Annulment Question


Hello all,

If anyone has any insight into this I’d appreciate it. I’m seeking a full blown annulment - I’ve got my end of things covered. The person who is a potential spouse tho has the following history:

-baptized Catholic
-raised Lutheran
-Confirmed Lutheran
-married a protestant in a civil ceromony (with possibly a later protestant church service too)
-Not a church-goer now

Is she a candidate for the Lack of Form route? Or does her having been “confirmed” as a Lutheran make her a Lutheran now and not a Catholic marrying outside the Catholic Church (and without dispensation from the bishop)?

There are so many variations in the rules but I’ve yet to come across one like this.

Many Thanks!


The answer to this lies in whether the Church authority determines that this person formally defected from the faith or not. Typically, a child who is baptized as a Catholic but raised otherwise is not considered to have defected by a formal act since they did not choose to defect by an act of their will.

But, her individual circumstances would have to be reviewed with much more specificity. If the Church finds that she did not defect from the Faith, then as a Catholic canonical form would apply and the prior marriage would be invalid due to lack of form. If the Church finds that she did formally defect, then canonical form does not apply and a full tribunal inquiry would be required.

No one here can give a definitive answer, you need to discuss it with a priest and begin the investigation.

As to this, why would a devout person choose this quality in a potential spouse?



Thanks for the prompt and thorough response. Indeed this will require an expert’s eye.

Not a church-goer. I find this woman to be good-hearted and she is a believer. I think she may be searching for a closer relationship with Christ and she is curious about the church. Every aspect of this is full of potential at this very early stage - nobody is gonna jump into anything. I’d want my wife and I to be on the same page on the important things - certainly Salvation is number one.



From what I can recall from some previous discussions of formal defection from the Catholic Church, there are new rules. The required procedure is a bit complicated and unlikely to be undertaken unless someone is really committed to proving a point.


Given the new rules on how one formally defects from the faith, I would say that she never did so. I mean, you have to actually write a letter to your bishop telling him that you no longer want to be Catholic… so, odds are good that she did not formally defect from the faith.

I would suggest that she get a copy of her baptismal record from the Catholic parish in which she was baptized, as well as any records from the Lutheran church where she was confirmed. She will also need a copy of the marriage license and divorce decree from her first marriage. Have her take all of that to your priest and he can help you get started. The local Tribunal may have to be called to find out how they want to handle it, but I think our local office would say that it is a lack of canonical form case…


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