Questions about Pauline Privilege

Hello, all!

I have a question about the Pauline Privilege.

My former husband and I divorced after he took a second wife (he is Muslim and living in Jordan). We had been separated for a couple years before he married her. There are many factors for our split. Including he cheated with the woman he married. He brought her to stay in our home, while I was still living there.

I had always wanted to convert to Catholicism, ever since I was a child. I had looked into it when I was married to my first husband. Unfortunately, I never took the steps then because of some misinformation I had read on the internet (I will still young and should have asked someone at the church instead of relying on the internet). My wanting to convert to Catholicism was one of the other factors that caused our split. My wanting to convert and his disdain for anything religious (unless it suited his purposes, such as taking a second wife) cause a lot of discord between us. I didn’t feel comfortable staying with someone that constantly told me how stupid religion is. I don’t know if it could ever have been worked out. I do know that I wasn’t going to change my mind on converting and that he wasn’t going to convert. But I ended up moving out when his girlfriend started staying over. Ironically, she was raised Catholic and left her family for this guy. They stopped talking to her when she moved in with him (they don’t know he was married at the time). I struggled with whether or not to file for divorce for years. I never believed in divorce. He left the country and told me that he has no intention of coming back to the US. He has no intention of coming back to me, which I accepted and I must admit I was a little relieved to be done. When he sent me an email telling me that he had taken a second wife, I filed for divorce then. I felt that it would be more wrong for me to stay married to someone that had taken a second wife than it would for me to get a divorce.

First, I have been instructed to fill out all of this information on the form for the Pauline Privilege. Neither of us were baptized and he has no intention of being baptized. The person that was previously helped me fill this out and told me to include all of these details retired before it was completed. I am currently working with a Deacon to fill this out, but we haven’t had a chance to meet and discuss this.

So here lies my questions:
I know they will be contacting him and witnesses about whether or not he was baptized. When they are contacted, will the person doing the contacting mention any of the questions I have filled out other than those pertaining to the baptism?

There are two problems with this if they do mention the rest of my form. First is his sister doesn’t know all of these issues surrounding our divorce. He told them what he wanted them to know to make him look better and I didn’t contact them and tell them otherwise. It is his family and I didn’t want to cause more trouble. If the questions I answered are mentioned to them, he will lie and say he is baptized or intends to become baptized and he wants to make it work. I also do not want them to mention the questionnaire to him as he is paranoid and will not like it if I shared our business with strangers. Keep in mind he hates religious orders and will not like knowing that I put down items about him true or not. It took a long time for me to get him to agree to participate in this and to provide witnesses for me. I do not want to see this denied due to him.

Anyone know if they do ask him to verify that questionnaire or not?

Another question, is can I avoid writing all of the answers on the questionnaire since the reasons for the annulment are based on whether we were baptized?

To be granted the Pauline Privilege several criteria must be met (though from your post is sounds like you probably meet them all). Neither party was baptized at the time of the marriage, at some point after the marriage (even after the civil divorce) one of the parties involved is baptized and the other one remains unbaptized, the failure of the marriage was caused by the unbaptized person, and the final step is the newly baptized person marries someone who is baptized and free to marry within the catholic church. It is the final step of the new sacramental marriage that dissolves the first marriage.

My previous marriage is being dissolved by the Pauline Privilege (I have permission just waiting to be baptized at Easter and my wedding in June). The questions they sent to the witnesses where only concerning baptism and my intention to join the church and not anything related to the marriage. I do not know what they asked my ex-spouse as I do not have any contact with him. I know the information I filled out had to show that the marriage failed due to my ex-spouse (my ex left to move in with his mistress, so he was at fault for the marriage failing) but none of that was shared with my witnesses.

He will be contacted to fill out his own questionare, He will not be given any of your replies and most likely simply won’t reply anyway would be my guess.

Thank you so much for your reply! That helps tremendously to know that information.

I plan on speaking to my deacon soon about what they ask my ex-husband. We just haven’t had a chance to get together and talk since I started the RCIA classes.

I am pretty confident that it will be granted as long as they can get in touch with our witnesses. I know for a fact that he was not and nor will ever be baptized. I went and met his family once and they said if he converted, by law he could be stoned to death. Now they also stated that he wouldn’t be, they don’t practice that law anymore (sort of like how it’s illegal in some town in Michigan to tie an alligator to a fire hydrant), but they were trying to get the point of how serious it would be for him to convert.

My mother is Baptist and they do not baptize until you are an adult, so I was never baptized either.

There have been many obstacles that were preventing me from getting to the church and recently everyone of those obstacles disappeared. This is the last obstacle and too much has paved the way for me to feel that this last part will not happen. As everyone is always saying, you have to have faith.

Bro Rich,

He said he would reply if it made it to him in the mail, the mail is terrible there. I didn’t know he would have to fill out a questionnaire as well, that changes the likelihood a little.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit