If a catholic was married to a non-catholic and the non-catholic wanted a divorce in civil court and received it. What would the church do? You would have a newly single catholic that was divorced civilly. Would they have to hold off on the sacraments until some judicial decision by the diocese? This is a hypothetical of course. If there was some type of spousal abuse or something that would warrant a civil divorce would there ever be a possibility that the church would deny and annulment?
Being divorced is not a block to the Sacraments. There is only an issue if the Catholic wanted to remarry.
As for annulment, a big question would be whether the marriage was in the Church (or outside with a dispensation). If not, reasons don’t matter, it will be declared null for lack of form.
If it was a validly celebrated marriage, the process would look at what might have made the marriage invalid at the time it was celebrated. Civil divorce mainly looks at what has happened since the couple married (infidelity, abuse, abandonment). The Church looks at what was happening at the time of the marriage. In many cases something like abuse may have arisen after the couple had been married but has it roots prior to the marriage. The annulment process looks at all of that. But not everything that is considered a good reason for divorce is evidence of a null marital bond.
I see. Not a simple question. Your last sentence was what concerned me. What if a person wanted to be married by a judge could a dispensation be granted for that or could the couple just be married by a judge or fill out a marriage application and be married in the eyes of the state and then have their union blessed in the church?
You should speak with a priest for the correct guidance.
The Church wouldn’t do anything, as it was not involved.
You would have a newly single catholic that was divorced civilly.
No, we would have a married Catholic who was divorced civilly. Per Christ, no civil power can end a valid Christian marriage.
Would they have to hold off on the sacraments until some judicial decision by the diocese?
No, a civil divorce has no effect at all in the eyes of Christ or His Church.
If there was some type of spousal abuse or something that would warrant a civil divorce would there ever be a possibility that the church would deny an annulment?
Now, finally you are talking about something that involves the Church. The Catholic would need to talk to his pastor about possible grounds for a decree of nullity.
What if a person wanted to be married by a judge, could a dispensation be granted for that or could the couple just be married by a judge or fill out a marriage application and be married in the eyes of the state and then have their union blessed in the church?
If you are speaking of the married Catholic with a civil divorce, the answer is no. In accord with the clear teaching of Christ, His Church does not recognize the power of civil divorce to end a valid Christian marriage.
There are a bunch of different questions that would pertain:
- Was the non-catholic baptized or not?
- Was the marriage permitted by the ordinary?
- Was the marriage witnessed by a member of the Catholic clergy or was a non-Catholic ceremony dispensed?
The reason being that the law regarding mixed marriage asks those questions as far as whether or not the marriage would be considered valid, as a matter of form. Assuming the marriage was either permitted and witnessed at a Catholic Church, then the normal nullity process would have to be undergone. If, on the other hand, these weren’t done, the marriage would likely only have to go through a “defect of form” process…which is virtually always approved and is severely abbreviated (as it would be patently obvious that the marriage was invalid)
I wasn’t a Catholic when I got married and later divorced. But about a year after entering the Church I applied for an annulment. I wasn’t told that it wasn’t valid because it had nothing to do with the Church. A marriage is a marriage and an annulment would be needed if I wanted to get remarried or to enter a religious order. Not that either of those were an issue at the time. But it was another step in putting it behind me. The only thing that I found that I didn’t like, although there was plenty of reason for this, I wasn’t allowed to see what my ex, or other “witnesses,” had said pertaining to this. But I think I can see why. The marriage only lasted 3 1/2 years, and was abusive. So, I’m sure my ex had a lot of bad things to say about me. Anyway, those are my thoughts on the issue. :shrug:
I am going to answer from the standpoint of the US. In some countries the civil (judge) marriage is **always **performed separate and before the Church marriage but in the US, they are usually at the same time.
It is possible to get a dispensation to marry outside of the Church, even in front of a judge. You have to get permission from your Bishop and you better have a really good reason. If you go ahead and get married without a dispensation before a judge (in the US) and then go to your parish, you would be guilty of attempting marriage outside the Church. But that can be resolved in Confession and then they marriage could be convalidated. However, doing so with the intent to just confess it later is a serious sin (presumption).
A decree of nullity and a divorce are two different things.
Abuse is certainly reason to separate from under the same roof. Nullity, however, is not about actions and wrongs committed during the marriage. It is a finding of fact regarding the validity of the marriage at the time the vows were exchanged.
So, one could not petition for a decree of nullity based on “abuse”.
Oh I’m not speaking of myself literally right now. So I don’t think I would want to waste a priest’s time. The thing is I’ve always just wanted to sign an application or be married by a judge if I ever decided that I wanted to marry. But then the church has to bless it. I don’t quite know if that would be wrong or not.
For a Catholic to be married civilly, there must be a good reason and a dispensation granted. eg if the country required a civil marriage before a Church marriage. But, the Catholic would then proceed have their church wedding - ie the sacrament.
Otherwise, for a Catholic to marry civilly and not through the Church, they commit a serious sin. What you describe would be very wrong indeed if you do not have extenuating circumstances.
Yes, it would be wrong. As you describe it, you would view the “by a judge” as the marriage. But it’s not. Even in places where a civil marriage is separate, it is only a formality that precedes the real marriage which is in the Church. The priest doesn’t just “bless” a civil marriage, the exchange of vows and consent takes place in the Church, replacing the civil event in the eyes of the couple and the Church.
Ok I see. Well there goes that one.