Big questions! Marriage, baptism, defect of form


#1

Hello. I have a very complex situation and am looking for guidance. I was baptized Catholic, not confirmed, and married a Christian in the Christian church. I did not formally leave the Catholic Church. We never had our marriage blessed by the church. We got a divorce, and now my boyfriend and I have a son together. We want baby baptized in the Catholic Church, and boyfriend also wants to convert to Catholicism. We want to get married in the Catholic Church. What steps do I need to take to get this accomplished? Thank you.


#2

[quote="Victoria324, post:1, topic:322603"]
Hello. I have a very complex situation and am looking for guidance. I was baptized Catholic, not confirmed, and married a Christian in the Christian church. I did not formally leave the Catholic Church. We never had our marriage blessed by the church. We got a divorce, and now my boyfriend and I have a son together. We want baby baptized in the Catholic Church, and boyfriend also wants to convert to Catholicism. We want to get married in the Catholic Church. What steps do I need to take to get this accomplished? Thank you.

[/quote]

Step one: Contact a priest.

Step two: Do what he says. ;)

But seriously, that is what you need to do. There will be lots for you to do. And the first place to start is with your local pastor. He will be the best source of information you can find. :thumbsup:


#3

I know, I'm just really nervous and ashamed. I wanted to know what to expect first. But thank you for the encouragement.


#4

Read Luke Chapter 15, verses 1 through 31. (The parables of the Prodigal Son, the lost sheep and the lost coin.)

The Church will (or at least should) rejoice that you have returned. :thumbsup:

Sitting here in my living room doing a happy dance for you. :blush:


#5

Wow, thank you. That encouragement is actually really moving and motivating. Thank you, sincerely.


#6

[quote="Victoria324, post:1, topic:322603"]
Hello. I have a very complex situation and am looking for guidance. I was baptized Catholic, not confirmed, and married a Christian in the Christian church. I did not formally leave the Catholic Church. We never had our marriage blessed by the church. We got a divorce, and now my boyfriend and I have a son together. We want baby baptized in the Catholic Church, and boyfriend also wants to convert to Catholicism. We want to get married in the Catholic Church. What steps do I need to take to get this accomplished? Thank you.

[/quote]

You'll probably need a copy of your marriage certificate and decree of divorce. Your priest will probably also contract the parish you were baptized in for your sacramental records.

As long as the story you provide is accurate, and your records show that you were never properly married in the Catholic Church, you should be able to be marry your boyfriend.


#7

That assumes that he also was never married (or any other impediment doesn’t exist). :smiley:


#8

[quote="Victoria324, post:1, topic:322603"]
Hello. I have a very complex situation and am looking for guidance. I was baptized Catholic, not confirmed, and married a Christian in the Christian church. I did not formally leave the Catholic Church. We never had our marriage blessed by the church. We got a divorce, and now my boyfriend and I have a son together. We want baby baptized in the Catholic Church, and boyfriend also wants to convert to Catholicism. We want to get married in the Catholic Church. What steps do I need to take to get this accomplished? Thank you.

[/quote]

[LIST]
*]Call the parish to make an appt. with the pastor. He will help you to petition for a Defect of Form. The charge for this process will be minimal, probably only $25 or so. You will need to ask your parish of baptism to send you a sacramental record. Find your marriage license and divorce decree.

*]Tell your priest you would like to prepare for Confirmation, and your boyfriend wants to join the Church. Your parish might or might not have RCIA participants and Confirmation candidates join for the catechetical sessions. If your boyfriend is baptized, have him obtain a copy of his baptismal record.

*]If your boyfriend has a prior marriage, this needs to be addressed with the priest.

*]Talk with your priest about what the marriage preparation entails (assuming the boyfriend has no prior marriage which needs to be addressed).

*]Talk with your priest about baptizing your son. Most parishes require the parents and godparents (who must be practicing Catholics) to attend one or two classes prior to the Baptism.

*]Ask your priest if there is a couple in the parish who are strong in faith, and who might be willing to be your sponsors, to accompany the two of you on this very important journey.

*]Ask your priest to give you and your boyfriend some guidelines on prayer, so that the two of you can begin this process with prayerfulness.

*]Stop cohabitating with your boyfriend. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin. If the two of you cannot afford separate housing, do not sleep in the same room, and commit to chastity until marriage in the Church.
[/LIST]

Do not make travel or vacation plans for the next year; you and your boyfriend have much to prepare for!


#9

First off, don't be nervous. Nobody is going to judge you or yell at your or make you feel bad. You're going to be welcomed back to the church, and people are going to help you make that happen. Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents and God wants you back in the church.

As people said, contact your pastor and get things rolling with him. He will help sort things out.

From your story, if all the facts are true as you presented. Your first marriage will need to be declared null due to lack of form. If you were baptized catholic, and weren't married in a church or had the first marriage convalidated, it was most likely not valid. Lack of form is easy and you'll need a baptism certificate and your marriage/divorce papers. If you don't have those things, they can be obtained, don't panic.

If your boyfriend has never been married, once you get your nullity decree you can be married in the church validly. There are pre-marriage classes to do first most likely. And if your boyfriend wants to become catholic, he'll have to go through RCIA.

It might take a while, you'll have to be patient. But like I wrote, people are there to help you and the church has to deal with cases like this all the time. There are procedures in place to help you along.

Good luck and God Bless!


#10

Contact a priest .... And pray !


#11

Congratulations on wanting to come home to the Church, and on the birth of your son (you don't mention an age, but any children are a blessing :))

You may need to have your previous marriage addressed if the Catholic Church recognises the marriage as having been valid - this can be the case even if it was not witnessed by a Catholic priest/deacon; in fact it is quite common in the UK for someone to have been married in the Church of England - such marriages are recognised as valid, but the divorce is not, so the couple remain married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, even though they are not in the eyes of the Church which actually witnessed their marriage (this happened to my sister's husband).

As has been said, a priest is the best person to speak to. Do not be afraid of what he will say; in truth you may not like it, but he will not judge you.

I would have a particular issue with co-habitation in your case. If I was your boyfriend, I do not think I could stop living with my child and his mother even if a priest asked me to. Living a chaste relationship together until you are married would be much preferable for everyone I suspect (I'm thinking particularly of your son, regardless of his age). I know of plenty of men and women who live chaste lives together (including some priests and lady-friends of theirs - old housekeepers and such), so I cannot see that being out of the question for the benefit of your child.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

All the best

Martin


#12

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