Catholics who Divorce

Are Catholics who divorce ‘still married in the eyes of the Catholic Church’?

Short answer: yes.

From the Catechism:

Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.159

A Tribunal can investigate to see if the marriage was valid. If they find it was not valid they will issue a declaration of nullity and the people involved would be able to enter into a new marriage. If the marriage was valid then it is in place until the death of one of the spouses.

Yes, until one of them dies.

yes unless and until the situation surrounding their marriage at its inception is investigated by the canon law tribunal of the diocese and a decree of nullity is issued because the judgement finds the conditions for a valid marriage were not present at that time. That is in accord with Jesus’ gospel prohibition against divorce except in cases if illegality. Or yes of course until death, also in accord with Jesus’ teaching.

Thankyou for your posts.What is meant by a ‘valid marriage’.Do you mean where there has been a Registrar in attendance;to issue a Marriage Licence?

Basically it means you fulfilled all the requirements for the marriage to actually be a marriage.

For example, a married couple must be willing to accept children lovingly from God in order to actually be married. If my fiance and I drew up a contract the day before our wedding, vowing to abort any children we conceived, we clearly would not be willing to accept children lovingly from God. That means that my fiance and I, at the end of our marriage ceremony, would still not be husband and wife.

There are other criteria, such as Catholics must be married in a Catholic church, they must be free to marry, the groom must not be perpetually impotent, they must both be baptized or have permission to marry, etc.

It has nothing to do with a marriage license or with the government. Basically the people need to be free to marry and freely consent to the marriage.

Before a friend of mine was married I filled out a form for her that covered some of what is involved in entering into a valid marriage. There were questions about whether she understood that this was a lifetime commitment, that she intended to be faithful to her husband, that she understood the marriage was to be open to children, etc. If this kind of understanding was lacking and the couple later divorced, these would be some of the possible reasons that it wouldn’t have been a valid marriage.

You can read what the Catechism says about marriage here:

Here are a couple of links that list things that might effect the validity of a marriage.
Catholic Annulment
Ten Questions about Annulments
Reasons and grounds for an Annulment


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