Can I marry in the Catholic Church?

I am a male Catholic who married a divorced Catholic woman who did not get an annulment to her first marriage. we got married in a United Church and were never married in the Catholic Church.

Was my marriage valid?

If I meet a woman who is Catholic and never marrried, can I marry into the Catholic Church…

I cannot find any clear answers on this…if someone can help me out here it would be great…


The standard answer is that you must check with your priest. Each case has its own details which cannot be dealt with on line.

However, it should be a fairly simple defect of form. You need to prove that you were a Catholic [baptismal Certificate], that the ceremony did not follow Catholic rules [No clerical witness, no dispensation], that the marriage was never convalidated [Witness testimony], you were divorced [divorce cecree]. It can usually be handled with some simple paper work in about a month.

You should do it now. Avoid any panic if you do want to marry in the Church some day.

What does clerical witness mean?
Does it mean Catholic Priest? Or United Church Minister?


No, your marriage was NOT a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church because the Church views her as still being married. This relationship (if it hasn’t already happened) needs to cease and Holy confession by both you and “the other woman” needs to occur.

Now, if you do meet an unmarried Catholic woman, you CAN get married in the Church. Assuming of course, that you attain a civil divorce from the still married (in the eyes of the Church) Catholic woman.

Thank you for your answer, yes I have filed a civil divorce and should be completed by May 2007.

I hope this is true…as I was never previously married until i married this Divorced Catholic in a United Church.

I guess once my divorce is complete I can start the annulment process.



I meant Catholic cleric - Bishop, priest or deacon.

While you can also probably get a decree of nullity due to her previous marriage, it would usually be quicker and easier to get for defect of form - not being married according to the requirements of the Church.

However, as I said, discuss this with a local priest since every case has its own unique details. And do do it now so you won’t get caught in a panic situation if it is important someday.

Check with your parish Priest, but I do not believe that you will need to get an annulment since there was no marriage to begin with. I could be wrong though, so please check first. God bless.

I don’t think it is called an anullment, but you need a piece of paper saying that the marriage was invalid. Usually you can fill out the paperwork at the parish office. The Tribunal will usually sign off on it within a month with no further action from you.

There is a lot of “term confusion” surrounding nullity issues. In both cases being compared, it is a declaration of nullity that is issued, be it thorugh lack of form or through a formal investagation and trial. Lack of form is, as mentioned, considerably simpler and much faster to take care of.

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