Is annulment necessary for a non-Catholic who was married in the Catholic Church?

What would a divorced, non-Catholic man whose ex-wife was Catholic have to do to get married in the Catholic Church to his current wife who is Catholic? His first marriage took place in the Catholic Church. Is an annulment necessary?

not enough info. an investigation is required to garner that information before an intelligent answer can be given that addresses his specific situation, there is a wide list of variables to look at. He should see the priest at his wife’s parish to get the process started. if the facts are as stated, probably yes, but he needs to get a specific, not a general answer.

If nothing is done, the current Catholic wife has married/is marrying a divorced man who was married validly in the Catholic Church. That’s a no-no for her.

You didn’t ask but the annulment requires the consent of both parties involved. And if it’s granted, it’s granted to both regardless who files it. But you’ll have to approach her (your ex’s) pastor for more information. You’ll also have to approach your new wife’s pastor unless she’s done so already. She’s the one on the hook.

I think this posting seems to impart some misinformation.

Annulments do not require the consent of both parties involved. It requires the notification of both (or a serious attempt to do so), the right for both parties to participate in the process. But the withholding of consent by one party does not stop the process from going forward.

An annulment is, of course, granted to both. It is not a statement of guilt; it is a statement of the marriage’s validity.

No, the person filing for an annulment need not approach anyone except the Tribunal, who handles all the rest. Thankfully.

You’re right, consent of the other party is not necessary.

I don’t know about where you live but in my area most of the work (filing, interviews, etc) is done at the parish level and the people petitioning have little to no dealings directly with the Tribunal. That’s why the first step is to approach one’s pastor who will guide you through the preliminaries.

Beg to differ. There are instances I know of where one side has fought against an annulment. It’s far from routinely granted to anyone who asks.

I’ve heard of a case where the annulment would not have been granted except that the other party showed his true colors to the Tribunal in fighting against the annulment.

The days where one party had to “give” the other party an annulment, just like the days where one party had to “give” the other party a civil divorce, are long gone, except in the old time movies.

Even if the annulment is granted unchallenged by the other party, it still takes over two years (in a normal diocese) to get the final verdict, and even then it could be conditional and a subsequent "re"marriage may need episcopal approval. If you fill out the very long questionnaire (and subsequent questionnaires) within a reasonable time frame and your “attorney” presents a good case and you are properly evaluated by a church-appointed psychologist, the process should go relatively smoothly and neither side should be offended. It is, however, easier to get the annulment if you don’t have plans to remarry, because then there are a whole lot of other questions to answer before you get the annulment.

Or maybe I just happen to live in a strict diocese where people don’t routinely get overnight annulments. :slight_smile:

Consent does not enter into the nullity process.

What you are describing is someone who gave evidence of validity or presented an argument for validity. That is not the same as “consent.”

If the evidence pointed to validity, the decree of nullity would not be granted. If the evidence pointed to invalidity, the decree would be granted regardless of the other person’s “consent.” Certainly this person also retains the right to appeal.

No one has put forth such an assertion.

Factual statements have been made: nullity petitions doe not require “consent” of both parties. They require notification of both parties. Both parties can respond and give evidence.

Also, a nullity case can be in one of several jurisdictions. Your statement that this person must contact his “ex’s” pastor is not accurate:

Can. 1673 In cases concerning the nullity of marriage which are not reserved to the Apostolic See, the following are competent:

1/ the tribunal of the place in which the marriage was celebrated;

2/ the tribunal of the place in which the respondent has a domicile or quasi-domicile;

3/ the tribunal of the place in which the petitioner has a domicile, provided that both parties live in the territory of the same conference of bishops and the judicial vicar of the domicile of the respondent gives consent after he has heard the respondent;

4/ the tribunal of the place in which in fact most of the proofs must be collected, provided that consent is given by the judicial vicar of the domicile of the respondent, who is first to ask if the respondent has any exception to make.

That has nothing to do with consent.

The Tribunal will not refuse to hear the case just because the respondent doesn’t want an annulment. If the marriage is null the Tribunal will so rule regardless of whether or not the respondent agrees.

There are many very knowledgeable people on this forum, but when it comes to a question like this, you really need to go to the authorities. I think the OP should just go to a Catholic priest and discuss this matter with him. One thing that should be understood is that an annulment in the Catholic Church is not the same as divorce. There is no such thing as divorce in the Catholic Church. An annulment is a recognition that the marriage was never valid, never really a marriage. Divorce says that the couple were legally married, but they are dissolving the marriage. That is not possible in the Catholic Church. A valid marriage is for the rest of your life in the Catholic Church, it can never be dissolved. The spouses can agree to live apart, but they can never remarry in the Church as long as the other is alive. If they do remarry while still in a validly recognized marriage, they are no longer in communion with the Church and cannot receive the Sacraments. It is a very serious spiritual situation.

The following is the from US Bishops website:

  1. What is the difference between a valid and an invalid Catholic marriage?

Just as individual states have certain requirements for civil marriage (e.g., a marriage license, blood tests), the Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church. A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; and (4) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

  1. If a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, how can they assure that the marriage is recognized by the Church?

In addition to meeting the criteria for a valid Catholic marriage (see question #3), the Catholic must seek permission from the local bishop to marry a non-Catholic. If the person is a non-Catholic Christian, this permission is called a “permission to enter into a mixed marriage.” If the person is a non-Christian, the permission is called a “dispensation from disparity of cult.” Those helping to prepare the couple for marriage can assist with the permission process.

It would seem that in the OP’s case, since they were married in the Catholic Church, they must have received permission from the Bishop and met all the other criteria for a valid marriage. So it would seem that this marriage is valid and the parties are not free to remarry until the death of one or the other spouse.

Marriage is very serious, and contrary to our society’s view of it, it cannot be dissolved.

Er, well, yes it can but only in certain specific circumstances (Pauline & Petrine privileges).

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that. A non-valid marriage, which is not a marriage in the eyes of God, can be annulled. But a valid marriage in the Catholic Church can never be dissolved. It’s like saying that once a person is born, they can be “unborn.” Not possible. If you could, please explain what your statement means.

What she means is that indissoluability is not absolute.

No power on earth can dissolve a valid sacramental marriage that is ratified and consummated. A sacramental marriage is between two baptized persons.

The Pope can *dissolve *a valid, sacramental marriage that has not been consummated.

Valid marriages involving the unbaptized are called natural marriages. Natural marriages can be *dissolved *via either the Petrine or Pauline privilege depending upon whether both parties were unbaptized or one party was unbaptized.

However, dissolution of the bond is likely not applicable here. Nullity and dissolution of the bond are entirely different things.

See these canons regarding dissolution of the bond:

First of all, marriages are not ‘annuled’. The Tribunal rules on whether or not a marriage is valid. If it’s not valid, it’s null and the Tribunal issues a decree of nullity.

Pauline & Petrine privileges, on the other hand, dissolve valid marriages.

Pauline involves 2 non-baptized who are presumed validly married. If one then is baptized and the non-baptized spouse does not want to continue in the marriage, the marriage can be dissolved.

Petrine involves a baptized person married to a non-Baptized person. Should that marriage break down and then one or the other of the parties want to become Catholic or marry a Catholic the Pope can dissolve the marriage ‘in favor of the Faith’ of the Catholic.

A sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved. A marriage that is *presumed *valid can be found to be *invalid *(nullity investigation) if there is a defect in consent or intent, or an impediment. That would be what the OP’s situation might entaile. The first marriage is presumed marriage, but may be found invalid through investigation. We don’t know that it will be.

A natural marriage can be dissolved. The OP does not state whether or not the person who married the Catholic was baptized or not. That could have an impact on their options.

I understand what you are saying, and of course, if a marriage has not been consummated, it could be dissolved, kind of like a still born baby being declared dead. But the chances of that are so unlikely as to not even be considered. It was true in the case of King Henry VIII, and that is the reason he was allowed to marry his brother’s wife, but c’mon, how likely is that in the instant case, or any marriage?

Yes, of course a marriage involving a non-baptized, non-Christian person could be dissolved, but that doesn’t seem the case here, either. It’s also somewhat suspect because this person wants to get married again in the Catholic Chruch.

Although what you say is absolutely true, it involves a small percentage of those looking for annulments. The Pope just recently warned the tribunal about giving out annulments too freely, in the name of “charity”, and there is a reason for that.

To clarify this, since I’ve experienced the Pauline process myself:

The Church can dissolve **natural **(non-sacramental) marriages because one or both parties were not baptized validly. Pauline privilege handles two non-baptized unions; Petrine privilege handles one baptized/one non-baptized unions.

Validity in the strictest sense doesn’t apply in the *Pauline *cases because the marriage is strictly a civil matter with no baptisms involved–a prerequisite for a valid marriage under canon law.

Pauline cases can be handled at the diocesan level, but Petrine cases might have to go to Rome for final results because the baptized party’s status requires, as with formal nullity cases, the approval of the Holy Father.

I think I should probably amend my words to a “sacramental” marriage can never, under any circumstances, be dissolved by anyone, not even the Pope. What you are describing are valid but non-sacramental marriages, meaning that although the Church recognizes the validity of such marriages, they are not blessed by God.

Bad choice of language. It may not be a sacrament but that doesn’t mean it’s not blessed by God.

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