Marriage Dispensation


Hi Everyone

I’m a cradle Catholic who had left the Church. During this time, I married a non-Catholic and we’ve just celebrated our 9th anniversary.

Over the last few years, I’ve been seriously thinking of returning to the Church. This is mostly because of a serious accident that I experienced. It was my awake call.

I found a Catholic Church literally 2 minutes from my house. I had no idea there was a church so close by in the 10 years that I lived in the area.

I went I talked to the Catholic priest, and he explained dispensation to me. My wife had some questions, and he was happy to meet with us and explain some of the theology to her.

After some discussion, my wife and I decided to a small ceremony at the Church. My problem is: I can’t seem to get the priest to return my email or phone call. I’ve tried to not nag or be a nuisance, but this has been going on for a little over a month.

I dread having to look for another church, because most of them are so far away. I’m irritated and feel the situation is hopeless, and I feel this justifies my leaving the Church. On the other hand, I’m trying to give the priest the benefit of the doubt and hope at some point he’ll contact me.

I’m frustrated and just needed to vent.


one priest who may have a good reason for not contacting you within the last 30 days, is a reason to leave the Church? I think not. we place our faith in Jesus Christ, not in human beings. Did you ask anyone in the parish office to help you locate him and explain why? you were content to live in an invalid marriage for 9 years, now you have seen the light, and you want the priest to move faster? I am not getting it. Exceedingly glad you have come home, but if you except a service on demand mentality I am sorry to say you will definitely be disappointed. How many parishes, missions and parishioners does your priest serve? I have no idea he may be lazy, sick, out of town, or simply thoughtless and have a bad habit of not returning phone calls, but that is not a reason to leave the Church.

be persistent. I just got home from the store where a neighbor gave me an earful about her priest who missed mass on day of her dead husband’s anniversary. she was incensed, until I reminded her that her pastor had surgery and will be off work for 6 more weeks. she calmed down but can’t seem to let go of her resentment.

please be persistent, it is too important a matter, and we will pray your priest considers it equally important


It seems the surest way to know we are making the correct decision is when Satan puts up roadblocks in our way.


Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Amani was meaning looking for another parish. Is that what you meant OP when you said it justifies you leaving the Church? You capitalized and it is confusing whether you mean leaving the Catholic Church again all together or leaving your local parish?

I second the advice contact the church office. If you can’t reach the priest, perhaps you can find out who schedules these events in the parish. Often there is a person who specifically schedules the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. I know many priests, some are wonderful about returning phone calls, others struggle to manage their inboxes (just like the rest of us):slight_smile: Don’t take it personally. If you don’t hear back from him, perhaps you can catch him after mass. Don’t give up! God clearly has led you home for a reason :slight_smile: !


He should be around for Mass at least. Try to get him before or afterwards. And read up on the Apostles - even after Pentecost they didn’t always do or say the right thing - they were still Christ’s own Body though.


Wow, what an astounding lack of charity and compassion toward the priest.

Do you know how overwhelmed most priests are these days? Many of the them are LUCKY if they are only running ONE parish by themselves. Perhaps he has been in close attendance on a mortally ill parishioner. Perhaps a lot of sick people needed him at hospitals or convalescent homes. Perhaps there was a crisis in his own family. Maybe the church is old and has fallen out of code and he is being harassed by the city! (This is a problem at our parish… hence the Building Fund to build a new one.)

The church is so close to your house… have you bothered to go over there in person and ask if he is available or if there is some problem? You seem unwilling to put in communicatory effort beyond the quick and electronic, and you are getting on this guy’s case? If I didn’t get an answer to several phone calls or e-mails after a week or two on a very important issue, I would drive over to my parish office and ask what’s up!

If this is so important to you, then be proactive and take care of things yourself. Ask what you can do to help make it happen, not what others can do to make it happen for you.

And BTW, congrats on having such an open-minded wife! I have seen many threads where this becomes an issue that tears couples apart. And when they finally do happen, congrats on your nuptials! :smiley:


it is very much worth all the effort you are putting into this, and hope your distress and waiting wont be too much longer, and that you soon experience the immense grace and blessings God has for you through this sacrament of marriage. we are praying for you both.


you were content to live in an invalid marriage for 9 years, now you have seen the light, and you want the priest to move faster?

My understanding concerning dispensation, if I understood the priest correctly, is jurisdiction. The Catholic Church recognizes marriages by other religions such as Jewish or Protestant. However, if I want to be able to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, then I need to meet have my marriage validated by the Church. As my wife would say, if you want to be on the team, you’ve got to wear the uniform.

Do I expect the priest to move faster? I understand priests are under a tremendous amount of pressure, especially if they are the only one. I took into consideration that he did have a very large First Communion to attend with. He seemed very eager to be of assistance and was easy to reach. I just feel like after the 2nd meeting I’m being shunned and I admit my insecurities are weighing on my mind.

The Church is in wonderful condition. It’s small, and has many groups and activities. I am nervous about returning because I’ll be the “newbie” and I’ll stick out. I won’t know anyone and I don’t always do well in large groups by myself. Yes, my wife has offered to go with me but that hasn’t taken away the anxiety.

Is there a hurry? Yes and no. Yes, because my accident really shook me up. Five years ago I was I victim of a DUI. I spent 3 years having surgery, physical therapy, and lots of doctor visits. It’s only recently that I started seeing a counselor to deal with accident.

No, because I’ve waited this long another 1 or 2 months isn’t going to change anything. I think if I continue to make an honest effort to change my life God will eventually answer my prayers.

Thanks you for the responses.


Call the Parish office, and ask who is in charge of weddings, schedule an appointment with them (some Parishes have this handled by a Deacon). This person will work with you, if the Priest does not have someone who handles marriage prep, schedule an appointment with the Priest. The secretary will have his schedule.


You must also remember that this is the time of year that priests are moved around within the diocese (my childhood parish’s pastor is being transferred) so that may also be a reason why you are unable to reach the priest. But as other’s have stated, contact the secretary at the parish and ask to schedule an appointment with a priest regarding having your marriage convalidated.


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