wouldn't count as consummating the marriage, would it?
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Undine
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Re: Retro Week 111
Reply #2 - 05/07/12 at 20:41:48
 
Seems hard to believe.  I'm not up on all the technical details, but I'm sure the annulment "rules" aren't nearly as draconian as the show indicated.  I mean, couples with children can get annulments!
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The Mane of Lane
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Re: Retro Week 111
Reply #3 - 05/08/12 at 01:48:45
 
Well, considering how convoluted Mason's relationship with his father always played out on this show, why not have the details surrounding annulments be convoluted, too?  I mean, really, Mason should have skipped home years before and made a name for himself as some Byronic, Shakespeare-quoting punk rock superstar--the ultimate flout to CC's example--and never looked back.  But that didn't happen.  And neither did the happy ending Mason and Mary were going for.  It was always the way of the SB world.



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Undine
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Re: Retro Week 111
Reply #4 - 05/08/12 at 07:54:27
 
I know a lot of people have wondered, "Why didn't Mason just get the hell out of Santa Barbara?"  Actually, though, his attitude towards Dear Old Dad made a certain psychological sense to me.  His attitude towards CC was typical of most children who had been physically or psychologically abused by their parents--part angry rebellion and part desperate need to win the parent over.  These unresolved and contradictory feelings would leave him, unfortunately, completely tied to the old creep.

By the way, did they ever resolve this business with Grant, or was he another of those many SB characters who just quietly faded away?
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The Mane of Lane
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Re: Retro Week 111
Reply #5 - 05/12/12 at 11:01:41
 
I take it back; while Sonny Sprockett wasn't a punk rock singer (and he was more a split personality that Mason hid, as opposed to a carefully orchestrated media alter ego), he was a singer, of sorts, so I guess Mason did skip home and become something his father would have never approved of (not that he approved of anything Mason was).   So shortsighted am I!  Fffft!


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