Question about validity of marriage


My husband and I are in communication with our Priest about getting our marriage convalidated. He and I were both baptized Catholic as children. He had a previous marriage that was not performed in the Catholic Church (it was done by a justice of the peace). Likewise, our marriage was not performed in the Catholic Church, something we are trying to rectify.

The priest is now asking me if his ex-wife was a Baptized Christian. My husband doesn’t know, they did not discuss religion as it was not part of their lives at that time. He does not talk to her at all anymore, the marriage ended very badly. My question is why is this important to know? Doesn’t the fact that HE was Catholic and did not follow Church law make their marriage invalid?


It isn’t. Not sure why the priest would be asking for this. Perhaps, though, on the form there may be a place for the Respondent’s religion. And if the Respondent were also Catholic the freedom to marry decree would also go to their baptismal parish.

If he doesn’t know, he should just say “unknown”.


A lack of form case is very straightforward. He need only provid his own sacramental records, marriage and divorce records.


I am in the exact same boat as you here except I do know that my ex-wife was baptized in a Baptist church. I've been told it doesn't matter. I believe everything will be fine here for you. I will pray for your peace of mind until you get your final result.

God bless you and Christ's peace be with you!


It is a matter of interpretation whether this applies, but if your husband had made a “formal act of defection” from the Church before circa October 26, 2009 (Omnium in Mentem) then his marriage outside the Church may be considered valid.

One possible reason that the priest is asking if the wife was a baptized Christian is that he may be considering the Petrine Privilege.


Thank you for the replies. It does ease my mind a bit.

I am not sure what a “formal act of defection” is…but I don’t think he defected, I think he was simply a non-practicing Catholic.

I have responded to the Priest that we do not know. I will see where it goes from there and keep praying for the day when we are in full Communion with Church once again. My heart longs for nothing more than to see that day.

Thanks and God Bless.


You would have to ask your priest why he needs this information.


You priest may be trying to determine which set of paperwork to fill out and send to the arch/diocesan Tribunal or Canonical Services department. Based on the information you have provided, it sounds like a Lack of (Canonical) Form case, which is very quick. Most parish priests may not be particularly well-versed in current Canon Law and the local diocesan tribunal practices/policies. Just tell him what you said here. When he confers with the people at the Tribunal, he’ll find out for himself. :slight_smile:


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