Christians Remarried


I have a question about divorce and remarriage. Suppose you have to non-catholics who divorce and one of which marrys again (to again, a non-catholic). How are we supposed to view the remarriage as catholics? For instance, my wife and I have Christian friends who are in a second marriage of 18 years. Are we to conduct ourselves as though they are or are not married (or something different altogether)? Like if they were to stay at our house after a long travel, would “allowing” them to sleep in the same room be considered sinful to my wife and I? Furthermore, would celebrating their anniv. be sinful? I know this happens all the time in the real world, but I can’t find any information on this topic.

Thanks in advance!


Well, since I am entering upon this exact situation…

My brother, though baptized Catholic was not raised in it, and has since converted to, basically, non-denominational Protestant Christianity. He goes to those type of churches that just call themselves “Christian.”

He does not regard himself as Catholic. I respect his right to choose his religion. So, he is a Protestant, or at least, a non-Catholic Christian. I have gotten some flak from my Assemblies of God stepmother about calling them Protestant. :shrug: (Don’t even get me started on that marriage!)

So anyway, my brother married his first wife as a Protestant. He obeyed the requirements of form in his own church. So I regarded him as validly married.

They have since divorced. He is remarrying this weekend.

Since his own church allows divorce and remarriage, and he is following the rules of his own church, I will treat him as if he is validly married, because to him and his church, he is. That’s just simple respect. It’s not my place to tell him that his marriage is wrong or invalid. My job is to be respectful and polite, and let God sort it out later. :smiley:

If their church allows remarriage after divorce, I would advise you to let it lie. Just treat them as if they are married.


I don’t think your situation is the same since your brother was baptized catholic. Catholics would have to consider his marriage invalid since we can’t choose after our catholic baptism that we’re not catholic anymore. Once a child of God through the catholic Church, we always will be.

I’m wanting to know in the case that we really have two non-catholics (i.e. people who never we’re baptized in the catholic Church).


You know, since we regard conversions from anything to Catholic as valid and binding, I think that respect needs to go both ways. He is not Catholic anymore. He has the right to choose that, and no one can tell him otherwise.

If you can convert in, you can convert out.

But if you disregard the issue of my brother’s baptism, the rest of my comments still apply to your friends. If they followed the rules in their own church, their marriage is valid to them and their church. Who are you to tell them otherwise?


I think it depends on your belief in the role the Catholic Church holds in a religiously pluralistic society. If you believe that the Church has rules that apply to Catholics but not to other Christians, then yes, you would treat these people as married. This is a relatively new way of viewing Catholicism, but has probably become the predominant viewpoint.

If you believe the the Church has the truth once delivered and that everyone (regardless of Creed) is subject to the Church’s rules then you would not accept their marriage. This was the position of the Church up through the Leos (and possibly even later). Of course, it was probably easier to hold in societies that were overwhelmingly Catholic.


Well, I am the former. I am an American Catholic. As such, I believe in religious freedom. My church has no right to try and bind members of other churches.

And besides, regardless of what WE might think about the validity of their marriage, they likely acted in good faith following the rules of their own church.

I would suggest that if pseudosig wants to keep these people as friends, the last thing she should do is to treat them as a cohabiting unmarried couple. That would be quite an insult.


I was just saying that if your catholic-baptized brother came to a priest after a “divorce” with a Christian woman that he got married to outside the catholic Church, he’d have no problem getting married in the catholic Church since the Church would view his marriage invalid from the get go since he was baptized in the catholic Church. He obviously could marry someone of a different faith, but as far as the catholic Church is conscerned, he’d have to do it in the catholic Church for it to be valid.


As a Catholic, we view marriage the same way Jesus did - he stated in Scripture that remarriage after divorce was wrong.

Sadly, the Catholic Church is about the only group of Christians who still respect what Jesus said.

The Church considers the first marriage of all people (Catholic or not) to be vaild and not to be dissolvable by civil divorce.

For those of you with relatives who chose to leave the Catholic Church, they are still bound by God’s laws on marriage - and by the Church laws unless they formally defected (and that is an official process involving the Bishop).

When it comes to attending second or third or sixth marriages of non-Catholics OR of Catholics marrying outside the Church, I use the line of one of my favorite apologists “If God is not going to show up, neither am I”.


Sure, I pretty much have been taught the same thing. I just don’t know what to do after the second wedding. Is it prudent to ask your friends to sleep in a hotel and not your house, etc, because we would view their marriage not with God (in essence astranging them)? This I know is harsh, but that’s the meat of what I’m trying to understand… and some implications are harsh, and others ignore basic teachings from Christ.


HI Kage, you said if a catholic divorces a person they can never get remarried? How about if they annul can they? and what is the diffrence? Nancy:confused:


By the logic in this thread, no one can ever be considered to have converted, truly, from one faith to another. All those converts are still really, secretly Presbyterians and Lutherans, etc…

When someone converts to the Catholic Church from Episcopalian, do we tell them they have to go formally renounce with their bishop? I don’t remember that part of RCIA so I am thinking no. We accept them based on their own free choice to enter the Church.

Goes the other way too, as far as I am concerned. It’s about respecting freedom and free will and the capacity of adults to choose.


Hmmm. Suppose they both decided to become Catholic. Would the Church require that after 18 years of marriage they remarry in the Catholic Church?

Personally, I would let them stay in my home. I would never have thought of them to be anything but married and yes I would celebrate their anniversary.


HI I think I can answer that, yes, because they are not Baptised Catholic and need to go to RCIA classes to become Baptised in order to become Catholic.:)Love of Christ Nancy


The Catholic Church would not let them remarry, as one of them is already married to someone else. The Church views their relationship as being adulterous. The Church would require the couple to civilly divorce and separate in order for either or both of them to become Catholic.


HI Just Lurking, I herd that if you were married Cival the chruch recognizes it to be legal, but to become Catholic you have to have it civilly undone like you said. they do not look at it as adulterous, anymore. that is what I was told.


“A” marries “B” in non-Catholic as neither are Catholic. They divorce. “A” later marries “C” also in a non-Catholic ceremony as “C” is not Catholic either. “A” and “C” desire to become Catholic later in life. So you are saying Church would see “A” and “C” in a an adulterous relationship. Didn’t know that. Thought about it after I posted and thought they probably would be asked to marry in Catholic Church because previous marriages would never be considered valid in eyes of Church.


Yes, correct. Marriage is viewed as a permanent sacrament, at least until death. The only course of action is for the church through a marriage tribunal - to review the first attempted marriage to see if it was invalid. See if it was missing something in character that made it impossible for a sacrament or natural marriage to take place. If the tribunal issues a decree of nullity the second marriage could be convalidated .The couple would be told to live as brother and sister until that could take place. If no decree is issued the brother sister status would be permanent or the couple would have to separate if they were to be accepted into the church.


“Brother and sister” status is a rare exception granted only in those cases where there is a strong reason to preserve the civil structure of the adulterous relationship, e.g., the couple are raising small children together.


CTH stands for someone who was baptized a Catholic

NC stands for someone who has never been baptized a Catholic.

NC marries NC, neither have ever been married. Church considers this a valid marriage. If they have both had a trinitarian baptism, it is also sacramental.

NC divorces NC and marries another NC. Church considers the first marriage vaild, the second marriage is considered invalid. NC in this second “marriage” decides to become Catholic, they will have to live as brother and sister until the first marriage can be reviewed by the tribunal. If the tribunal finds the marriage was invalid, the second marriage is then considered valid. If the tribunal finds the first marriage was valid, the couple would have to cease living as man and wife in order to become Catholic.

CTH marries in a Baptist or Court House ceremony to NC, first wedding for both - no dispensation was sought for the CTH to marry outside the norms of the Church. Church considers the marriage invalid. They can go through counseling and be married validly in the Church.


IMHO if someone is Baptized Catholic but not confirmed then they aren’t Catholic. As an adult, it is at confirmation that we choose to abide by the rules of the Church and be bound by it’s laws.

If someone is of another Christian faith and they divorced and re-married that is truly between they and God. They do not realize nor believe it is a mortal sin and thus can not be held (they don’t even believe in degrees of sin actually) held responsible.


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