Marrige Question


#1

I’m sorry, this is probably already on here somewhere, but I couldn’t find the answer by searching.

When my husband and I married, I was not in the faith, nor baptized in any religion. My husband is baptized Catholic, but was never confirmed and does not practice now.

We were married in a unitarian church by a minister.

I entered into the Church last Easter. Now, what about my marrige? Is it invalid? Not sacramental? Have I been commiting a mortal sin by receiving communion?

Please help me out. If I am in a state of mortal sin, I want to confess as soon as possible. Please let me know if I was not clear enough about my situation or if there are any questions you have in order to give me a proper answer.

Thank you.


#2

If at the time of your wedding, your husband did not come to the church to receive a dispensation from canonical form, I would consider strongly speaking to your priest about getting your marriage validated in the church…

Here’s a link to our diocese regarding validation, convalidation, also known as having your marriage blessed.
Hope this helps!
familyministries.org/www.inthespiritofcana.org/2.6.9.htm

Consider exploring the whole website. there are articles on marriages between two Christians…called mixed marriages too. But by all means talk to your parish priest.


#3

Thanks for a speedy response!

I am most unsure because eventhough dh is baptized Catholic, he was never confirmed. So, since he wasn’t confirmed, I wondered what rules apply to him.

I will follow your advice and contact my priest.

Thanks!


#4

Kimberly,

I am a licensed canon lawyer.

Not enough about your situation is presented for anyone to offer a useful response to your precise situation beyond what stbruno has said, and I think it would be negligent for anyone to try to do that here. May I simply second the recommendation that you contact your parish priest today, discuss the situation thoroughly with him, and proceed from there.

We can only speak in these general terms.

First, Catholics are normally required to marry according to the canonical form of marriage, i.e., to give and receive marital consent before an authorized Catholic priest or deacon and two witnesses. This requirement is imposed for validity. In some cases, exceptions apply.

Second, Catholics cannot, even if using canonical form, validly marry an unbaptized person without a dispensation (a relaxation of Church law by a competent authority) from what is called the impediment of disparity of cult. Again, in some cases, exceptions apply.

Finally, it is unusual pastoral practice for a person to become Catholic by either baptism or reception into Church when there is a question about the validity of an existing marriage.

Your parish priest will have had the kind of training required to ask the right questions and to assist you in this matter.

Evaluating questions of mortal sin considers not only the objective nature of an action but also the knowledge and intention of the person. This belongs to your parish priest as confessor and counsellor.

God bless.


#5

Definitely contact your priest. Every marriage situation is different. As far as I know, if your husband is a baptized Catholic he is obliged to follow the marriage laws of the Church.

In my situation, I have not been confirmed either. I married outside the Church and when I decided to return to the Church I had to have my marriage convalidated. As neither my husband nor I had any previous marriages, the convalidation was a simple process. I did have to contact the parish I was baptized in and obtain a copy of my baptismal certificate, though.


#6

You might be able to do a convalidation but some Pastors require confirmation before hand. A couple at my Parish had to be confirmed before they convalidated their marriage. They were both baptized Catholics and both did their first Eucharists but no confirmation. The Priest said they had to be confirmed first, then think about convalidation, but as Anne1964 said, every case is different, so talk to your Priest.


#7

that is decided on a case by case basis, depending on the canonical status of the adult. You cannot use the experience of one couple to apply to someone else because you do not know all the background.

A Catholic adult living in an invalid marriage, or cohabiting, may not receive any of the sacraments, and cannot even make a valid confession, until he rectifies the situation, unless he and spouse are willing to live as brother and sister until the marriage has been convalidated. The marriage must be convalidated (after the preparation prescribed by the Diocese, which is based on their situation, time they have been together, children etc.), then the Catholic party must make a general confession, then he may be Confirmed and/or receive first communion.

The non-Catholic in an irregular marriage or cohabiting situation may not enter the Church through RCIA until that situation is resolved. Again to many individual variables to make a blanket statement.

An engaged Catholic couple preparing for a first marriage is expected to be fully initiated–baptism, Confirmation and first Communion, and should at least be preparing for Confirmation at the time of the marriage.

Please avoid the temptation on these forums to state an individual experience or incident re: marriage and use it to make a general deduction. The poster should be referred to their priest. At the time a person begins RCIA the pastor should conduct and exhaustive interview to uncover any marriage situation or other problem that needs resolution before the reception of the sacraments. If the candidate withholds information that in itself is a serious offense, but not their fault if no one ever asked the right questions.

OP should discuss her personal situation with the priest at once for advice on what, if anything, needs to be done. Kicker here is canonical status of the spouse.


#8

From what you posted it seems that your “husband” was a Baptized Catholic at the time you attempted Marriage. If you completed the necessary pre-marriage preparations and he obtained the necessary Dispensations and Permissions from his Bishop then your Marriage could be valid. If not then your Marriage would most likely not be valid.

What perplexes me is how you were able to enter the Church last Easter without this Marriage issue being investigated and dealt with. If it’s invalid , the it would not be Sacramental, and if invalid you should not be receiving Holy Communion.

You need to make an appointment with your Pastor ASAP.


#9

this should have been addressed in your first interview with the pastor when you began your RCIA preparation. If they did not ask the right questions you are not at fault, because you did not know. Your husband is the Catholic, so he is the one who was bound by Catholic marriage laws when he married you. Yes, based on what you have said here, the marriage should have been convalidated before you were received into the Church. However, there are too many variables, and this is not the proper place to discuss them. Please make an appointment today for you and your husband to speak to your pastor about this.

you cannot commit a mortal sin in ignorance. If you truly did not know the seriousness of the situation, you did not sin. Now that you do have questions, resolve them with your priest. Good luck, we are praying for you.


#10

That is why I said,

but as Anne1964 said, every case is different, so talk to your Priest.


#11

The same thing happened with my husband when he went through the RCIA program. We were never told we needed to get our marriage convalidated and they knew our marriage situation. It was on record from when we had our daughter baptized in 1996. He went through RCIA in 1997 it wasn’t until 2004 that we had our convalidation and that is because of my own reading I realized our marriage was invalid. It should be unheard of for this happen but unfortunately it’s not.


#12

Puzzleannie and all -

Thank you all for the advice and input. I realize now that this should have been resolved before I was initiated, especially since the lady in charge of faith formation knew of my marrital status. The pastor never once met with me before or during my RCIA process. Now that I have posted here, I will surely request a meeting with my pastor and thankfully I will now be armed with the correct questions.

One last question: Being lent and all, I do not know if I will be able to meet with my pastor before Sunday. Do you think I should abstain from Eucharist? I mean on the chance that I am living in sin?

Thank you all so much.


#13

The best answer is to repeat what has been said above; check with your pastor. ASAP.


#14

Thank you all very much. I understand why this is a personal issue and should have been taken directly to my priest, rather than to the message boards. I appreciate all of your unjudgemental help in the issue though.

As this topic is not really appropriate for people to comment on (as I see now - I was not aware of this when originally posting), I would understand if the mods would like to close of this thread.

Thank you all very much.


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