Please, Need Help: Convalidation


I need help in a situation I am having with my parish.

My wife and I got married outside the Church two years ago, when we had fallen away for a time. We are now seeking to have this rectified, obviously. They said the process would take a few months.

However, through reading on this forum and finding what I could find, it was my understand that if we chose to live as brother and sister, we could go to confession, and then receive the Eucharist. We would not be sinning anymore, so there should be no reason not to do this.

So, confident of this, we went to the pastor of our parish on Saturday. He said that no, a “brother and sister” relationship was a formal process that older couples sometimes go through to permanently live in this way; it is not a temporary thing.

He said we would not in any way be able to receive the sacraments until we were convalidated.

Today he called the diocese, and they apparently said the same thing.

We desperately want to receive the sacraments, and not to have to wait three months to do so. We feel like we are barred and unable to get anywhere.

We are moving to my wife’s diocese in a few weeks, so will be beginning the process there. But in the meantime, we wanted to go to confession and be able to confess our sins. They are a heavy burden on us.

So, is the priest right? i know I had heard here the opposite, and someone said that a bishop had told them they could receive the sacraments if they lived as brother and sister. So what am I missing? There must be a miscommunication somewhere.

I’m not sure how to proceed, but your help would be appreciated.

I’m not sure why it takes 3 months to have your marriage convalidated but if they say it does, then it probably does. They know what they’re doing and have a policy and a plan, it sounds like. My advice? Just do what they ask you to do. Three months is a drop in the bucket when a whole lifetime together is considered.

And honestly, if you’ve resolved that you could live as sister & brother for three months, then there’s no reason you can’t wait three months for convalidation instead. Actually waiting for convalidation would be easier for most people.

Yes, living in continence can open the path to the sacraments.

However, reading here on the forum gives people the impression that this is how it must be handled. This is not the case. This is how it can be handled. Your own bishop may have given his priests different direction on the matter. In which case, you need to follow what your pastor indicates.

It’s not the issue of living as brother and sister, or even how long it takesfor convalidation. The issue is not being able to receive the sacraments beforehand, which we’ve heard should be possible.

And you want to argue with them about it? Is that the point?


No… it’s not about “arguing” – if it were a possibility, but it was denied them, Brandon’s (naturally) wondering what’s going on! 1ke hit it on the head: it can be a possibility, but isn’t necessarily always available.

Okay, but I’m not sure I’d take the advice of an online forum over the parish and the diocese where I live on such a matter. LOL. I mean, the priest has spoken to them in person and understands the particulars of the situation, which of course we don’t.

It sounds like they have a path to regularizing this situation, and that’s good. Yes, it’s going to take 3 months, but it sounds to me like they’re darned lucky. A lot of people in irregular situations would give their eye teeth to have such a straight-forward solution to an irregular marriage.

We don’t want to argue. We want to confess our sins, receive absolution, and receive the Eucharist. If we are living as brother and sister, we are no longer sinning in the way of our marriage.

Yeah, just do what they tell you to do, and be glad it’s only 3 months. You’re lucky.

Your response seems uncharitable to me. I understand your point, but still.

And, we are not having it done in this diocese. If it were a fast process, we were going to have it done here before moving. But we wanted to see the possibilities.

It is not that we want to “argue.” We simply wanted to see what was true, and sometimes priests are mistaken. I’ve found that out enough times, so I try to ask here. If you don’t like that, please don’t reply to this thread.

Yeah, but your diocese confirmed what your priest said, so maybe they have a diocesan policy. Your priest knows the particulars of your situation anyway, and we don’t.

Yes, and you could have said this instead of having an attitude and degrading us for wanting to receive the Eucharist.

By the way, just to clarify, the priest responded as though he had never in his life of people living as brother and sister until the convalidation was complete, and thereby being able to receive the sacraments. I would have accepted it willingly if he would have said it is the policy of the diocese. It sounded like a universal thing, which is why I want to ask here. It seems perhaps that was a mistake, too.

We simply feel alone in this process. Please, don’t reply, anyone, if you can’t be charitable and supportive about it.

I would suggest contacting the priest who will be doing your convalidation in the other diocese. He may be able to move forward with reconciliation and resumption of the sacraments.


In other words, you don’t want to hear from me unless I tell you your priest is wrong. I’m not going to do that.

I can tell you I’m sorry you are in a bind for three months. But three months is a very short time. It’ll get better.

I do not know what to tell you…but you could talk again to the priest and ask for a confirmation of what he said (if you have not done it).

You could probably receive all the sacraments except communion.

God knows your desires to receive him. I can tell you of a real story. My parents had a friend who had a persoanl issue that needed resolution and took a while to resolve…and needed to go all the way to the Vatican for an answer. It took over 20 yrs. In all this time, he refrained from communion. He was patient, and remained faithful, going to church every Sunday, had no rancor in his heart.

His issue was resolved only about two yrs ago. He passed away last year…on Easter Sunday (!!!) after a long illness. Can you see the meaning of passing away on Easter Sunday in his story?

Anyway, I will share with you this passage from Scripture:

1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

The OP only heard the response from the Diocese second hand.

Are there impediments to your marriage being blessed in the Catholic Church? If so three months is a short wait. If not consider these:

First contract your Diocesan Dept of Marriage and receive an answer from them. With no impediments three months seem excessive.

If there are no impediments I do not understand the wait if you are committed to live as siblings - even apart - and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Do you have another spiritual resource?

Yes my wife’s father is going to check with a priest there to check on eerything. Thank you.

We just wanted to see our options. :slight_smile:

No, because others are saying similar. I don’t want you to, however, make light of a very sensitive issue for us.

We do appreciate the support of others in this thread.

No, there are no impediments. We are both Catholics who have received all of the sacraments of initiation. We got married in a Method church, but just want to have the marriage convalidated nwo that we have realized our error.

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