Does Protestant need her first marriage annulled in order to marry a Catholic?


I have a good friend who is a divorced protestant. She is engaged to a Catholic man whose first marriage has been annulled. She was recently approached by her fiance about getting her first marriage annulled so that she could marry him in a Catholic church. She is not sure how she feels about all of this and has the following questions:
1.) Does she really need to get her first marriage “annulled” in order to marry this man in a Catholic church?
2.) If she does not get her marriage annulled and marries her fiance anyway, how does this affect his ability to receive communion?
Thank you-


Dear l,

Yes, she needs to get that marriage annuled. Otherwise there is no proof that she is free to marry someone else. The Catholic Church recognizes that civil authorities have no power to dissolve what God has joined together. One cannot be married to two people at the same time.

If a Catholic does not marry through the Catholic Church, the marriage is not considered valid and that person, in attempting to live as a married person, is living in sin. He or she cannot receive Holy Communion in such a state. It’s all quite logical.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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