Another 'invalid marriage' question

Hi, my wife and i are currently both anglicans in the uk, looking to possibly join the catholic church. the problem we have is that we were both previously married and subsequently divorced. we were both baptised in the church of england as infants but had nothing to do with church until a couple of years ago, we are currently communicant members of a c of e church but are unhappy with recent developements in the anglican communion. i asked my rc parish priest who wasn't particularly helpful, and more or less said 'you can join, but you won't be able to take communion'. any help or advice would be helpful, thanks

sit down with the pastor during a formal appointment, not a casual chat after Mass, and lay out your marriage situation and ask for his guidance with the annulment process. Any previous marriages must be submitted to the tribunal to determine whether or not they were valid. Until you know that the most you can do is study the Catholic Faith, attend Mass, read, and pray. When your marriage issues are resolved you can receive the sacraments. yes waiting is involved, and patience, as for all good things. Pray, especially the rosary.

Rosary
I cannot give answers for the marriage tribunal; however there are methods as defect of form based on the concept that the earlier attempted marriages being held to a different standard than a catholic sacramental marriage. Under these processes the church finds the earlier “marriage” was not a “marriage” as definite by catholics and thus the parties can be found “free to marry”. That “free to marry” is the objective of seeking an annulment. If such a finding is made then the couple can simply meet in the office of the Priest or Deacon to make a vow of marriage (known as convalidation).

In some cases as a priest overwhelmed by a lack of support it may be easier to 1) contact the catholic diocese and ask for a marriage ministry, and ask for a reference to operating marriage ministry in the diocese. 2) use the marriage ministry to go through the annulment process, 3) the local priest/ or diocese may require some amount of conversion class as RCIA unrelated to the marriage. This is designed to assure you understand the catholic religion sufficiently to be in communion with the church.

Hope that helps

thanks for your replies, as far as rcia goes my wife and i are hoping to come in through pope benedicts generous apostolic constitution, so theres likely to be a group of us so no problems there, but this marriage question is bound to come up. i'm very worried about the annulment procedure because presumably some proof is needed such adultery or whatever, but even though i know there was i couldn't prove it now and it wasnt cited in the divorce, it was simply a divorce based on two years separation and mutual consent.
i should also mention that neither my wife nor my previous marriages, or indeed our current one were held in church, all were registry office ceremonies, due to our being very anti religion until our conversion a couple of years back.

[quote="ukrosarymaker, post:4, topic:180663"]
thanks for your replies, as far as rcia goes my wife and i are hoping to come in through pope benedicts generous apostolic constitution, so theres likely to be a group of us so no problems there, but this marriage question is bound to come up. i'm very worried about the annulment procedure because presumably some proof is needed such adultery or whatever, but even though i know there was i couldn't prove it now and it wasnt cited in the divorce, it was simply a divorce based on two years separation and mutual consent.
i should also mention that neither my wife nor my previous marriages, or indeed our current one were held in church, all were registry office ceremonies, due to our being very anti religion until our conversion a couple of years back.

[/quote]

While what happened during your & your wife's previous marriages will be looked at, most of the questions will deal with what happened before and at the time of your wedding. That is to determine whether at the time you spoke your original vows you contracted a valid marriage as it is understood by the Catholic Church.

Since you were not Catholic, where you were married will probably not be of great importance since you were not bound to marry 'in Church' by the Church into which you were baptized.

Usually the Marriage Tribunal would like to interview 2-3 witnesses, people who knew you and your 'ex' at the time of your courtship and wedding. That interview is usually done by the local priest and recorded for the Tribunal.

[quote="ukrosarymaker, post:4, topic:180663"]
thanks for your replies, as far as rcia goes my wife and i are hoping to come in through pope benedicts generous apostolic constitution, so theres likely to be a group of us so no problems there, but this marriage question is bound to come up. i'm very worried about the annulment procedure because presumably some proof is needed such adultery or whatever, but even though i know there was i couldn't prove it now and it wasnt cited in the divorce, it was simply a divorce based on two years separation and mutual consent.
i should also mention that neither my wife nor my previous marriages, or indeed our current one were held in church, all were registry office ceremonies, due to our being very anti religion until our conversion a couple of years back.

[/quote]

I think you will find it works the opposite direction. For example if one marries with a belief that divorce is allowed, or that monogamy is only required until a divorce that person cannot receive the sacrament of marriage even if the Pope marries the couple in the Sistine Chapel. If the tribunal concurs you never understood the sacramental conditions attached to marriage they could annul the records based on that alone without regard to your previous spouse(s)

Please keep in mind that the OP appears to be in the UK. The situation may be a bit different there with regard to navigating the system. Also - I would wager to guess that not all Catholic priests are going to be 100% on board with the Pope’s welcoming of Anglicans to the fold. It is a very hot political topic there.

~Liza

I highly recommend the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. Some of your impressions regarding nullity are inaccurate. Adultery does not invalidate a marriage. Nullity focuses on whether or not a valid marriage occurred at the time the vows were exchanged. Reading this book would really help you understand the concept within Catholic teaching.

This is often a misunderstanding on the part of non-Catholics. Non-Catholics, when they marry civilly, marry validly. The Catholic Church imposes a form for marriage on its members, and the Orthodox Church does too. But, the Church of England does not have any form required of their members. Therefore, any marriage you entered into via civil authorities is considered valid.

Now, there may be legitimate defects in consent, intent, or other impediments that make the marriage invalid. So, I suggest you read through the book I suggested together to get a better understanding of Church teaching.

I wish you all the best, and do hope you are able to come into full communion with the Catholic Church soon. I left the Episcopal Church in 1992, and have never regretted it.

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