Husband’s unannulled first marriage

I don’t suppose his first wife is Catholic? If not, then yes, it appears he will need a formal nullity case.

And as others have pointed out, you are already Catholic. :blush:

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I’ll ping @acanonlawyer Dan here.

Uncooperative putative spouses are not unheard of, and I think there are avenues for the husband obtaining an anullment without his involvement. However, I am not a canon lawyer. Maybe even a radical sanation may be factored in but I don’t know for sure.

Why would the OP situation would prevent her to join the Catholic Church?

To participate fully in the sacramental life, maybe, but to bring her outside the Church? Urg?

OP, you have said that you have been baptized catholic, so you are Catholic.

In my former parish, we had a lady very implicated in the Church’s leadership and who was baptized as an adult whereas she has a child and lived with a (probably) non-Catholic man without being married.

If she were a (baptized) Protestant seeking full communion, she would be received into the Church, confirmed, and communed. Prior to that, she would go to first confession. She’s already stated she is not planning to live in continence, therefore she cannot receive any of the aforementioned sacraments at this time.

Although she could be received only, it’s atypical and pastors are reluctant to do that while an irregular marriage situation is pending— many times a person will leave the Church if their situation cannot be resolved to their satisfaction. And that has its own issues when the person has already been permanently bound to the Church.

But, none of the above applies to the OP. As she was baptized Catholic as a baby, she’s not a convert— she’s already a Catholic. She cannot complete the sacraments of initiation until her marriage situation is sorted out.

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I would encourage you to get a copy of the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster. Have your husband read it too, if he will.

You are a Catholic already, so you do have an obligation to attend mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

Provided that I am correctly understanding the situation at hand, I would have to disagree on both points. Due to my self-imposed rule of not commenting here on real-life cases, that is all I will say.


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Introduce him to the works of Dr. Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodi, and Dr. David Anders who are all former Presbyterian ministers or scholars.

To be blunt, submitting to his leadership does not apply if it is not a valid marriage. If he is not willing to take the necessary steps to make your union lawful, you owe no obedience. I only bring this up because you allude to it in your post.

The Church demands that as a Catholic you go to Mass every Sunday and every feast of obligation. But you may not take communion if you are living with a man whom the Church considers still to be married.

Whether that is the case requires a canon lawyer.

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