How do we make some sense out of this marriage confusion?

I have begun the annulment process for my first marriage.

My “forever” husband and I were married 8 years ago, in an Episcopalian rite.

He is a “cradle Catholic” who fell away before his confirmation. I was, until recently, a “non-denominational,” non-churchgoing Protestant, but was baptized correctly. We are going to attend the RCIA classes this fall. I had thought this was necessary for me to be confirmed. Reading this forum has told me that it is not.

Our priest has told me that, as long as we are not confirmed yet, we are not living in sin, since our civil marriage is valid.

Help - I’m confused. Is our priest right?

More importantly, is it sinful to delay being confirmed until my first marriage is annulled? (assuming we meet the requirements otherwise.)

Thank you; you are in my prayers.

Ruthie, coming home

Dear Ruthie,

Since your husband is a baptized Catholic, his attempt to marry outside of the Catholic Church renders the marriage invalid. The only way it could be considered valid is if he had formally renounced the Catholic Church. One can accomplish this by formally embracing another church. But simply beginning to attend services in another church is not considered a formal embracing of that church and all that it teaches. If your marriage is not valid, then living as husband and wife is seriously sinful.

Attending the RCIA or better, some classes designed specifically for people who are already baptized is very necessary. You ought to get going on this. However, the most important matter for you is to get your former marriage annulled so that you can have your present marriage convalidated (blessed) by the Catholic Church. Then you can make your profession of faith and be confirmed.

This explanation in not merely my opinion. It is what the Catholic Church teaches. If you want confirmation of this, just contact the marriage tribunal at your Catholic diocese. You are both in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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