May I have a special dispensation from Sacramentum Caritatis?



I am hoping you can ease my mind about something very complicated, since my soul is at stake!

  • I pursued and received an annulment from the Catholic church in 2002 for my first marriage, which was in a Catholic ceremony but to a nonbaptised man.

  • I then met a man who had been married twice before, neither of which were valid marriages in God’s eyes. For the first, he grabbed the first woman he could after Vietnam, not really knowing or caring who she was. He stuck with this marriage (tho it was miserable for both) for 25 yrs until their 2 kids were grown, then they divorced and he met and married someone in Las Vegas on a whim. Naturally, he realized this error and divorced her later. He has matured greatly since this happened.

  • Though baptised in the Trinity, he is Baptist, not Catholic. In fact, his family is anti-Catholic. They were Catholic until a hardnosed priest kicked them out of the Church in the 1940’s several generations ago for questioning or not understanding the “new” dogma of Mary being the Queen of heaven. Thus there is much deep-seated resentment for being “kicked out.”

  • In greater maturity and with renewed grounding in the Holy Spirit, we committed to marry. However, he was afraid to apply for an annulment because he would have to involve his family and also his ex-wives and kids, nearly all of whom would have been traumatized emotionally by this process since they are not Catholic and do not understand it. (He does have one brother and sister-in-law who could testify willingly to the Church, but that’s about it.

  • Aware of the gravity of our commitment and confident of our spiritual status yet humble before God, we were married in front of all our family and friends, but not in the Church because of the lack of annulment. No one present would doubt the vow we made before Him. We both firmly know that our marriage is valid before God and indissoluble for all time and circumstances, like two food colors mixed in water. And we rejoice that God has led us together, and we pray together and both attend Mass. He even wants to become Catholic now.

  • However, with our Holy Father’s new paper Sacramentum Caritatis, I undersood for the first time that I shouldn’t be receiving the Eucharist due to his lack of annulment. This caused us both such great pain. We both cried during Mass for the last few weeks because my husband knows what the Eucharist means to me.

  • I went to Confession to my Msgr. this weekend and poured this all out to him. He advised me to pray; to convince my husband to come discuss all this with him so that he can purse the annulment; and, in the meantime, he said that I CAN receive the Eucharist. He also gave me absolution. I just cried and cried with relief and joy.

Bottomline, I just want to make sure that since my Pastor gives me this dispensation, that I am in good standing with the Church and can indeed receive the Eucharist?

Please pray for us. I feel like my husband becoming Catholic would be a healing of a great wound caused way back in the 1940’s. And I want so much for the Church to be able to acknowledge the sacred marriage I know we share. But more than anything I need to know I can approach Christ in the Eucharist.

Thank you.


Dear luv,

I never cease to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit so often speaks to people when a priest has given them wrong advice as in your case. I’m sure that Monsignor meant well, but he has no right to tell you to receive Holy Communion when you are living in an invalid marriage. Yet, somehow you suspected that something was wrong. The Lord definitely has His hand on you!

No matter how much you feel married and want to be so, so long as it has not been proven that his first marriage is not valid, the Church still considers him married to that woman. It does sound like an annulment is possible, but he must have the priest begin the process and not worry about how his family will react. Thousands of people have dealt with such matters. He needs to put his trust in the Lord.

Now it IS possible for you to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion if you live as brother and sister until you marriage is finally blessed. Having relations with someone to whom you are not validly married is a mortal sin. Nothing is worth a mortal sin. I will be praying that you will follow this option.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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