Protestant divorce/remarriage case


#1

[size=]I have a family member who was married for a very short time (only a few months). This is not someone who is seeking to become Catholic, but someone who is not baptized, has begun to attend a Protestant Church, and appears to be sincerely seeking Christ. Her marriage only lasted a few months b/c her husband, who is a felon, ended up back in jail. He was not a provider for this woman (and her two children from a previous relationship and their child together) and he led her down the wrong path as well. He is currently in jail, serving a two year sentence. Her civil divorce just went through 3 weeks ago. Now she is asking me my advice on whether she should marry again because as I have said, she is sincerely seeking Christ and wants to know what a Christian should do. This is a first marriage for her but the third marriage for her husband. They are both unbaptized. I have told her that for the time being, until she can seek the advice of a good pastor, that she is married in the eyes of God and should not date anyone else. That was before I knew that her husband had been married previously twice before. IF she were going to join the Catholic Church, would she need an anullment, or would the Church say that she was never married to this man because he was not free to marry? What should I advise her to do?[/size]


#2

[quote="Veronica97, post:1, topic:304081"]
[size=]I have a family member who was married for a very short time (only a few months). This is not someone who is seeking to become Catholic, but someone who is not baptized, has begun to attend a Protestant Church, and appears to be sincerely seeking Christ. Her marriage only lasted a few months b/c her husband, who is a felon, ended up back in jail. He was not a provider for this woman (and her two children from a previous relationship and their child together) and he led her down the wrong path as well. He is currently in jail, serving a two year sentence. Her civil divorce just went through 3 weeks ago. Now she is asking me my advice on whether she should marry again because as I have said, she is sincerely seeking Christ and wants to know what a Christian should do. This is a first marriage for her but the third marriage for her husband. They are both unbaptized. I have told her that for the time being, until she can seek the advice of a good pastor, that she is married in the eyes of God and should not date anyone else. That was before I knew that her husband had been married previously twice before. IF she were going to join the Catholic Church, would she need an anullment, or would the Church say that she was never married to this man because he was not free to marry? What should I advise her to do?[/size]

[/quote]

There is no way to give a definitive answer to this, because there are too many variables we don't know, such as the details of his previous marrigages, and their validity.

As the lay director of RCIA in our parish, if she were to come to us, I would direct her to a priest, or to our parish's advocate for annulments.

You are right though, in the eyes of God and the Church, she is still considered married.


#3

You say she is not Catholic, nor is she interested in becoming Catholic? Then she is not bound by Catholic rules for remarriage. She needs to seek counseling from her own pastor.

In a civil sense, if she is legally divorced, she is free to date/remarry. She needs to get spiritual guidance from her own church if she is not Catholic and not intending to convert.

Jala


#4

[quote="twopekinguys, post:2, topic:304081"]
There is no way to give a definitive answer to this, because there are too many variables we don't know, such as the details of his previous marrigages, and their validity.

As the lay director of RCIA in our parish, if she were to come to us, I would direct her to a priest, or to our parish's advocate for annulments.

You are right though, in the eyes of God and the Church, she is still considered married.

[/quote]

As far as the Catholic church is concerned, her husband is still presumed to be validly married to his first wife and her marriage to him is presumed invalid due to a previous bond.


#5

But as I stated, we don’t know all the details.

His first wife could have been Catholic, and there is defect of form.

They could have been married in the Catholic church, and she has since requested an annulment.

She also could have since passed away, and that would free him for his second marriage.

His first wife might not have been free to marry, so his first marriage may not have been valid.

These are just a few possible scenarios.

We don’t know all of the details, so no definitive answer can be given. Which is what I stated in my post. There are too many variables.


#6

[quote="Veronica97, post:1, topic:304081"]
[size=]I have a family member who was married for a very short time (only a few months). This is not someone who is seeking to become Catholic, but someone who is not baptized, has begun to attend a Protestant Church, and appears to be sincerely seeking Christ. Her marriage only lasted a few months b/c her husband, who is a felon, ended up back in jail. He was not a provider for this woman (and her two children from a previous relationship and their child together) and he led her down the wrong path as well. He is currently in jail, serving a two year sentence. Her civil divorce just went through 3 weeks ago. Now she is asking me my advice on whether she should marry again because as I have said, she is sincerely seeking Christ and wants to know what a Christian should do. This is a first marriage for her but the third marriage for her husband. They are both unbaptized. I have told her that for the time being, until she can seek the advice of a good pastor, that she is married in the eyes of God and should not date anyone else. That was before I knew that her husband had been married previously twice before. IF she were going to join the Catholic Church, would she need an anullment, or would the Church say that she was never married to this man because he was not free to marry? What should I advise her to do?[/size]

[/quote]

If the ex husband was already married then her marriage would have been void in the eyes of the Church.


#7

So what should I advise my family member? I am thinking I should stick to my previous advice--not to date anyone while her husband is in jail and to meanwhile seek to grow closer to the Lord and seek the advice of a trusted pastor. Supposing the jail allows conjugal visits? Should she act as though her current marriage may be invalid and not look at this man as her husband? It is highly unlikely that either one of his previous marriages was to a Catholic but I have no idea if they were batpized or not or any other circumstances surrounding the marriages.


#8

[size=]Well, I guess since she is civilly divorced she should not be acting as though this man were her husband, but neither should she be dating. It is well beyond my knowledge.[/size]


#9

Your relative is not Catholic so she does not need to follow the Church’s rule. However, you say she has children, for the sake of those children she should focus on them and on her own faith development. Dating and hurried remarriages are usually not good for the children. Help her to grown in her faith, be a good mom, find and keep a good job. Advise her not to worry so much about a potential new husband quite yet.


#10

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:9, topic:304081"]
Your relative is not Catholic so she does not need to follow the Church's rule. However, you say she has children, for the sake of those children she should focus on them and on her own faith development. Dating and hurried remarriages are usually not good for the children. Help her to grown in her faith, be a good mom, find and keep a good job. Advise her not to worry so much about a potential new husband quite yet.

[/quote]

She is not bound to the same rules as Catholics are; however, aren't all Christians held to what Jesus said about divorce and remarriage? But I do agree with you...her first priority should be raising her children and growing in her relationship with the Lord.


#11

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