Is civil marriage for migration to Canada morally acceptable?


A few days ago I broke up with my Catholic Colombian girlfriend because she did not want to get (civilly) divorced from her Canadian cousin, who she married in January. Her motive for getting married is going to Canada to work and to get the visa so she can provide her (future) children with better opportunities than she had. I felt really bad about being with a girl who is married because it is as if she is not fully devoted to me. Additionally, she told me that in a few years she wanted to marry me and have children.
My question is whether civil marriage for migration is morally acceptable or not. I think it is not morally acceptable due to the negative effects, especially those on the economy, these weddings have on the society where the immigrants are received (think of higher taxes, for example, due to investments in a country’s border security and organizations that investigate the legality of the status of aliens and the loss of natives’ jobs to people who are not supposed to be in their country). Also, God wants marriage to be ecclestical and uses it to eternally bind two people who love each other. Besides, I told her that getting married like this and for these reasons poses a serious threat to her documents (a deportation stamp in her passport would almost make it impossible for her to travel abroad again without serious difficulties) and that it is an honorless (Colombians already have a very bad reputation abroad as it is) and dishonest (getting married for a reason other than true love is unacceptable in God’s eyes) thing to do. I was also wondering if she were to get divorced from her cousin, would it be able for me to ever marry her in the Church? Am I being egocentric in wanting her to get divorced or can her reasons be morally justified? Please help me! I really do not know what to do, so I would highly appreciate any advice.


Hi David,

No, marriage for any reason other than to be truly married is a lie and morally wrong and sinful. This is the primary reason why it is wrong to do. If she got a divorce, it is possible that she could marry in the Church, but only after the marriage tribunal verifies that the marriage was outside of the Church. But I would think twice—more than twice, before wanting to marry someone who is so dishonest. Is this the kind of woman you want as the mother of your children?

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit