I'm a Catholic married outside of the Church to a Hindu; what should I do?

Hello everyone,

I am in a rather sad predicament and need some guidance/information.

I am a baptized catholic who married a non baptized hindu woman in secret civil ceremony two and half years ago.

Unfortunately, we have been having some seemingly insurmountable problems, mainly due to significant cultural differences and expectations. I also feel she has been extremely emotionally and verbally abusive to me over a long period of time, which has in essence ‘killed’ the love from my side.

We have tried marriage counseling with two different therapists and implemented a number of other strategies, yet nothing seems to be able to undo the hurt and solve our current issues. I really feel the only solution is for us to separate and start over.

I am been previously advised by one of the apologists on this site that the Catholic Church would not recognise my marriage as valid, and therefore, would not be opposed to me instigating a civil divorce. However, I just have a couple more questions and would be very grateful if someone could answer them for me.

  1. I realise I made a big mistake in marrying this woman, however, I want to know for sure what God would want me to do in this situation? I want to make God happy. Would God be totally fine with me getting a civil divorce and then remarrying another woman in the future? Or would he prefer me to stay with my current wife no matter what?

  2. I have been doing quite of bit of reading about being married to a non believer. From what I can gather Paul taught that the believer was not to leave his/her (unbelieving) spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10; cf. vss. 12,13). I a bit confused with this… Does he mean we should stay in an invalid marriage unless the unbeliever leaves us? Have I committed a sin marrying this woman? Am I committing a sin staying with her?

Please let me know your thoughts

Kind regards,

Ricky

Dear friend,

Since the Church does not recognize your current marriage as valid, your having marital relations with a woman to whom you are not validly married has been mortally sinful—at least objectively. Up until now, it seems that you did not know this. But now you do. So you must separate. God does not want anyone to live in sin. You can be sure that God does not want you to remain in a sinful marital situation.

I suggest that you talk this over with your parish priest. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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