Can full communion with the Church occur after 3 divorces if no future marriage will ever occur?


#1

My family of 6 was recieved into the Church this last Easter. My Protestant mother was very supportive and helpful throughout the process and would now like to convert as well. She is in the RCIA program at our parish.

She met with our parish advocate today to discuss her 3 marriages and divorces. She is not legally married and plans to never marry again. The advocate told her that she needs to annul her original marriage that ended in legal divorce 38 years ago. She also needs to approach ex-husbands 2 and 3 for information about their prior marriages.

My questions are these: Is the advocate correct? Why is this necessary if she has no plans to ever legally marry again? Wouldn’t the Sacrament of Reconcilliation provide her with the forgiveness she needs for past marital sins?

Thanks for any information you can provide.


#2

Congratulations on becoming a Catholic, welcome to the family!

As for your question: the advocate is incorrect. The path that the advocate is advising would only be necessary if your mother sought to continue in her 3rd marriage or to enter into a 4th marriage. As far as the Church is concerned your mother is still considered married to her first husband (if he’s still alive).

If your mother is not currently involved in a relationship outside of that first marriage then there is no reason that I can think of as to why she would need to apply for any annulments. It might be helpful for her in the future should she change her mind about not getting married again, but its not necessary at this time.

A good confession is all that is required based on the information provided.


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.