Confusing Marriage Issue

A friend asked me this question in email.

My friend is getting married for the second time in Hawaii. Both he and his fiance are baptized Christians. But her parents want them to get married at their church, which is Episcopal and also performs homosexual marriages. Would their marriage still be valid and sacramental?

My answer was *I would say that if his first marriage was Roman Catholic, if he is getting married without an annulment, that the answer is no, the second marriage would not be valid and certainly not sacramental. *

But I would like to confirm this.

Whether the person is Catholic or not, they are already married to someone else unless they are a widow and widower getting married.

When one or both parties are Catholic, other factors must be considered such as the form of the marriage, etc.

You do not provide enough information to give an adequate aswer.


isn’t relevant to whether or not the couple is contracting a valid marriage.

A second marriage will be questionable almost no matter the circumstances.

If neither of them are Catholic, then being married in a “church” the attempts to celebrate homosexual “marriage” would not in itself invalidate a marriage. Non-Catholics are free to pursue marriage in any appropriate manner (usually by state recognized celebrant).

Neither Catholics nor non-Catholics are permitted to remarry after a divorce. If the original marriage had a critical defect that would make it invalid, then the second marriage could be celebrated. However, if any of them later decided to join and/or return to Catholicism, their marriage would have to be investigated and hopefully cleared by a marriage tribunal.

Not permitted to marry in the Catholic Church. Yes, the Catholic Church teaches (CCC 1625) that:
The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means:

*]not being under constraint;
*]not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.
and yes, the Catholic Church maintains (CCC 1650) that a new civil marriage (after a divorce) cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was… but the Catholic Church does *not *prevent two practicing non-Catholic Christians – one or both of whom may have gotten one or more prior civil divorces (now there’s an oxymoron!) – from being married in their non-Catholic Christian church.

The Catholic Church wouldn’t get involved unless (and until) at least one of the parties decides to become Catholic.

The OP didn’t ask if it was physically or legally *possible *for these two people to marry. The OP asked if it was valid and sacramental. The answer is no, it wouldn’t be valid or sacramental. It would in fact be sinful-- it is adultery. They are already married to other people.

not enough info, as usual with 99% of such questions

No matter what his baptismal status, if he has been married before he is still married, unless and until the canon law tribunal of his Catholic diocese investigates and determines the conditions for a valid natural (or sacramental marriage if both parties were baptized) were not present at the time of the contract and grants a decree of nullity.

Two baptized Christians who are otherwise free to marry (no prior bond, no impediments) are sacramentally ;married if they are validly married, no matter who witnesses the exchange of vows. [That is not the case in this instance. Objectively the hypothetical friend is entering into adultery.] If either party were Catholic there could be no valid marriage unless the Catholic party obtained the necessary permissions and dispensations (highly unlikely in the stated circumstance).

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