Is my marriage sacramental already?


#1

I am brand new here :smiley: and as I was poking around I saw what I thought was an answer, but the original question was asked by someone who had been married in the Catholic Church.

We were not Christians when we got married. Now, we had both made
quasi-professions of faith and had been immersed as teens, but dh
only did it because his dad asked him and his brother to pray the
sinner’s prayer with him one time when his dad was going through a
"let’s all go to church together" phase, baptism being "the next step"
in your walk as a victorious Christian yet in no way tied to your
salvation, doncha know (o; and me? I pretty much lied my way into the
baptistry. I mean, I believed in God, and Jesus, and acknowledged that
Jesus died on the cross for my sins, which were many, but I had NO
Intention of changing my lifestyle in any way, shape or form. So I
hesitate to even mention those baptisms, kwim?

We were married by a Baptist pastor in f-i-l’s home, not in a church
building. A year after our marriage we felt the Holy Spirit draw us to the Lord, and naturally we went to the Baptist church, since the pastor was nice enough to marry us and all that…and that is where God turned our hearts toward Himself, and were baptized upon our profession of faith.

The original questioner, as I said, was married in the Catholic church and was told that once they were both baptized their marriage was sacramental. Is that also the case here even though Baptists don’t recognize sacraments?

Now, to both of our minds, our marriage sure feels valid and
definitely sacramental. Is it?


#2

not enough info, to be sure lay out all the facts to your pastor and ask the question of him.
briefly, two unbaptized persons contract a valid natural marriage if they are free to marry, able to give full consent and exchange vows in front of a witness with authority under civil law to witness marriage.

Two baptized non-Catholics in this scenario contact a valid marriage which is also sacramental.

If either party is baptized Catholic, canon law on marriage also applies, so that for the marriage to be valid it must be witnessed by a priest or deacon, and other rules complied with (ie dispensation to marry a non-Catholic etc.).

The Catholic Church recognizes all marriages as valid until proven otherwise. Each marriage situation is unique so it is impossible to judge an individual situation here, we can only offer the objective teaching in a general way.


#3

Whatever we say, we have no authority to judge your marriage. That’s the work of the tribunal. Even your own moral certainty is not enough, even if it’s actually objectively correct. You need the tribunal to do it.

Just for your information, a marriage is sacramental if:

  1. It’s a marriage contracted according to the norms of canon law between two baptised Catholics, in accordance with the proper form unless dispensed, with no undispensed impediments that could cause invalidity, with no defects of consent causing invalidity.

or:

  1. It’s a marriage contracted by two baptised non-Catholics and no causes of nullity apply, such as defects of consent or impediments.

But with your concrete question, you need to go to the tribunal.


#4

I posted in a hurry and left out a few details, I now realize. I am in the process of becoming Catholic, and my husband is about three steps behind, kwim? I don’t doubt the validity of our marriage, only the sacramentality. The Catholic who asked the original question was told that their marriage became sacramental once her dh was baptized. Just wondered if that applied to non-Catholic marriages as well.

I’ve heard that we can have our marriage sacramentalized and I would be willing to do that, if necessary.

So…what is the tribunal and how do I ask them? :hypno: Just when I think I’ve learned all the new terms I get another one tossed at me. :smiley:


#5

you cannot compare the situation of another couple to your own. Simply lay out all the facts for your pastor and take his guidance. Much faster than useless speculation here. Obviously the key question is are you both validly baptized, and were you otherwise free to marry. If you are entering the Church the marriage will become sacramental (assuming it is valid) when you are both baptized. the proper forum for this question is liturgy and sacraments. If you search on marriage there you will see several current threads with this same discussion going on.


#6

Thank you! :slight_smile:


#7

Pixie,

Although talking with your pastor is necessary,* from what you have posted *your marriage seems to be both valid and sacramental.

Validity depends on freedom to marry, intent, and consent. Sacramentality depends upon whether or not the parties were baptized at the time of the marriage. If unbaptized persons later get baptized, their marriage becomes sacramental upon baptism.


#8

I’ve spent some time reading through information about what constitutes a valid marriage and we are definitely valid! :smiley: I had a sacramental view of marriage before I knew there was a word for it. :cool:

Sacramentality depends upon whether or not the parties were baptized at the time of the marriage. If unbaptized persons later get baptized, their marriage becomes sacramental upon baptism.

I’ll definitely be talking to Father John about this to make sure - I have a lot I need to discuss with him but I’m letting him get through Holy Week first! :thumbsup:


#9

Baptism, if valid, has always the same effect on marriage. Therefore so long as the baptism is valid, the spouses baptised some time into their marriage are sacramentally married, provided that there are no factors precluding validity. But you do need to go to the tribunal. :wink:


#10

What is the tribunal and where do I go to ask them? :confused: :confused: :confused:


#11

you go to your parish priest, lay out all (not just some) of the facts of your marriage situation and he directs you from there, with a referral to the diocesan canon law tribunal if necessary.


#12

This is why it’s best for you to ask questions directly to your priest. When you ask them online, you get people’s opinions of what they “think” you need to do. In reality you do not need to go to the tribunal. You need to go to your priest.


#13

Holy Week is a very busy time for priests and parishes, and also office hours will be shorter. Monday the office will probably be closed. Also in many dioceses the priests have a retreat or gathering at this time. Call next week mid-week for an appointment, all you have to tell the secretary is you need to see him to discuss a pastoral problem. She does not need to know anything else.


#14

Both spouses must be validly baptised for the marriage to be a Sacrament as has been said. When your husband is ready to be brought into the church the validity of his baptism will be investigated. You can go discuss this with the Priest now just for the sake of this question. Your husband may need a condiditonal baptism if the validity is not clear. Not sure if you are coming into the church this Easter or not from the earlier posts. If you are coming in now then they must have discussed the details of your baptism ( did they use the trinitarian formula , pour water etc )with you and consider you validly baptised.

Welcome Home!


#15

We were both baptized by immersion in the same Baptist church (though not at the same time!) using the Trinitarian formula. We won’t be coming into the Church this Easter, but it’s likely to be before next Easter, according to the RCIA guidelines I should not have to complete a full RCIA program based on my existing catechesis and the fact that I am already a baptized Christian. I’ll know more after I speak with Father next week. I’m letting him get through Holy Week before I come with my battering ram and tell him to Let Me In!!! :cool:

In all honesty, and I **really don’t **say this pridefully, I am already more Catholic than some cradle Catholics I know.


#16

then, presuming you were otherwise free to marry and capable of valid consent, you’re marriage is sacramental as well as valid. If you were baptized after your marriage, it became sacramental the moment both of you were baptized. No further action is needed (unless there was a previous marriage or other problem, which should be discussed with the priest in charge of RCIA at your first interview).

Welcome home.

Since you are already baptized, once you have been suitably catechized on the elements of the profession of faith and prepared for first confession, first communion and confirmation, there is nothing except local custom which says you must wait until next EAster. It rests upon what faculty the pastor has to confirm, and that may vary from one diocese to another. If you have to wait for the bishop it may not be until the general service for adults, usually sometime during the Easter season or Pentecost. If your pastor has faculty to confirm adults only at the Easter Vigil, that will be the reason for the wait, not anything lacking in your knowledge, commitment and conversion.


#17

We were 18 and 19 when we married, 3 months after I graduated from high school. No previous marriages here and we were capable of valid consent. The pastor who performed the ceremony also required us to attend counseling sessions before the wedding. It wasn’t as long as the RCC’s Pre-Cana, but it was pretty thorough, I thought. Neither of us were forced to marry the other, it was mutually desired by both.

Welcome home.

Since you are already baptized, once you have been suitably catechized on the elements of the profession of faith and prepared for first confession, first communion and confirmation, there is nothing except local custom which says you must wait until next EAster. It rests upon what faculty the pastor has to confirm, and that may vary from one diocese to another. If you have to wait for the bishop it may not be until the general service for adults, usually sometime during the Easter season or Pentecost. If your pastor has faculty to confirm adults only at the Easter Vigil, that will be the reason for the wait, not anything lacking in your knowledge, commitment and conversion.

As I said above, I’ll be speaking to Father next week to find out what our parish policies are in that regard. It will be the ultimate test in patience and endurance for me if I do have to wait another year for the Eucharist! :getholy:


#18

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