Divorce/Annulment - Need Help

I am sure that my situation is not unusual, but for some reason, I cannot come up with answers. I am NOT Catholic, however I have been active in the RCIA process for more than a year. I was due to be baptized on Easter. However, it has been brought to my attention that i will not be able to be baptized afterall. Here is the problem… I was married when i was 18. Neither of us were or are Catholic. We were not married in a church of any kind. Now I am divorced. The Deacon at my church says that i must file for an anullment through the Catholic Church even though i was not Catholic at the time. He said that it is a process that could take up to 2 years at the current time. I have heard different things from other people though. Some people have told me that it doesn’t matter because neither of us were Catholic. Does anyone know anything about this? I have currently taken a break from the RCIA process to search for answers. I have been praying so hard in regards to this… any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much and God Bless.

Are you remarried?

No, I am not remarried.

Then I don’t understand why they are telling you that you need an annullment first. In the church’s view, you are still married without an annullment.

I don’t really understand either. I am so confused. I want to get an anullment so that my fiance and I can get married in the church… But we don’t want to wait 2 or 3 years either… i just don’t know what to do. My RCIA sponsor gave me this website in hopes that i would find an answer.

well for you and your fiancee to marry in the CHurch you will have to seek an annulment…

Ok that explains the reason. You can get confirmed without an annullment but you can’t remarry in the church without getting an annullment first.

As far as the 2 or 3 years, that’s what I’ve been told also. I’m in process of divorce but may pursue that avenue of annullment “in case” I ever decide to remarry.

I know it seems unfair but the Catholic church does view marriage as a sacrament.

You have my sympathy and I’ll pray for you. God knows your situation and with prayer he will help guide you to make the best decisions.

Was your former spouse baptized? (Presumably you are not since you are supposed to get baptized.)

But I see you wish to be married.

The Catholic Church assumes marrages between non-Catholics to be valid just as She does those between Catholics. However if at least one of the parties to a non-Catholic marriage (or a Catholic one for that matter) is unbaptized then the marriage is not sacramental.

Under certain circumstances the non-sacramental marriage of an unbaptized person can be disolved (as opposed to being ruled null) when the unbaptized person is baptized into the Catholic Church. This process takes a while.

Your deacon wants you to delay your baptism so that all possibilities for your former marriage can be explored. You may be able to get a ruling of nullity for your former marriage or it may be dissolved.

And also welcome to the forum.

You can probably search for similar threads to your situation. You are not alone.

Divorce without remarriage is not an impediment to entering the Church. Since you have never attempted to marry again, you do not need an annulment just to enter the Church. Talk to your deacon again, and if necessary call the Diocesan tribunal office and ask for clarification and something in writing.

The people are incorrect as it pertains to attempting a future marriage. All mariages are considered valid by the Catholic Church-- those of unbaptized persons and non-Catholic baptized persons included. In order to be free to marry in the Church you do need to have your first marriage examined by the tribunal. Since you were not baptized, there are several avenues they can take regarding your marriage. Talk to the diocesan tribunal representative.

Neither of us were baptized. The Deacon did tell me that my reasons for getting married (I had a child) are enough reason to grant an anullment with no problems. But i still have that 2-3 year waiting period.

You do not need a decree of nullity to enter the church since you are not in an invalid marriage at this time (ie, you have never attempted to marry again after your divorce).

You do need to have your prior marriage examined to determine freedom to marry. This process may or may not take 2-3 years-- it could actually be quite a bit shorter. The deacon does not want to set expectations that it will be a quick process because many times it is not.

However, the sooner you begin the sooner you will have our answer. No one is guaranteed to receive a decree of nullity. So, do not assume you are free to marry until you have received a decree of nullity.

If neither of you were baptized, the Church sees your marriage as not having a sacramental bond, but a natural one. It will easily be dissolved, but you still have to turn in the paper work to do so. My MIL has been “married” 3 times (technically just once though)…her first two attempts at marriage were dissolved before she came into the Church (she was previously Jewish). It did not take as long as the regular annulment process, maybe 6 months or so? I think basically the marriage tribunal will need proof that neither of you were baptized at the time you attempted marriage, and then they will be able to declare it dissolved. I BELIEVE that this is referred to as Pauline Privilege…but I’d have to look it up to be sure. You don’t need your marriage to be dissolved in order to be baptized, but you do if you and your fiance wish to marry.

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