Difference between Lapsed Catholics vs someone who has formally left

I was reading this thread on AAA forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=64951

and I would like to know what the difference here is between the two. Can someone give some examples of this?

I’m confused on this paragraph

“It is true that, objectively speaking, a person who is a Catholic is objectively bound by Catholic marital law. However, the Church reasonably understands that someone who has formally left the Church because of a defect in that person’s faith or understanding cannot be reasonably expected to follow Catholic marital law. Because marriages among non-Catholics are presumed valid (and sacramental if both parties are baptized), those marriages of former Catholics are also presumed to be valid/sacramental if the conditions for a valid/sacramental marriage among non-Catholics have otherwise been met. Lapsed Catholics, on the other hand, have not left the Church and so are expected to follow the ecclesial disciplines necessary to assure the validity/sacramentality of their marriages”

So if all marriages are considered valid, what would be the difference of someone getting married in the Catholic Church vs any other Church?

Canon Law previously provided a method for a person to formally defect from the Catholic faith. This formal defection included presenting a petition to the Bishop, in writing, and the reception of that defection by the Bishop. A notation would then be placed in the sacramental records of the defecting Catholic. This would release the Catholic from the canons pertaining to the form of marriage.

The Vatican changed this canon this year. The Church no longer allows for this process. A Catholic is bound by **all **canon laws regardless of whether their defection is formal or merely by walking away.

This question you linked to is from 2005. It is no longer accurate based on this new directive from the Vatican.

All marriages are not considered valid.

Catholic must marry in the Catholic form, or it is invalid.

Thank you, 1ke :slight_smile:

Wow talk about being confused on AAA. Do you have any sources for this change and why would they change it? Whats the reasoning behind changing this in the first place?..Is it because too many people where praising marriages as valid when they weren’t?

How often is cannon law changed? …is there some kind of newsletter I can sign up for that alerts on this change?

The Apologist was not confused. She answered accurately in 2005 when the question was asked.

Actually, the proclamation came out last October. Time flies:


Not frequently. It does happen. Generally when the Vatican and canon law tribunals determine that something is unclear and causing questions and requests for clarification.


Well, the newest full re-write of canon law is from 1983 (of which everything that hasn’t been changed after would still be binding), and before that it was 1917 (nothing of which is binding anymore). So not very often.

It was my understanding that anything untouched by the 1983 code was under the jurisdiction of the 1917 code. I could be wrong, of course. Anyone have an authoritative source?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.