Hello all - I am new to the forums but have been reading for several months.
I was hoping to be able to figure out the answers to my questions by researching on my own, but I just can’t seem to find anything that matches my situation. I will make this as brief as possible in hopes that someone may be able to calm my worries a bit.
*]I was married at age 20, civil ceremony, Catholic spouse (self protestant)
*]We were married 8 years and had two children
*]He decided he was atheist so I took the children to Methodist church & they were baptized
*]He also decided to divorce me to marry a coworker
*]When our children were of age, she wanted them baptized/confirmed in the Catholic church even though their mother (me) was Methodist & their father, atheist.
*]My ex & his wife took them to a different parish and had them baptized/confirmed/first communion (ages 6 and 12) without my knowledge
*]I eventually met and married another Catholic man and we have been married for 18 years and had four more children (2 biological and 2 adopted) We married in a civil ceremony at the courthouse but by a Methodist minister & children were baptized as infants in the Methodist church.
*]My husband was previously married in a Catholic church to a Catholic. They were married less than 2 years and only lived together as husband & wife for 1
*]She is an alcoholic. He knew she had a problem before marrying, but not how severe. She also adamantly did not want children, which she let him know after they were married (after telling the priest she was “open” to it.
*]They divorced. She remarried & is divorced again. He has not spoken to her for 20 years and doesn’t know where she lives. Due to her type of employment, she is not easy to find online so we’re unsure how to notify her of this petition.
I am troubled because while researching this, I am learning that our marriage is considered “invalid” because my husband did not petition for annulment before marrying me 18 yrs ago. He was baptized in the Catholic church as an infant but wasn’t confirmed until he was an adult and that was 25+ years ago. When we married, he wasn’t active in the Church at all. At the time of our marriage, I had NO idea the importance of an annulment since I was not Catholic & he wasn’t practicing so he didn’t pursue it either.
I am converting to Catholicism & my husband & I are attending RCIA together. He is acting as my sponsor while also re-entering the Church. The priest knows that we’ve both been married and divorced and we are working with him to set up a meeting with him to talk about this stuff but he will be away on retreat next week so it will probably be a few weeks. I am just worrying myself sick about this which is why I’m asking here
If our marriage is invalid until if/when he is able to have his former marriage annulled, does that mean I will not be able to be confirmed since I am essentially living with a married man :imsorry: (I hated typing that) and that would mean I am not “right” with the church until that is taken care of? And if his first marriage was not annulled, that would mean I could never become Catholic unless we were no longer married? Meaning I would have to choose between the Church & my marriage, family and husband? When I learned that we were considered adulterers by the Church, my heart fell. I feel weird in mass, like we’re flaunting sin or something if we’re holding hands. Or that our family is not “whole”.
I believe my former marriage is not an issue since my former husband filed the “Lack of Form”. I think they wanted to re-do their vows in a Catholic church (she is VERY actively Catholic, despite committing adultery with my husband and against her own) so I think I was free to marry in both the eyes of the law and the Catholic church.
I’ve searched and searched but cannot find what is done about remarriages when you’ve already remarried and now one is converting while the other is coming home to the Church, all of the info only deals with pre-marital issues.
I feel really, really sad that I might not be able to convert because of poor judgment in our pasts. I have looked carefully at his first marriage and compared it with what I’ve read in Canon laws and it appears that considering they really didn’t know each other well, she refused to have children, wasn’t faithful and had (still has) a sad & terrible addiction along with some other really awful things she did during their short marriage, that maybe the Church will agree that there was no bond there. They both admit that they married out of convenience (sharing expenses, health insurance, job opportunities, etc) but it was still done in a church. Unfortunately, the best man, parents, etc. have all died since then and there were very few people who knew them as a couple as they were actually rarely together due to her work & schooling commitments, so I don’t know how that will affect the process. I also don’t know how cooperative she will be due to her addiction issues.
Ok, so that’s a lot of information for now. I am honored if anyone is able to read this and maybe ease my mind by either filling in some gaps or any thoughts on this confusing matter. I can’t imagine the Church would want a happily married couple (and we really are) and stable family to be separated so that we would be following Church law. But I can’t reconcile not following Church law for my own desires and past mistakes either.
It’s all so confusing. Many thanks to anyone who made it this far.