Question on returning to the Church

I have a question on returning to the Church, and hope I’m posting in the right forum. I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic. Unfortunately I quit attending about three years ago. I since married, outside the Church, to a non-Catholic. I have been reading religious books, like the ones I read when I was actively practicing, and am preparing a confession. However, I was wondering, if I was to go to confession and work to stay in a state of grace, is that possible or would my marriage outside the Church make it so my confession was not good? Like walking out of the confessional but still being in sin because I am still married outside the Church?

I’ve been praying the Rosary the past few weeks and just finished Montfort’s Secrets of the Rosary, but reading how being in a state of sin praying the rosary is offensive to Mary, I was wondering on how to make everything right to start over again.

Thank you

It’s wonderful that God is calling you back. Please make an appointment with your local parish priest to explain your situation and ask what you need to do. It may be easier than you think to regularize your marriage if neither of you have been married before. After that, it’s probably just a matter of making a good confession!

Welcome home!


I agree with the above poster. Just talk to your local priest.

Welcome home!

One of the requirements of a valid Confession/absolution is that you will do your best to avoid the sin(s) moving forward. Which in your case is acting like your married to someone who you are not validly married to. This is why people who seek to return to the practice of the Catholic faith should speak with their pastor and follow his advise which usually does include Confession, but also many times, other things as well. Like getting the Marriage issues addressed.

You certainly are on the right road! You are receiving the grace to move you to repentance and reunion with Christ’s Church. You just have a few steps to get through. You will want to make an appointment with the Priest at the parish where you are attending Mass. If you aren’t attending you should start immediately. Of course you seem to already know you need to wait to receive communion until you are in a state of grace . But you are certainly welcome to come to Mass. You will need to bring your marriage into the church- convalidate it. Should be a pretty simple thing to do providing there were no other marriages involved and your spouse will cooperate.

Welcome home! I can relate to you as I am going through this now. I left the Church for 11 years, got married and had two children. Last May I returned to the church and began attending Mass regularly. I didn’t know I shouldn’t have been receiving Holy Communion because we were married outside the Church until about a month and a half ago. Father had mentioned that during his Homily, so I talked with him right after Mass about getting right.

Each priest is different though so what you may have to go through may be different than what I have to go through.

We are attending classes with him, about 5 of them as well as a natural family planning class. He said our marriage should be blessed by October, and at that time I will be in full communion with the Church again. My daughters were Baptised in June and will receive their first penance and Holy Communion in August.

Again, welcome home!

I can’t say what exactly will happen, but you’ll most likely be asked to live “as brother and sister” until your marriage is convalidated. If you agree to do that to the best of your ability, you should be able to receive absolution. But only a priest can answer that, but I just didn’t want it to seem so “doom and gloom” as I perceived this thread. Keep in mind, priests deal with this sort of situation all the time. Welcome home.

I would be surprised if she is asked to live “as brother and sister.”

See, for me, our marriage is getting blessed, but my husband isn’t converting to Catholicism. So, if our priest asked us to live “as brother and sister” I know my husband wouldn’t have been willing to go through these classes. Plus, we already have children. We have been married for 12 years, which is saying alot in this day and age, ya know.

What my priest explained was that when we got married by the justice of the peace, we did so outside of the Church which meant it wasn’t a Sacramental Marriage. We are still married by society’s standards and laws, but need to make our promises before God.

I wipe the sweat from my brow that he didn’t ask us to live “as brother and sister,” especially seeing the process of getting our marriage blessed is taking 4 months!

Is it that big of a deal to go without sex for 4 months?

I think it probably differs depending on the person. [edited]

What the society’s laws say doesn’t matter in this situation. What matters is God’s laws. A catholic is bound to follow the form and matter of the sacrament. When a civil “marriage” is a attempted by a catholic outside of the church, not only is it not a sacrament, it isn’t valid at all. This is not a real marriage at all. The two people are not married, therefore should not be living as if they are. They may not be asked to seperate households, due to children, but there should not be any sex happening because that is reserved for married people only.

Okay, so here is what I am not understanding:

  1. What about the millions of people who are not married in the Catholic church at all (protestants, athiests, etc.)?

  2. What about those who want to have their marriage validated in the Catholic church but their spouse doesn’t want to?


  1. Does that mean or original anniversary date isn’t truly our anniversary and our ‘real’ anniversary will be the date our marriage is blessed? So instead of being married for 12 years, our date of marriage will be sometime in October?
  1. Catholic church believes that protestant marriages are valid and if both baptized, sacramental. Catholic church believes that non-baptized marriages are valid natural marriages, but not sacramental. A catholic marrying anyone is still bound by catholic form and canon law and must do things correctly (seeking a dispensation, permission, etc…whatever is needed).

  2. A marriage takes 2 people. The purpose of marriage is to get each other to heaven. It takes both people need to have free will and consent. If one is not concerned with the other’s salvation, perhaps the person should reconsider marrying them. The other option is radical sanation. You can petition to get your marriage validated (retroactively I believe) without your partner’s consent.


4)Yes, the real anniversary date is when your marriage is convalidated in the church. You have not been in a valid marriage. (PLEASE READ BELOW)

Jol- I assumed something and I don’t know if you stated this or not. IF you were both protestants when you were married originally by JOP, you marriage was valid (assuming no other impediments) and there is no need to get a convalidation. IF one of you was catholic and and married outside of the form of the church, than you need a convalidation.

When we got married I was Catholic, I wasn’t a practicing Catholic. I had quit going to Church and didn’t care much about my faith or any of the rules associated with it. I believed in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, Angels and Saints, but didn’t practice my faith. I didn’t care what faith my husband was because mine wasn’t important to me at the time.

He is a baptised protestant, he isn’t a church-goer and he doesn’t care to be one.

He has agree’d to have our marriage blessed and has desired to do so in the Church, but not for the spiritual aspects of it. For the societial proper way to do it, walking down the isle type of thing.

We are in the process of having our marriage blessed/validated in the Church for the sake of me, really. He is coming to the classes though and learning about why this needs to be done and what it means to have a Sacramental Marriage. For this I am thankful because he has never talked to a Catholic Priest so I am hoping this will plant some seeds.

We do do everything for eachother. He just doesn’t have good views of “church” and to go and sit with the Priest for a couple hours every two weeks, plus go to the NFP classes when we aren’t on birth control and already have kids, is a big deal to him, not being able to have sex would have put it over the top. I imagine he has in times gone without, like when I gave birth to our first daughter and we had to wait the 6 weeks, for him it was like counting down on the calendar. After one week with none, his personality changes, he becomes irritable. That is just who he is. I don’t think he would understand that we are married but the church doesn’t recognize it and so we can’t have sex. And honestly, I am afraid if I were to bring that up today, he would cancel out on the classes.

If you can’t say no, you’re yes means nothing.

This thread is not about who can have sex when or who is the better spouse, everyone. Please stick to the OP’s topic. If you want to discuss the morality of having sex while waiting for convalidation, please take the discussion to the Moral Theology forum. Thank you all.

If someone can address what I have bolded above, I would certainly appreciate it.

I’ve been praying the Rosary the past few weeks and just finished Montfort’s Secrets of the Rosary, but reading how being in a state of sin praying the rosary is offensive to Mary, I was wondering on how to make everything right to start over again.

We need to pray.
And I need the saints there for me to pray for me, especially when I sin.
What exactly did St. Louis de Montfort write?
Perhaps what is offensive is our praying without any true intent to stop sinning?

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