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 Post subject: Complicated question on marraige validity
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:24 pm 
Hello, I was hoping someone might be able to answer a question for me. I am returning to the Church after an absence of many years. My wife whom I married in a civil ceremony has never been baptised, she also has been divorced twice prior to our marriage. Her first marriage was with a Catholic in a civil ceremony, her second was in a Baptist church. My question is whether the church would recognize either of her previous marriages and will she need an annulment from either before we can start arrangements to have our marriage validated. I've asked the Pastor of the Parish I've joined and he is researching an answer, but while I am waiting I thought I would post and see what you think.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:00 pm 
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Other people in my RCIA class who have been married in the past have had to have their prior marriages annulled.

I do not write with any authority on this, just what I saw others have had to do. My husband and I were married in a civil ceremony 19 years ago, so when we join the Church this Easter, we are having the Priest Convalidate our Marriage (we want to and it is also policy).

Hope that helps some!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:02 pm 
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I hesitate to offer an opinion since the specific details in a case are often important.

I also note that there is always a presumption that a marriage is valid. I suspect an anullment will be required for each of the past marriages - but I think there is a good chance they would be granted.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:06 pm 
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From the information you provided both of your wife's previous marriages will have to be investigated by the marriage tribunal of your diocese.

Her first marriage may possibly be investigated for lack of form (i.e., a Catholic marrying in a civil ceremony lacks the proper canonical form and thus may be invalid).

Her second marriage would likely have to be investigated for a Declaration of Nullity.

Generally speaking the Church assumes validity of all marriages between non-Catholic spouses until cause can be given to prove that there was an impediment to a sacramental marriage in existance at the time of the marriage.

I'm not a Canon lawyer, but it is possible that her first marriage would be relatively simple to demonstrate as invalid because Catholics cannot marry in a civil ceremony.

Her second marriage will be more complicated as a petition for a Declaration of Nullity (commonly called an "Annullment") is not always easy.

It is important that you continue to be in contact with your priest, or possibly contact the Tribunal in your diocese.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:11 pm 
Thanks. My parish Priest is contacting a canon lawyer to get an answer for me. I will let you know what he tells me when I get an answer. Thanks again for the replies.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:32 pm 
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If she is looking at joining the Church, the Petrine Privilege may apply

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:33 pm 
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I'm no expert but I think the fact that she has never been baptised weighs in here somehow also. I agree the first he first one looks invalid due to lack of form the second is a little trickier.

I hope it works out in your favor.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:43 pm 
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Carole wrote:
From the information you provided both of your wife's previous marriages will have to be investigated by the marriage tribunal of your diocese.

Her first marriage may possibly be investigated for lack of form (i.e., a Catholic marrying in a civil ceremony lacks the proper canonical form and thus may be invalid).

Her second marriage would likely have to be investigated for a Declaration of Nullity.

Generally speaking the Church assumes validity of all marriages between non-Catholic spouses until cause can be given to prove that there was an impediment to a sacramental marriage in existance at the time of the marriage.

I'm not a Canon lawyer, but it is possible that her first marriage would be relatively simple to demonstrate as invalid because Catholics cannot marry in a civil ceremony.

Her second marriage will be more complicated as a petition for a Declaration of Nullity (commonly called an "Annullment") is not always easy.

It is important that you continue to be in contact with your priest, or possibly contact the Tribunal in your diocese.

As on all marriage validity/invalidity questions posed to this board, the directive to check with a pastor and/or canon law expert is repeated.

A minor point of clarification is that the question on the marriage is validity rather than sacramentality. The second marriage mentioned could be a valid, but natural one. Since the wife was not baptized, it could not be sacramental. Both potential spouses must be baptized for a marriage to be considered sacramental.


Edward Pothier


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:54 pm 
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Edward Pothier wrote:
A minor point of clarification is that the question on the marriage is validity rather than sacramentality. The second marriage mentioned could be a valid, but natural one. Since the wife was not baptized, it could not be sacramental. Both potential spouses must be baptized for a marriage to be considered sacramental.


Regarding sacramentality - How then would it be possible for the Church to provide a dispensation for a Catholic to marry a non-baptised person? How could the Church provide a dispensation for this when according to you no such marriage could be sacramental? Wouldn't it be contradictory for the Church to provide a dispensation of form to allow a Catholic to enter into a non-sacramental union?

Wanted to expand on a point brought up earlier:

It is important; however, not to assume invalidity based on the lack of baptism for one or both of the parties to a marriage.

According to the two Canon lawyers (both of whom were also priests) I spoke to regarding my prior marriage and my husband's prior marriage the baptismal status of one (or both) of the spouses does not necessarily invalidate a marriage.

My husband's ex-spouse was a practicing Jew (obviously not baptised) and he had to submit to the full investigation by the Tribunal.

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As on all marriage validity/invalidity questions posed to this board, the directive to check with a pastor and/or canon law expert is repeated.


Absolutely. Which is why my post is filled with "possibly" and "maybe" statements followed by a reiteration of the advice to stay in contact with his priest.

At best we can offer an educated guess.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:15 pm 
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Carole wrote:
Edward Pothier wrote:
A minor point of clarification is that the question on the marriage is validity rather than sacramentality. The second marriage mentioned could be a valid, but natural one. Since the wife was not baptized, it could not be sacramental. Both potential spouses must be baptized for a marriage to be considered sacramental.


Regarding sacramentality - How then would it be possible for the Church to provide a dispensation for a Catholic to marry a non-baptised person? How could the Church provide a dispensation for this when according to you no such marriage could be sacramental? Wouldn't it be contradictory for the Church to provide a dispensation of form to allow a Catholic to enter into a non-sacramental union?

Wanted to expand on a point brought up earlier:

It is important; however, not to assume invalidity based on the lack of baptism for one or both of the parties to a marriage.

According to the two Canon lawyers (both of whom were also priests) I spoke to regarding my prior marriage and my husband's prior marriage the baptismal status of one (or both) of the spouses does not necessarily invalidate a marriage.

My husband's ex-spouse was a practicing Jew (obviously not baptised) and he had to submit to the full investigation by the Tribunal.

...


The Church can grant a dispensation to allow a Catholic to marry a non-baptized person because the Church recognizes that there can be a valid but non-sacramental marriage. She obviously prefers a Catholic to marry another Catholic. A Catholic marrying a baptized non-Catholic is considered less desirable. And marrying a non-baptized person is still more so.

Incidentally, the dispensation to allow a Catholic to marry an unbaptized person is different than the "dispensation from form". A number of years ago I attended the Catholic marriage ceremony (without a Mass) of a Catholic woman with an unbaptized friend of mine (actually my boss then, a Physics professor). All the proper dispensations were obtained for this valid but non-sacramental marriage. (Since her father was a Mathematics professor at Notre Dame, the wedding was in the Basilica on the Notre Dame campus with the reception at the Faculty Club. That was the only time I have ever been to ND. It was on a non-homegame football weekend in the Fall. It would not have been possible on a homegame weekend!)


Edward Pothier


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:46 pm 
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I agree with Seatuck.

The fact that his wife has not been baptized is an important point.




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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:51 pm 
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St Veronica wrote:
The fact that his wife has not been baptized is an important point.


I'm sure that it is a consideration in the investigation of the validity of the marriage. I just wouldn't want to lead anyone to think that the spouse being unbaptised makes it a "done deal" so to speak.

One can be unbaptized at the time of the marriage and still meet all of the conditions for a valid marriage. The lack of baptism doesn't constitute an impediment in and of itself.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:58 pm 
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Carole wrote:
St Veronica wrote:
The fact that his wife has not been baptized is an important point.


I'm sure that it is a consideration in the investigation of the validity of the marriage. I just wouldn't want to lead anyone to think that the spouse being unbaptised makes it a "done deal" so to speak.

One can be unbaptized at the time of the marriage and still meet all of the conditions for a valid marriage. The lack of baptism doesn't constitute an impediment in and of itself.



Does the Church considered the unbaptized Christian? I didn't think She did?

I see a fair sized difference between a baptized Christian marrying a baptized Catholic .....than a non-baptized person marrying a baptized Christian or Catholic.

The first marriage ...can that even be valid since the Catholic married outside the Church in a civil ceremony (assuming the marriage was not later blessed etc)?




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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:11 pm 
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St Veronica wrote:
Does the Church considered the unbaptized Christian? I didn't think She did?


Not so far as I know. But that doesn't invalidate the marriage. Tom's prior marriage, we were warned, would not be considered invalid simply because his ex-wife was Jewish.

St Veronica wrote:
I see a fair sized difference between a baptized Christian marrying a baptized Catholic .....than a non-baptized person marrying a baptized Christian or Catholic.

The first marriage ...can that even be valid since the Catholic married outside the Church in a civil ceremony (assuming the marriage was not later blessed etc)?


While there may be a difference (fair sized or otherwise) between a baptised Christian and a non-baptised person marrying a Catholic that isn't the sole determining factor in whether or not the marriage was valid.

The canon lawyer and priests we spoke with were very clear on this point. The fact that she was not Christian did not constitute and impediment to a valid marriage and that it cannot be assumed, based solely on that point, that the marriage was not valid.

I'm not trying to be difficult, only present what was stressed to us during our conversion and through out the process for a Declaration of Nullity.

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 Post subject: Apparently, you are not validly married.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:25 am 
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Here are the applicable canons from the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1086 §1 A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptised.

§2 This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.


Can. 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

1° the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

2° the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party

3° both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.

Can. 1126 It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.


Based upon canon 1086, section 1, if you were baptized and your wife was not, and you never received a dispensation, you are not validly married.

Custos


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 Post subject: Re: Apparently, you are not validly married.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:35 am 
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Custos wrote:
Based upon canon 1086, section 1, if you were baptized and your wife was not, and you never received a dispensation, you are not validly married.

Based upon canon 1086, section 1, if you were a baptized Catholic and your wife was not baptized at all, and you never received a dispensation, you are not validly married.

This canon does not apply to the marriage between a baptized Protestant and a non-baptized person. The Catholic Church has recognized these marriages as valid since at least 1917.


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 Post subject: follow up
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 3:18 pm 
Just thought I'd post a follow up to this. We do need to get an annulment for my wifes second marriage before we can have our marriage recognized by the Church. Were almost ready to submit our paperwork. My parish priest said it could take anywhere from 3 months to over a year before it goes through (he's confident we wont have a problem getting it). I'm hoping that I'll be able to take part in the Sacraments again by next Easter. This time I'm spending waiting is really helping me to appreciate how important taking part in Communion is to me. We just had a group of young parishioner's receive there first Communions at yesterdays mass, it was beautiful.

Thanks for your earlier input on this.


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