The pertinent facts: I was raised in a Protestant church. I was married for 10 years and divorced. My wife was married and divorced also. Neither of us were married in a church. I was helped out of a bad situation when I was very young by a man who was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and I always had it in the back of my mind, I’d look into the Catholic Church someday. My current wife and I had been married for several years and one day talking to a guy who was working on my house, the topic came up about the Catholic church where he was a member. I told him at one time I’d been interested in joining but since my wife and I had been through divorces, I figured that option was out. He told me to go to the local priest and talk with him. After talking to the priest we both applied for an annulment through the church tribunal. Mine went through, but my wife’s ex-husband wouldn’t fill out the papers, so she hers was denied. Meanwhile before we applied for the annulments, we took instructions. The young priest felt that since he couldn’t see any reason for our annulment applications to be denied, he baptized both my wife and I, plus our 4 children. We attended Mass regularly and even went to confession. After we found out that my wife’s annulment was denied, I went to see the current priest who replaced the one who baptized us. I explained the situation and he said we were now living in sin, and couldn’t receive any sacraments of the church. With no way to resolve this, we dropped out from the church, and now it has been 27 years. I’m old, and tired at 75 and yearn to be in God’s grace. I’ve been told by a priest, that if her ex dies, then all would be ok, or if he would provide a certified document stating he had never been baptized in any church, then there was a possible option there to resolve this. Sorry it has been so long winded but I’ve held this back too many years, and not much time is left. Any possible solution other than what I’ve mentioned ? Thank you.
I’m so sorry you’ve been through this. I don’t know about years ago, but I don’t think an annulment would be denied now just because her ex-husband refused to fill out some papers. They have to deal with cases where the ex-spouse can’t even be found, so there must be a way. You should call the local diocese, they’ll be in the phone book and on the internet, and ask who you can talk to about an annulment situation.
Good advice. Quite often people would refuse to sign or could not be found. Is there any chance her ex-husband has passed away by now?
I think you’re going to quickly find that no one here can give you a hard and fast answer to your question.
First, be sure in faith that God loves you, as He loves us, wherever we’re at.
Second, I’d make an appointment with a priest at the nearest church and speak with him. There might be ways of rectifying the situations you find yourself in, even if your wife’s ex husband is unwilling to participate.
Talk with your local priest, talk with the Tribunal of your diocese (put in Catholic when you search for your diocese or you may get the Epicopalian diocese!).
Among other things, if you and your wife live “as brother and sister,” you **may **be able to receive permision to receive the sacraments.
Even if there is no solution for you to actually receive the sacraments, you are still totally welcome at Mass, and you can pray for a spiritual communion until your situation is resolved. Please go and talk with a priest to see what can be done.
May God give you strength.
And may the Son of God lead you and your love
to the kingdom and eternal life.
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee
blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus
Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death
I would DEFINITELY go and see a priest and speak with him about the situation. A couple things that should be brought up for consideration. It may be possible for the Church to take a second look at the annulment and make sure it was properly decided. If both you and your wife were not baptized at the time of your first weddings, it would suggest a good reason to look again.
In addition, the infrastructure in place almost 3 decades ago was not as complete for dealing with annulments, as inter-faith marriages and the need for annulments was much lower then. It may be that they simply came to the wrong decision based on incorrect information. The ex-husband refusing to fill out the paperwork should not have been an automatic denial.
As to your current situation, as another poster mentioned, if you and your wife decide to live as brother-and-sister (i.e. make a faithful effort to remain celibate), you can both go to Confession today, and receive the Eucharist on Sunday. You do not need to wait for the annulment process to be completed.
So please do go see a priest and hopefully it can all be worked out for the good!
i don’t know how it was back when your wife petitioned the marriage tribunal but i know that today the cooperation of an ex-spouse is not required, necessary, or a reason to deny one’s petition.
Thank you all for your insight and suggestions. Her ex is still alive somewhere. Even if we could contact him, I doubt he would sign anything. As for the idea of “brother and sister”, I realize I’m 75, but not yet dead So I’ll try to follow through with some of your suggestions, and I’ll post the results. Thanks again for the replies and prayers. God bless you all.