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  #1  
Old Feb 25, '12, 7:30 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Short version: If a marriage is invalid (I am Catholic, husband is not, we were married in a civil ceremony without dispensation) and you divorce, what is your standing in the church? May you still receive the Eucharist? Is it a mortal sin needing confession?

I've tried doing some searching through google on the forum and I'm thinking if the marriage is invalid, that only a civil divorce is needed and one is still able to recieve the Eucharist. But I'm not sure. I'm still ... really really new at this. And this is not something I ever thought I'd have to ask anyone about.



Long version: Five years ago, my husband and I were married. A civil marriage. I wasn't attending church, though baptised Catholic. I did not know then that I needed to be married in the church or that a dispensation was needed. But I do know now that my marriage to my husband was/is invalid because I was baptised. He, was not. Into any religion.

We've been living with my parents (he immigrated from the US to Canada so we had a few years to wait through immigration) for those past five years. The past year, I returned to the church. Knowing my marriage to be invalid and wanting to be in communion, we haven't been having relations. In fact, we slept in separate rooms. I'm sure this has stressed things, but on top of that, the relationship between he and my mother has REALLY turned sour.

Last week on our daughters 5th birthday, he 'moved out' and has been staying with a new friend of his. He wants me and my daughter to move out with him. Which would be fine, and wonderful, if only financially, we could. We cannot make use of any sort of assistance as we're in the last 2 year of the immigration process. I'm not working and not able to for another while. I cannot take the stress and worry of moving out and not knowing how I will keep a roof over my daughters head. But he doesn't seem to understand that. He is just seeing and feeling the hurt and stress of the relationship he has with my mother.

I understand that. I really do. But ... we cannot, not right now at least, move out into an apartment and do it on our own. We spoke this Thursday past, and he had agreed to come home, here to my parents house. Where we would try and work on things. To even save up to get out on our own. He left Thursday night with a promise to return tonight.

I got an email an hour ago from him, letting me know he doesn't feel good about returning. That he doesn't know what he is doing. I don't know how to make a marriage work when one part is living elsewhere. I've prayed (maybe I haven't prayed properly? I'm sure God knows I could be doing a lot more) and I've worried and I've stressed.

My daughter is heartbroken. I feel like a complete and total mess. I don't want to lose church. My returning, has honestly been the best thing to happen to me in the longest time. Such a comfort comes to me (even though I often worry about my daughters behaviour while at church) when I am at mass.

I'm losing one part ... what would I do if I lose that too.
  #2  
Old Feb 25, '12, 7:41 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Did want to add, that upon my return to the church, I confessed to having an invalid marriage, and spoke with the priest about convalidation. I even mentioned it to my husband. He doesn't particularly care for it, or rather didn't then, but said he would do it for me. The priest however, suggested that I wait until I had been back to church for a while. I also need to be confirmed. It was/is slow going, but I was/am okay with this. But obviously now, I will most likely forego the convalidation if things simply cannot be worked out.

Perhaps a blessing in disguise that it hadn't been ... I don't know. But I did want to add that I knew about convalidation, that it was needed and being worked on.
  #3  
Old Feb 25, '12, 7:42 pm
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monicatholic monicatholic is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

In order of importance:

Keep your Faith. Keep praying, practicing, receiving sacraments.

Unless there are other big bad issues than poverty, keep your marriage. Seek a dispensation for 'disparity of cults.' Have your marriage blessed by a priest. Go to your local parish to begin this. And have your daughter baptized if she isn't already.

Unless you will really render yourselves homeless, make plans to go live with your husband. Get a job or make a timeline for him to find employment. Make a timeline to find housing. Then pray and pray and work and work toward it.

If there are other issues not mentioned ; addictions, abuse etc. Skip everything else and just keep your Faith and parent your baptized child. But poverty and ill will between your mother and husband are bad reasons to end a marriage where there are children, esp.
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  #4  
Old Feb 25, '12, 7:53 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Quote:
Originally Posted by monicatholic View Post
In order of importance:

Keep your Faith. Keep praying, practicing, receiving sacraments.

Unless there are other big bad issues than poverty, keep your marriage. Seek a dispensation for 'disparity of cults.' Have your marriage blessed by a priest. Go to your local parish to begin this. And have your daughter baptized if she isn't already.

Unless you will really render yourselves homeless, make plans to go live with your husband. Get a job or make a timeline for him to find employment. Make a timeline to find housing. Then pray and pray and work and work toward it.

If there are other issues not mentioned ; addictions, abuse etc. Skip everything else and just keep your Faith and parent your baptized child. But poverty and ill will between your mother and husband are bad reasons to end a marriage where there are children, esp.

My daughter is baptised. I still wish to have our marriage convalidated and of course for things to work out. I'm just not sure he's really interested any more. I'm afraid that he's let everything else ... turn him. I cannot live with him at the moment as he is living with his friend and a room mate already. We can get a place but it's the utilities that make it much more difficult. He has a job and work hard.

I was ... asking "just in case" because I feel like it's the end of the rope. It might not be, and I pray it's not. But I always think "what if..." I don't want to lose anything ... "Thy will be done." I think ... I just needed to get it out there to someone. I'm sorry if it's come off as selfish.

He ... isn't in some ways "realistic" in his thinking of how things work.
  #5  
Old Feb 25, '12, 8:00 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

I feel bad about the very last comment I just made. I don't mean it as negatively as it sounds. But he is pretty oblivious to the cost of ... things. Food, bills, things our daughter needs, debt. He doesn't deal with that part of things.

When we spoke last on Thursday, we had agreed when he came home, we would open an account to put money away to save to move out. We'd been paying rent/bills while here. But it's his relationship with my mother that keeps him away.

I'm sorry. I'm talking in circles.
  #6  
Old Feb 25, '12, 8:00 pm
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joanofarc2008 joanofarc2008 is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2em View Post
My daughter is baptised. I still wish to have our marriage convalidated and of course for things to work out. I'm just not sure he's really interested any more. I'm afraid that he's let everything else ... turn him. I cannot live with him at the moment as he is living with his friend and a room mate already. We can get a place but it's the utilities that make it much more difficult. He has a job and work hard.

I was ... asking "just in case" because I feel like it's the end of the rope. It might not be, and I pray it's not. But I always think "what if..." I don't want to lose anything ... "Thy will be done." I think ... I just needed to get it out there to someone. I'm sorry if it's come off as selfish.

He ... isn't in some ways "realistic" in his thinking of how things work.
I think the above poster gave good advice except that at this point I do not think you should rush convalidation. I would say continue living as Brother and Sister until you are sure you understand exactly what a Sacramental is and that you can have it with this man. As it is - it already sounds like your marriage is falling apart. If you are going to move in with him then please make the decision to have your marriage convalidated. Also you two should be in couples counseling.
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  #7  
Old Feb 25, '12, 8:11 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Quote:
Originally Posted by joanofarc2008 View Post
I think the above poster gave good advice except that at this point I do not think you should rush convalidation. I would say continue living as Brother and Sister until you are sure you understand exactly what a Sacramental is and that you can have it with this man. As it is - it already sounds like your marriage is falling apart. If you are going to move in with him then please make the decision to have your marriage convalidated. Also you two should be in couples counseling.
Oh yes as brother and sister. Whether living in my parent's house or a place of our own until or if the marriage is convalidated. I've asked about counselling. It kind of got passed over. The only way he communicates with me now is through email. I'm not sure it is something he wants to do. I do not wish to rush this at all. I do not want to make another mistake. Not with knowing what I know now about marriage, the church and everything.

It's the ... if it comes down to a civil divorce (should also mention, neither of us had been previously married either) can I still receive the Eucharist or have I committed a mortal sin by having a civil divorce (again if it came down to it) that is an additional worry? ack. Is that bad to say? I am worried, concerned, etc about my marriage. But also about my soul.
  #8  
Old Feb 25, '12, 9:55 pm
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Leegal Leegal is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Maybe a religious will show up to answer. The Church does not recognize your civil marriage.

Obviously, the priest can explain this but I would think that convalidation cannot take place until after you are confirmed. Your priest knows and you received absolution, but you are not yet confirmed. So, the priest is waiting to confirm you before he will convalidate the marriage.

If you confessed and received absolution there should be no problem going to communion as long as you and your husband are "apart" since the absolution.

If he divorces you it will be a civil divorce (I hope he can wait and you can save the marriage). But if you do divorce, the Church never recognized your civil marriage and you are not married.

When are you due to be confirmed? Ask the priest; I believe you can receive the Eucharist since 1) you confessed and received absolution for the civil marriage which is not valid in the Church and 2) then lived "apart" from your husband -- physically. Surely, the priest can reassure you if you are doing everything he told you to do after absolution. Even if your husband divorces you, you are not married in the eyes of the Church. You won't need to confess again and again, but the priest can reassure you that absolution took place.

God Bless. I hope it works out that you can convalidate and stay together. Can you talk with your mother? I gather he moved out because of disagreements with your mother.
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  #9  
Old Feb 25, '12, 9:57 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Despite all my bemoaning in this thread, I was just doing some reading through Word Among Us's Lent meditations and I read something I would like to share that I found particularly hitting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Word Among Us: Daily Meditations February 22-April7. I believe ... (Finding Hope in the Gospel This Lent
What you are now isn't an obstacle to what you can become -- not to the Lord. He has had a vision for your life from the moment you were conceived and that vision is one of blessing, not of curse. It's a vision of fullness, not emptiness. It's a vision in which every part of your personality -- all your talents, your character traits, and even your unique quirks -- is filled with His life and is used to building His kingdom.
Perhaps it's not actually pertaining to anything in my posts, and I don't intentionally mean to derail my own thread. But upon reading it a few moments ago, I'd been so troubled since my initial post after getting that email from my husband, that when I read this, my heart, and I, just ... things just felt a little better. Sure it's messy. But there's a plan to it. I just need to ... see it. To pray on it. To not try and "show up" or go it alone.

I thank you for your responses. They were appreciated it. Time and prayer will heal what is broken. Whether it be a marriage or just me.

"still, not my will but yours be done." Luke 22 42
  #10  
Old Feb 25, '12, 9:58 pm
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Leegal Leegal is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

A civil divorce will not be a sin, since the civil marriage is not recognized.

Don't worry -- even a civil divorce would take awhile and you may find that you can salvage the marriage afterall.

Did you ask your priest these questions? -- please do so.
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For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience.
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  #11  
Old Feb 25, '12, 10:12 pm
mom2em mom2em is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leegal View Post
Maybe a religious will show up to answer. The Church does not recognize your civil marriage.

Obviously, the priest can explain this but I would think that convalidation cannot take place until after you are confirmed. Your priest knows and you received absolution, but you are not yet confirmed. So, the priest is waiting to confirm you before he will convalidate the marriage.

If you confessed and received absolution there should be no problem going to communion as long as you and your husband are "apart" since the absolution.

If he divorces you it will be a civil divorce (I hope he can wait and you can save the marriage). But if you do divorce, the Church never recognized your civil marriage and you are not married.

When are you due to be confirmed? Ask the priest; I believe you can receive the Eucharist since 1) you confessed and received absolution for the civil marriage which is not valid in the Church and 2) then lived "apart" from your husband -- physically. Surely, the priest can reassure you if you are doing everything he told you to do after absolution. Even if your husband divorces you, you are not married in the eyes of the Church. You won't need to confess again and again, but the priest can reassure you that absolution took place.

God Bless. I it works out that you can convalidate and stay together. Can you talk with your mother? I gather he moved out because of disagreements with your mother.
There is no set date for confirmation. Yes my parish priest knows my situation with my marriage, at least, being married in a civil service, our living with my parents, the relationship between my husband and mother. My husband having moved out though, I have not yet discussed with him. I was shell shocked last weekend. So on Monday I hope to call and see if I might be able to make an appointment to speak with him.

We have lived as brother and sister (no relations) since January 21st of last year (actually, even some before then but for certain from that date as I made my first confession that day in nearly 20 years) and I have gone to confession quite a few times since.

I do hope and pray that we can save our marriage. That something can be done. I need him though to be willing to work with me. To see while our living arrangements at the moment are not ideal, my daughter and I love him and we can make it work until we can better the situation. I'm just not sure if he wants to try. He just keeps telling me he's "not going to change." That he "wants a home [of his] own." And I understand that, but in the meantime, home is where your family is. Not just a place where you get to call the shots, which what it seems he wants.

Ah! I don't know. Tonight, I've gone the gamut of emotions. So until tomorrow ... I'll keep praying. and hehe well I'll pray tomorrow too :P

Thank you and God bless you too Leegal.

(I apologize if I'm more long winded than in any way making sense in my posts.)
  #12  
Old Feb 25, '12, 10:31 pm
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greenwoj greenwoj is offline
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Dont have too many words of wisdom beyond what some of the others have said, but I just wanted you to know I have prayed for your family. As the father of twin 5 year old girls, I was so saddened to hear about the effect this turmoil has had on your little girl. Please continue to be a rock for her, cling to our Lord Jesus Christ no matter what happens with your marriage, and hold on for better times. They will come! Thank you, also, for sharing that inspirational meditation, it is certainly powerful food for the troubled soul.

God bless you, mom2em. As Jesus said, with God nothing is impossible. I believe this down to my core, and it keeps me strong. He has great plans for you!
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Old Feb 25, '12, 11:06 pm
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

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Originally Posted by mom2em View Post
There is no set date for confirmation. Yes my parish priest knows my situation with my marriage, at least, being married in a civil service, our living with my parents, the relationship between my husband and mother. My husband having moved out though, I have not yet discussed with him. I was shell shocked last weekend. So on Monday I hope to call and see if I might be able to make an appointment to speak with him.

We have lived as brother and sister (no relations) since January 21st of last year (actually, even some before then but for certain from that date as I made my first confession that day in nearly 20 years) and I have gone to confession quite a few times since.

I do hope and pray that we can save our marriage. That something can be done. I need him though to be willing to work with me. To see while our living arrangements at the moment are not ideal, my daughter and I love him and we can make it work until we can better the situation. I'm just not sure if he wants to try. He just keeps telling me he's "not going to change." That he "wants a home [of his] own." And I understand that, but in the meantime, home is where your family is. Not just a place where you get to call the shots, which what it seems he wants.

Ah! I don't know. Tonight, I've gone the gamut of emotions. So until tomorrow ... I'll keep praying. and hehe well I'll pray tomorrow too :P

Thank you and God bless you too Leegal.

(I apologize if I'm more long winded than in any way making sense in my posts.)
Yeah, I write very briefly myself.

My thinking is that you husband is asserting some independence.

I don't know the dynamic between your husband and mother but, for a man, it has to be hard living under someone else's roof. And then they don't get along. And they probably don't get along because it's her house.

That's why I suggested that you also speak with your mother and explain that whatever dynamic is going on between them, that it also affects your daughter. She may not "love" you husband, but he is your daughter's father and she needs to respect him for that. If not for that reason, then for the reason that this living situation is tearing your daughter apart and you want to make this work. At the very least, she needs to be made aware that whatever tensions she sees between them affects her deeply.

God Bless. I will pray for all of you.
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  #14  
Old Feb 26, '12, 1:00 am
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Default Re: ... Don't know what to say but would appreciate any help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leegal View Post
I don't know the dynamic between your husband and mother but, for a man, it has to be hard living under someone else's roof. And then they don't get along. And they probably don't get along because it's her house.

That's why I suggested that you also speak with your mother and explain that whatever dynamic is going on between them, that it also affects your daughter. She may not "love" you husband, but he is your daughter's father and she needs to respect him for that. If not for that reason, then for the reason that this living situation is tearing your daughter apart and you want to make this work. At the very least, she needs to be made aware that whatever tensions she sees between them affects her deeply.

God Bless. I will pray for all of you.
mom2em, I will pray for you. I really agree with the message above. My DH and I are in a similar situation right now. That is, we're living under my parents' roof, and DH and my mom don't get along at all.

You really need to talk to your mother about it. No matter what, your husband is the father of your daughter. Your daughter needs to see her father respected for that role. If your mom does not support that basic fact, it will just make things harder on your daughter. I've seen it happen with my own kids. No matter how many times I talk to my mom about it, she's convinced that she's right: she thinks DH is lazy, immature, and not worthy of respect as a father. (Although she will lie through her teeth and tell him how wonderful he is and how he's such a good father, etc. Actions speak MUCH louder than words.) The kids DO pick up on it if DH and I are not quick to correct her whenever she brings something up in front of them. Your mom might not ever like your husband, and that is fine--but she should always treat him with respect especially in front of your daughter. (And that's a much easier line to draw when you're not living at your parents' home.)

It's so difficult to have any sort of control over another adult's actions. If your mother is anything like mine, then you will have a long road ahead of you, and it probably will not get better as long as you're living under her roof. Is it possible that when he says he's "not going to change" he means that him and your mom just don't get along personality wise? My DH and my mom are both very "take charge" types of people, and they constantly butt heads because of it. Mom thinks she's in complete charge of her house, DH wants control over at least his own children, and many times those wills collide.

The important thing is that you and your DH keep talking. Decide on your rules, on what you want for your family. He should know that you are always in his corner, and you should be willing to stand up for him whenever necessary. Talk with your mom to, so that she's not taken by surprise by anything--she should know that you are unhappy with the way things are going, and you should try and talk with her about what she's willing to do to keep a decent relationship with your husband. It sounds like this has been going on for a long time, so there's lots of bad habits to break, but try and put it forward as an opportunity for all three of you to move forward and be civil to each other while you are all living together. The only way this will start to get better is if you start talking about it.

Keep praying, and keep seeing your priest. If you need counseling, you don't have to wait for your husband to go as well--you can go alone.
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