Difficulties having my marriage convalidated


#1

I am an American citizen currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam. I was married in a civil wedding to another Catholic in January of this year. We are now trying to get our marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church but have hit a snag.

Our parish priest here has requested that our baptismal and confirmation certificates for marriage purposes be sent directly to him. My parish has already done so but my wifes has not. We finally found out today that her parish wants someone to physically pick up a copy and pay for it. But this is not possible as her parish is in the Philippines.

I thought the parish had to send the documents directly to the priest so as to prohibit tampering. I would ask the priest to help us but he is on vacation until August and he is the only English speaking priest here in Hanoi.

Is there Canon Law that I can quote to the parish to get them to send the documents? Or does anyone have any other suggestions?


#2

Options:

  1. Can your wife’s parish fax the baptismal information and notions?

  2. Do you have relatives/friends with you that can sign sworn statements that your wife is baptized and has never been married other than the 1 civil marriage with you?

  3. Can you contact the parish that has your wife’s baptismal information and arrange to wire the money to them for the certificate and mailing fees?

  4. Can the priest at your current parish call the parish that has your wife’s information and get verbal confirmation of all relevant information?


#3

If there is no one in the Phillipines to go pay for it and put it in the mail, offer to send the parish money and have them put it in the mail.

Otherwise,you will have to wait for your priest to get back and contact the parish in the Philllipines himself.

Well, typically the parish would just issue the certificate and send it straight to the parish, but I have also sent them to the requesting person.

No, not really.

Have your parish in Hanoi make the request.


#4

My best friend is from the Philippines. A few years back she needed copies of her sacramental records from her former parish in a small town on the island of Cebu. She finally had to persuade a family member to travel to their hometown to get the records for her. Even then a “donation” was required.

Things work differently in the Philippines. Even Church “things.”


#5

Thank you, Father.

  1. We are requesting (for the second time) that they fax the documents but they may still want money.

  2. We do have friends here that can sign sworn statements. Should they meet certain criteria i.e. have known my wife for a certain period of time?

  3. We are trying to set up money wiring arrangements. To be honest Father, I thought that the request for money was for the parish secretary as you often have to give “donations” for simple services (donations meaning under the table). I was hoping that there was something in Canon Law that said the parish had to send it, but I guess there isn’t.

  4. I’m sure our priest can call. If this isn’t resolved by the time he returns, I will ask Father do so.


#6

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:332119"]
If there is no one in the Phillipines to go pay for it and put it in the mail, offer to send the parish money and have them put it in the mail.

Otherwise,you will have to wait for your priest to get back and contact the parish in the Philllipines himself.

Well, typically the parish would just issue the certificate and send it straight to the parish, but I have also sent them to the requesting person.

No, not really.

Have your parish in Hanoi make the request.

[/quote]

Thanks for your help! It sounds like you have experience with this sort of thing.


#7

Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating. I hate to paint a broad picture of the Philippines like that, but my experience so far is that “donations” are required for everything.


#8

Just FYI, typically faxed sacramental records are not considered official. We cannot accept them, they lack the parish seal. You really need originals.

I would also be surprised if an affidavit would suffice, especially since there is no extreme situation requiring it (like the Church burned down and there are no records anymore, etc). The priest really needs your sacraemental records.

I think asking for money is very odd. that is why I think your priest should ask for them. This is a very routine thing parishes do. I have never been asked for money when requesting records nor would I ever ask for money when sending them. But, perhaps in a poor country they need it.

The faithful have a right to their records. So, even if no money can be sent they must provide them.


#9

Remember, resources in the Philippines are limited. Postage, paper and personel do have cost. It is understandable that the parish would want to have some kind of payment and someone to pick it up to save on money.


#10

Damooster, is it possible for them to scan your wife’s certificates and e-mail the scanned documents to you?

That is how I got my baptismal certificate from South Africa to the UAE when I converted.

I may be wrong, and 1ke is sure to know, but usually a scanned document is acceptable where a faxed one is not.


#11

The parish really should not accept a sacramental record without the parish seal. We are not to accept electronic copies such as fax, scan, email, photocopy, etc. Only a document with a seal.


#12

You can accept them, its up to the priest or, if there’s a dispensation involved, the Bishop’s office. Its all a matter of circumstances. Generally we try to avoid faxes/copies, but they can be acceptable in certain extenuating circumstances. I’ve walked into the chancellor’s office with faxed documents before and had the dispensation granted.

I would also be surprised if an affidavit would suffice, especially since there is no extreme situation requiring it (like the Church burned down and there are no records anymore, etc). The priest really needs your sacraemental records.

Affidavits often have to suffice when there’s communication issues between churches. And, my goodness, some parishes in some places barely have any records at all! Trying to get records from the Dominican Republic has been a nightmare in my parish, I seriously doubt they even record baptisms in many parts down there…

Once again, if the other parish is refusing to send the documents then there needs to be a Plan B.

I think asking for money is very odd. that is why I think your priest should ask for them. This is a very routine thing parishes do. I have never been asked for money when requesting records nor would I ever ask for money when sending them. But, perhaps in a poor country they need it.

I know what you mean, but in some counties they have some strange practices. It wouldn’t surprise me.

The faithful have a right to their records. So, even if no money can be sent they must provide them.

Well what we have here is the ideal vs. the real. You can tell a parish until you’re blue in the face that they must do something, but if they refuse then what? You can contact their bishop, but if he ignores you then what? And how long will all that take?

There’s ways around this parish’s strange behavior that don’t require a letter writing campaign…


#13

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