Marriage Validation or Remarriage?

My husband and I are in RCIA. He was baptized Catholic but never confirmed. I am a lifelong protestant. We are planning to join the church this Easter. We were married several years ago in a protestant church.

We were told that we needed to have our marriage validated before being able to join the church because my husband is Catholic and wasn’t married in the Catholic church. What I’m confused about is why we are going through marriage counseling geared toward un-married couples and why we must have another marriage ceremony. Is this what marriage validation is or in the church’s eyes were we never married? Please help. Thank you.

Dear d,

For a Catholic to marry outside of the Catholic Church, the Church considers such a marriage to be invalid—read non-existent. I’m sure you have felt married and so it seems strange being treated as if you are not. But in fact, that is how the Church sees your situation. So it wants to validate what is invalid.

You are in our prayers as we prepare to rejoice with you this Easter!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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