Former Evangelical Husband with Evangelical Wife

My wife and I had a Civil Marriage in June, 2008. I was never married, she was divorced from a marriage by a protestant pastor in a protestant church. When we married at the courthouse, we were both Protestant Evangelical Christians. After researching the Catholic church for several years, I joined the Catholic Church in October of 2010. Unfortunately, my wife remains Protestant and has no interest in the Catholic Church. Her parents are also very Evangelical and do not think highly of the Catholic Church. We have a child and another on the way. Eventually, some decisions on raising those children are going to be very difficult.

My question is “How should I view my marriage, and what steps should I be taking to recieve God’s blessing on my marriage.” In other words, Am I sinning by having relations with my wife becuase a) She’s divorced, b) We weren’t married in the Catholic Church.

What should my concerns be, and where do I go from here?

Dear sportcebu.
Your case is one for the tribunal…
However my understanding is that when you marry as Protestants in a way that is valid for Protestants, and you are both baptised, then you have a valid Sacramental marriage, even if only one of you became Catholic.
However, you are right to be concerned about the previous marriage of your wife… I don’t have an answer about what rules apply for her, because she is not Catholic and as such is not bound by Catholic canon, but at the same time, marriage per se is indissoluble. Did her former husband commit adultery, because then you might have a case… but I am stilll not sure.
Can I ask how you as Evangelicals, in case there was no adultery, justify remarriage which is so clearly condemned by our Lord in Scripture?

you need to speak to the priest who received you into the Church. These questions should have been answered before your confirmation and profession of faith.
Short answer: not enough info.
On the face of it your current marriage is not valid because your wife was not free to marry you in 2008. However, there are so many variables that could affect that judgment you need to give the facts of your individual situation to the priest so he can guide you on what needs to happen next. Ordinarily your wife would have to ask the Catholic Canon Law tribunal to investigate her first marriage to determine if it was valid from its inception (adultery or anything that happened after marriage has no relevance, previous poster is mistaken). If and when she is free to marry you two may have your marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church. I am very sorry somebody dropped the ball before your reception into the Church, but be assured the process of bringing your life into conformity with Christ’s will for you and His Church is an occasion of immense grace, blessing and healing for you and your family.

I know that adultery isn’t a cause for invalidity in Catholic canon law, but according to Protestant traditional belief adultery can dissolve a marriage. The reason why I bring this up is that the Catholic Church actually recognize Orthodox 2nd and 3rd marriages as valid, even if there has been no cases of annulment… and since these previous things happend outside of Catholic Church, something similar might be considered in the case of the OP’s wife… but I am not qualified to answer.

This simply isn’t true.

No, this is not the case.

These topics are very confusing. As one who has just finished RCIA, I can say we were never really had a serious discussion about the state of our marriage during the process. Since RCIA is run by a variety of folks with different norms, it seems like a more reliable method would be to have more frank discussions with the priest before starting RCIA or at least before the Rite of Sending.
For a while I thought my marriage might be invalid and was really bothered by it. Even though it turned out to be sacramental, I still would like to have our marriage blessed or convalidated if it is possible.
I feel for your situation & will say a prayer for you & your wife today. I understand about the whole evangelical thing. We have evangelical friends we used to be in bible studies together who were positively venomous regarding Catholicism.

Did anyone ever tell you your telegram style on CAF is a bit tirering?

Why don’t you say what is the case instead of merely saying what is not the case?

As far as protestant acceptance of divorce, it just depends what you want to believe. I’ve read books that condem it for any reason, allow it only for adultury, and so on. That’s one of the reasons I became Catholic…I didn’t know who’s interpretation was the right one, yet everyone of them claimed to be biblical. The bottom line is that no sin is too great to be forgiven. If God forgives someone for a failed marriage, then it seemed sensible that I should too.

I know I’ll need to find a Priest to discuss this matter with in more detail. But in the mean time;

My wife was married and committed adultery, but then she repented and tried hard to make her marriage work. Eventually, she was forced to get a divorce. She has suffered from her past sin, and has come to forgive herself and accept God’s forgiveness for her failed marriage. (that’s how protestants handle sin)

I met her a few years after her divorce. As a protestant I had no real problem with her divorce. It was a past sin that had been resolved and I felt that it would be wrong to hold her past against her. Neither of us was making a decision against our conscience.

After I became Catholic, I started to look at the sacrament of marriage more closely and started to wonder how my marriage fits into all this.

I agree about a comment that the Priest should have been more concerned about it, but I got the impression that I didn’t need to worry about her past marriage. The fact is, even Priests make mistakes and sometimes teach us incorrectly about the Church’s teaching. It seems like there’s a lot of cleanup to do before I can clear the slate in my life and feel that I’m truly living free of sin. Most people can just go to confession and start from scratch. I feel as if my life is stained until my wife and I have a valid marriage. But what if I find out that our marriage is invalid and can’t be rectified because of something she did in her past? Is it possible that the only way I can truly live holy would be to tell my wife we can no longer sleep together because of her previous marriage? I suspect she would not understand.

Sorry to express so much here. But it helps to get my thoughts out to people who can pray and share their thoughts. Thank you.

Well it might be good to live as brother & sister until this is clarified. With the more detailed description you give of your wife’s first marriage, I bet it might be invalid or she could get an annulment. I know God has an answer for you.
I also have feelings to about wishing I had completely understood the marriage sacrament & received it in the Catholic church. But we must trust God to work these things for good according to his purpose. Keep searching for the answer & what God is revealing during this process.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit