Is my marriage valid? Protestant and Catholic

My wife and I got married in September 23, 2006 when we were 19 years old. At the time I was a protestant who had never had any experience at all with the Catholic Church, but she was a Catholic batptized at birth. We ended up getting married in a Protestant church with very little counseling or training before hand. We did not get any permission or anything from her Priest or Bishop to get married in a Protestant Church. A couple years after marriage I become a confirmed Catholic but we have not recieved any type of blessing on our marriage or did anything to properly be accepted as a sacramental marriage in the eyes of the Church. I think I should also mention that we have 1 boy who is almost 3 years old now. My question is:
In the eyes of the Church, is our marriage valid? Or is it considered that we were never actually married?

Honestly, I have no idea. I know that my marriage is not recongnised in the church and personally I don’t care. I had the wedding that I wanted and too darn bad that it didn’t follow their rules. Honestly, I think God is rolling his eyes at some of the rules that we have imposed upon ourselves.

I would bet that most people on here will tell you that since you didn’t get “permission” then in the eyes of the church you are not married. I would suggest you ask your parish Priest

I would also suggest a talk with your priest as there may be some nuances that we may be unaware of however typically speaking a Catholic is required to be married in the Catholic Church or receive both dispensation to marry a non-Catholic and marry outside the Catholic Church. She had neither. The first at this point has been corrected. The second may be the bigger issue.

Maureen, you sound pretty angry, or defiant or hurt or something. Without knowing your situation, may I just make a suggestion that you try to work out whether you can resolve the issue? It seems to me that you are at odds with the Church over your marriage, and it’s making you mad at the Church - not an ideal state. If it’s only the wedding that was the issue, then the marriage surely could be blessed.

If there is a deeper issue about the union, such as a previous marriage, then it’s still something that should be sorted - if the Catholic Church is the true church on earth, then it’s infinitely important to do what is right as best you know, because your eternal life is at stake - it’s not good enough to think that God would disagree. I don’t enjoy writing this, and I’m sorry if it offends, but I have the best of intentions.

I’ll pray for you, and hope things can work out for you.

During your preparation to become catholic this issue should have been resolved, you simply need to resolve it. There can be more issues as did either of you ever attempt an earlier marriage?, did your wife receive first Eucharist and confirmation? You can work through these issues in all cases. Either see your priest or you local marriage ministry. Remember valid/invalid is the state at which you presented yourself for a sacrament. It sounds as though you nor her may not have any sacramental record of a marriage?

hope that helps

Thanks for the replies, let me answer a few questions you guys have had for me.

My wife has recieved first communion and Eaucharist, yes. As have I.

Neither of us have had previous marriages.

We recieved no dispensation from the Church before or after marriage.

Were you confirmed also? Tthat is the next step in the progression of sacraments. Usually adult catechumens get everything, if not baptized then they get baptism, Eucharist and confirmation all at the same time. If you have already been baptized then we don’t repeat that.

I am not an expert but from what I have read on this forum, your marriage needs to be convalidated to be considered valid in the Catholic Church. I’m surprised this was not discussed during your RCIA - you need to make an appointment with the priest to discuss what you need to do. It may be as simple as having another ceremony in the Church. You may have to submit some paperwork. But check with your priest.

you just get married in the church, its pretty easy since you have no impediments.

but no, your marriage isnt valid in the catholic church.

On the surface it appears your marriage is not valid.

But, since you’ve converted to Catholicism and were confirmed, unless someone fell down on the job, this must have been taken care of before your conversion. It’s possible that the priest petitioned for radical sanation before you converted - it would be unusual in this situation but it might be the answer.

Or maybe someone DID fall down on the job and you are still in an invalid marriage. The only way to be sure is to approach your pastor and explain. See what he has to say and if it is still invalid, have your marriage convalidated ASAP.

Please do as Phemie suggests and make an appointment with your priest to discuss this matter. It is one of the two scenarios she mentions-- either paperwork completed without your knowledge OR someone didn’t follow procedure.

If it turns out that a mistake got made during the process of your conversion and no one caught the invalid marraige, don’t let it stress you too much. Convalidation is a simple matter and your priest can assist you with that very easily.

You are married in the eyes of God. You probably are not in the eyes of the Catholic Church. These are two different things. Your son is not a bastard, and if one of you cheated on the other you would still be committing adultery. However, you marriage is not properly recognized by the Catholic Church, that’s all. It’s not that hard to fix. My husband and I went through the same thing. You can either have your marriage convalidated or go through radical sanation. Just make an appointment with the priest and discuss it with him.

Please contact your priest and yes, it does appear that your marriage is invalid because of lack of form, as your wife was a Catholic bound by the requirement of form (to marry in accordance with the rite of the Catholic Church). As other people have said, I wouldn’t stress too much about the oversight, but if you are not currently married, then there is an obligation to live as a “brother and sister” (i.e. without marital relations) until the marriage is convalidated (in this case simple convalidation does not apply, lack of form needs a new exchange of vows or radical sanation). I hesitated whether to bring this up but I couldn’t really not tell you.

As for “permission”, which scandalised some of our posters: you don’t need “permission” to marry the person you want to marry, in a way that Church hierarchy controls your choice of partners or whether you’ll be allowed to marry or not. But you need permission (properly called dispensation) if you want to marry outside of the rite of the Catholic Church, if you want to marry a person who is of a different religion than you are, or if either of you has made a vow of celibacy etc. Those things are not up to the individual member of the Church, even though the responsible bishop or some other authority is certainly not supposed to act on whim. This is because the Church cares for your good, not because she wants to control you. This is, however, part of the Church’s binding and loosening power.

Please keep in mind that an marriage considered invalid by the Catholic Church is NOT invalid or non existant in God’s eyes. Marriage is a sacrement between two people, and if you had been stranded on a desert island with only the two of you if you pledged yourselves to each other before God…you are married. You just need to essentially get the clerical/paperwork piece straightened out with the Catholic Church. In the case of convalidation it means usually resaying vows before a priest, with radical sanation it really is all paperwork…you send a letter along with your priest to the bishop, and they send back a letter to you and your parrish.

It’s really pretty simple.

Also the Catholic Church can’t grant permission to marry or not marry someone. They can only grant dispensation to allow a marriage to a non catholic or a marriage outside of a Catholic Church to be recognized by the Catholic Church. This is all about what the Catholic Church chooses or chooses not to recognize. It doesn’t have anything to do with being married or not in God’s eyes.

Thank you for those remarks let me add a little, His marriage is a natural marriage and has nothing wrong with it. His wife dismissed her obligation to do marriage prep and follow catholic form to marry. Now as he joined the Catholic Church he assumes an obligation to correct that error. Some diocese will require they as in both of them attend the marriage prep as would have occurred through the ideal process regardless of how long they have been Naturally married. They should also as a minimum require a review of what a sacramental marriage is and its obligations, typically BOTH PARTIES have to affirm before the Priest their willing devoution to perform the marriage duties, before any marriage ceremony .

hope that helps

No they’re not.

Your son is not a bastard

That word has outlived its usefulness.

I think you meant the Catholic Church will recognize a Natural marriage between certain groups? He was under no obligation what so ever to the Catholic Church when he married.

By whose authority is that written? He had no obligation to the catholic church when he married.

But she was. Unless she had formally defected she was under obligation to obey Canon laws regarding marriage. Not obeying them invalidated the marriage.

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