Will someone who really knows please answer this question. She has received several answers but all different. I have a good friend who was baptized and married as a Catholic and no children resulted. She divorced and remarried (civil wedding) and had children. Her second husband died and she is now older and living alone and celebate. She wants to come home to her church. What does she need to do in order to come into full communion with the church? Some say simply go to confession and she is good to go. Others say much paperwork to diocese and then ‘maybe’ after lengthy wait. Others say everything in between. Does anyone have the real answer?
The real answer is for her to make an appointment to speak with the priest in the nearest Catholic church, explaining the situation to him. Please accept this as the best answer. I understand you want to help her but all you can give us on this post is what you have ‘heard’ and it may not be complete. She really, really, really needs to speak with somebody in authority who has the facilities at hand, the expertise, etc. to be able to give her the ‘real answer’.
Well that is part of the problem. About a month ago she talked to a Priest in Philly who told her that he thought there was a lot of paperwork involved. So much for that. I just don’t want her to give up.
Thinking of all the things in life we do that we don’t want which require a lot of paperwork (like taxes, for instance), why would “a lot of paperwork” keep someone from something they wanted to do – like return fully to their faith and receive the Holy Eucharist?
But hon, if there is a lot of paperwork involved, then there’s a lot of paperwork involved. You can’t get around it.
Are you saying that you want to hear that there ISN"T a lot of paperwork involved? That the priest might be wrong? That she got ‘turned off’ by the paperwork but wouldn’t be if she didn’t have to do it?
It sounds to me that she did get an answer but that you’re hoping it was the wrong answer.
And he could be wrong. . .but (and I myself went through and received a decree of nullity so I know all about ‘lots of paperwork’) part of being Catholic is being obedient.
What is the worst that could happen if it turns out that she does the paperwork but she didn’t ‘have to?’ That she spent a few hours of her life in something unnecessary? For pete’s sake, think of the time we can waste playing say Internet solitaire, or standing in line. . . a few hours of effort ‘for nothing’ is not a big deal.
I faced the possibility that the annulment might not be granted and while obviously I’m glad it was, I would have faced a different decision with the same words. . .“Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I think your friend needs to obey the priest, even if it turns out he was wrong. . .and especially because he may well turn out to be right. Don’t we appreciate more the things which take trouble and effort to achieve?
Perhaps you’re correct. I would have said, “gimme the papers,” but older persons don’t.
I don’t understand the problem. She is celibate, not living in sin. She sinned in the past by having children outside of a valid marriage. The second husband is dead.
I should think confession would cover it unless she wants to marry again. I don’t believe it is a sin to obtain a civil divorce. It is a sin to remarry after one though.
Maybe I’m wrong… but it doesn’t seem like there’s a need for an annulment unless she wants to remarry.
unless she has since remarried, or wishes to marry again, there is no problem. she returns to confession and the sacraments, and in the course of confession relates all this history to the priest. this answer assumes facts are as stated, but the case often is there is a lot more info we don’t need to know but the priest does. Advise her to make an appointment with the priest to discuss her individual situation and not rely on remote 3rd party advise. The solution is as close as her nearest church and as uncomplicated as Christ’s love demonstrated on the cross. God bless you for standing by her and being an agent in her coming home, that is a work of mercy.
To me, that is the logical answer. Sometimes we can’t apply conventional logic though.
I’m with the answer here. The “lots of paperword” comes in if she is still married to the second spouse since then she would need to have the first marriage anulled and the second confirmed in the church. But since the second husband has passed on, and she is living celibate, she is fine to come in with regular confession.
To be fare, the word ‘annulment’ was not mentioned by the Philly priest. Just the paperwork to the Diocese. I still don’t see it. If I commit a mortal sin, the Priest does not need to send in paperwork to the diocese. I just need to confess. As far as husband number 1, the church probably deems them still married but so what if she is living celibate.
I think you might have missed the post where the OP states that the woman DID approach the priest about this and this is what the priest told her.
And–on careful re-read, I see it says that the priest “THOUGHT” that there “MIGHT” be a lot of paperwork.
So really, she hasn’t exactly been told that she ‘has to’ do the work, only that a priest, in heaven knows WHAT circumstances, ‘thought’ there might be lots of paperwork.
I reiterate. She needs to schedule a full on appointment with a priest on the subject where she can give ALL the relevant information and he can check it out and give a DEFINITIVE answer. If she has asked and somebody says he “thinks” it might need X, she needs to follow this up with, “OK, remember when we talked about my situation? I need to know not what you THINK I might need to do, I need to know what I absolutely HAVE to do so that I can DO it, thank you very much and God bless!”
And again. . .while it is entirely possible that some of us have given the ‘definitive’ answer on the topic, we’re not professionals and we can’t really pronounce.
She HAS to see a priest and follow through.
Says this old lady here . . .
She needs to speak with her pastor. I would guess some documentation will be required, but not a lengthly process. She does not need to enter into an Annulment process for the first Marriage if she never intends to Marry again, even if her first husband is still alive.
thanks to all for their kind advice. i will tell her to schedule an appointment with another priest and ask all the right questions.
Since her 2nd husband is deceased then she needs only go to confession in order to receive the Eucharist.
Paperwork would only enter into the picture if she wanted to annul her first marriage.
TYVM. This is what I was thinking. I was also thinking that if she went to confession and laid this all out to the Priest, he would tell her in the confessional that all was not right. thanks again.
I am new around here but it seems to me that she is still married to her first husband. Her second civil marriage was not valid and adulterous since she did not receive an annulment. She is no longer committing adultery with her second (but civil only) husband (and of course, can not).
All that is necessary is the Sacrament of Reconciliation for adultery and any other mortal sins since her last confession.
I could understand that she may also wish to annul her still valid wedding but that would be more for personal reasons (or if she wishes to marry).