Does the Catholic Church consider my marriage to be valid?


#1

I am currently in the RCIA process for people that have been baptized in other christian churches (southern baptist in my case) at out parish. I am concerned that my marriage by be invalid according the to church’s laws.

My wife was raised catholic and probably still consider’s herself catholic, but doesn’t practice. She baptized as an infant and was confirmed in high school.

We were married almost three years ago in a ceremony conducted by a christian (but not catholic) minister. We considered being married in the catholic church and I was willing to go through the process, but my wife decided not to. The decision was primarily based on timing. At the time I had no interest in converting, so it didn’t matter to me, although I wanted a christian service. So ulitmately we were married outside the catholic church and, without the bishop’s permission to do so (or for the mixed marriage), because we never went through the process to ask.

Neither of us had been married before.

Now having read information on various catholic sites, I asked the RICA director about my concerns. She informed me that it wasn’t a problem and I didn’t need to do anything about it, but I could get it blessed later if I wanted. A few days later I asked one of our parish’s deacon’s about the situation and got a similar answer. This still seems inconsistent with what I have read and being. The next step is to talk to our priest, but he is very busy, but I am a bit reluctant to raise it with him, having already asked two people in the parish.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling post. Based on the facts I have described, is my marriage valid in the eyes of the church? If so, is this an impediment to me being confirmed and taking communion.

Thanks!


#2

Hi,

Both the RCIA director and your deacon need to go back to school. They both give evidence of an ignorance that can be quite detrimental to the people they are supposed to be helping. There is no excuse for such ignorance in such a basic and
spiritually delicate matter.

The fact is: as a Catholic your wife was bound by the Catholic requirement that Catholics be married in the Catholic Church. Otherwise the Catholic Church will not recognize the validity of the marriage. So at this time the Church does not consider you marriage to be valid. If you have already been Confirmed, the sacrament is valid. But in order to receive Holy Communion in the future, you will need to live in a celibate way until your marriage is convalidated (blessed). You should not have any difficulty in getting the marriage blessed.

You have been operating with good faith. So I expect that up until now you have not sinned in living as husband and wife. But now you know. What I have said here is what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage. As a priest I owe you this. So
does anyone who is an official teacher of the truths of the Catholic faith. If I can be of help in the future, you may contact me privately here or by phone: 619 387 7200. You are both in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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