A Catholic woman marries a Protestant man, in his Church rather than her own, and indicates she’s adopting his religion at the same time. Very shortly afterwards, she leaves him for another man and disappears from his life.
A few years later, a second Catholic woman falls in love with the same man and, rather than first pursue a finding of nullity for his original marriage, weds him in his Church, rather than in the Catholic Church. She continues, however, to think of herself as a Catholic and continues to want to BE as much of a Catholic as she can. For instance, she brings her children to Mass each Sunday and to the Sacraments, and sees that they receive a Catholic education. In the meantime, fearing that she is not properly married in the eyes of the Church, she continues to attend Mass but refrains from receiving Communion. Her pastor, learning of her conflicted spiritual situation, tells her that she need not refrain from receiving Communion, so she now is receiving. He tells her further that there would be no problem at all squaring her marriage with the Church--that they can take care of everything right there in the local parish anytime she and her husband are ready. My question: am I right to fear that her local priest has given her flawed or illicit advice on both counts (abstaining from Communion at the present time and squaring the marriage with the Church)? Either way, please explain the principle governing a Catholic in her situation who would like to receive Communion and explain what the proper procedure would be for her to pursue the possibility of validating her marriage.