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  #1  
Old Feb 27, '14, 3:22 pm
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Hello,

I am a protestant married to a catholic. We are civilliy married since 25 years.
I have been following conversion instructions since last summer and I am about to convert to catholicism this spring, but I have not been aware of the problem with the civil marriage until now.

I would like us to to get married in the catholic church, but sadly my wife now considers herself a lapsed catholic. I believe we both want to remain faithful to each other till death do us part, but my wife does not want to make that promise in church. So for the moment a church marriage is not possible.

Does anyone see a way forward for me to join the mother church and maybe even receive communion?

In principle our marriage could be annulled, but that would be tragic for all of us.
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  #2  
Old Feb 27, '14, 3:45 pm
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Vico Vico is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
Hello,

I am a protestant married to a catholic. We are civilliy married since 25 years.
I have been following conversion instructions since last summer and I am about to convert to catholicism this spring, but I have not been aware of the problem with the civil marriage until now.

I would like us to to get married in the catholic church, but sadly my wife now considers herself a lapsed catholic. I believe we both want to remain faithful to each other till death do us part, but my wife does not want to make that promise in church. So for the moment a church marriage is not possible.

Does anyone see a way forward for me to join the mother church and maybe even receive communion?

In principle our marriage could be annulled, but that would be tragic for all of us.
If she will not give new consent, then it may be possible for you to receive a retroactive convalidation (radical sanation), which utilizes the prior consent with a dispensation from the canonical form of marriage. The main issue to resolve is:

1. If there were any prior marriages for either of you, are you both free to marry now?
2. Does proper consent still exist (which is presumed without proof)?
3. Do you both intend to continue in conjugal life?
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  #3  
Old Feb 27, '14, 7:05 pm
angell1 angell1 is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
Hello,

I am a protestant married to a catholic. We are civilliy married since 25 years.
I have been following conversion instructions since last summer and I am about to convert to catholicism this spring, but I have not been aware of the problem with the civil marriage until now.

I would like us to to get married in the catholic church, but sadly my wife now considers herself a lapsed catholic. I believe we both want to remain faithful to each other till death do us part, but my wife does not want to make that promise in church. So for the moment a church marriage is not possible.

Does anyone see a way forward for me to join the mother church and maybe even receive communion?

In principle our marriage could be annulled, but that would be tragic for all of us.
welcome home.

perhaps you can talk to a priest about it. i'm sure they are more knowledgable about these procedures than the rest of us
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  #4  
Old Feb 28, '14, 5:54 am
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vico View Post
If she will not give new consent, then it may be possible for you to receive a retroactive convalidation (radical sanation), which utilizes the prior consent with a dispensation from the canonical form of marriage. The main issue to resolve is:

1. If there were any prior marriages for either of you, are you both free to marry now?
2. Does proper consent still exist (which is presumed without proof)?
3. Do you both intend to continue in conjugal life?
1. No prior marriages
2. I think so (a little unsure about what constitutes "proper consent")
3. Yes
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  #5  
Old Feb 28, '14, 9:29 am
zz912 zz912 is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
I would like us to to get married in the catholic church, but sadly my wife now considers herself a lapsed catholic. I believe we both want to remain faithful to each other till death do us part, but my wife does not want to make that promise in church. So for the moment a church marriage is not possible.
She doesn't want to promise to remain faithful til death? Or she doesn't want to promise in a church?

If the first, then you have some serious issues that need a good counselor. I'm hoping it is the second. If so, I would approach her asking her if she could do so for you, out of respect and love for you.
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  #6  
Old Feb 28, '14, 9:57 am
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Vico Vico is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
1. No prior marriages
2. I think so (a little unsure about what constitutes "proper consent")
3. Yes
Proper consent would be lacking with any of the following:

An intention against children (prolis), i.e.,
withholding the right to sexual acts open to the begetting of children and/or withholding the right to the education of offspring not only academically but also religiously.
An intention against fidelity, or exclusivity (fidei), i.e.,
withholding of the right to fidelity by not recognizing that fidelity is essential to marriage and by not intending to keep the vow of fidelity.
An intention against the permanence (sacramenti) of marriage, i.e.,
withholding the right to perpetuity; that is, entering the marriage with the idea that one had the right to divorce and remarry.
An intention against the good of the spouse (coniugum), i.e.,
not being mutually giving and accepting of one another.

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  #7  
Old Feb 28, '14, 5:20 pm
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by zz912 View Post
She doesn't want to promise to remain faithful til death? Or she doesn't want to promise in a church?

If the first, then you have some serious issues that need a good counselor. I'm hoping it is the second. If so, I would approach her asking her if she could do so for you, out of respect and love for you.
She saw other marriages gone very very bad,bitter and destructive, where they'd stay together because of the vow, or the fear of scandal. I believe she wants to remain faithful, but not if our marriage would turn out like those. She would feel trapped by her promise and she feels emotionally blackmailed that my conversion and eucharistic participation would depend on her personal choice.
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  #8  
Old Feb 28, '14, 5:38 pm
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vico View Post
Proper consent would be lacking with any of the following:

An intention against children (prolis), i.e.,
withholding the right to sexual acts open to the begetting of children and/or withholding the right to the education of offspring not only academically but also religiously.
An intention against fidelity, or exclusivity (fidei), i.e.,
withholding of the right to fidelity by not recognizing that fidelity is essential to marriage and by not intending to keep the vow of fidelity.
An intention against the permanence (sacramenti) of marriage, i.e.,
withholding the right to perpetuity; that is, entering the marriage with the idea that one had the right to divorce and remarry.
An intention against the good of the spouse (coniugum), i.e.,
not being mutually giving and accepting of one another.

I had and I have proper consent then. We have 4 children, 1 gravely handicapped boy, 2 catholic girls and a protestant boy (all adult). We both intend lifelong fidelity and permanence, though my wife has a reservation as mentioned in the previous reply. We intend coniugum as I see it.
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  #9  
Old Feb 28, '14, 7:00 pm
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Vico Vico is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
I had and I have proper consent then. We have 4 children, 1 gravely handicapped boy, 2 catholic girls and a protestant boy (all adult). We both intend lifelong fidelity and permanence, though my wife has a reservation as mentioned in the previous reply. We intend coniugum as I see it.
If she does not intend the marriage to be lifelong and exclusive, and you are certain of it, and it is provable, then the marriage could not be truthfully convalidated.

The retroactive convalidation can be granted by meeting with a priest and supplying the answers to various questions, even without the participation or your wife. Due to needing various forms witnessed, it may take six months.
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  #10  
Old Mar 1, '14, 2:17 am
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vico View Post
If she does not intend the marriage to be lifelong and exclusive, and you are certain of it, and it is provable, then the marriage could not be truthfully convalidated.

The retroactive convalidation can be granted by meeting with a priest and supplying the answers to various questions, even without the participation or your wife. Due to needing various forms witnessed, it may take six months.
So I cannot convert unless she overcomes her fear of us turning into monsters? She does intend lifelong, exclusive marriage, but she cannot make herself promise it irrevocably in church.

Is it really true, that I cannot convert, unless she changes her mind?
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  #11  
Old Mar 1, '14, 8:31 am
Seatuck Seatuck is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
So I cannot convert unless she overcomes her fear of us turning into monsters? She does intend lifelong, exclusive marriage, but she cannot make herself promise it irrevocably in church.

Is it really true, that I cannot convert, unless she changes her mind?
Make an appointment with your pastor or priest guiding your RCIA program. You should be able to resolve this with radical sanation based upon the above.
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  #12  
Old Mar 1, '14, 12:01 pm
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Vico Vico is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
So I cannot convert unless she overcomes her fear of us turning into monsters? She does intend lifelong, exclusive marriage, but she cannot make herself promise it irrevocably in church.

Is it really true, that I cannot convert, unless she changes her mind?
It sounds like she does not intend it if she would not promise it. If she does intend it would that be provable? There are affidavits required when getting married, could the witnesses attest to her intentions, or has she spoken out against some part of what is required? (See red below.) She would not have to fill out and sign the paperwork herself.

I can tell you what happens from my knowledge of the process of radial sanation. First, this may not be exactly how it is administered in every diocese. The process is:
The priest, deacon, or other pastoral minister assists the couple (on one of them) in completing the Petition for Radical Sanation, gathering the related documents, and sending them to the Office for the Tribunal.

1. Petition for Radical Sanation of a Merely Civil Marriage
2. Civil marriage license
3. Usual prenuptial investigation forms (completed as throughly as possible if one party refuses to cooperate), together with the usual dispensation/permission petition forms
4. Baptismal certificate(s) of the Catholic(s)
5. Any other appropriate documents (e.g., declarations of nullity, decrees of dissolution, death certificates, etc.)

When the Office for the Tribunal receives these documents (completed appropriately), they are forwarded to the diocesan bishop (or, if necessary, to the Apostolic See). A document attesting to the favor granted is sent to the couple.

Prenuptial investigation forms include the freedom to marry affadavit with these questions (to be filled out - with witness signature - by various people that knew both of you):

Name of 􀀀 Bride or 􀀀 Groom: ________________________________________ ________________________________________ _______________

1) Do you agree to answer the following questions truthfully insofar as you are aware?
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No
How are you related to this person? __________________________________ Year you met this person: __________________________
(father, mother, brother, sister, friend, etc.)

2) Does this person intend in this marriage:
a) To give sacrificially of self for the total well being of each other and the marital partnership? (c. 1055, 1)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No*
b) To accept children lovingly from God and see to their upbringing? (c. 1055, 1)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No*
c) To make an unconditional, permanent commitment, lasting until the death of his/her spouse? (cc. 1056; 1102, 1)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No*
d) To be faithful to his/her spouse? (c. 1056)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No*


3) Was this person ever baptized? (c. 1086)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No 􀀀 Uncertain If yes, which denomination? ________________________________________ ____________________

4) Has this person ever been married at any time in his/her life by a priest, deacon, minister, rabbi, civil official, common law, etc.? (c. 1085)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No If yes, how many times? ______________________________
List the full name(s) of previous spouse(s): ________________________________________ ________________________________________ _
How did the marriage(s) end? 􀀀 Divorce 􀀀 Death of spouse 􀀀 Catholic annulment 􀀀 Other: ________________________
If married previously, is this person meeting his/her moral/civil responsibilities to the former spouse(s) and any child/children? (c. 1071, 1, 3)
􀀀 Yes 􀀀 No*

5) Is this person related to his/her intended spouse by blood, marriage or legal adoption? (cc. 1091-1092; 1094)
􀀀 Yes* 􀀀 No

6) Has this person been ordained a Catholic priest/deacon or been in a Catholic religious community? (cc. 1087-1088)
􀀀 Yes* 􀀀 No

7) Is any person or circumstance forcing or putting pressure upon the bride/groom to marry? (cc. 1057; 1103)
􀀀 Yes* 􀀀 No

8) Does this person have or has ever had any physical, mental or emotional, alcohol and/or drug related difficulties? (cc. 1057; 1084; 1095)
􀀀 Yes* 􀀀 No

9) Do the parents (guardians) of the bride/groom have any reservations about this marriage?
􀀀 Yes* 􀀀 No

*Explain any previous response that included an asterisk (*).
If you know any reason(s) why this marriage should not occur or information you believe should be made known about this proposed union, explain:


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  #13  
Old Mar 2, '14, 2:40 am
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Thanks to all who spent their time kindly answering my questions. I have but a few more. If a radical sanation cannot obtain, what are my possibilities?

Could I still convert by the sacrament of confirmation?
Would I be unable to receive any of the sacraments?
Would I be required to leave my wife or stop making love with her?
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  #14  
Old Mar 2, '14, 3:55 pm
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Vico Vico is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by remoller View Post
Thanks to all who spent their time kindly answering my questions. I have but a few more. If a radical sanation cannot obtain, what are my possibilities?

Could I still convert by the sacrament of confirmation?
Would I be unable to receive any of the sacraments?
Would I be required to leave my wife or stop making love with her?
From The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio issued by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1981:
c) Catholics in Civil Marriages

82. There are increasing cases of Catholics who for ideological or practical reasons, prefer to contract a merely civil marriage, and who reject or at least defer religious marriage. Their situation cannot of course be likened to that of people simply living together without any bond at all, because in the present case there is at least a certain commitment to a properly-defined and probably stable state of life, even though the possibility of a future divorce is often present in the minds of those entering a civil marriage. By seeking public recognition of their bond on the part of the State, such couples show that they are ready to accept not only its advantages but also its obligations. Nevertheless, not even this situation is acceptable to the Church.

The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments.
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  #15  
Old Mar 3, '14, 2:53 pm
remoller remoller is offline
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Default Re: Conversion, civil marriage, communion

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Originally Posted by Vico View Post
From The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio issued by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1981:
c) Catholics in Civil Marriages

82. There are increasing cases of Catholics who for ideological or practical reasons, prefer to contract a merely civil marriage, and who reject or at least defer religious marriage. Their situation cannot of course be likened to that of people simply living together without any bond at all, because in the present case there is at least a certain commitment to a properly-defined and probably stable state of life, even though the possibility of a future divorce is often present in the minds of those entering a civil marriage. By seeking public recognition of their bond on the part of the State, such couples show that they are ready to accept not only its advantages but also its obligations. Nevertheless, not even this situation is acceptable to the Church.

The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments.
Thanks for the text and link, which I have read. I do not wish to nit-pick, but it seems to address my wife's situation rather than mine. I am not the catholic part yet, and I am already committed to honor the catholic marriage obligations. As I cannot marry her unilaterally in church, what is then required of me? If, hypothetically, I left her and lived in celibacy henceforth, would I then be admittable to the church and its sacraments?
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