I was born a catholic recieved all the sacraments, but I made a mistake of marrying a non catholic and we married in a traditional African wedding The church does not recognize , My children are brought up in the catholic faith. My Husband does not go to his church so I am not sure what church it was . I am not receiving holy communion ever since my marriage.I AM NOW CONTAMPLATING DISSOLVING THIS TRADITIONAL MARRIGE AND GETIING MARRIED TO A CATHOLIC GUY. I AM CONFUSED.


contact your local Catholic Church office, ask for the Marriage Ministry then contact them. Ask them to explain a Radical Sanation to you.

Good Luck



You are correct your marriage is not valid.

You need call your local Catholic parish and make an appointment with the priest.

Tell him all the facts, and he will guide you.


I’m confused as well.
Is your marriage so bad off you would do this?
Or are you contemplating this just because of the mentioned history?
I’m not catholic, so can’t address the ‘legal’ concerns, but if
your marriage is strong and happy, why on earth would you dissolve it? Why not just try to have it ‘blessed’ or recognized(whatever that entails) by the church?

It would seem a greater sin to break up your family and marriage, just b/c the deed wasn’t right at the time. Contact a priest and have it ‘fixed’. JMO.


why end this marriage?
simply visit your priest and make arrangements to have the marriage convalidated, that is, to exchange your vows in front of a priest or deacon, after suitable preparation for that rite.


Why not have a convalidation?


I would not rule that out however

A convalidation requires participation of the husband while a radical sanation does not, Often the radical sanation is much easier process for the noncatholic because it recognized one spouse is not catholic and will not be catholic and it recognizes the initial marriage. Often the second marriage required by the convalidation process sends the noncatholic spouse into orbit. A typical comment is: * My first marriage was before God and if that is not good enough for the Catholic Church *…

btw a Pauline Privilege may be in play also if the husband in not Christian.

The marriage ministry can evaluate the alternatives


I’m confused. I thought Pauline privilege only applied if both were unbaptized and one converted? This is a Catholic in an invalid marriage due to lack of canonical form. How does Pauline Privilege apply?


The OP wants to dissolve the marriage, not have it blessed.


Yeah I got that P&L.:smiley:
The point is why- Outside of an african wedding and her not being able to take communion. If her only reason to end it is so she can take communion then having her marriage blessed in the Church would allow her to do that and still stay married:)


Maybe however I have had an actual Advocate tell me different, and this was a very well experienced ordained advocate. I have heard many things from the process which on the surface seem to make no sense. It is all in the details. We agreed in our parish all inquires are to be sent to the marriage ministry. We ask them to start locally however if uncomfortable or confused by advice they are referred to the diocese marriage office. BTW – we have had people achieve results the Priest said were unavailable, and that does not help settle any confusion.


For the OP, there would be no reason to go for Pauline privilege. It’s clear that she’s in an invalid marriage. If she were to divorce and seek marriage in the church all that would be required is the priest’s accurate documentation regarding the first marriage (certificate, circumstances, divorce papers, etc.) proving lack of canonical form. It’s not even necessary to submit this to the Marriage Tribunal, although many bishops prefer to go that route (our bishop doesn’t think that’s necessary).

What doesn’t make sense is why she wants to end this civil marriage. If she truly wants out all she has to do is get a divorce. If her only problem is that she can’t receive Communion, all she needs is a convalidation or radical sanation, either of which she should be able to obtain without great difficulty unless there is an impediment that she hasn’t mentioned.


Many thanks for the response.

I suppose all these years I have always felt I have sinned . It makes it worse now that my children are big and attend catholic schools . OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE NOW ASKING MOM WHY ARE YOU NOT HAVING COMMUNION?.My husband is a good father and a good husband but, to him this going to church bussiness is far away from him. He simply laughs . Remember this is an african man who in his right has completed a marriage fully ,by paying my parents( lobola).The biggest problem is that he is a nice man and even when the priest visits my house he makes a fuss, cooks for him and all the rest.


Talk to your priest. If you intend to stay in the marriage, you can have it convalidated and begin receiving Communion again.


My understanding is that lack of form only applies to two people who were both Catholic, received all the sacraments, but then didn’t get married in the Church. If only one is Catholic, then lack of from does not apply. But that’s just my understanding.

Sounds like you are hurt by your husband’s lack of respect. This is something you could discuss with him. It’s probably not something to end a marriage over, unless there is more going on.

If your biggest problem is that he is a nice man who fusses over guests, then you need a reality check from those of us who have gone through divorce and annulment, especially when it comes to your children. A man who is a good father, a good husband, and a gracious host, even to those with whom he has opposing faith beliefs, does not seem like someone who needs to be thrown out for an imagined better model. Some Catholic men can be bad fathers, terrible husbands, as well as self-obsorbed, immature, and callous.

Pray and use the discernment of the Holy Spirit. Move slowly and carefully.

You are in our prayers.


No, the Catholic is always bound by the laws of the Church.

In the OP’s case, marrying a non-Christian, had she petitioned her bishop for a dispensation for lack of canonical form & disparity of worship she could possibly have been granted one. But without the dispensation her marriage is invalid for lack of canonical form. The best thing for her, considering that from what she says about her husband he sounds pretty good, is to go see a priest and discuss convalidation or radical sanation. Either of those would make her marriage valid and she’d be able to receive the sacraments.


Please, Happy, go a see the priest and discuss it with him alone first. Any man who cooks and makes a fuss over visitors is a keeper, I hope!


Yes, it does. In fact, the non-Catholic party can be the one to receive the declaration of Lack of Form, if there is a divorce, and the non-Catholic later (after the divorce) decides to join the Catholic Church. :thumbsup:

The Pauline Privilege is for someone who converts to the Catholic faith by baptism, and his or her non-baptized spouse divorces him or her for that reason. If the divorce by the second party is for some other reason than the conversion of the first party to the Catholic faith, then the Pauline Privilege does not apply. It is very limited in scope.


Sounds like you really need marriage counseling and a priest to have your marriage convalidated. In the event that he does not want to participate in the convalidation you may recieve a Radical Sanation which would be to “heal your marriage at the root”. If I were you…contact someone who knows about Radical Sanations and get that. My wife and I had that option when coming Home. If your “man” cooks and cleans and all he does is not understand you faith. Well, that is no reason to dump someone, adding to the long list of scandals we are now guilty of in the world. Catholics seem to do anything they want in spite of what they are told. This brings shame or scandal on us all. I thought I left “officially” by getting baptized publicly and then marrying publicly in my wife’s church. I rejected Catholicism for a laundry list of reasons. Discovering the ECF and the didache brought me home, ashamed of my ignorance and lack of a solid Catholic family. You can change it…But if you looking for a way out…I hate to say it…but you can walk away and get a civil divorce and all you basically do is sign a piece of paper for lack of form.

However, having been the child of a marriage that ended in divorce and ultimately an annulment [one reason for leaving the church] I left to a very conservative church that understood IMO that a man will marry a woman for life. Now if he’s not baptized, that leaces a door open … true…but is that what you really want to do? It’s your choice. Most of us would urge you to work your differences out and live as good a Catholic Christian life you can for your husband’s sake. Maybe with exposure and good example he too may see the reason you wish to receive communion. If you decide to live as brother and sister while waiting for the radical sanation or convalidation your priest will most likely say you can recieve communion…trust me on this…I know…we lived as brother and sister separate parts of the house…no nudity etc… It’l make him a saint or convert him if he truly abstains. It will also give you time to think about what you are doing.

But as a few have stated…seek counseling with your Pastor/Priest. Pray a lot and like I said the only thing holding you back from the Eucharist is of course a valid marriage…if you intend to leave your husband…Consider as the first step.

Prayers and a candle for you tonight.



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