[quote="johnP23, post:1, topic:214990"]
I have recently been accepted into full communion with the Catholic Church. My wife also desires to seek communion with the Church. In preparing for this, we discovered that she was baptized as a child in the Catholic Church. However, her parents were not Catholics and did not raise her as a Catholic. (We can only best guess that the baptism was consented to by her parents because of the plea of her grandfather, who is Catholic.) My question is this: does her baptism alone bind her to observance of the Catholic form of marriage, even if she was unaware of her being baptized Catholic and not raised to any extent as a Catholic? If it does, then I assume that we must cease any marital acts until our marriage can be convalidated. Is this correct?
This happened to me, too! During a time of exploring the decision to convert as a family with our priest's help, we discovered I had been baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church. I was not aware of that fact, and our priest informed me that because I was unaware, although it was an objective sin to marry outside the Church, I had no subjective sin to confess. He informed us that if we join the Catholic Church, our marriage would not be recognized as valid unless we had it convalidated. But as we had already been married for 12 years and had two children, he saw no reason to postpone the convalidation for any premarital counseling. Also, he saw how eager we were to do what we had intended to do when we eloped at 19 - to truly marry before God and man as two baptized Christians (my husband and I had both been baptized as young people in a Baptist church). So he helped us put through the paperwork quickly, and he advised us to wait to do our confession until moments prior to our convalidation ceremony. He knew we were troubled by hearing our marriage was invalid, but he also knew that the only reason we would know that is because we were converting (or for me, reverting). He did not advise abstinence, unless we felt personally convicted on the matter, which we did not. Now your priest might advise you differently. And really, in the last couple of weeks leading up to our convalidation ceremony, we did begin abstaining, because our hearts were really and truly prepared for making our marriage a sacrament. But by that point, God had worked in our hearts so that abstinence was undertaken with joy, not with a spirit of suffering or sacrifice. And being able to consummate our newly sacramental marriage was very romantic and beautiful.
Our path may look very different from your path to convalidation. But my reason for sharing my story with you is to demonstrate that there is no reason to fear this process or to worry. I think you will find it feels much like a second opportunity to wed your spouse, and that the Catholic view of marriage is so beautiful and inspiring that you will embrace whereever your path takes you with a full heart.