questions on marriage annulments

  1. does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can receive any sacraments of the Church?

  2. does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can become an EMHC?

  3. can a candidate who is dating a Catholic come into the Church before getting his marriage annulled?

3a) assume the individual was indeed brought into the Church…received Holy Communion, and was Confirmed after making his first confession… is still dating the Catholic, has not got his marriage annulled, and has not gone for any subsequent confessions… should that individual validly receive Holy Communion worthily?

any documentation cites would be appreciated…

[quote=faithfulservant]1) does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can receive any sacraments of the Church?

  1. does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can become an EMHC?

  2. can a candidate who is dating a Catholic come into the Church before getting his marriage annulled?

3a) assume the individual was indeed brought into the Church…received Holy Communion, and was Confirmed after making his first confession… is still dating the Catholic, has not got his marriage annulled, and has not gone for any subsequent confessions… should that individual validly receive Holy Communion worthily?

any documentation cites would be appreciated…
[/quote]

  1. No. One need only go to confession to confess their part in the divorce.

  2. No.

  3. A divorced person who has not contracted a second, invalid marriage can enter the church. Dating a Catholic has no bearing on the situation.

3a) One may receive Communion when in a state of grace-- aware of no mortal sin requiring confession. Dating without an annulment is not itself mortally sinful-- although perhaps it is unwise to have such an attachment devloping when an annulment is never guaranteed and the relationship might have to be terminated if no annulment is granted. If the person in question is committing some sort of mortal sin, such as having a sexual relationship with the person they are dating, then that is a different story entirely.

[quote=faithfulservant]1) does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can receive any sacraments of the Church?

  1. does an individual have to get their marriage annulled after divorcing before they can become an EMHC?

  2. can a candidate who is dating a Catholic come into the Church before getting his marriage annulled?

3a) assume the individual was indeed brought into the Church…received Holy Communion, and was Confirmed after making his first confession… is still dating the Catholic, has not got his marriage annulled, and has not gone for any subsequent confessions… should that individual validly receive Holy Communion worthily?

any documentation cites would be appreciated…
[/quote]

  1. No
  2. No
    However based on moral grounds (he is still married according to Church Law) it would really depend on the public relationship.
  3. I would depend on the morality of the relationship
    3a. Probably not, it would really depend on the morality of the relationship.

As a gross over simplification, think of it this way: The church doesn’t care that you have a slip of paper from the state saying that you are divorced.

In the church’s eye you are still married to that person.

So if you have a civil divorce, nothing really changes as far as the church is concerned.

The problem comes into play when you get married again without either an annullment OR the death of the former spouse. In this situation, because the first marrage is still valid and you a presumably sharing marital privledges with your new “spouse”, you are committing adultry. And it’s not somethign you can simply confess away, because in order to confess you have to intend not to commit the sin again, but it’s difficult to have that intention if you’re still living a married life with your new “spouse”.

Anybody going through this process needs all the information available I would recommend

Annulments and the Catholic Church
by Edward Peters

available through Catholic Answers.

thanks all for the answers…seems to be a consensus …

i guess my next question might be… if one is still married in the eyes of the Church… wouldn’t dating outside that marriage still be viewed as a form of adultery…

i am quite sure my spouse would not look kindly on me “dating” someone…even if there was no sexual aspect to it

Hold up. Doesn’t an annulment only come into play if the marriage was sacramental in the first place?

If the person is just coming into the Church - or perhaps came into the church after having married yet prior to the divorce - wouldn’t that person have had to have had the marriage validated by the Church in order for an annulment to be required?

If the marriage was a civil union or outside the Catholic church then doesn’t the Church just regard that person as having lived in sin for those years he/she was in that non-sacramental union - therefore once that is confessed the person would be clear to marry in the Church (for the first ‘real’ time)?

YYM, i do not know if the previous marriage was sacramental or not…the divorce took place before coming into the Church

one of the reasons he took instruction to come into the Church was because of his relationship with the Catholic he was dating…

the relationship is still ongoing , but he has made no effort to obtain a decree of nullity for his previous marriage…which was why my original 3a question was asked

[quote=YinYangMom]Hold up. Doesn’t an annulment only come into play if the marriage was sacramental in the first place?

[/quote]

An ‘Annulment’ is really called a “Decree of Nulity”. It is an examination on the part of the Church into the circumstances of the marriage and makes a determination on the Sacramentality of the Marriage.

Any Catholic, or person seeking to become Catholic who was any type of prior marriage, and seeks to enter into a Sacremental marriage, MUST have their previous marriage examined by a tribunal and a Decree of Nulity issued.

This includes civil marriages, ‘common law’ marriages, Jewish\Muslim marriages, even a Wiccan marriage would have to be examined.

Even the existance of a valid prior ‘natural’ non-Sacramental marriage bond is an impediment to marriage in the Church.

there is a lot of good info in replies posted here, and a lot if mistakes and misapprehensions. Nobody can “go get an annulment”. If an individual feels his marriage was invalid for any reason, he goes to his pastor, who refers him to the diocesan marriage tribunal, who will gather all the facts, make an investigation. If the marriage was in fact invalid for any of a number of reasons, they will issue decree of nullity, approved by the bishop.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, everyone’s situation is different. It is nearly impossible to make an accurate assessment of a hypothetical case. Go to your pastor and lay the facts before him - all the facts. Get his recommendation. If your pastor seems uninformed, ask him to make an appointment with you to talk to someone from the tribunal.

If anyone here is a catechist for RCIA, make sure there is a pastor person on your team, the deacon or priest, to discuss marriages with each catechumen or candidate and investigate their status before they begin preparation for the other sacraments. As a lay person, do not try to give advice by yourself.

hey brendan…nice to see ya over here… thanks for the info

[quote=Brendan]An ‘Annulment’ is really called a “Decree of Nulity”. It is an examination on the part of the Church into the circumstances of the marriage and makes a determination on the Sacramentality of the Marriage.

Any Catholic, or person seeking to become Catholic who was any type of prior marriage, and seeks to enter into a Sacremental marriage, MUST have their previous marriage examined by a tribunal and a Decree of Nulity issued.

This includes civil marriages, ‘common law’ marriages, Jewish\Muslim marriages, even a Wiccan marriage would have to be examined.

Even the existance of a valid prior ‘natural’ non-Sacramental marriage bond is an impediment to marriage in the Church.
[/quote]

Really?? Geez…there’s so much I do not know!! :crying:

I could have sworn I’ve read elsewhere that annulments were a Catholic thing to dissolve prior Catholic marriages in order to free the divorced Catholic to enter into a ‘new’ sacramental marriage. That in the Church’s eyes non-sacramental marriages were only relationships between two people living in sin since they were cohabitating all that time, unless one of the parties was Catholic during that marriage. I had no idea they had any bearing over marriages outside the Sacramental Catholic ones between two non-Catholics.

Once again, I’m more confused now than before I found this thread. Boy, this is fun! :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=asquared]there is a lot of good info in replies posted here, and a lot if mistakes and misapprehensions. Nobody can “go get an annulment”. If an individual feels his marriage was invalid for any reason, he goes to his pastor, who refers him to the diocesan marriage tribunal, who will gather all the facts, make an investigation. If the marriage was in fact invalid for any of a number of reasons, they will issue decree of nullity, approved by the bishop.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, everyone’s situation is different. It is nearly impossible to make an accurate assessment of a hypothetical case. Go to your pastor and lay the facts before him - all the facts. Get his recommendation. If your pastor seems uninformed, ask him to make an appointment with you to talk to someone from the tribunal.

If anyone here is a catechist for RCIA, make sure there is a pastor person on your team, the deacon or priest, to discuss marriages with each catechumen or candidate and investigate their status before they begin preparation for the other sacraments. As a lay person, do not try to give advice by yourself.
[/quote]

I think I like your response best. This seems a rather confusing subject.

thanks asquared…good advice…and i am aware that the marriage tribunal is the only way to go in order to sort all things out…that’s what they are there for , right?

sadly…i wonder how many do not come into the Church because of all that is involved with getting marriages annulled…short sighted if you ask me… give up the grace and blessings involved in being in the Church Christ started because it’s too much trouble to do things the right way while you are in this world :frowning:

[quote=YinYangMom]Hold up. Doesn’t an annulment only come into play if the marriage was sacramental in the first place?

If the person is just coming into the Church - or perhaps came into the church after having married yet prior to the divorce - wouldn’t that person have had to have had the marriage validated by the Church in order for an annulment to be required?

If the marriage was a civil union or outside the Catholic church then doesn’t the Church just regard that person as having lived in sin for those years he/she was in that non-sacramental union - therefore once that is confessed the person would be clear to marry in the Church (for the first ‘real’ time)?
[/quote]

An Annulment (process) would be necessary any time the Marriage attempt was “public”, in the “external Forum” and the person is remarried or seek to be remarried.

A person who is divorced and seeks union with the Catholic Church does not need to seek an Decree of Nullity. Unless they are living with another person in another Marriage relationship or wish to. Simply being divorced does not require any special action for the RCIA process.

[quote=faithfulservant]thanks asquared…good advice…and i am aware that the marriage tribunal is the only way to go in order to sort all things out…that’s what they are there for , right?

sadly…i wonder how many do not come into the Church because of all that is involved with getting marriages annulled…short sighted if you ask me… give up the grace and blessings involved in being in the Church Christ started because it’s too much trouble to do things the right way while you are in this world :frowning:
[/quote]

There are many more that leave the Church because of irregular Marriage issues.

“There are many more that leave the Church because of irregular Marriage issues.”

I was one of them. Thank God I came home. My previous marriage, and my new wife’s (of 10 years) is being reviewed by the local Tribunal as we speak. I pray the annulments are granted and I can resume the sacraments as soon as possible. Meanwhile I wait, thanking God all the time.

  1. I was originally baptized in the Baptist church and married a Catholic in a Catholic ceremony. After several years, his roving eye got the better of him and he sought a divorce. I continued to raise our son in the Catholic Faith as I had promised and began taking instructions to join myself. Before long he remarried in a civil ceremony with no record which is allowed in California if you have been living together prior to the marriage. I neglected to join the Church as I got angry when I found out that he had later petitioned the Church for an annullment of our marriage and it was granted without my knowledge. Should I have been at least advised by the Church this was happening?

  2. About fifteen years later he passed away. About five years later I met a wonderful man and we decided to marry and our family priest wanted to marry us but he said he was unable to do so since he had been married previously in the Fou. rsquare church and his first wife was still alive. We were married by a protestant minister and our priest spoke at the ceremony. We attended our local parish church and I later joined the Church. I would so like to marry in the Church and I don’t know if that is a possibility. Any ideas?

Thanks

Yes, you should have been notified that your ex-husband was seeking a declaration of nullity and been given an opportunity to give your side of the story. You could not have stopped the proceedings and your side of the story may not have changed the result, but you should have been notified.

Assuming that you only had the one previous marriage, you are free to marry again due to both the declaration of nullity and the passing of your ex. Your current husband should get in touch with your pastor and someone from the marriage tribunal and investigate the possibility of getting a decree for his first marriage. If that process is successfull, then you can have your marriage convalidated and be restored to full communion with the church.

Hope this helps.

I will be praying for a swift resolution for you and your husband,

God Bless.

Your current husband needs so seek an annulment from his marriage in the Four square church. You should really be seeking one on one advice from a Catholic priest. Technically you aren’t married to this man. He is married to his first wife. You shouldn’t be living with him as husband and wife if you are. I can’t understand why a priest would attend and speak at an invalid marriage. I don’t understand how you could have been brought into the church without this being discussed.Of course you should have been notified of the petition for annulment by your husband. I’m so sorry for all the people of the church who have let you down.

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