Does the Church recognize every civil marriage?

Does the Church recognize every civil marriage in America today?

Would a person whom was in a civily-recognized gay marrriage have to get an annullment to partake of a sacramental Catholic wedding?

Do I have to recognize every marriage the Church does, as valid? So many seem like a joke these days, sometimes I think I could uphold the sacrament better if my mind could treat civil marriage as a sham.

I belive in respecting all persons I come in contact with as human beings, but it just seems silly to recognize many of them as being in some kind of holy union.

I think you’ll see people ice-skating in heck before you see the church any way any how treating a gay civil union as valid.


Lose no sleep over this one. An “annulment” merely declares, after a judicial process of the Church, that a marriage which had the appearance and presumption of validity turned out to be invalid from the very beginning. Here, neither the appearance nor the presumption of validity is afforded to any so called “marriage” between persons of the same sex, even if civilly sanctioned.

Marriage by its nature as instituted by God can only exist between a man and woman according to the constant teaching of the Church. This is a matter not merely of ecclesiastical (Church) law but of divine law. While the state can regulate certain civil effects regarding matrimony, the Church does not recognize any validity to social redefinitions of marriage contrary to divine law.

That marriage is constituted by man and woman is reflected in canon 1055§1, among many other places: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, which is ordered by its nature toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.”

Canon 1096 sets up the presumption that after puberty, people are “not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation and education of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.”

Are there any other American civil marriages, other than legal gay marriages, that the Church does not recognize?

Hmm. I suppose a civil marriage where one party has not had a previous marriage annulled would also be included in this group.

Any others ?

examples, a civil marriage where at least one party is Catholic is not valid in the mind of the Church, a civil marriage where either party has been married before is not valid, because there is an assumption of validity of the first marriage. what I say applies to the US and other countries where marriages witnessed by clergy are legal civilly. In many countries couples must marry civilly in order for their marriage to be recogized by the law, and then marry before the priest.


What do you mean by this:

“examples, a civil marriage where at least one party is Catholic is not valid in the mind of the Church”

Are you claiming that many Catholics are in civil marriages that are not recognized by the church?

She is correct

Once a person is baptized Catholic they are allowed a single Catholic only wedding until death or annulment. Any other use of the term marriage is not allowed in the church for them. If they act as man and wife they are forbidden from the Eucharist and any further Sacraments. Yes it is ironic but correct. Similarly a Catholic has to attend class before marriage to assure both parties understand all aspects of marriage, and their annulment if issued must be based on a failure of understanding the marriage condition prior to marriage ( with a few exceptions )

Any practicing homosexual is also forbidden from the Eucharist and any further Sacraments. -hope that helps

I estimate a third to a half of parents of children in our RE program are married civilly in unions not recognized by the Church, including most of those adults preparing for Confirmation, who will have to arrange for convalidation before they receive the sacrament. Their marriages are invalid due to lack of form.

this thread belongs on Liturgy and Sacraments, no wonder I couldn’t find it.

a civil marriage between two non-Catholics is presumed to be a valid marriage (assuming other conditions for a valid marriage are present, including one man/one woman, no previous marriage, consent, capacity, etc.). If the non-Catholic parties are baptized, it is also presumed to be sacramental.

Is it OK then, if I respect all people as human beings but refrain from recognizing them as validly married? That way, I can uphold expectations for people I know are in true Catholic sacramental marriages. The rest, I can just leave for God to figure out.

Does this seem reasonable?


Are all these parents asked to confess fornication before convalidation?

Sure - just do not exceed the authority God allowed you. Let’s see that includes judging others, granting sacraments, treating your neighbor different than yourself, etc


Are you kidding me?

How would anyone know what is said in the Confessional? Those things are private. :thumbsup:

By the way, I had a convalidation. And yes, I went to Confession before the convalidation. And no, I will not share with you what I said. :rolleyes:


I didn’t ask if they did confess fornication, only if they were asked to.

What is convalidation? I’ve never heard of it. I’d like to ask a question in relation to my own marriage. Is this the right forum to do it or do I need to go somewhere else?

Convalidation is the making of an invalid marriage (not recognized by the Church) into a valid marriage. People often ask questions regarding the validity of their marriages in this forum. Go ahead and make your own thread to do so if you wish. If it’s an extremely complex situation, call the apologist line (619-387-7200) or speak to any trustworthy, orthodox priest.

I tried to post this thread yesterday and didn’t manage it so here goes again. I don’t think this is a complex issue. I was brought up a Jehovahs witness and I became Catholic three years ago. My two sons are being raised Catholic. My husband of 18 years was brought up Protestant but prides himself in being a heathen! neither of us were married before. For obvious reasons we had a civil ceremony. I asked my Parish Priest if I was really married and he said not in the eyes of the Church but a marriage exists. I feel I can never really have the fullfillment of marriage as I have never received it as a sacrament and the only way I would get my husband to a Church is to chain him up like Hannibal Lectre. I would also like to ask if in these circumstances I could divorce. Not that I want to but if I can divorce, does that mean I’m not really married?

If Minkymurph wished to dissolve this relationship wouldn’t a request for an annulment be in order? Or as she suggests, there never was a marriage in the first place and so a civil divorce would be about the same as a civil marriage in the eyes of the Church?


These are not simple and you really should go to a marriage ministry for correct advice.

I do not see any thing in this post that justifies the Priest’s comment? You can annulled or convalidate but you should not do both. If you convalidate you would request a Radical Sanation, this fits your situation if the ministry agrees your marriage needs such. If you annul defect on form is your issue.

To explain further to Texas Roofer. I think what the Priest meant was I was not married in the eyes of the Church as I had never received it as a sacrament however, a legal marriage exist which is not the same as living in sin. When I was married I was not Catholic, did not want to marry in a Kingdom Hall and in any case, it is unlikely they would have let me and my husband is not religious as I said an didn’t want to marry in Churchso the only
wedding possible was a civil one. Now being Catholic, I would like to be married in the eyes of the Church. I’m just a bit afraid as it means I can never walk away. I don’t mean to be selfish it just seems like a big step, but if the Church recognises my marriage then I can’t divorce anyway. Does any of this make sense I may not be explaining it very well?

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