Protestant vs. Catholic marriages and annulment

Another thread got me thinking about this. Why is it that the Church recognizes the marriages of persons of other christian faiths, but allows them after a divorce to marry a catholic in the church.

For example, if a catholic wants to marry a protestant who is divorced, there is no problem as long as the catholic was not married before, or received an annulment.

Or, if a divorced catholic, who was married in civil ceramony or a protestant ceramony, wants to now remarry in the church, they are not required to get an annulment.

Why does the church recognize other christian marriages outside the church, but doesn’t apply the same “penalties” for divorce, such as requiring them to have the first marriage annuled?

"For example, if a catholic wants to marry a protestant who is divorced, there is no problem as long as the catholic was not married before, or received an annulment. "

That is incorrect any Christian who was Married before must show that the Marriage was not a valid Marriage through the annulment process before they can Marry again.

“Or, if a divorced catholic, who was married in civil ceramony or a protestant ceramony, wants to now remarry in the church, they are not required to get an annulment.”

This also is incorrect, a Catholic who invalidly Married in a civil cermony or Protestant ceremony must show that they were Catholic and ignored Catholic Canon Law and Married outside the Church, making the Marriage invalid.

“Why does the church recognize other christian marriages outside the church, but doesn’t apply the same “penalties” for divorce, such as requiring them to have the first marriage annuled?”

This is also incorrect, any Protestant who has divorced and remarried must show that the first Marriage was invalid through the annulment process before they are allowed to become a Catholic or Marry a Catholic.

Thank you, Br. Rich. Wow! Was I misinformed or what? Thanks so much for the clarification.

Actually it can often be more difficult for a non-Catholic to prove the invalidity of a former marriage.

I speak from experience on this one. I was not even baptised at the time of my former marriage and I am quickly approaching two years in the process my formal petition. If a Catholic had married under the same circumstances as I did it would not have even required a formal petition, lack of form would have done it.

Anyone that tells you that nullities are just given away as a matter of course is very seriously misinformed. It is often a long and painful process.

you are mistaken in your assumptions
marriages between non-Catholics are considered valid until proven otherwise, and cannot be ended by civil divorce. If a Catholic wishes to marry a divorced person, no matter what their faith (or lack of faith) that person must petition for and obtain a decree of nullity (which is by no means a sure thing). This couple may become engaged or even date before they are both free to marry.

This question is maybe slightly tangential to this thread but as I’m here I thought I’d post it anyway.

I was married, without dispensation, in a Methodist church. My decline from the faith at the time was such that I had completely forgotten about the proper marriage form for Catholics. Would it have been reasonable for the minister who performed the ceremony, even as no more than an interdenominational nicety, to point out during the pre-marriage discussions that there was an issue over me marrying elsewhere than in a Catholic church? It’s been a while and I don’t recall the detail of the conversations that took place, but I can’t imagine that I didn’t tell him.

Most protestant ministers don’t know Catholic Canon Law, and even those who heard of various Catholic requirements have no interest in understanding them. It ranges I’m sure from “so-what” to “I got me a Catholic!”

sorry I see a typo in my response, of course a divorced person is NOT free to become engaged or even to date until the issue of validity of the first marriage has been decided and an annulment granted.

I’m glad you caught that. I read it several times and thought “that’s not what I’ve heard.” A divorced person who has not been granted an annulment would be commiting adultery if they were to date or become engaged.

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