Are we no longer Catholic?

My Fiance and I got married last year since we were living in different countries and we wanted to process our PR together. Our families were not supportive at that point and hence we had to do a civil wedding. Now our families have accepted and we had approached our catholic priest to make our marriage sacramental and had requested the church to accept us. The Catholic priest mentioned that our lawyer had solemnized our marriage through a pentecostal priest to get the registartion done and we can no more can do a sacramental wedding. He also mentioned that we will no longer be a part of the catholic faith as our marriage happened in a pentecostal church (which we never knew). We just signed some paper work and we didn’t have a actual wedding.
I understand this is a big mistake but we were totally not aware of this. We just wanted to do a civil wedding for Visa processing and now we are in very much trouble. Can you please let us know if there is a way to rectify our marriage so that we become Catholics again ? We have been in the Catholic faith since birth and have been following it diligently. Because of a mistake , we don’t want to move away from the faith. Please help us.

OK, a few issues here.

  1. Marriages of Catholics outside of the Church (without dispensation) are not valid. It might be a legal marriage in the civil law, but it is not a valid sacramental marriage. A Catholic is required to be married in the Church.

  2. Legal marriages that are invalid sacramental marriages can become valid sacramental marriages. Its called a validation and is a rather simple process. Its basically a process through which both spouses give assent to the Church’s teachings on marriage and then exchange vows. It requires some paperwork but its not complicated. At the end, through the proper exchange of vows, the couple enters a valid sacramental marriage.

  3. Catholics who marry outside the Church are still Catholic. They may be in an invalid marriage and living in a manner inconsistent with the teachings of the Church, but they are still Catholic.

  4. If the priest refuses to help you I recommend you talk with another priest. I am astounded with what you claim the priest said to you, it simply doesn’t make any sense to me and is not correct.

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