Annulment approved, communion?

My wife’s previous marriage was recently annulled. We were married before her previous marriage was annulled, but I did take steps to verify somewhat that she had a case for annulment before proceeding in her church. She is obviously not catholic, but I am. Now that I’m no longer in a state of sin being married to her, can I go to confession and then communion? We are waiting to get a date set to have our marriage validated in the catholic church, but am I required to do that before receiving communion? It’s been 20+ years since I have received communion and now that I have returned to the church I’m anxious to get back on track and closer to Jesus again.

Thank you in advance,


You should seek guidance from your priest on this matter. Under your priest’s guidance he may offer you Confession and absolution now if you plan to abstain from marital relations until your convalidation, which could be several months.

By all means go to confession asap and be sure to describe your situation to your confessor. But until your marriage is validated in the Church you are not married. Forgive my bluntness, but until you are in fact married every instance of sexual intimacy between you and your wife is gravely immoral. What people generally do while awaiting validation is live “as brother and sister.” In that way you can maintain chastity according to your state in life and receive communion worthily. Welcome home and God be with you.


No need to ask for forgiveness, I understand :slight_smile:

I’m not as educated as I’d like to be about these things. I had thought that marriage in any church was accepted by the catholic church. If not why the need for my wife’s annulment. I had hoped that the annulment was the step to validating my marriage, but I guess I was wrong. In any case I will wait until the official ceremony in the church before confessing and going to communion. I think I can have that done pretty quickly to avoid too much conflict with my non-catholic wife. She is a patient and understanding wife. That’s why I married her :smiley:

Thanks for the help.

Your wifes first marriage, assuming neither was Catholic was considered valid until it was found to be null. That means she was not free to marry you. Now that she is free, you can get married. But that doesn’t mean you are already married! The marriage you and she entered into is not recognized by the Church since a) she was not free to marry and, from what I understand, b) it was not in the Church even though you are Catholic.

Hopefully, your marriage in the Church will be soon and you can get all this behind you. Congratulations!

Also not to throw a wrench in but to prepare you - since she is not Catholic you will need dispensation to marry - which basically means she will need to agree that she will raise raise any children Catholic and not interfere with any of your faith practices. Are than any chances she may be interested in RCIA at a later date?

Even though your wife is no longer bound to her first marriage, your marriage to her is not considered valid because you are Catholic. As a Catholic you are bound by cannon law. This means that you marry someone who is free to marry (as your wife now is) in the Catholic Church by a priest or deacon, or you receive permission from your bishop to marry outside of the Catholic Church. Since at the time of your original civil marriage your wife was not free to marry and you did not marry in a Catholic church or with permission it is not currently a valid Catholic marriage. Once you have your convalidation it will be a valid Catholic marriage.

Since your wife is not Catholic and I assume she did not marry a Catholic for her first marriage, she was not bound to marry according to Catholic cannon. Meaning that her marriage outside of the church (in another church, in a park, in the court house etc…) was considered valid until proven otherwise by the Catholic Church.

Only Catholics are bound by cannon law.

As for needing a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic, I would not worry too much about that, generally your priest handles that with little to no input on your part (at least in my experience). Many people don’t even realize that their priest does this, or that it is needed. Also, non-Catholic spouses are not asked to raise the children as Catholic. As the Catholic party your are asked to vow to do everything in your power to raise any children you have within the Catholic church.

not enough info, you need to speak to your own priest in confession. If you are already preparing for convalidation you should be getting the pastoral counsel you need. If it has not been offered up until now, ask, right away. Welcome Home!

If his wife is baptized, he needs permission for a mixed marriage not a dispensation. If unbaptized, a dispensation. But, the priest can submit all the paperwork to the Bishop. This is not a major impediment.

A non-Catholic does not promise to raise the children Catholic. The Catholic makes this promise.

And, in a case such as this, if there are already children being raised non-Catholic the Catholic would not be obligated to force them towards conversion to the Catholic faith.

I think it’s best if the OP talk to his priest.

The Catholic Church does recognise marriages in other churches as valid. That’s the reason why she requires the annulment. As you will be aware the annulment process was to investigate the validity of your wife’s previous marriage. If they had found it valid then she would not now be free to marry you.

To clarify, you can confess now.

Your soon-to-be-wife’s declaration of nullity is in fact the first step towards your marriage. What is preventing your convalidation for this weekend at the regular Sunday Mass?

We just recently received the official notification that her previous marriage was not valid, and that we are free to be married in the Catholic Church. We were told we could not get married on Sunday at the regular mass, but to be honest that’s not the hold up. Now that my wife knows she gets another wedding she’s making big plans :eek: That’s the real holdup. We were told to just set a date and get it approved at the church, just no Sundays or Saturdays.

I was concerned about the kids, as my wife currently does not want to be Catholic. They are 4 & 7 and have been getting raised Presbyterian up to this point with my little side bar lesson additions to keep them aware of my Catholic responsibilities. My wife is willing to attend mass sometimes with me and the kids will alternate going with her and with me, but no plans for conversion at this point. I am letting the Holy Spirit take care of that, with little nudges from me once in a while, like leaving the Scott Hahn books on the coffee table and some conversion story books in the bathroom :wink:

I have a Decon doing all the paperwork, which I guess is pretty much done, but have not really had any pastorial counsel except for the initial meeting (with Decon) to get the paperwork done. I’m planning to speed this all up at this point, so hopefully I can get it done in the next few weeks. The more I attend Mass the more I realize I’ve been wondering hopelessly and need to get back what I use to have.

I will get to confession in any case, but that’s something I need to think about first as it’s been a very long time and I need to give the last 25+ years some thought.

Thanks for all the help and welcome home comments. Just another example of not knowing what you had until you loose it. I’m just glad i’m on track to find it again.

Thank you,


Well, if you want back to the Eucharist you could live as brother and sister until the wedding. That would probably speed up her wedding planning as well. :D:p

Also you just need to have an honest conversation that the children need to be raised in the Catholic Church. It is part of your marriage vows. Please start the Sacramental part of your marriage out right.

Great sugestions :smiley: I’ve got the “if you want me to ask you to marry me” card in my hand, but that could eventually backfire :eek: The brother sister thought… I’m not sure it’s truely doable long term without issues, thus the need to get this marriage done ASAP. I really need to take this one step at a time. I’m getting back in union with my Catholic faith, and then next I will work towards the whole family becoming catholic, but she is not going to go along with formally raising the kids Catholic yet. I am doing it informally, but still not as it should be. I’m praying that my example and the Holy Spirit will help inspire them as we move down this path.

It certainly would be easier for me to convert to her church, but fortunately that’s not an option :smiley: I will persist and endure as best I can.

Bold is mine for emphasis.

Stop here. Take a deep breath. Speak to your priest about whether or not this can be a good match and a valid sacrament. Also do a search string on “Pope Benedict XVI” and “Moral relativism” when we teach them multiple religions are right we often do not like what we get. You are brand new back to your union with Christ and taking a vocational Sacrament that is permanent and binding - can you at least get your children the Grace of their Sacraments. Do you at least know what I mean.

OK, taking a breath and i will speak with a priest, but I hold my marriage as permanent and binding already, so no changing that at this point. I spent time talking to a priest before getting married and before starting the annulment process to make sure it would be a valid sacrament once the process was complete. I hope I wasn’t mis-informed, because that will be a huge problem. The children have been Baptised, and I know what you mean, maybe not as throughly as you, but generally from my Catholic education earlier in life and from my parents.

Baptism is not the only Sacrament you are responsible for. Upon having them baptized you bestowed them with responsibilities. By not having raised them raised in the Church you have give them an indellible mark on the soul, responsibilities, but no formal education in which to understand those responsibilities. What about their first Eucharist. You do realize that once they reach an age of reason - 7 - that they are bound to the precepts? What about marriage when they are older so they do not find themselves in the same situation that you are in now? It is not just about pemanence and binding. Do you know the precepts? What about confirmation?

Do your children make mass weekly? Is the seven year old enrolled in CCD so he/she can receive Eucharist in accordance with the precepts and the promises that you made at the baptism and that you will make again with this marriage? Will the seven year old be available for confession every time they miss mass and at least once a year? Will you be tithing your 10% and will the child at the age of reason be taught to do the same? Will periods of fasting and abstinence be observed in your home? Is your marriage open to life?

If these questions have not been answered then you need to sit down for more pastoral counseling because I don’t think you have an understanding of any of these sacraments from the time before - or lets face it you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. I don’t mean to be blunt - but the souls of your children are at stake and your wife is treating as an occasion for a dress and not the Sacrament as it is.

Are the souls of my wife and children really at stake because they are Presbyterian and being raised Presbyterian??? They have always been Presbyterian and my wife was before we met. Why are their souls at stake? I was under the impression, from my priest and decon, that they are not. My soul is a different story because of my current status, but I’m working on that. From my counseling, I got that they do not have to convert, but we hope that the Holy Spirit will lead them to convert in the future.

Were the children Baptized into the Catholic church or the Presbyterian denomination? If Catholic, then not raising them Catholic does indeed create spiritual danger.

but I hold my marriage as permanent and binding already,

Then why are you doing a convalidation? Not meaning to be rude but you are not in a valid marriage now. This is not the same case as a valid marriage that is not sacramental. You will be entering into a valid marriage at the time you are married in the Church.

They (wife and kids) were baptized in the Presbyterian church. I was baptized in the Catholic church.

I want the marriage convalidated for my sake as a catholic. OK yes I agree, we are not married in the eyes of the catholic church, living as brother and sister for 12 years as it was put earlier. If we marry in the catholic church now, and they (wife and kids) continue as Presbyterians, does that make the marriage invalid? I can’t make them convert, but I plan to help lead them and educate them as best I can in hope that they will convert eventually. I was counseled and told that this would be OK.

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