I have a question about the views of the Church concerning my marital situation. I was married and divorced when I was younger. Neither my first wife nor I were believers. I remarried and have been married for the past 20 years. In those 20 years both my wife and I have came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
I am not sure how the Catholic Church views my situation. Can I become a full member of the body of Christ?
As others have indicated, I would also strongly suggest talking to a priest.
If your former spouse is still living, you will likely need an annulment of your first marriage. Your case will also depend on whether any of the involved parties are/were baptized and whether your first spouse had any previous marriages prior to your marriage to her and the circumstances of that marriage. Generally, the Catholic Church assumes marriages are valid (civil or otherwise) unless they can be shown to be otherwise.
I believe the priest will have you and your wife attend RCIA and then you will have your marriage convalidated through the Church. Have you or your wife been baptised yet?If yes, the local deacon or priest will want your baptismal records to see if the church you were baptised in is recongnized by the Catholic Chruch. There is alot of stuff to do in order to be accepted into the church but its well worth the journey. May God bless you and your wife on your journey!
Second off: the “you will likely need an annulment” isn’t necessarily true (if by “not believers”, you mean that neither of you were baptized Christians at the time of the marriage or during the marriage). However, when you go to talk to the priest, have as much information (as possible) ready: for you and your wife, all of both of your ex’s, and all of their ex’s, you’ll want to try to know what their Christian status is (that is, are they baptized Catholic? if not, are they baptized Christian? if so, in what denomination? if baptized, on what date (and where)?). In addition, knowing the dates and places of any marriages and divorces is relevant.
Your priest will know what other information (if any) is relevant. Going to him with a solid grasp of the facts is helpful, though…
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