Questions on rejoining/marrying in Catholic church

I was baptized into the Catholic faith as an infant and was raised Catholic. I have been confirmed, received my first communion. In my early 20s I married a woman who was Protestant. We married in the Presbyterian church. We had two children who are 21 and 17 who were baptized in the Presbyterian faith. Now, 25 years later, we have divorced. Since then, I have met a wonder woman who is Catholic. She has never been married. We are beginning to talk about the two of us marrying. What do I need to do in order to do this?

Truthfully, one of the biggest regrets I have in life is straying from the Catholic faith.

Talk to a priest. He’ll advise you on how to file for an annulment. Best of luck!

An annulment!? I was not married in the Catholic church with my first wife. It is my understanding that in the Catholic church that marriage didn’t exist in the first place. I was thinking I would have to do something more for rejoining the church not an annulment.

If you did not receive a dispensation to marry in the Presbyterian Church then your marriage is not presumed to be valid.

If you’re in the US, you will submit your marriage documents (certificate or registration depending on which contains the information about the location of your marriage and the officiant), your divorce papers and your newly issued certificate of baptism to the Marriage Tribunal. It’s strictly paperwork.

Well, there are plenty of people who were not Catholic that have to go through annulments to join the Church because they are remarried. That’s why I suggested talking to a priest. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject.

He, OTOH, IS Catholic so was required to follow the rules of the Catholic Church. Since he didn’t, his marriage is not presumed valid.

He shouldn’t have to petition for a decree of nullity, just show that his marriage was celebrated in another Church, show by his certificate of baptism that he has no record of marriage in the Catholic Church and show that he’s divorced.

Again, I don’t pretend to be an expert. He should talk to a priest, end of my opinion. I’ll edit my original post. Too late to edit my post. Ah well, I won’t try to be helpful in the future.

Thanks to both of you. And nicolep, I appreciated your comments. They just took me off guard. We do plan to talk to a priest.

I received no dispensation from the Catholic church to marry outside of it so Phemie’s comments are consistent with what I was thinking.

The other question I have still remains. Will I need to receive some instruction in order to rejoin the church or did I even leave it?

I realized later that my post might have sounded like I was frustrated. I wasn’t at all, but it was too late to edit that one, too. I simply wasn’t thinking about the fact that you are Catholic in the first place.

Regarding needing instruction, as long as you both have received all of the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation) no instruction should be needed. I would think all that needs to happen is confession then jump on in.

You will need to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and make a good confession to resume the sacramental life. Your priest will guide you.

Welcome back!

there is no way to answer
even if your first marriage, as a Catholic, was not according the Church law there is still a paperwork process to establish that fact, which must be done before you remarry, or if your current marriage needs to be convalidated.

the advice stands, see your priest of your nearest Catholic parish so you can get specific advice and counsel for your specific situation, rather than general comments you will get here.

Welcome home, this is wonderful news.

you can do this, your goal being return to the sacraments.


My fiance and I met with our priest last night to begin the discussion of marriage in the Catholic church. The best news is that he will marry us! We are both extremely excited to join together as one under the covenant of marriage.

As I suspected, our priest told us that since I did not follow church law and ask for dispensation nor was I granted such dispensation, my marriage did not exist in the eyes of the Catholic church. Phemie is correct in this matter. I need to provide the papers mentioned and go to confession.

This is great news as I have been away too long from my true faith. I understand the gravity of my mistakes done in my youth and do not take this lightly. I truly am not worthy to receive my Lord but only He need say the word and I shall be healed. (My favorite part of Mass.)

Once you are provided the papers you will in a way have a decree of nullity - it will be what is considered a lack of form. Congratulations on your upcoming convalidation and welcome home.

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