I came to him almost 5 years ago to have my son baptized and join the church since I just moved to the community. My husband is not Catholic and Father was actually cruel when speaking about him and our marriage. He told me I cannot have my children baptized in his church, nor can I take communion. Is this reasonable? I feel so hurt. I cannot go to church without bursting into tears when it is time to go up for communion. I told him this and he was very cold to me. I tried to introduce him to my children and he turned his nose up at them like they were scum. He asked me to give him money to send to the Archdiocese in the nearest city to “clear up” the matter so I could get communion. I think something is wrong with this man. Am I being too sensitive, paranoid or is something in the milk unclean? I stopped going to church just because of Father Brian and I feel horrible about it. Church is not supposed to make you feel horrible. It’s supposed to uplift you and make you feel good. This is just not right, is it?
Send a letter to the Bishop, mixed marriages aren’t ideal but denying communion over them isn’t right afaik. My great-grandmother married a Lutheran and she was conservative as heck, said rosaries all the time, prayed her whole life for her husband’s conversion, had eight kids, went to daily mass, etc.
Asking money? Sounds like blatant simony to me, but maybe I misunderstand.
He actually asked for a check for around $150 to basically declair my marriage invalid since my husband isn’t Catholic. That seems horrid to me so I refused. He won’t talk to me anymore. I get an unclean vibe from him and he is extremely cold to me.
I agree that the priest should by no means look down on or be rude or unkind to you, husband or children, no matter what your circumstances. That is flat-out wrong.
Having said that, there appears to be more to this situation than you have told us. For example, did you marry outside the Church? Even if your husband is not bound by Church law, you as a Catholic most certainly are, and it requires that you be married by a Catholic minister even if your husband isn’t Catholic. For you to marry outside the Church, without permission beforehand from the Bishop, makes the marriage invalid - not a sacrament. And to have a relationship with someone who you are not validly married to is - to be blunt - fornication. A sin.
Or perhaps one of you had an existing marriage at the time you married. If there is a living ex-husband or ex-wife in the situation, that former marriage is normally presumed to be valid - a true marriage in the eyes of God. And you two were not free to marry if one of you is already married in this way. And having a relationship with someone when you are already married to someone else is - to be blunt again - adultery.
The Church can’t and doesn’t condone either fornication or adultery - not in any circumstances! A priest would be doing wrong if he let you think there was no problem with your marriage when there is a serious problem - ie it isn’t a valid or sacramental marriage. For him to ignore the situation leaves your soul at risk, like if he failed to warn you there was a cliff ahead of you and just let you fall over.
But it does seem he didn’t explain very well at all. When a diocese investigates a marriage, that takes plenty of time and work on the part of its staff. They have a right to ask a fee to cover the resources they use, like any other tribunal or court does. People pay a fee to get divorced by the courts of the land - even if they don’t use lawyers. It’s only right that, if possible, you extend the same courtesy to those who would be doing you at least an equally great service.
HOWEVER, your priest doesn’t seem to have told you that there are arrangements that can be made for you if you are in genuine financial need. You can pay the fee off slowly, over time, or perhaps arrange that you aren’t charged a fee at all if need be. You’re not going to be forced to pay if you genuinely can’t afford to.
Sounds like this may be a big misunderstanding on all sides.
Were you married in the Church or with the proper dispensation?
If not, then your marriage is invalid. That may be what the priest referred to. Not to panic or get upset. If this is the situation, you can get your marriage convalidated. The fee he mentioned was likely not to have your marriage declared invalid but to add validity to your civil marriage. An investigation is necesarry but it is mostly paperwork as long as your husband and you were both free to marry (not previously married).
If you are in an invalid marriage, you should not receive Communion until you have your marriage “blessed”. It is not because of marrying a non-Catholic but because of not being in a valid marriage.
The priest can’t deny the Sacrament of Baptism to your children as long as there is a reasonable assurance that you will be raising them Catholic. He can, however, delay the Sacrament for good reason. Is there some reason he might have reservations about you raising them in the Church?
How old are your children? If they are older than the age of reason (appoximatelly age 7) you usually don’t just get them baptized. They would go to RCIC or some similar program to receive the Sacraments.
Your priest may be a bit lacking in tact. Maybe you can try speaking to someone in the parish office. Good luck.
For my husband, this was his first marraige.
I was married before but the man beat me severely before and while I was pregnant with his child. I was hospitilized and almost lost the child due to the severity of the beatings I recieved from my husband. He broke my jaw, my arm, several ribs…you get the picture.
When I remarried Father told me I had to pay to have this first marriage erased. This did not seem right to me since I suffered so terribly with my first “husband” but he was unmovable.
I am not the type to just give up on marriage. It is a holy union and involves God as much as my mate. I had no choice but to leave my first marriage. He would have killed me and our child. He almost did and promised he would as I finally left.
Why do I have to suffer the indignity of being denied communion because my first husband beat me half to death? Why do I have to send a check in to have that marriage nullified? Why does it even matter?
After years of coming to church why does he still doubt my faith? Why won’t he baptize my children?
I have been so devout my whole life but this shakes me hard.
A marriage lasts until one person dies. It does not end, because it is a permanent contract and vow by two people before God. He made marriage that way, we do not have the ability to change it.
So even if your ex because Adolf Hitler, you’re still married to your ex in God’s eyes, unless the marriage itself never existed in the first place.
Certain deceptions and other impediments can render a marriage that was presumed to exist at one time actually one that was null and void.
If he was Adolf in disguise before the marriage, then it’s quite possible the marriage was never valid in God’s eyes in the first place. But it is in fact possible to even marry Adolf too. And God help you if you did…
This fellow does sound truly awful and there’s high hope for you. Nevertheless…
There are some good documents on what makes a marriage valid or not out there. A marriage tribunal, if it is a good one, bases its understanding of marriage on what the Lord has revealed to the Church and helps you to find out whether it was or not a true and permanent marriage.
It takes time and effort to sit on a marriage tribunal and work with people who are not happy to see you and only complain to you about having to be there rather than being grateful you’re willing to give your time to help them out of a mess they themselves got themselves into. So treat them nicely and realize this. Would you want to be in their shoes?
You should however pursue this understanding yourself as it matters to your soul more than anyone else’s that you get the answer right. And if your marriage in the past was valid, that is that and you should accept it because that is God’s law. It is His will, so embrace it however hard it is for the best. If it is not valid, embrace that too and it will be for the best. Either way, whatever God wills is what is best.
Don’t decide that your marriage in the past wasn’t real because you feel you don’t want it to be. Decide based on what God’s laws about marriage are, because that is the truth and what is best for you.
Many saints have had marriages to people who were not very good, and were mistakes to marry. But because the marriages were true marriages, that was it. They were married and that was that. St. Monica had a marriage like that… and she saved her terrible husband’s soul and had a saint for a child. That’s something that lasts forever.
Some people have to remain separated from a bad husband or wife till they die because of circumstances like yours, yet still bound in the sacramental bounds of marriage.
We only have one life, it doesn’t last forever on this earth, some decisions are permanent and we have to live with.
This isn’t a message that can be easy to accept, far from it… but it is the truth. God bless you I pray!
You were right to leave your first marriage. This sounds like the only sane choice in the situation you describe. But leaving your husband does not end the marriage. I don’t know if you were married the first time in the Church but I am sure you had to file some paperwork to get a civil divorce. That paperwork likely cost some money. If you were married in the Church, you disolved the civil marriage but did not address the Sacramental marriage, so you were not free to marry your current husband. If you were not married in the Church (1st marriage) you just need a declaration that that marriage was not Sacramental and you would then be free to marry. $150 is a small fraction of the actual cost involved.
No one is saying that you should have stayed in an abusive relationship.
No one doubts your faith. But as a Catholic, you agree to abide with the laws of the Church. By marrying your current husband outside the Church, you have broken that agreement. This is very fixable but it isn’t automatic.
If you have lived in this invalid marriage for some time, the priest may have reservations that you truly intend to bring the children up in the faith. You said you recently joined this parish. That means that the priest doesn’t know you or your situation well.
Again, I am sorry the priest was rude and that your feelings were hurt. I suggest you call the diocese directly and see if someone there with more experience can help you.
The payment is to off set the cost of the work involved for the annulment you clearly deserve. I’m sorry he is being rude to you, that is out of line. But the annulment process requires time and paperwork and needs to be done officially and recorded so your present marriage can be convalidated.
You aren’t being denied communion because your ex beat you, you are being denied it because you married outside the Church and without having gone through the process of getting the annulment. If you just go through the annulment process, and your first marriage is declared invalid ( which I can’t see why it wouldn’t be) and then have your present marriage convalidated and go to confession you can take communion again.
No one is trying to be punitive, really. It’s just things need to be done the approved way in the Church. Basically they are just expecting you to do now, what you should have done before.
without knowing both sides of the story, or all the details of your personal situation it is hard to comment but it sounds like a horrible mis-communication. The marriage tribunal will not even look at a marriage that is still intact to declare it invalid, if you are talking about annulment. It sounds much more like he was suggesting that convalidate your marriage, and he went about the explanation the wrong way, since you did not get the message.
It seems as if he is under the assumption that you married your non-Catholic husband without a dispensation, and that when you did not go along with convalidation he further assumed you had no intention in following Church laws, and that you therefore could not give assurance that you would raise your child Catholic. If that had been true he could have been justified in delaying (not denying) baptism until you gave him evidence that you did in fact intend to do so.
A lot of time has elapsed, but maybe it would clear the decks if you asked him about starting over on the right foot and explained your situation more clearly so he understands better, and give him the benefit of the doubt that he will act more charitably when he knows the true state of affairs. He probably is lacking some social graces and pastoral manner in dealing with people, and you could be doing him and the parish a service if you remind him of that.
Ah I see when reading further that you did not give the whole story in your first post, and in fact the priest was just giving you the honest facts about dealing with your first marriage. Why could you not in the first place have simply asked him to give you a fuller explanation if what he was saying did not sound right, instead of getting angry 5 years later? If you did not give the priest any more info than you gave here, he can be forgiven for misjudging you. It sounds as if unfortunately he did not have a chance to explain the full implications of marriage and annulment to you, and you still have a lot of misinformation.
Why not visit the sacraments forum and search under annulment, because a lot of those threads are from people with similar situations, and may be helpful at least in getting the general facts right about annulment and marriage.
You’re not being denied because of your first husband, but because of your current one. It was fine and proper for you to leave your first mhusband, it was not, it seems, fine and proper to remarry without having the first marriage annulled.
Did you not get a legal divorce from your first husband before you remarried? You recognised the necessity of the state and government dissolving your first marriage and declaring you free to marry in a legal sense? Even though he mistreated you (for which you have my unending sympathy - and the Church’s)? Did you say ‘he beat me - that means it wasn’t a marriage in the eyes of the state and I don’t need the state to intervene before I remarry’?
You know and accept that your first marriage was LEGALLY binding, in the eyes of the state, even after your husband started abusing you, it seems. It’s not illogical to think that God, like the state, doesn’t necessarily view a marriage as being over just because the parties do.
Why do I have to send a check in to have that marriage nullified? Why does it even matter?
Because a marriage is between THREE parties - you, your ex-husband and God. Whatever your ex-husband said or did doesn’t necessarily dissolve the sacramental bond in the eyes of God, who is the third party to your marriage, any more than it automatically dissolved your legal bond to your ex.
It matters because, simply, what God thinks about marriage, what He teaches us about it through the Church, matters far more than what your ex-husband, or you or I or anyone else, thinks about it.
Zoe, it is very sad that you suffered in your first marriage.
'I’m sorry that people perhaps did not explain clearly exactly what an annulment (or decree of nullity) is to you. As I have gone through the process, perhaps I can help.
What the decree of nullity involves is having a tribunal of experts looking over and assessing your marriage (and you will have paperwork to fill out and witnesses that you may offer and, no, you do not have to personally see or contact your exhusband and no, he will not get to ‘see’ what you wrote about him and vice versa, and NO, your children will not be illegitimate) **at the time that you actually stood up to make the vows of marriage and before.
**IOW, what is being examined is whether or not you, your exhusband, or both, were capable of fully understanding the nature of marriage, or capable of giving full, free consent.
As an example, suppose a man went into marriage with the idea that, if he ever ‘stopped loving’, he could just walk out. Well, marriage is for life. obviously, he doesn’t understand that, he hasn’t accepted it and he hasn’t consented to it. It is very possible that this. . .right at the START of the marriage. . .made the marriage not valid.
It’s not saying the marriage never happened, or erasing it. . .it’s saying that while one (or both) parties entered the marriage in good faith, for some good, sufficient reason one (or both) simply were not able to understand/give consent to the marriage. The marriage (civil) was legal and entered in good faith, but it was not, is not, and could not be a valid sacramental marriage.
But it takes time and effort to examine these things. That is what the ‘cost’ is for, and if you truly cannot pay you will not be denied.
So what needs to be done in order for you to live in a valid sacramental marriage with your current husband is to see if there was a reason you and your first husband could not have validly been able to engage in a marriage. I know that, like you, I went into marriage ‘for keeps’ and struggled through abuse. It was not the abuse itself that ‘invalidated’ the marriage, it was the state of mind in one party at the start of the marriage (which later, of course, produced the abuse) that made the marriage invalid.
Please do remember that as a Catholic Christian, we are obligated to follow through on Catholic teaching, even the hard ones. Now I myself did not remarry after my divorce. . .but you did. So the current situation you’re in is something that you do have some responsibility for. It’s not like the Church is smacking you down; you did and do have an obligation to follow Church law. After your divorce you should have sought the decree of nullity before ever marrying; as it stands, you are still presumed validly married to your first husband though civilly divorced.
Hard as it is to be in the situation and tempting as it is to put all the blame onto ‘stupid unfeeling priests’ and ‘silly rules’, the fact is, like anything else, rules and laws exist for a reason. If you break a rule/law, there is a consequence. Suppose you’re speeding and run a red light, you can rant that it is stupid to have the light there, that the speed limit is too slow. . .but you’re still going to pay a fine. If you divorce and then civilly marry without seeking an annulment, you are breaking God’s law, and the consequence is that until you stop breaking that law, you (and NOT the Church) have put yourself into the position of not being able to participate fully. I do hope that you are able to secure the decree, and then to convalidate your marriage and to have a long and happy life with your husband and family.
Your priest may be cold and all, but try to see his point of view even if you think he isn’t seeing yours; he is telling you what you need to do in order to ‘get what you want’ which is full participation in your faith. You don’t want to hear that you have to do X and Y, but again, it was your decision to remarry before seeking a decree of nullity that is keeping you from participation -it is not ‘The Church’ that is keeping you away.
You aren’t being denied communion because of your ex husband’s bad deeds, but because of your own choice to disregard the Church’s clear teaching and to marry outside the Church. That choice of yours, not your ex husband’s abuse, is the reason you cannot yet participate --and it will be a choice of yours. . .to seek the decree that you need before you can indeed be validly married. . .that would one day bring you back to participation. Sadly, you can also make the choice to ignore this and to continue ‘outside’. But let’s be clear; it is you who are denying yourself; it is not the Church, or your ex-husband, who is denying you ‘participation.’
I hope you pressed charges and he has been prosecuted for this criminal act! Prayers that you are fully healed.
Why do I have to suffer the indignity of being denied communion because my first husband beat me half to death?
You are denied communion because you attempted a second marriage. One can only be married to one person. Until you know you were not validly married, you should not have started dating.
Now, it is time to refrain from sex until your marriage issues are sorted out.
Why do I have to send a check in to have that marriage nullified? Why does it even matter?
The check is to cover a very small part of the investigation to see if your marriage was valid. The Church cannot “nullify” any valid marriage.
It matters if you want to be married to the man you are living with now, it matters if you want to be out of moral sin and able to recieve the Eucharist again.
It matters. Begin the paperwork.
After years of coming to church why does he still doubt my faith? Why won’t he baptize my children?
I have been so devout my whole life but this shakes me hard.
You were willing to attempt a second marriage outside the Church. Right now, you are not a practicing Catholic.
If your children are under age 7 Fr will not baptize them until he knows they will be raised in the Faith. Get your marriage issues settled, begin practicing again, then, your young children may be baptized.
If they are over 7, it will have to be their own decision to be baptized.
Pray, get your marriage in order, stop having relations until this is sorted out. You man or may not be able to marry the man you are living with, take it one step at a time.
It is important because it clearly matters to you. Speak to the diocese regarding resolving this matter directly. If they ask why you aren’t talking to your local priest, explain the situation to them. I feel they can guide you better than any of us here on a way to resolve this for you, and I can assure you that they can and will help you resolve this matter. It is a process, not “a snap of the fingers” because it is a serious matter and deserves proper attention and response. We pay lawyers and Judges to end civil marriages but balk at considering that there might be expenses involved in sacramentally dissolving a valid marriage. I’m not sure that’s fair or reasonable. In the end, I think you will be happy you pursued this. You are not the only one who has gone through this, and unfortunately you will not the last one.
Zoe, first of all, let me say I am very sorry for all you have suffered. There is NO excuse whatsoever for what your first husband did to you. Nor was it God’s will that you should be abused like that.
That being said, why do you think it would not be appropriate to seek an annulment of that marriage? I take it you feel that it is not fair to expect YOU to “pay” to have your first marriage “erased” when it was not your fault that the marriage failed. However, this is not a matter of making you pay some kind of tax or fine – it’s a matter of making sure that the people who put many hours, days, months, and sometimes years into processing annulments are fairly compensated for their time and effort. Hence dioceses do normally charge a fee to cover at least part of the costs involved. However, the fee can be reduced or waived in cases of financial hardship.
You don’t say whether or not you and your first husband were married in the Church. If you were not, the annulment process should be relatively uncomplicated, and would consist primarily of submitting documents proving that you are Catholic and that your first wedding didn’t take place before a priest or deacon. If you were married in the Church, a more formal process of proving grounds for an annulment will be needed. Your husband’s history of abuse (particularly if it began before your wedding or shortly afterward) would, in that case, probably be cited as evidence that he lacked the capacity to make a genuine marriage commitment.
If your pastor is not being helpful, I suggest you contact your diocesan tribunal or marriage/family life office directly and explain your situation. They may be better able to explain the process involved and address any concerns you might have.
I understand all that has been said here, I did go to Catholic School after all. I just cannot believe some of the “rules”. They seem indignant and never applied to me as a 17 year old school girl. I ignored some of them with the idea that the priest would just be “nice” and “reasonable” and let me have a pass since I was so very young when I got married. He started to beat me before the ink was dry, and I felt like I had to prove I wasn’t wrong or mistaken to marry so young. I thought that the pregnancy would slow down the abuse but it got worse. After the baby was born he beat me violently about the head until I fell unconscious to the floor with my infant son in my arms. That was the day I decided I must leave him.
I just did NOT think that should cost ME money and time. It was his sin. I still don’t.
I remarried when I was 27 (long time) and now suddenly my husband is against everything Catholic. He said it did nothing but hurt me psychologically and since he is not Catholic he doesn’t want our kids baptized in the church. I have argued with him about this for years and he had agreed, but now he decided he doesn’t want it because he disagrees with too many Catholic teachings.
As if I have not been through enough. I am heartbroken. I really don’t know what my next step is here.
This all came up because I brought up my thread here and my thoughts on Father Brian. If I’d known, I’d have kept my mouth shut.
Only because I discussed it with him, not all of you. I appreciate your feedback so very much.
Report him to the bishop IMMEDIATELY. What the priest is doing is immoral and disgusting. Tell the bishop EVERYTHING in a charitable manner.
I’ve known plenty of priests with bad personalities… I must admit.
Some good, some better, some bad.
One of the fellows was a diabetic, and so when he was low on blood sugar he would bite the heads off of whoever he encountered. Otherwise, great priest, great mind – but that blood sugar issue… he scared quite a few people. Even little old ladies.
Another fellow I know always tells you he’ll call you back. He never calls you back, or if he does its many days after he said he would and after you’ve run him down.
You figure out how to deal with him faster or slower. If you want him, you have to go hunting.
Honestly, personality issues with priests bother me very little, I care whether they are fully faithful to the Church or not. If he’s a monster in the confessional (haven’t meant one of these yet) there’s always the other parish for that a few more minutes away.
The other -Catholic- parish. One Church of God… lots of parishes.
This is wrong? I thought I was supposed to send money to the Archdiocese for this kind of thing…are you sure it’s wrong?
He means he wants you to report the behavior I think… which I would say is your call if it rises to that level or not really.
Everyone’s human and we have to think about what’s best in the long run too for good relations as well as short.