Annulment?


#1

My sister (a Catholic) was married in the Luthren chuch sevral years ago but was divorced after a couple of years.
She has met a Catholic man and they have a daughter together who has been baptized Catholic. As far as I know she attends Mass. I don’t know if she is receiving Holy Communion.
My sister is now engaged to the father of the baby.
Does she need an annulment to be married in the Catholic church?
Is she still excommunicated if she is divorced and attending Mass?–I forgot to ask her if she went to confession re: the matter of marriage outside the church and divorce.
Thanks for your insights,
Becky


#2

Becky, your sister will of course need to speak to her Priest about all this. The short end of it is yes she needs to go through the annulment process and hopefully one will be granted. Encourage her to go to confession and to then make things right with the church. Divorced Catholics are encouraged to keep attending Mass. If they are in a state of grace, like any Catholic must be, they may recieve communion. From what you say that might not be the case for your sister and she shouldn’t be although perhaps she is working on changing her behavior and is no longer sinning.Encourage her to get spiritual advisment on all that.


#3

Your sister will need to speak to a priest, as Seatuck stated.

I THINK, not being Cameron Lansing (canon lawyer who is a CAF member), that this MIGHT be a case of marrying outside of form without dispensation. IF your sister is Catholic (baptized a Catholic), and IF she married b-il #1 in the Lutheran church, then it is a matter of paperwork. In most dioceses, that is a statement from two witnesses that the marriage was never convalidated in front a priest via the Church, with a little more paperwork.

However, if your sister is not a baptized Catholic, then the Church presumes her first marriage to be valid unless proven otherwise, and she will probably have to go through the full process of obtaining a decree of nullity.


#4

every marriage situation is unique, and the resolution depends on the whole history of 4 people here: your sister, her ex, her fiance, and his ex (or possibly more people if there were more former marriages). The only way for her to get an answer is for both of them to speak to the parish priest, reveal all the details of past marriages, and if necessary he will refer them to the tribunal for a full investigation. The process actually may be much more simple than they fear, if her first marriage to a Lutheran was without a dispensation. that however does not take care of her fiance’s situation, because his freedom to marry must also be established.

That being said, to be married in the Church you must be in a state of sanctifying grace, and only the priest can assist them there with remedying the effects of the apparent sin in which they are now living (we cannot judge as we don’t know every detail of their lives).


#5

[quote=BeckyJ]My sister (a Catholic) was married in the Luthren chuch sevral years ago but was divorced after a couple of years.
She has met a Catholic man and they have a daughter together who has been baptized Catholic. As far as I know she attends Mass. I don’t know if she is receiving Holy Communion.
My sister is now engaged to the father of the baby.
Does she need an annulment to be married in the Catholic church?
Is she still excommunicated if she is divorced and attending Mass?–I forgot to ask her if she went to confession re: the matter of marriage outside the church and divorce.
Thanks for your insights,
Becky
[/quote]

Becky,

You have already received correct and wise advise. With your encouragement and prayer, we hope that you sister will become reconciled to Christ and the Church.

However before a subsequent marriage is possible, she will need to present the facts completely to a parish priest or other qualified person who works with these things. Only then will it be possible to establish the precise path in which her freedom to marry can be examined by the Church as well as the similar freedom of her intended. As suggested, depending on what is found, perhaps a simple administrative procedure need to take place, or perhaps a formal investigation of the nullity of marriage. But we cannot and should not speculate on the concrete case.

I will merely note that there is no penalty of excommunication attached to matters of illicit sexual behavior, divorce and remarriage, or even unauthorized attempted marriage “outside the Church.” However the matter of objectively grave sinful actions has to be resolved in the sacrament of Penance and the forum of conscience.

In the external or public forum, the reception of Holy Communion is not permitted for a Catholic who marries “outside the Church” without the authorization of a competent Church authority or of the law itself, or for a divorced Catholic who marries without the determination of the Church that the parties are free to marry.


#6

[quote=BeckyJ] My sister (a Catholic) was married in the Luthren chuch sevral years ago but was divorced after a couple of years.

Does she need an annulment to be married in the Catholic church?
[/quote]

She will need to submit her marriage for examination. If she made a formal act of leaving the Catholic Church and joining the Lutheran Church or remained a Catholic and received a dispensation to marry outside the church she will need a full examination/annulment process. If she was a Catholic who married outside the church without a dispensation she has what is called a defect of form and it is a more simplified process.

[quote=BeckyJ]Is she still excommunicated if she is divorced and attending Mass?
[/quote]

A divorced person is not excommunicated.

Communion is another issue since she is currently in a sexual relationship with a person other than her husband-- she is in a perpetual state of adultery… mortal sin. So, no she should not be taking Communion.


#7

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