Non catholic marriage and divorce

So I know that marriage between people of other faiths is not sacramental. Let’s say two atheists have a civil and a natural marriage - if they each divorce and remarry, does the church approve of and or acknowledge the second Marriage. What about between two ex, lapsed or excommunicated Catholics.

Lastly, how does the church evaluate the validity of non catholic marriages. If a non catholic pair lives together and considers themselves married but never gets a civil marriage but then convert what is the status of their marriage.

Edit: the last part is a for instance… I realize that’s a very niche example

Not quite. Valid marriages between baptized non-Catholics are sacramental.

Valid marriages involving one or two unbaptized are natural marriages.

Yes. It does recognize marriages between non-Catholics. The two atheists would have a natural marriage if one or both weren’t baptized (many adult non believers were baptized as children). They would have a sacramental marriage if both were baptized.

In general, if they divorce they are not free to marry another. There are exceptions vis-a-vis the Pauline Privilege.

Civil marriages involving Catholics without dispensation are, generally speaking, not valid attempts at marriage.

Upon request of one of the parties to the marriage, just like all other requests.

That depends on several factors including any prior bonds of either party and the status of common law marriage in their jurisdiction.


If both parties are baptized their marriage is a sacrament. If one or both people are not baptized, they have a natural marriage. Either way it is recognized the by Church. And that’s true even if it took place in a non-church setting.

The same way it evaluates the validity of a Catholic marriage. The difference is that non-Catholics would not have reason to go to the Tribunal unless they were marrying a Catholic or converting to Catholicism.

If by other faiths you mean non-Christian religions that is true. They are not sacramental but they are natural and valid.

No, the Church does not recognise the second marriage. If two people have no religion and marry in a civil marriage ceremony their marriage is valid. A civil dissolution of marriage, commonly known as divorce, does not end that marriage. They are not free to re-marry.

You cannot really be an ex-Catholic. I know there was a period of time when one could formally defect but that is no longer an option. A lapsed Catholic is one who does not observe the Church’s precepts but is still a Catholic. An excommunicated Catholic is still a Catholic and excommunication is a medicinal penalty with which it is hoped they will return to the faith. Therefore, they are different from your atheist example. They would marry for life and civil divorce could not end their marriage. They would also be bound by canonical form. If your hypothetical situation were possible and you could truly become a non-Catholic you cannot reverse baptism. So their marriage would still be a sacrament and civil divorce cannot dissolve the sacred bond of marriage.

In the same way it evaluates the marriages of Catholics. They only thing it would not hold them to is canonical form. Everyone, Catholic, non-Catholic Christian, non-Christian and non-believer are still bound by natural and divine law.

Like anyone else they would be living in a state of public sin. Non-Catholics are not bound to canonical form but must marry in some form of acknowledged marriage ceremony and this could be a civil ceremony or a Protestant, Jewish, etc. ceremony. You cannot simply share a house and a bed and say that makes us married.

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