Can't believe what we've been through


#1

In all of my life I've never seen so many double standards as to what the Church believe about sacraments. Several years ago, I became a Catholic. I had been married and divorced prior to RCIA but was single at the time I joined the Church. Two years ago, I met and married a man who was not Catholic, but was planning to join the next RCIA class. Under the advisement of the priest, we were married civilly with the intent of having the marriage blessed when my new husband was fully vested in the church. My new husband, too, had been divorced. At that time, my first marriage was annulled after finding out that my now ex-husband had been baptized Catholic, making our marriage a lack of proper form. Until that time, even he didn't know he had been baptized Catholic. My current husband was baptized, received communion, and was confirmed with me as his sponsor. Only when we went to have our marriage blessed did we find out that his marriage needed to be anulled (he was married in a Vegas chapel and we had been clearly told by the priest that we didn't have to worry about it.) Now we are getting all sorts of flack not only about our marriage, but about the validity of him joining the church without the annulment. What are they going to do? erase his name from the Book of LIfe? I don't think so. It would be nice, however, if the authorities of the church could agree on what needs to be done. This is wearing very thin.


#2

I am sorry that your priest gave you bad advice on both occasions. Before anyone is married in the Catholic Church, they have to be free to marry. That means that any previous marriages have to be investigated to ascertain that they are not, in fact, valid bonds, which can only be dissolved by the death of one party. There are many things which can invalidate a marriage, such as the all-too-common lack of form - a Catholic who marries outside of the Church without dispensation. It is irresponsible for a priest to marry a couple until they are free to marry, and as well, to advise civil marriage. If you had married him, it would have been invalid because he is not yet free to marry until his previous marriage has been declared null. I would recommend seeing another priest. The baptism and confirmation which your husband received through RCIA are still valid.


#3

Seeing other priests is part of the problem. We can’t get the same story twice from any two people - including members of the tribunal. Depending on who we talk to, we are or are not validly married, are or are not members of the Catholic church etc. It’s beyond belief. One priest says that my husband’s membership in the church isn’t even valid, but no one seems to know what to do about that either. It’s unbelievable, and no one in authority has a solution as to where we stand or what to do about it.


#4

How incredibly frustrating! It’s so awful when things like this happen!

Try talking to these people. They may be able to help you or at least direct you in a good direction.


#5

Thank you so much St Francis


#6

Praying…


#7

Kate,
I commented briefly on another thread where you posted so I won't repeat those things here.

I'm glad that you started this thread though because your other post did not lay things out quite as clearly.

I do hope that we can be of support to you here, even if it's just a place to vent.

Having a place to vent can be a real lifesaver sometimes.

I hope that contacting the people in the link provided above will be of help to you and possibly to others.

One thing that I will say here though is that you have done nothing wrong as far as I can tell. In all cases it appears that you acted properly on the advice given.

So - Take a deep breath - Say an Our Father and a Hail Mary and then tell people to quit telling you what should have been done in the past and help you figure out what to do now....
Things may fumble around for awhile yet...but it will sort our in God's good time.

Keep praying.

Peace
James


#8

Are you saying that you got through RCIA, were welcomed into the church and at no time did you hear that Catholics are not able to marry someone who was married and does not have an annulment?


#9

In a private meeting with the priest we were told very clearly that my husband’s first marriage was a non-issue because of having taken place in a Vegas chapel. Not only were we told it was a non-issue, we also found out recently that he was not to even have been brought into the church without the annulment completed.


#10

First, I am SO SORRY this has happened to you! The ignorance and improper “guidance” of the priest on such fundamental matters known to almost any Catholic is almost unbelievable. I’ve heard of annulment messes, but never like this, with a priest actually recommending a civil ceremony which forces you into a state of sin? Very odd! Stay away from that priest and his parish entirely if you can.

I’m guessing you realize by now, based on what you’ve said, and possibly I am not understanding it all, or there is some other detail that would alter this, but it seems you are not married. You might prefer to establish a Josephite relationship in your “civil” marriage until you can be married Sacramentally.

If all these various conversations, and people coming in and out of the Church, and in and out of marriages, all happened in your current diocese, this warrants an appeal straight to the bishop or vicar general.

Just write what you have in this forum in detail, the story, taking out the emotion, in a chronological format, with the names of each priest, his parish, and the year each event occurred, the fact the Tribunal will not give you a straight answer, and beg for help. State as a Catholic you want, and were led to fully expect, a Sacramental marriage and are being prevented from it by this sacerdotal runaround.


#11

Hi Kate

When I read a predicament such as yours, or hear of a priest or priests conveying incorrect information, or doing something contrary to the truth of the teaching of the Catholic Church, I remind myself of the fact that Jesus himself chose as one of his 12 disciples the very man who would betray him (Judas).

Not only that, but he chose as the rock upon which He would build His Church the same man who denied Him three times in the midst of His passion (Peter). He also chose as arguably his greatest ever apostle, a man who despised Christians intensely (Saul/Paul).

Fallible men have been put in positions of authority within Christ’s true Church from the very beginning. What we need to do at all times is play the “ball” and not the “man”. Despite the errors of many of those entrusted with responsibility in Christ’s Church, just as Christ promised, the gates of the underworld shall never overcome the Church itself. And so it has proved in the midst of both grave scandals and also inconsistent and abject adherence by some to the true teachings of the Church… And in that alone we should draw immense strength, namely that despite this, Christ’s light shines forth through it all and has done so for over 2000 years!

I pray you won’t lose heart, much as you have had to endure significant frustration. As a previous poster has said, focus always on moving forward in faith, and the rewards of your persistence in faith will come to you… God ALWAYS rewards those who remain faithful, particularly when faced with hardship such as yours…

God bless you and your husband.

Patrick


#12

I would not sweat it, though there is work to do. You have acted in good faith, according to that narrative. I know this is a form of mental suffering that you are undergoing for your faith. It will hardly be the last. Just hang in there.

As to the anullment, a person can not marry two different people. Any civil or church marriage is supposed to be examined and receive a certificate of anullment before a new marriage can take place in the Catholic Church.


#13

Kate, You didn’t answer the question I posed. Would you answer that question? And secondly, has your husband started the annulment process for his first marriage?


#14

You know there are cradle Catholics who don’t know they can’t marry a divorced person who hasn’t had his/her previous marriage declared nul. If you consulted a priest and he told you to go ahead and get married wouldn’t you assume he knew what he was talking about? Just the same way I, a cradle Catholic, thought the priest who advised us that ABC was OK if you felt it was necessary knew what he was talking about. Can we be held responsible for the bad advice we receive from the person who should be way more knowledgeable than we are?


#15

Phemie, Kate did not state that the priest said “go ahead and get married” she stated that he said “his first marriage is a non issue” which it probably is, easily and without much delay, annulled. She stated that she is a convert, so she has gone through RCIA. Priests are not infallible, we have been shown that over and over again, we are to listen to the church, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth! If we listen to the truth that the church teaches, isn’t that the answer to all of our problems?


#16

But you and I both know that RCIA programs vary from one place to another. In my parish the only person to be received into full communion in the 15 years that I’ve been here was prepared by a Sister who was in full agreement with gay marriage and women as priests and thought it was OK not to go to Mass on Sunday. In fact, that’s what she taught to parents preparing for the Baptism of their children. Do you think this person received much in the way of ‘Catholic teaching’ before she was confirmed?


#17

[quote="Phemie, post:14, topic:317121"]
You know there are cradle Catholics who don't know they can't marry a divorced person who hasn't had his/her previous marriage declared nul. If you consulted a priest and he told you to go ahead and get married wouldn't you assume he knew what he was talking about? Just the same way I, a cradle Catholic, thought the priest who advised us that ABC was OK if you felt it was necessary knew what he was talking about. Can we be held responsible for the bad advice we receive from the person who should be way more knowledgeable than we are?

[/quote]

This is the thing that begins to get quite complex. There are a number of different aspects to be considered.

Primarily in answer to your closing question - the answer is "no" we are not held responsible in such a case. The Priest is viewed as our shepherd and authority in these matters. If wrong teaching is presented, wrong guidance given, the sin is upon the teacher, not on the taught.

Of course this assumes, as you point out above, that one is acting entirely in good faith. That is, that one is not simply looking for a priest to tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. It also assumes that the priest is giving such advice, or making such allowance, as part of a larger effort at instruction and the formation of conscience.

Tied to this is the fact that the Church, while providing excellent teaching, simply cannot cover every nuance of every situation for every person everywhere in the the Church. Thus the teachings are the "norms" to which we are assent and to form our consciences. But at the same time the Church provides for the proper use of conscience stating that a person must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience.

Because of this allowance - a person can receive very unique and situationally specific advice from a priest that may not strictly conform to the norms of teaching.
Such could be the case of the priest you reference above. "If you feel it's necessary" brings you and your conscience and your understandings into the discussion and decision. This can be much more beneficial to spiritual growth than simply telling you "NO" like a parent speaking to a child.

Now - having said this - there are two things to remember. If the priest simply tells you this without also giving you proper instruction in what the norms ARE and that you need to work toward rejecting ABC, that is, conforming your conscience to Church norms....then the priest is not acting appropriately for he is not helping you to properly form your conscience.

The other aspect is that - if the advice is properly given within the context of instruction and formation - the one receiving the advice needs to keep this private. This is critical because such advice is, as stated above, very situationally specific. It is between the priest, you, your conscience, and God.

To share this with others - especially in a haphazard way - ("Well father so-and-so said it was OK")....does a disservice...and make you culpable for improper teaching.

There are various permutations of these basic ideas - as I said, it can get quite complicated.

So - I am not making any judgement on the advice given by any particular priest or any particular piece of advice given.

The most important thing is that we act honestly, in good faith and conscience, and seek to continue growing spiritually.

Sorry if this has gotten off topic....I'll shut up now.....:D

Peace
James


#18

[quote="JRKH, post:17, topic:317121"]
Because of this allowance - a person can receive very unique and situationally specific advice from a priest that may not strictly conform to the norms of teaching.
Such could be the case of the priest you reference above. "If you feel it's necessary" brings you and your conscience and your understandings into the discussion and decision. This can be much more beneficial to spiritual growth than simply telling you "NO" like a parent speaking to a child.

Now - having said this - there are two things to remember. If the priest simply tells you this without also giving you proper instruction in what the norms ARE and that you need to work toward rejecting ABC, that is, conforming your conscience to Church norms....then the priest is not acting appropriately for he is not helping you to properly form your conscience.

James

[/quote]

This was the advice given by a priest to a group of Catholic students, in a Catholic university, with no caveats whatsoever. No "This is what the Church teaches but..." Of course this was a Catholic university in Canada shortly after the Winnipeg Statement was sent to Rome.


#19

Hello :-). I don't have much to add from what others have said, but I am very sorry that you are going through this. The priest who was advising you steered you wrong, and I understand your frustration.

The good news is that it sounds like you are not morally culpable for the mess...you sought advice from somebody who should have known what needed to be done, and did exactly what they advised you to do. The priest who told you to get a civil marriage (which is presumed invalid for a Catholic unless they get a dispensation!) has some real explaining to do...but you should be 'in the clear,' as it were.

If I were in your shoes, I would consider sending a letter to your Bishop politely explaining what happened (without being accusatory or mean). This should never have happened, and the priest may need to be corrected by his superiors before he puts others in these kinds of situation!

My only other advice is that you find a priest who really understands the situation and what needs to be done (if you haven't already) and start working through everything and getting it straightened out. Based on what you have said, it sounds like everything can be resolved and set-right...it might just take some time to get the paperwork done and move it through the system.

God bless you, and best of luck.


#20

[quote="Phemie, post:18, topic:317121"]
This was the advice given by a priest to a group of Catholic students, in a Catholic university, with no caveats whatsoever. No "This is what the Church teaches but..." Of course this was a Catholic university in Canada shortly after the Winnipeg Statement was sent to Rome.

[/quote]

OOOooooooo...........Ouch.........

Not appropriate at all Public statements need to ALWAYS support Church teachings at all times and places.

Peace
James


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