Question on Annulments


Say someone was baptized Catholic as a baby, but wasn’t raised in the Church and was never confirmed. As an adult, he joined a Protestant church and married (not sure whether the wife was baptized).

He and his wife divorced, and he is now wanting to marry a Catholic. I know that he needs to get an annulment, but would it be considered based on Lack of Form?



Most likely, but every case is different.


The rules on this have been changing quite a bit. The key factor in determining which set of rules apply in a given case is when (e.g., what year) the wedding took place in. Depending on that, another factor could be what was actually entailed in “joining” the Protestant church, e.g., was he rebaptized?


The church considers once Catholic always Catholic so joining a protestant church and not being confirmed doesn't matter, he was baptized within the Catholic faith.

The good news is that if all that is stated is true, his only marriage, this would be a matter of lack of cononical form.


That would depend on when he got married. Before 2009 the history given might be considered formal defection and then lack of canonical form wouldn’t apply. But really it’s for the Tribunal to decide.


This would only be if he formally defected by notifying the Bishop - most don’t. Most likely it will be a lack of form. He should speak to his priest. The same type of question was asked of a Canon lawyer in a similar situation and that was the answer.


I have to disagree here, a baby cannot formally defect. This person was taken out of the church as a child, therefore lacked the ability to make a formal defection. And formal defection was a specific process, not merely joining a non-Catholic ecclesial communion.


That’s why I said ‘might’. It appears that there were various interpretations of that over the years which was the reason that the exception was removed from the CCL in 2009.


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