I will make this as short as possible.
My husband and I are married for 18years and have 6 children. He is a cradle Catholic but only for the big things (baptism, First Communion, etc.) I was baptized as a teenager and have always been active Christian, but protestant. Since we’ve been married, we’ve raised our kids as protestant Christian and have always had a God centered marriage and family.
This past fall, I listened to the call I’ve heard for years to come home, to the one true Church. My husband is thrilled and was surprised at how much he realized he missed it when we attended our first mass together. I’m in RCIA and continue to learn and grow in my faith. I don’t really struggle with the difference in doctrines because I never felt “right” in my protestant denominations. I’ve fully accepted the teachings of the Catholic Church and look forward to mass each week.
So where’s the problem, right? Well, my husband was married briefly over 20 years ago before we met (to a Catholic in a Catholic Church). The marriage was a disaster for many reasons. But the main issue was kids. She didn’t want any, couldn’t stand them actually. He made the choice to marry her rather than be alone so they both lied to the priest and said they were open to kids when they knew they weren’t. He had only been confirmed a month before in a super liberal parish, so he did not realize how big of a deal it really was to lie about it (beyond the obvious sin of lying. And to a priest :tsktsk:) Later, long after the divorce, he said he thought thought he could change her mind someday, though he knew that he was now lying to himself. She’s since been married and divorced at least once and has no children, not even step children. So he has applied for a decree of nullity, it’s been accepted, witnesses have sent in their statements, no idea if she has responded because our priest travels frequently and he’s the advocate, all communication goes through him.
I understand the process, am fine with allowing it to happen as it happens, etc. However, I am now aware, after 6 months of RCIA, that I am not allowed to be confirmed until if/when an affirmative decree of nullity is given. No confirmation also means I am forbidden communion, confession and Anointing of the sick (the last of which is a very urgent need right now). And we thought my husband was also forbidden. Until today when the other priest said that my husband can return to full communion by making a good confession and vowing to live chastely with me. We don’t have to separate because we have several young children and I don’t work because I’m in renal failure with a serious critical issue pending.
My question is : How is my husband allowed to return to full grace in the church and with God just by making a confession and a vow to live as brother and sister with me? But I, also a baptized Christian who has made her intentions regarding the Catholic Church very clear, not only forbidden any sacraments but in even being confirmed. All because of something that happened long ago when I didn’t even know the people involved, and I wasn’t even Catholic nor did I have any idea what the rules were when I married my husband. In my heart and mind, I was doing everything the right way according to my moral belief I had learned in my Christian life. We were chaste before marriage, didn’t live together until after our ceremony, we had children, didn’t abort or contracept, keep God first, etc. What am I not understanding? Why am I punished (for lack of a better word) when it’s not my former marriage being annulled. My sin was marriage to a person who the church says wasn’t eligible for marriage, I know that now, 18 years later. But why am I not also allowed to go to confession? Why can’t I agree to live chastely so I may be confirmed?
Did I answer the call to come home too early? My husband feels awful because he sees his mistake from long ago causing suffering for us both. Please be kind when responding, this is really, really upsetting, confusing and distressing to me, both spiritually and physically. I just don’t understand.