non-Catholic annulment question


#1

I am not Catholic (I am Episcopalian). I have been married twice before, once in the Episcopal Church and the second was a non-denominational ceremony at someone's home. My boyfriend is Catholic and would like to marry in the Catholic Church.
Do I need Catholic annulments? I have spent years believing that I do, but today was informed by a Catholic priest that I should seek the annulments through the Episcopal Church and elsewhere since neither of my previous marriages had anything to do with the Catholic Church.
I am very confused now and not sure how to proceed.


#2

That doesn’t make sense. Was this your boyfriend’s priest? And does he understand you want to marry a Catholic?


#3

Welcome to Catholic Answers!

First, be aware that the people who reply here are not answering in any official capacity. Anyone can be a CAF member - even non-Carholics - and most of us are answering from our own experiences and understanding of Church teaching. Our answers bear no official weight.

So, that being said, you and your boyfriend should make an appointment to speak with his parish priest about your marital situation. If you’re only thinking about getting married, maybe, down the road somewhere, then you probably can’t go through the Roman Catholic annulment process. But if you did go through some sort of annulment process in another church (do Episcopalians even have annulments?), it probably wouldn’t be valid in the Catholic Church. You would still have to go through the Catholic annulment process before you could marry in the Catholic Church.

God bless you!

Gertie


#4

And please dont be afraid of the anullment process. Its just questions, not judgement on you of any kind. Dont let any of the questions intimidate you either, they are all harmless.


#5

All I can say is that from my knowledge, which is very limited, a valid marriage is between two baptized people. Was your previous husbands baptized? If so I am not sure how the Church deals with that situation. If not the marriages may have been invalid and you may be free to marry in the Catholic Church. As the person said above, Check with the priest.


#6

Yes.

You will have to lay out all the facts of the case to determine if you have grounds for a decree of nullity. Or, if your prior attempts at marriage involved unbaptized people, there may be recourse to the Petrine Privilege. And of course all the facts are important such as whether or not they had prior bonds or perhaps even were lapsed Catholics. All details are important. But, of course, a decree of nullity is not guaranteed.

I am sure you are confused. Perhaps you misunderstood. I sure hope so anyway. So, if this priest continues to be confused, because that is absolutely incorrect, you should approach another priest OR the Catholic diocesan marriage tribunal where you live.


#7

My advice would be to contact the Tribunal in the local diocese and talk to them.

I’m sorry, but that priest is misinformed. The Catholic church assumes all marriages (no matter where performed and by whom) are valid unless, and until, proven otherwise. If you don’t go through the process of annulling your previous marriages then any “marriage” between you and your boyfriend would be invalid. Even if one, or both, or your husbands were un-baptised, there is still a formal procedure you have to go through before you can marry in the CC.

Even if the Episcopal Church annulled your marriage, the Catholic Church would not accept that annulment. They have their own laws and their own courts to deal with marriages. And you would still have to deal with the second marriage.

Contact the Tribunal and make an appointment to speak to someone there. They will know exactly what you need to do.


#8

That is not correct.

For example, assuming no impediment to marriage two atheists married civilly have a valid marriage, two muslims married have a valid marriage etc.


#9

I don’t blame you for being confused. But you received very good advice from posters about contacting the diocesean tribunal itself where you will be able to speak or communicate with people who are familiar with Church law.

I would add, with the greatest of charity, that when you DO speak with them you mention the priest who gave you the advice so that they can speak with him as well. It is possible that you or he innocently misunderstood the situation as it was presented, leading to his statement to you, and it would give you peace of mind to know that the Church teachings don’t vary from place to place or priest to priest, and it would give the PRIEST peace of mind to know that he had not somehow innocently steered a person wrong.


#10

[quote="thistle, post:8, topic:331682"]
That is not correct.

For example, assuming no impediment to marriage two atheists married civilly have a valid marriage, two muslims married have a valid marriage etc.

[/quote]

Ok thanks for the clear up. So I am assuming that if a baptized person married a non baptized person lets say in a Lutheran Church, that would be invalid?


#11

[quote="Matthew8, post:10, topic:331682"]
Ok thanks for the clear up. So I am assuming that if a baptized person married a non baptized person lets say in a Lutheran Church, that would be invalid?

[/quote]

That would still be a valid natural marriage. Marriage between two baptised people is a sacramental marriage. All other marriages where at least one is not baptised are natural marriages. Validity is not contingent on who is or isn't baptised.


#12

Assuming no impediments to the marriage such a marriage would be valid but non-sacramental.


#13

[quote="ddwwoodd, post:1, topic:331682"]
I am not Catholic (I am Episcopalian). I have been married twice before, once in the Episcopal Church and the second was a non-denominational ceremony at someone's home. My boyfriend is Catholic and would like to marry in the Catholic Church.
Do I need Catholic annulments? I have spent years believing that I do, but today was informed by a Catholic priest that I should seek the annulments through the Episcopal Church and elsewhere since neither of my previous marriages had anything to do with the Catholic Church.
I am very confused now and not sure how to proceed.

[/quote]

Please be advised that an “annulment” is NOT a process by which a marriage is cancelled, dissolved, or nullified. A Declaration of Nullity (the more proper term) is a formal statement by the Church that upon investigation the marriage in question, for one or more of several reasons, was determined to be invalid, that is, it did not meet the all conditions requires for a valid marriage. In other words, it never existed from the get-go. For example, it could be that discovered one of the parties was underage. In the case where at least one of the parties is Catholic, it could be something as simple as the marriage did not take place in the Church.

More to the point, this means that annulments (Declarations of Nullity) are not automatic. If a marriage cannot be found to have been invalid, in the eyes of the Church the parties are not free to remarry even if there has been a civil divorce. There are certain exceptions but these are too involved to go into here.

I offer this, not to discourage you, but to share some information about annulments. I agree with the other posters above that the “advice” you received doesn’t seem to make sense. Likewise I too encourage you (the two of you) to revisit your situation with your boyfriend’s priest. I suggest that this be done well before any dates are set, etc. None of us here are in a position to give you anything but general information and general advice.

Best wishes.


#14

No valid marriages are not limited to baptized people. The Church recognizes the marriages of non Catholics and non Christians as valid natural marriages. Sacramental marriage is the marriage of two baptized people.


#15

I see, awesome, many thanks.


#16

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