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  #1  
Old Oct 25, '06, 3:34 pm
Ellieani Ellieani is offline
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Question Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

I have a multi-part question. I was confirmed a Catholic about 15 years ago, but never really was a good Catholic, and am now finding my way back to the Church. I've made many decisions in the past that I now regret.

One of these regrets involves adultery in my current marriage. We were both non-practicing Catholics at the time we married in a small chapel service, which I assume is invalid since it was outside the Church.

My questions are:

1) I can't receive Reconcilliation because I'm in an invalid marriage. If we decide to abstain from marital relations until (if) we have our marriage validated, and I confess my sin of adultery, is it actually absolved if I do not confess it as well to my husband?

2) Can our marriage be validated without revealing my affair?

3) If I do reveal it to my husband, and we divorce as a result, how does that stand with the Church if our marriage is not valid to begin with? And if I never planned to marry again, would I need an annullment.

I know that's a lot of questions, but any answers would be greatly appreciated. I am very confused.
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  #2  
Old Oct 25, '06, 6:45 pm
CRW CRW is offline
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellieani View Post
I have a multi-part question. I was confirmed a Catholic about 15 years ago, but never really was a good Catholic, and am now finding my way back to the Church. I've made many decisions in the past that I now regret.

One of these regrets involves adultery in my current marriage. We were both non-practicing Catholics at the time we married in a small chapel service, which I assume is invalid since it was outside the Church.

My questions are:

1) I can't receive Reconcilliation because I'm in an invalid marriage. If we decide to abstain from marital relations until (if) we have our marriage validated, and I confess my sin of adultery, is it actually absolved if I do not confess it as well to my husband?

2) Can our marriage be validated without revealing my affair?

3) If I do reveal it to my husband, and we divorce as a result, how does that stand with the Church if our marriage is not valid to begin with? And if I never planned to marry again, would I need an annullment.

I know that's a lot of questions, but any answers would be greatly appreciated. I am very confused.
I think that your questions would received greater authority from the "Ask An Apologist" forum.

I would offer that your confession never has to be revealed to anyone but the priest. I have read a post on EWTN Questions and Answers (from a priest) that suggested not to mention the act, in this case to his wife. Adultery is a mortal sin, but it does not invalidate a Catholic marriage. Have you discussed this privately with a priest? God Bless you and I hope everything works out for you.
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  #3  
Old Oct 26, '06, 9:10 am
Ellieani Ellieani is offline
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Thank you for your response. I have tried the "Ask the Apologist", but did not receive a reply, so I decided to put it in this forum.

I have partially discussed this with a priest the last time I attempted to go to Confession. I confessed things, including the adultery. I then found out from the priest that you couldn't receive Reconciliation if you were married outside the Church.

He then went on to discuss convalidating the marriage, but nothing more about what I had already confessed. I had went into the Confession extremely nervous, since it was the first time in about 15 years, and was told I couldn't receive the sacrament, which left me very confused about everything.
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  #4  
Old Oct 26, '06, 9:37 am
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tee_eff_em tee_eff_em is offline
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Question Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellieani View Post
I then found out from the priest that you couldn't receive Reconciliation if you were married outside the Church.
I have never heard such a thing -- How can you return to the Church, and have your marriage regularized, if you cannot approach the confessional?

Please, Ask an Apologist and/or ask another priest to explain this more clearly to you. (Or perhaps someone here can explain it to me?)

tee
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  #5  
Old Oct 26, '06, 10:05 am
Allweather Allweather is offline
 
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

I don't understand why you can't receive absolution thru the sacrament of reconciliation. I don't see what this has to do with your marriage. Seems to me that if you're a baptised Catholic then the sacraments are available to you. I can't understand a priest refusing absolution unless you were refusing to be contrite and if you're in the confessional, a certain contrition surely must be assumed. I divorced my sacramental wife 9 years ago. I never pursued an annullment because I assumed that, since the marriage was sacramental, an annullment would be impossible. Yet, she obtained an annullment somehow, after I moved out of state. She may have claimed that I abandoned her, which in a manner of speaking, is true. I went for several years in and out of short-term relationships and one-nighters. I ignored the Church, and actually became rather obnoxious against it. For years I've lived with a woman who is also divorced. Recently, feeling drawn back to God, I went to confession after a ten year absence, and was granted absolution, but warned that I cannot continue a sexual relationship with this woman, and so we have remained as brother and sister. Nothing has ever been said to me in any of my confessions over these issues that I could not obtain absolution. My friend and I have discussed getting married, but she is a Mormon, and so there are religion complications as well as marriage complications. In the process I have become celibate, which isn't nearly as hard as I thought it'd be. The road to celibacy has revealed the truly disordered nature of my sexual self, and so there has been healing going on there.

Your post caught my attention, since your path is similar to mine. I felt myself being drawn back to God about two years ago. Going to confession after so long an absence was painful, and so I know what you mean when you say you were "nervous." Not knowing the details, and not knowing why the priest refused you absolution, all I can say is, stick with it. God is calling you home. You have many issues, and they are very serious issues. Dealing with them will take time, prayer, patience, forgiveness. My years away from worship are requiring a very long period of cleansing and renovation, and yours will, too. All the processes of the Church are holy and good for you, even though painful.
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  #6  
Old Oct 26, '06, 11:46 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

we cannot receive absolution if we are actively continuing in whatever sinful condition we are in. For instance, if I am in an invalid marriage, cohabiting or whatever and have not rectified the situation, or if I am stealing from my employer and have no intention of stopping, or whatever I cannot be absolved. The sinful condition whatever it is must be rectified so that I can receive the sacraments.

In a situation such as that described in OP the couple would take steps prescribed by their pastor to convalidate, including whatever prep classes, counselling etc. is involved. They can agree to live as brother and sister while that is going on, in which case they may both confess and be absolved as long as they keep that promise. If not, they would both confess just before the ceremony.

One's sins are confessed to the priest, not to the spouse.
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  #7  
Old Oct 28, '06, 11:40 pm
CRW CRW is offline
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellieani View Post
Thank you for your response. I have tried the "Ask the Apologist", but did not receive a reply, so I decided to put it in this forum.

I have partially discussed this with a priest the last time I attempted to go to Confession. I confessed things, including the adultery. I then found out from the priest that you couldn't receive Reconciliation if you were married outside the Church.

He then went on to discuss convalidating the marriage, but nothing more about what I had already confessed. I had went into the Confession extremely nervous, since it was the first time in about 15 years, and was told I couldn't receive the sacrament, which left me very confused about everything.
You might give http//:ewtn,com/ a try at this. When the page open, click on faith, a box will open and click on Catholic Q & A, a new box will open and click on Ask a New Question. The problem with EWTN Forum is they are very busy and you might have to check back for several days. They do provide good, sound advice.

Is your husband willing to be married in the Catholic Church? If yes, establish an appointment with the priest. I do not believe that you would be required to inform your husband. This is just a gut feeling. Please continue to find the solution. Your salvation is always first. God Bless
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  #8  
Old Oct 28, '06, 11:46 pm
CRW CRW is offline
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Join Date: October 11, 2006
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allweather View Post
I don't understand why you can't receive absolution thru the sacrament of reconciliation. I don't see what this has to do with your marriage. Seems to me that if you're a baptised Catholic then the sacraments are available to you. I can't understand a priest refusing absolution unless you were refusing to be contrite and if you're in the confessional, a certain contrition surely must be assumed. I divorced my sacramental wife 9 years ago. I never pursued an annullment because I assumed that, since the marriage was sacramental, an annullment would be impossible. Yet, she obtained an annullment somehow, after I moved out of state. She may have claimed that I abandoned her, which in a manner of speaking, is true. I went for several years in and out of short-term relationships and one-nighters. I ignored the Church, and actually became rather obnoxious against it. For years I've lived with a woman who is also divorced. Recently, feeling drawn back to God, I went to confession after a ten year absence, and was granted absolution, but warned that I cannot continue a sexual relationship with this woman, and so we have remained as brother and sister. Nothing has ever been said to me in any of my confessions over these issues that I could not obtain absolution. My friend and I have discussed getting married, but she is a Mormon, and so there are religion complications as well as marriage complications. In the process I have become celibate, which isn't nearly as hard as I thought it'd be. The road to celibacy has revealed the truly disordered nature of my sexual self, and so there has been healing going on there.

Your post caught my attention, since your path is similar to mine. I felt myself being drawn back to God about two years ago. Going to confession after so long an absence was painful, and so I know what you mean when you say you were "nervous." Not knowing the details, and not knowing why the priest refused you absolution, all I can say is, stick with it. God is calling you home. You have many issues, and they are very serious issues. Dealing with them will take time, prayer, patience, forgiveness. My years away from worship are requiring a very long period of cleansing and renovation, and yours will, too. All the processes of the Church are holy and good for you, even though painful.
In the eyes of the Church, if you are married outside it, it is not valid. If it is not valid, then your are living in sin which will continue until you are married in the Catholic Church. For a sin to be forgiven we must be sorry for the sin, repent, and abstain from the sin. However, this subject must be solved by the couple and the Church. A someone else pointed out, we confess our sins to the priest, not our spouse.
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  #9  
Old Oct 29, '06, 5:46 am
Lelah Lelah is offline
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Default Re: Sins and the Sacraments of Marriage & Confession

Welcome home! Because you are in an invalid marriage, you are not married in the eyes of the Church. Therefore, any sexual relations you have with your civil spouse are sinful. To receive absolution, you would have to agree to abstain from sexual relations until you could have your marriage convalidated. As far as confession goes, that is between you and the priest. However, because you are not married, if you withhold your affair from your civil husband and he convalidates the marriage with you and then someday finds out, he will be able to file an annulment on grounds that he would not have convalidated your marriage had he known this information. IMHO, honesty is the best policy. Yes, it will hurt and you will have things to work through, but would your marriage be valid if he wouldn't have married you if he knew this information. I would recommend lining up a good Catholic counselor and demonstrate to him your sincere remorse and repentance. God is able to heal this and I think you will always wonder about the validity of your marriage if you convalidate while concealing this from him. It would be a different situation if you were validly married and chose to only confess the sin of adultery to your priest. God bless you and I will keep you in my prayers.
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