A Baptized Catholic, a Catholic Marriage?


#1

If you are Baptized into the Catholic Faith then do you have to get married by the Catholic Church? Let’s say you are a Baptized Catholic but you later fall away and get married in a Protestant Church, or by a Justice of the Peace, or any other authority EXCEPT for the Catholic Church. Does that make your marriage invalid since you have been Baptized into the Catholic Faith but have now rejected all or some of it’s teachings?


#2

It is my understanding that unless you have intentionally abandoned the Catholic faith (i.e. actively joined another church - not just attended on occasion), that you are bound by the rules and form of the Church.

The term “fall away” is too vague, as it could mean that you are simply a lapsed Catholic; that is, you would identify yourself as Cathlic if asked, but don’t attend Mass, etc.; or it could mean that you have actually abandoned the Church, and would not identify yourself as Catholic any longer.


#3

Ok how about you have abandoned it completly and become a Protestant. You get married in a Protestant Church to another Protestant, but then you return to the Catholic Faith. Is your marriage valid or would you have to do it again in the Church?


#4

I just can’t find this imformation in the Catechism. I would assume though that you would have to be married by the Church because you are a Baptized Catholic, then in order to recieve the sacrament of Marriage and teach your children the Catholic Faith you would have to be married in the Church. A Catholic Baptism certificate = a Catholic Marriage certificate, correct?


#5

[quote=J.W.B.]Ok how about you have abandoned it completly and become a Protestant. You get married in a Protestant Church to another Protestant, but then you return to the Catholic Faith. Is your marriage valid or would you have to do it again in the Church?
[/quote]

Your marriage would be valid provided all the following are true:[list]*]“Becoming a Protestant” involved a formal, verifiable act; e.g. being “rebaptized”, or officially joining a Protestant church.
*]You became a Protestant prior to the wedding ceremony in the Protestant church.
*]You were previously a Latin Rite Catholic, and the Protestant wedding ceremony took place on or after November 27, 1983.
*]Both you and your spouse were free to marry according to the rules of the Catholic Church; e.g., no prior divorces, no other impediments.[/list]
Otherwise, the marriage is invalid and would have to be done again in the Catholic Church.


#6

I do not understand your last two points? But to make things clear and easy, if you are a Baptized Catholic then do you have to have a Catholic wedding if you are still a practicing Catholic. And all other marriages in the past are invalid?


#7

[quote=J.W.B.]Ok how about you have abandoned it completly and become a Protestant. You get married in a Protestant Church to another Protestant, but then you return to the Catholic Faith. Is your marriage valid or would you have to do it again in the Church?
[/quote]

This is a pastoral question. Because by Church law as a Protestant you are not bound by Catholic canon law. However since you returned to the Catholic faith, how Protestant were you? Maybe you really didn’t intend to abandon the Catholic faith deep down. It’s a judgment that a pastor would have to make.

If you are still a practicing Catholic then you must Marry according to Catholic canon law. All other prior marriages must be reviewed and determined invalid by a tribunal of the Catholic Church. This is not a judgment that you or anyone else can make on your own.


#8

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]This is a pastoral question…This is not a judgment that you or anyone else can make on your own.
[/quote]

I have NEVER known Brother Rich to be wrong. He is correct here, as always. This is an URGENT question that MUST be brought to the Church.


#9

So anotherwords, if you are a Baptized Catholic and you are a practicing Catholic, then no matter what past marriages you may have had away from the Church since you fell away, only a marriage within the Church is valid. As I said, a Catholic Baptism certificate = a Catholic marriage certificate.


#10

It makes sense to me because if your Baptized into the Church, the very first sacrament and born right into the fullness of Truth, and if you are still a practicing Catholic, then your marriage should be in the Church since it’s a holy sacrament. Any outside marriages because of being fallen away at one point but now returned do not seem valid.


#11

[quote=J.W.B.]I do not understand your last two points?
[/quote]

Third point: Latin Rite Catholics and Eastern Rite Catholics have different canon law regarding the validity of marriage. The current Latin Rite Code of Canon Law became effective November 27, 1983.

Fourth point: Even if you had defected from the Church by a formal act and weren’t bound by canonical form to marry in the Catholic Church, there are still marriage rules that everyone must obey, Catholic or not.

[quote=J.W.B.]But to make things clear and easy, if you are a Baptized Catholic then do you have to have a Catholic wedding if you are still a practicing Catholic. And all other marriages in the past are invalid?
[/quote]

Nothing is clear and easy as regards the canon law of marriage. All the rules have exceptions. Even the exceptions have exceptions. This is why the best advice is to see your priest or the diocesan tribunal about any particular situation you may have.

For example, if a practicing Catholic were to marry in the Eastern Orthodox Church without obtaining any kind of dispensation, it would illicit but valid.


#12

[quote=J.W.B.]If you are Baptized into the Catholic Faith then do you have to get married by the Catholic Church? Let’s say you are a Baptized Catholic but you later fall away and get married in a Protestant Church, or by a Justice of the Peace, or any other authority EXCEPT for the Catholic Church. Does that make your marriage invalid since you have been Baptized into the Catholic Faith but have now rejected all or some of it’s teachings?
[/quote]

This is an intriguing question. How many Catholics today fit the Renaissance definition of “Protestant”?: They were baptized in a Catholic Church, went to Mass as a child, became an adult, decided that they wanted to be free of the shackles of Humane Vitae, and so stopped going to Mass, started attending a Protestant Church where all of the married parishioners use the Pill or condoms, and began explaining their behavior to their persistently-Catholic neighbors by saying, “I disagree with the Church on a few issues” – meaning, birth control and infallibility (because, “since he’s wrong on birth control, the pope can’t be infallible, right?”).

Functionally, just like Renaissance era Protestants, they were baptized Catholic, and consciously walked out of the Church due to important doctrinal differences.

They look like Protestants, and so should be bound by their Protestant marriage vows.

I think that the Church *may *make a distrinction between Catholics-turned-Protestant and folks raised Protestant, viewing the first group as “heretics” and the second as innocents victimized by “invincible ignorance.”


#13

[quote=J.W.B.]And all other marriages in the past are invalid?
[/quote]

Hold up!! Some are mixing doctrines here. All marriages are presumed valid by the Church for purposes of any future marriage. The issue of a Catholic being married outside the Church is different. These issues should not be blended it gets confusing then.


#14

[quote=J.W.B.]So anotherwords, if you are a Baptized Catholic and you are a practicing Catholic, then no matter what past marriages you may have had away from the Church since you fell away, only a marriage within the Church is valid. As I said, a Catholic Baptism certificate = a Catholic marriage certificate.
[/quote]

That is correct. Most likely any marriages while “away” from the Catholic faith would be determined invalid. But again ONLY a Marriage tribunal can make that judgment.


#15

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Most likely any marriages while “away” from the Catholic faith would be determined invalid.QUOTE]

Actually that is not true. Many marriages outside the Church are still valid. That is an extreme over simplification.
[/quote]


#16

[quote=Aesq]Actually that is not true. Many marriages outside the Church are still valid. That is an extreme over simplification.
[/quote]

I think Br. Rich was referring to a marriage that was (consistent with the OP) contracted by a person who at the time had specifically rejected the teaching or authority of the Catholic Church. The necessary element of “intent” cound easily be called into question in such a situation.


#17

[quote=DavidFilmer]The necessary element of “intent” cound easily be called into question in such a situation.
[/quote]

No actually it could not. As to intent, it is not the intent for the marriage to be sacramental that is the issue. It is the intent that the marriage be a life long marriage that is exclusive to the partners. That is the intent that is the issue. There are many marriages that are deemed to be valid that are between people totally outside the Church.


#18

What I was saying was that when a Catholic is “away” meaning no longer practicing their Catholic faith but has never formally left the Catholic faith. The Marriage laws of the Catholic Church still apply to them.
[/quote]


#19

#20

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