Baptism before annullment

Can one be baptised before annullment? Where do you find the Church’s teaching on this?

Anullment is a procedure that only involves the baptised Catholic.

This is one of those questions that’s not as simple as it seems. Your best answer will come from your pastor.

If you or your spouse are divorced and remarried you will need to straighten out your marriage situation before your sacraments. Your priest will be in the best position to help you figure out the possibilities and how to proceed.

It also applies to someone who wants to marry a Catholic and someone who wants to become a Catholic.

It depends. Talk to your priest.

“Anullment is a procedure that only involves the baptised Catholic.”

This is just not true. Annulment also involves anyone wishing to marry a Catholic person. I know! I am not Catholic. Yet I am in the middle of a Catholic Formal annulment process. My first marriage occurred between me (non-baptized at the time) and my ex-spouse (also non-baptized at the time). Our marriage is still presumed valid in the eyes of the church and must be subjected to the scrutiny of the annulment process.

There is so much misinformation, not intentional, around the annulment process. … IT DOES NOT ONLY INVOLVE BAPTIZED CATHOLICS. Oh that I wish it were so.

Not exactly. Annulments are applicable to any valid marriage. Valid marriages can exist regardless of whether one is baptized.

If one does not need an annulment, then yes.

If one does need an annulment, then, most likely, no.

Ask someone locally who deals with marriage and baptismal issues and understands Canon law.

That’s strange since I was told that if you were not baptized and your ex was not baptized then the Pauline Principle would take effect…

For me I was baptized Presbyterian and my ex was baptized Mormon…not recognized by the Catholic Church…so as you are doing I went through the annullment process to become Catholic and to have my present marriage to a Catholic convalidated…that will happen this Sat…it was quite an ordeal.


The challenge of the Pauline Privilege? How do you prove a negative? How do you PROVE you were not baptized? I can prove I was – provide a Baptism certificate, witnesses that were present at the time, pictures, etc. But really, how do you prove a negative?

A marriage between two unbaptized or a baptized and unbaptized person can be examined for validity through the tribunal process for a decree of nullity. It can be found valid or invalid.

A marriage with an unbaptized person is a natural marriage. A valid natural marriage is dissoluable because it lacks sacramental character. Therefore, a valid natural marriage can be **dissolved **via the Pauline Privilege or Petrine Privilege. This is NOT a decree of nullity, it is a dissolution of a valid, natural bond.

An unbaptized person can seek a decree of nullity or can apply for the Pauline or Petrine Privilege. Which they might want to pursue would depend upon circumstances and whether or not they meet the criteria for one or the other.

My ex and I where both unbaptized at the time of our previous marraige, I was able to have our marriage dissolved via the Pauline Privledge, I simply used his parents and my parents as witnesses to state that we had never been baptized. Generally you just need someone that has known you for your entire life. I also had to be baptized and marry someone else who was free to marry in the Catholic church in order for my first marriage to be dissolved.

If I had not been able to use our parents as witnesses I would have had to go through a formal annulment process because the marriage of 2 unbaptized people is considered a Valid Natural marriage. If you where not able to have the valid natural marriage dissolved by the Pauline Privlidge, then a full annulment would be needed in order for either party to be considered free to marry in the Catholic church.

Thankfully I didn’t have to prove I wasn’t baptized since I was…but my parents and family could provide that proof…and actually I wasn’t baptized as an infant…

Hard as you say to prove a negative…and some might just say no I wasn’t when they were…but I would think it would weigh on their conscious to begin in a new religion with that type of sin…big lie…huge sin…I couldn’t do that…went through the whole Tribunal process…


the teaching is in canon law, which regulates the sacraments. There is no short answer. It depends on so many variables. Ask the priest who is preparing you for baptism or handling the annulment, and make sure you are open and up front about all the circumstances. In general a person in an invalid marriage may not receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church unless and until that situation is rectified.

not accurate. Anyone, baptized or not, Catholic or not, may petition the canon law tribunal if the Catholic diocese in which he resides for an annulment investigation.

also inaccurate. Annulment does not dissolve a valid marriage, rather it is the declaration of a legal judgment that a valid marriage never took place in that instance.

it is not going to be to OP’s benefit to discuss particular specific cases here since the answer to his or her personal situation depends on those circumstances, and OP is well advised to speak to the priest and get an answer relevant to those circumstances. The application of the Pauline or Petrine privilege is not an annulment, and in any case is rather rare and both have very specific narrow rules, and neither is automatic.

If both patties are non-Catholic, or one is non-catholic and you were married in a Church of another faith, then you both (if neither are Catholic) or the non-Catholic would be considered to be validly married in the eyes of the Church. If you just wanted to be baptized, there would be no impediment at all.

However, if you remarried, and then wanted to become Catholic, there could well be an impediment. This is something that you should take up with your Pastor.

It is far too complicated, with way too many “what ifs” involved, to adequately discuss a topic like this on a forum like this.

You misunderstood. Please read my post. I never said annulments dissolve valid marriages.

I simply noted that an annulment may “apply” to marriage cases between non-baptized persons, which are (unless otherwise initially obvious) considered probably valid by the Catholic Church.

Of course annulments do not dissolve valid marriages. I never suggested otherwise. Annulments are “declarations of nullity” which as you note means a judicial decision that in fact a valid marriage never took place.

Not exactly. There are many impediments that could still make such marriage invalid. Two easy examples, (1) prior marriage (bond) or (2) age (e.g. 8 year olds cannot validly marry in the Catholic Church).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit