Lack of Canonical Form Issue


My fiancé is in the military and married at a very young age to a girl from Italy. They were only married for a few years before they divorced. His ex-wife is Catholic, he is not. They were not married in a Catholic ceremony, nor was their marriage ever convalidated. We have a dilemma regarding the lack of form process. She is not willing to help him obtain her baptismal record. The only “information” that he was able to get from her was that she was baptized at “San Martino”. We are not certain how valid this information is, and there are at least 4 churches in Italy with that name, possibly more. None of them are really in close proximity to her home town. He also does not speak much Italian. I’m usually pretty resourceful, but I honestly don’t know what we should do in this situation. He is currently deployed, and we would like to get this process underway as we are planning a wedding for when he returns from deployment. Please advise.


Have you contacted the Tribunal in your diocese and asked them the procedure for such cases? It’s bound to have come up before, so someone has to know what can be done to obtain the records.


I’m confused. Is the process already underway with the diocesan tribunal or office of canonical services or is this preliminary? Because usually, after meeting with a priest/person who handles these types of cases, the paperwork with all the information you know is submitted to the your local tribunal/canonical services and they are the ones who will handle it. They will call the local diocese in Italy to find the baptismal records, etc.


I have not contacted the local tribunal. My fiance was directed to the archdiocese of the military website to obtain a tribunal form for Declaration of Nullity. The form requests:

recent certificate of Catholic Baptism of myself or of the other party. (Obtained from Church of Baptism, dated less than 6 months ago, and specifying any “Notations” or lack of “Notations.”)
Do you think it would be better for me to contact the tribunal in my diocese?


It’s better if you continue working with the military Archdiocese.

Since he is a member of the military, even though he’s not Catholic, they are still the diocese that pertains to the petitioner (him).

Here is their webpage again.
Make sure that you’re doing the petition for the lack of form, not the formal case petition.

More directly to your question:
Can you get any information from the marriage license or the divorce decree? Sometimes people have this information, but they don’t realize it because it’s not in the place where they might expect it to be. For example, the marriage license might contain information such as the place-of-birth of the wife, and this might help you to locate the parish of baptism (presumably in Italy). Her “hometown” might not be literally the place where she was born.

I do not know where the marriage occurred (US, Italy, or somewhere else) but this might be useful (or not):

According to the US State Department, a US citizen seeking to get married in Italy must provide an Italian form called a “Dichiarazione Giurata.” That paperwork requires the place of birth of the Italian national.
Is there any chance he still has a copy of that paper?


Thanks for the info Fr… They were married in the United States, so that particular form doesn’t apply. Whenever I speak with him, I will see what he says about the divorce decree and marriage license. Hopefully there will be some revealing information on either of those documents. One of my main concerns in this matter is language barrier when attempting to contact different parishes in Italy to figure out where she was baptized. I’m sure that this will even further compound the matter. I’m trying to remain optimistic…thanks again for your advice.


The language barrier is a serious consideration. After you do as much research as you can do, and if you still don’t have the information you need, you could consider hiring an Italian-English translator to make phones calls with you to contact the parishes you think might be the one you need.

God bless you.



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