Hello! Another question from an aspiring catholic!
Went to talk to my local catholic priest about joining the church and getting married in a catholic church.
My fiancee has to get an anullment since she had been married and divorced. She is methodist but was married in a catholic church.
How long does this anullment process take?
1 or 2 years, maybe more. It depends how long it takes for people to respond to requests for statements. Some questions are answered here: usccb.org/laity/marriage/marriagefaqs.shtml
Is an anullment difficult to obtain?
That depends on whether any factors clearly existed in the marriage that would prove a lack of fully-formed consent being given. archdiocesesantafe.org/Offices/Tribunal/ExplanationGr.html
How will this affect me?
I’m sorry, but if she does not receive an annulment, you cannot validly marry her.
Will I still be able to marry her if they do not grant it, but just not in a catholic church?
You can certainly decide to have a wedding ceremony outside the Catholic church, but your marriage will be considered invalid.
Will this mean that I am sinning?
Sadly, yes. Many people have a hard time understanding how this could be. They just want to be happy and live with someone they love, which sounds reasonable. But the problem is that they are trying to marry someone who is ALREADY and STILL married in the eyes of God, despite their civil divorce.
How do we know that? Because the authority of God was given by Jesus to his Apostles, and the Apostles with their successors formed the Catholic Church. Although our protestant brothers love Jesus and serve the Lord to their best ability, the full revealed truth of God and His sacraments, including marriage, resides in the Catholic Church. It is we who take Jesus at His word and allow only one marriage until one spouse dies. (Mark 10:1-12) You can get “married” to a previously married person in another church, but it won’t be real in the eyes of God. You’ll only be living together.
I know this is hard to hear; close family of mine have been in your situation. I really feel for you. But before you decide to marry outside the Church, please think very carefully about what you would give up. You’ll be placing a big barrier up between you and God, and insisting that you do things your way instead of His.
Instead, have faith and pray! Pursue the annulment, but be open to the options He shows you. God is Real, and He will show you your path with His own Hand, if you ask to see it. It leads always towards Him.
I will pray for you both, Rich.