How to persuade my mother?

My mom has suffered a great deal thru the yrs because of my biological dad committing bigamy.

My mom tried speaking to a priest about an annullment in Mexico back in the late 80’s but this priest didn’t believe my bio dad had “cheated” the CC’s system and had actually gotten away with it. He married the other woman in the Church even though he was married to my mom in the Church already. This priest couldn’t accept the fact that his administration didn’t investigate the fact my dad was already married, and accepted a very old baptismal certificate. So he denied my mom the help to petition for an annullment and basically called my mother a liar. She had proof on her hands, but the priest somehow decided to ignore this.

After 10 yrs of living as a single mother, my mom finally met a Catholic man worthy to love. Because he married outside the Church and his wife disappeared and wouldn’t sign the divorce papers, they couldn’t even marry civilly. So they were cohabiting for about 5 years until the court made the divorce official since the wife never appeared. Then they got married civilly. My mom suffered too much during those 10 yrs and the 9 yrs she was married to my father. She fell away from the CC, my guess being that the priest made her feel like garbage when she went to him about the annullment. She took us to Mass once in a while but stopped completely (except for Easter and Christmas).

I spoke to a priest about this, and my grandmother did too, and they both said they’d be more than happy to submit the petition for my mother. I asked once why she would still want to be married in the eyes of the Church to my bio dad, whom was abusive to her and never cared for his children. I told her my stepdad deserved to have that, but her response to me was that God knew who she was really married to, and for sure it wasn’t my bio dad.

So, after a while, she became interested in an annullment, but keeps on putting it off. She hasn’t taken the first step yet (to speak to a priest about it). When I confront her about this, now that she’s considering it, she tells me she doesn’t know if they’ll annull the marriage since she lost the proof of my dad’s 2nd Church marriage. She has the civil papers of his marriage to the other woman, and she has the divorce papers that are dated a year and months later. I tell her that should be enough paper proof. She has many people she could use as witnesses. Even my bio dad’s daughter is saying she can get us people from Mexico who were in the wedding. I somewhat have contact with my bio dad’s brother and mother, so they could testify too. My bio dad’s intentions for marriage weren’t even that of a Catholic person. My mom knows he cheated even before they married.

Even though my mom doesn’t go to Mass, she has never stopped believing in God, and she always says that He is the one who helped her get thru all of the pain and suffering, and He helped her succeed and pull thru for her 3 kids.

How can I try to persuade my mom so she will speak to a priest about an annullment? She went to Catholic schools from kindergarden to college (until she married my bio dad… she left college to marry him, he promised she could study in Mexico, but after they married, he never allowed it). My mom is a great woman. She has given to the poor, she has helped so many, she has a huge heart.

I mean, wouldn’t it be a great thing for her and for my dad (stepdad)? Yes, my mom has committed sins, made many mistakes and what not, but she’s a good woman, but she seems afraid of a priest turning her away just as the one in Mexico did. How can I explain to her that being married in the CC is going to be the best for the 2 of them?

I’m going to ask that I don’t get ill-spirited comments about my mom being married to my stepdad, or how she did wrong for cohabiting. All I’m asking is how to let her know it’s going to be alright and it’s going to be the greatest thing for their souls and peace of mind. Thanks!

You cannot convince her, you can just keep gently nudging her and pray about it.

BUT, I caution you that if she isn’t ready to submit to the outcome of the tribunal then she isn’t ready.

Your father’s bigamy invalidates his second marriage-- not his marriage to your mother. The investigation would have to determine if a valid marriage occurred between your mother and father. And, although your mother “feels” it wasn’t valid, feelings about the marriage do not make it invalid.

It might very well be valid.

And, of course, your stepdad will also have to have his prior marriage examined and declared null before the situation will be totally resolved and the way cleared for convalidation. His marriage might be found valid even if hers isn’t.

Thanks 1ke. There are many more things I didn’t mention that for sure would make it invalid (such as promises he made that he didn’t keep, among many others), but the Tribunal has the last word.

His marriage might be found valid even if hers isn’t.

My stepdad’s Catholic and was Catholic at the time of his civil marriage to the non-Catholic woman he married and he received no dispensations for marrying a non-Catholic or marrying outside of the Church. So, his is most definitely invalid.

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