Paul's exception

If a Catholic marries a non-Christian, and latter the non-Christian becomes to hate Catholicism and leaves her husband, could the husband then marry a Catholic?

My understanding is this:

If the Catholic did not seek a dispensation from the Church to marry the non-Christian, then the marriage would be invalid from the start and never recognized by the Church. Under that circumstance, yes, if a civil divorce occurred a Catholic could enter into a licit marriage with another Catholic.

If the Catholic did seek the dispensation from the Church to marry the non-Christian, then they would need to seek an annulment for that marriage before they could licitly remarry. A Church tribunal would need to find that the marriage was invalid on some other basis.

This assumes the Catholic was a Catholic at the time of the marriage. If they converted after the marriage to Catholicism, then the marriage is recognized by the Church and they would need to see an annulment.

If I’m not correct on this, hopefully someone will correct me but as I’m involved in an annulment process right now, this was my understanding from the priest.

The Church has stated that all marriages are presumed to be valid. So, unless, or until, a marriage tribunal rules that first marriage was null the husband is not free to marry.

I am referring to the so-called **Pauline Privilege **where a person becomes a Catholic but has a spouse who doesn’t want to convert or stay with her husband. If a pervious valid consummated marriage can be annulled in that case, I was wondering why a Catholic who marries a non-Christian can’t annul that marriage if the non-Christian spouse starts to hate his Faith and leaves her him

Based on my reading of a couple references, the Pauline Privilege only applies when both parties were non-Christian when married, and later one of them converts.

This would not apply to the circumstance provided in the OP.

I’m wondering why. Maybe it is that a **Catholics choice **of marriage cannot be changed

There is a second “privilege” that applies to a Christian married to a non-Christisn:

Does that help any?


It is possible the Catholic could receive a dissolution of the bond (not a decree of nullity) through the Petrine Privilege if the non Catholic was an unbaptized person.

It’s my understanding that if one party was baptized, even if that party converted to a non-Christian faith prior to the first marriage, that Pauline’s Privilege wouldn’t apply in any subsequent marriage because BOTH parties to the original marriage had to be non-baptized, even in cases of subsequent conversion to Catholicism.
Am I incorrect?

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PAULINE PRIVILEGE.** Dissolution of the marriage bond between two persons who were not baptized at the time of their marriage.** Its basis in revelation is St. Paul (I Corinthians 7:12-15) and its conditions are the following: both parties are unbaptized at the time of marriage and after the marriage one of the parties receives baptism; one party has embraced the faith through baptism and the other remains unbaptized; the unbaptized person departs either physically by divorce or desertion, or morally by making married life unbearable for the convert; the departure of the unbaptized party is verified by means of interpellations, i.e., being asked if he or she is willing to be baptized or at least willing to live peacefully with the convert to the faith. If the above conditions are fulfilled and are negative, the Church may grant the baptized person the right to marry another Christian.

You are correct. The Pauline Privilege involves two **unbaptized **people, not merely “non-Christians”.

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