Civil marriage, divorce and church


#1

Hi!
would marrying a non-believer who has been in civil marriage and is now divorced be someway possible for a catholic?

“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what GOD HAS JOINED together, let man not separate.” Mt 19:6
:confused:


#2

every marriage situation is different. Every marriage is presumed valid until proven otherwise. The freedom to marry of both parties has to be established first. For a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic is in the first place problematic because from the beginning it puts the couple in conflict in one of the essential areas of life, belief and conduct. In the second place, these people may not even date until it is established they are free to marry. The previous marriages of both must be submitted to the tribunal for investigation of validity before either is free to marry.


#3

This is something I struggle with.

The marriage is civil, so the couple is considered by the Church as fornicators. We’ve heard stories of how people civilly married had to live apart for a certain amount of time before having their marriage “blessed” in the Church.

On the other hand, we need an annulment from this non-marriage.

You lose going both ways it seems.

Alan


#4

A Pauline privilege is also possible in such a situation.

1 Corinthians 7:12-15 says:

To the rest I say (not the Lord): if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she is willing to go on living with him, he should not divorce her; and if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he is willing to go on living with her, she should not divorce her husband.

For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through the brother. Otherwise your children would be unclean, whereas in fact they are holy.

If the unbeliever separates, however, let him separate. The brother or sister is not bound in such cases; God has called you to peace.


#5

[quote=AlanFromWichita]This is something I struggle with.

The marriage is civil, so the couple is considered by the Church as fornicators.
[/quote]

no, not necessarily, not if both persons are non-Catholic. Only Catholics are bound by church law to be married in the Church. All others are considered validly married unless and until proven otherwise. Only baptized Catholics who attempt a civil marriage are considered unmarried until that union has been convalidated. That is why a non-Catholic who has been previously married must request an investigation of the first marriage to determine its validity before he is free to marry a Catholic.


#6

[quote=ThomsonT]Hi!
would marrying a non-believer who has been in civil marriage and is now divorced be someway possible for a catholic?

[/quote]

If the non-believer’s first marriage were examined by the tribunal and found to be invalid, yes. The first marriage must be examined, there are many factors involved.

This is a matter to discuss with a priest and a canon lawyer.


#7

[quote=AlanFromWichita] The marriage is civil, so the couple is considered by the Church as fornicators.
[/quote]

This is not true.

All marriages between non-Catholics are recognized by the Catholic Church as marriages. They are presumed to be (a) Sacramental if they are baptized persons or (b) good and natural marriages if they are non-baptized persons. Only Catholics are bound by the Catholic form of marriage.

[quote=AlanFromWichita] We’ve heard stories of how people civilly married had to live apart for a certain amount of time before having their marriage “blessed” in the Church.
[/quote]

Yes, this is true of Catholics who marry outside the Church and then approach the Church for validation of their marriage. They are not validly married.

This is not the case with non-Catholics married in their own tradition or via civil cermony who then become Catholics.

[quote=AlanFromWichita] On the other hand, we need an annulment from this non-marriage.
[/quote]

You are mistaken in your belief that the Church does not recognize marriages of non-Catholics. It does.


#8

That makes no sense.

A civil marriage is good enough for non-Catholics, and is considered valid, but for Catholics it is not?

If we do not impose our rules about marriage, then why do so many Catholics feel it is their obligation to prevent non-Catholics from having birth control?

If their version of marriage allows them to have sex without the Church’s blessing, then why do we hold them to our own standards for behavior in the bedroom?

Is there not an objective standard for what constitutes a valid marriage?

Alan


#9

[quote=AlanFromWichita]A civil marriage is good enough for non-Catholics, and is considered valid, but for Catholics it is not?

If we do not impose our rules about marriage, then why do so many Catholics feel it is their obligation to prevent non-Catholics from having birth control?

[/quote]

To marry validly is a human “right”, if you will, under natural law. Thus all people (who are otherwise free to marry) should be able to contract a valid marriage.

But the Catholic Church has been given authority by Christ to impose laws above and beyond those of natural law. And she choses to impose such laws when it comes to the marriage of her members. (She can likewise grant dispensations from those laws when she considers it beneficial to do so.)

The Church does not impose those laws on non-Catholics. She does hold non-Catholics, baptized or otherwise, accountable for the natural laws concerning marriage.

Birth control is a violation of natural law. So the Church would expect all people to be accountable when they violate the laws against using birth control.


#10

[quote=Catholic2003]A Pauline privilege is also possible in such a situation.

1 Corinthians 7:12-15 says:
[/quote]

I would have brought this up if you hadn’t.

If a divorced unbaptized person should convert and be baptized, the Church may disolve the previous natural marriage as a “Favor of the Faith”. The newly baptized person would then be free to marry in the Catholic Church.

This action must be granted by Rome. The local diocesan marriage tribunal cannot do so. (But the local tribunal would be responsible for communicating the information to and from Rome.)


#11

Thank you eveyone for all the answers.
The subject is much clearer to me now.
So being a catholic I have a possibitity to marry a divorced (civil marriage) non-catholic over time when her marriage is proved invalid by the Church and she becomes a believer and gets baptised.


#12

[quote=AlanFromWichita]That makes no sense.

A civil marriage is good enough for non-Catholics, and is considered valid, but for Catholics it is not?

[/quote]

It makes perfect sense. think of the alternative: the Church recognizes NO marriages as valid except those sacramental marriages contraced in a Catholic Church. that is too horrible to contemplate. go back to the Catechism to the theology of marriage. West’s book on the Good News about Marriage makes it clear in easy to understand terms. The couple gives consent (if they are able to do so and free to do so) and this makes the marriage. the matter and form are valid free will exchange of consent and the marital act. In the Latin Rite Catholics are required to have this exchange witnessed by the priest or deacon. In the Eastern rites the priest is the ordinary minister.

It makes no sense to require non-Catholics to abide by this discipline (unless they happen to be marrying a Catholic).

the prohibition against artificial birth control derives from natural law since by definition its use interferes with the bond between the couple that is marriage. The prohibition against abortion and forced sterilization are of course universal because they are acts of violence and aggression against innocent persons.


#13

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