I need help & clarification - Please

I was baptized in the Catholic Church as a young child. Shortly after, my parents fell away from the church and we never attended Mass; therefore the only sacrament I have received was Baptism. (2 of my older siblings made it though their First Holy Communions.) I have been attending Mass off and on for the past 15+ years with my Catholic husband. I know that I need to go through the RCIA classes to fulfill the requirements to become a confirmed Catholic. My first question is: my husband has been married twice before (only the first marriage in the Catholic Church) and has never sought an annulment. Can I become confirmed if I am “committing adultery” by living with my husband? My second question: I also was married (civilly) previously, do I need an annulment for that marriage? My third question: If I become confirmed (and my husband does not pursue an annulment) can I receive the Eucharist? One of the reasons I don’t attend Mass regularly is that I feel cheated that I can not participate in the Eucharist - which is, to me, the main purpose of attending Mass. I guess my primary question is: if I can’t become a “full” Catholic and participate in the Eucharist, can I even attend RCIA classes and become confirmed - would there be a point to it? Also, how do you do a first confession that covers 40 years?!

kristina40,

Wow, lots of questions. Let me start by saying that all previous marriages must be examined by the Church to determine their validity, starting with the earliest marriages and working towards the most current. This would apply to both of you. The details of this would need to be worked out with a priest or deacon in your parish. This process is needed before any sacrament can be conferred so it would need to take place before you could be confirmed or make your first communion.

Since that is the starting point, it really makes no sense to address any other questions until the marriage issue has been resolved. You are, of course, free (and welcome) to continue attending Mass and participating as fully as possible without receiving communion.

Deacon Ed

Welcome to the forums.

There is a huge misconception that receiving Holy Communion is the end all and be all of the Mass. While receiving Our Lord is certainly important, that, in and of itself, does not fulfill the obligation. The main point of assisting at Mass is to witness and participate in the Holy Sacrifice, watching Jesus die in front of us. During Mass, we are made present at his Sacrifice on Calvary, thus, we are just as much there as were the Blessed Mother and Sts. John and Mary Magdalene. The Mass is not just about the faithful receiving Holy Communion. It is about offering God the praise and worship that is due Him under the Third Commandment. It is also a precept of the Church and a mortal sin to miss Mass.

My late paternal grandmother, while not in exactly the same situation as you, was involved in an invalid marriage after her divorce from my grandpa. However, even though her situation was wrong, that never stopped her from assisting at Mass. In fact, she reared my dad and his half-sister to attend Sunday Mass and receive their sacraments. It was my grandma, interestingly enough, who taught me the importance of assisting at Holy Week services. Even though she could not receive Holy Communion, she made it a point never to miss Holy Week. She finally got her annulment when I was 14 years old and surprised me by going to receive Holy Communion during my 8th grade graduation Mass. And yes, it had been some 40+ years since she had last received Our Lord.

Regarding your situation, even though I am not a canon lawyer (there are many respected ones who do participate in these forums), your husband would have to get an annulment from his first marriage. Yours might be a little easier to fix since a civil marriage contracted by a baptized Catholic is defective due to lack of form. Unfortunately, until your husband’s situation is cleared, you cannot receive the rest of the Sacraments of Initiation. Receiving Holy Communion already presupposes that the communicant is not in a state of mortal (serious) sin. Unfortunately, because you are in an invalid marriage, that is, in and of itself, a serious sin. Even if you were to go to Confession, there may not be that firm purpose of amendment that is required because you are still in an invalid marriage.

The best advice is to talk to your pastor about this situation.

Hi Kristina,
My advice to you would be to go talk to your Priest about all this. He can point you in the direction you need to go much better than any of us on these forums.

From my experience and understanding, I’ll give it a shot… just don’t take my word as gospel! :wink:

  1. Yes your husband needs to seek an annulment. Can you become confirmed? I don’t know.

  2. You probably need to seek an annulment as well. I had to because I had been married in a civil marriage to a fellow Mormon… I was Mormon too at the time.

  3. I don’t know. My husband and I were married civilly while waiting for the annulment (he is and always has been Catholic) He could not receive communion during that time because I wasn’t Catholic and we were married civilly. After we were married in the church a year later, he could again receive the Eucharist.

As for confession with 40 + years? Father Corapi has many stories, his own and his father’s who made a good confession with many years behind them. My first confession was when I was 35 and I sure had a lot of stuff to go through, but I also had a very patient Priest who understood that I wanted to get this all off my chest. In the end, it was so freeing to be able to do it.

God bless you in your journey! Know that all these things that we have to go through to do it the way the Church want us to are not roadblocks set up to make it difficult. They’re stepping stones to help us be molded to the will of God! Each little stone has a reason and they only draw us closer to Him.

in Christ
Steph

First off you are already Catholic, so you don’t need to go through RCIA. You are a returning Catholic in need of Confirmation preparation. Yes, both your partners marriages will need Annulment processes, as well as your prior attempt at Marriage.

You would not be able to be Confirmed or receive the Eucharist in the present state you are in. Your Marriage would need to be recognized by the Chruch first. What would be the point in getting this resolved? Eternal Life!

:wave: Welcome, Kristina
and I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Regards, Trishie

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