Civil vs sacramental marriage question


Hi everyone–I wasn’t sure where to post this, so please move this thread mods, if need be. (thank you)

My husband and I were talking about this a few nights ago–we were married civilly back in June, of 1991. We later had our marriage blessed in October of 2004, and had a small ceremony at our parish in PA–plus a reception afterwards. (small)

So, my question is…we have been married ‘technically’ for 16 years according to civil law, but we were Sacramentally married a little over 3 years ago. What date should our official marriage anniversary be?

Maybe we could have two, I told him?:smiley:

So–what do you think about this?


From what I can see you have been married three years. :slight_smile:


**I vote for “have two” :D…

Just like with kids, we celebrate their official birthday but then we celebrate their baptism day as the day they were born into the faith.

So ask for the girly presents (like jewlery) for your regular anniversary and do the traditional going out to dinner etc and then do something more spiritual on your sacramental anniversary.

Good plan?:slight_smile:



Really? But, what does that do for the legitimacy of our children?:confused: We don’t view them as having them out of wedlock? (although our marriage was not Sacramentally blessed before their births)


Malia to the rescue!:smiley: I reaaaalllly like this idea. My husband thought we should do ‘something’ to commemorate the day we were officially ‘married’ in the Church. Thank you for replying!

(stay warm, now!) And, I’m praying for your hubby to get better from the flu!:o


Your children aren’t illegitimate. :slight_smile: If they are too young to understand having invalid marriages blessed, I would stick with the sixteen years for them. When they are older, say teenaged, you can share how you made the mistake of being married in the eyes of only the state and not the eyes of both the state and the church. You can share how you have since corrected this, and now you are married according to both. It will be a great opportunity to share God’s love and how he blesses those who follow Him and His path for them. How merciful God is to those who correct there mistakes, and what a blessing it is to be followers of such a wonderful, loving, merciful God. But, in all honesty you did have a civil marriage. It was legal and therefore your children were not born in any illegitimacy. But, having had the marriage blessed both your marriage and all children of that marriage are holy and pleasing to God.


From my limited knowledge of the subject I believe that even if your marriage was invalid in the beginning (which may not be your case) it becomes valid once it has been convalidated. I would assume (since I really have no idea and maybe shouldn’t even be answering:o) that it is retroactive to your original wedding date. Hopefully someone with MUCH MORE knowledge will jump in and help you out. I am thinking PuzzleAnnie would be a good source:thumbsup:.

As for the “new” anniversary, I can think of so many spiritually bonding things you and hubby could do. And spiritual gifts too! You’ll have tons of fun thinking them up as the years go by:)



Can. 1139 Illegitimate children are legitimated by the subsequent valid or putative marriage of their parents or by a rescript of the Holy See.
Can. 1140 As regards canonical effects, legitimated children are equal in all things to legitimate ones unless the law has expressly provided otherwise.



This is beautiful…thank you. Actually, they were both there, and now, they are 11 and 15…and we did explain our ‘reasoning’ for bypassing a Catholic wedding, which now, it sounds like silly reasoning, but it made sense to us back then.:blush: They seem to understand, and really enjoyed watching us take our vows together in the parish. If I had it to do over again, we would have had the church ceremony from the beginning, but without going into details, my family was being very problematic back then in planning our wedding, so we just decided to elope. Thank you your post.


Aw, WG, what a great hubby to want to acknowledge both those special days in y’alls lives.:thumbsup:


Yes–he is! We tell each other we love one another so much, we married each other twice.:blushing:


Why not celebrate both anniversaries? Both are special to the 2 of you. The Church doesn’t say your marriage wasn’t there since the beginning. It existed since 1991, but you made it valid to the eyes of God in 2004.

You say you had a convalidation, right? Since you convalidated, I know Sacramentally, you count since 2004. If you had had a radical sanation it would count since 1991. But coming from someone who had a radical sanation, what wouldn’t have I given to convalidate instead. I never had a wedding in the Church :frowning: . I always dreamt of having a wedding in a Catholic Church.

About your children, the Church doesn’t say they were illegitimate before the convalidation. I cannot recall where I read that, it was in the canons, but I don’t know which one.


no effect
illegitimacy is a construct of civil law, which has been struck down in most states years ago. there are no longer any canon law penalties that derive from it. annulment has no effect on legitimacy. celebrate whatever you want to celebrate.


Married outside the church in Feb. 1991, convalidated in July 2004. Looks like you and I will be both married 17 years this year.:slight_smile:
We celebrate both anniversaries but I do count our married years together from the orginal vows. Since God lives outside of time I figured He’d be ok with that.:wink:


Hi yessisan…what is a radical sanation?:confused:


That is great! Looks like we have the same timing!:slight_smile:


lol I forgot to put a link to it… not many people know what that is.

Radical Sanation


Thanks yessisan…so, it’s basically for a Catholic who married a non Catholic outside of the Church.


Only when the non-Catholic doesn’t want to convalidate. Well, even though my husband is considered Catholic to the Church, the Bishop granted it to me. So I guess it’s when one of the parties doesn’t want anything to do with blessing the marriage because they believe it’s against their beliefs or when they believe their civil marraige is enough.

ETA: So, are you going to celebrate both anniversaries?


Yes–I think so!:slight_smile:

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