Remarrying without an annulment


#1

I am a divorced Catholic who never sought an annulment. Years after the divorce, my ex-wife came down with Alzheimers' disease and for the past 4 years has been a resident at an assisted living facility. During this entire period, I have supported her financially by paying for all her care including all her meds, dental, incontinence, etc. I also have
cared for her by visiting most days, praying for her and feeding her lunch as she has not fed herself for 3 years now. I've arranged for her to receive Holy Communion often. Her condition has deteriorated to the point that she is very much like a new-born child. She is otherwise in excellent health and could live for many more years, I'm told. I plan to continue with her support forever.

For the past year, I have had a Platonic relationship with a woman whom I have come to care for very much and vice versa. This Catholic woman's spouse passed away many years ago. We had not given much thought to living together until I became enlightened by the Church. A document ("Annulments") states that a divorced Catholic without an annulment may remarry and continue to receive Holy Communion remaining a Catholic in good standing so long as there is no consummation. This is not an issue in our situation. Twenty years ago, as part of my cancer treatment, I had full body radiation
which rendered me impotent. Also, this woman needed a hysterectomy 30 years ago. We are both in our 70's.

I thank the Lord for this revelation as it demonstrates the compassion of the Church. After 45 years since I was first married and living alone these past 4 years has been a living nightmare. This document bears the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur dated September, 2003.
My only question is when I remarry, I assume this means only civilly since there was no
annulment of the first marriage?


#2

[quote="ir1shguy, post:1, topic:198272"]
I am a divorced Catholic who never sought an annulment. Years after the divorce, my ex-wife came down with Alzheimers' disease and for the past 4 years has been a resident at an assisted living facility. During this entire period, I have supported her financially by paying for all her care including all her meds, dental, incontinence, etc. I also have
cared for her by visiting most days, praying for her and feeding her lunch as she has not fed herself for 3 years now. I've arranged for her to receive Holy Communion often. Her condition has deteriorated to the point that she is very much like a new-born child. She is otherwise in excellent health and could live for many more years, I'm told. I plan to continue with her support forever.

For the past year, I have had a Platonic relationship with a woman whom I have come to care for very much and vice versa. This Catholic woman's spouse passed away many years ago. We had not given much thought to living together until I became enlightened by the Church. A document ("Annulments") states that a divorced Catholic without an annulment may remarry and continue to receive Holy Communion remaining a Catholic in good standing so long as there is no consummation. This is not an issue in our situation. Twenty years ago, as part of my cancer treatment, I had full body radiation
which rendered me impotent. Also, this woman needed a hysterectomy 30 years ago. We are both in our 70's.

I thank the Lord for this revelation as it demonstrates the compassion of the Church. After 45 years since I was first married and living alone these past 4 years has been a living nightmare. This document bears the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur dated September, 2003.
My only question is when I remarry, I assume this means only civilly since there was no
annulment of the first marriage?

[/quote]

I would definitely bring this up with your parish priest. He will be able to help you in ways that none of us here can.

You are correct that you could only be married civilly since your first marriage is still presumed valid by the Catholic Church.

Who authored that 2003 book/document/article that you read? I have heard priests counsel couples who had already remarried that they can receive the Sacraments provided they live celibately. I have never heard such counsel given before the remarriage took place to begin with, but I suppose that doesn't mean it could never happen. In any event, your priest should be able to help you sort it all out.


#3

ir1shyguy - go for it! :slight_smile: Sounds like you are one heckuva guy. Your ex-wife is very lucky to have you and the lady you’re spending time w/ is blessed. To have found love & companionship again is a blessing. Hugs to you,


#4

ir1shguy, can I ask why you wish to marry this new woman?


#5

[quote="ir1shguy, post:1, topic:198272"]
I am a divorced Catholic who never sought an annulment. Years after the divorce, my ex-wife came down with Alzheimers' disease and for the past 4 years has been a resident at an assisted living facility. During this entire period, I have supported her financially by paying for all her care including all her meds, dental, incontinence, etc. I also have
cared for her by visiting most days, praying for her and feeding her lunch as she has not fed herself for 3 years now. I've arranged for her to receive Holy Communion often. Her condition has deteriorated to the point that she is very much like a new-born child. She is otherwise in excellent health and could live for many more years, I'm told. I plan to continue with her support forever.

[/quote]

You know, I don't have any answers for your question, but I want to say that no matter what the ultimate answer is regarding re-marrying, you are a good man. God bless you!

Peace

Tim


#6

The document I referenced stated “remarry”. Perhaps that condition is there to demonstrate that there truly exists a commitment on the part of both individuals to one another, which we both definitely have.


#7

which document? source? full citation? you cannot make this judgment on your own, you need to see your priest for guidance that is relevant for your own personal situation.


#8

[quote="ir1shguy, post:1, topic:198272"]
I am a divorced Catholic who never sought an annulment. Years after the divorce, my ex-wife came down with Alzheimers' disease and for the past 4 years has been a resident at an assisted living facility. During this entire period, I have supported her financially by paying for all her care including all her meds, dental, incontinence, etc. I also have
cared for her by visiting most days, praying for her and feeding her lunch as she has not fed herself for 3 years now. I've arranged for her to receive Holy Communion often. Her condition has deteriorated to the point that she is very much like a new-born child. She is otherwise in excellent health and could live for many more years, I'm told. I plan to continue with her support forever....

[/quote]

The first part of your post touched me. How wonderful that you continue to care and provide for the woman who is still your wife in the eyes of the Church! You even feed her lunch--that's so sweet. Good work! Keep it up! :thumbsup:

I realize from your post that you haven't lived as "man and wife" for many years, and perhaps that is why I find it particularly touching that you still care for her. I saw you wrote you plan to continue supporting her forever, but I wonder if you'd be able to continue that if you civilly married your platonic freind. My prayers for you. May God bless you.


#9

*I saw you wrote you plan to continue supporting her forever, but I wonder if you'd be able to continue that if you civilly married your platonic freind. *

... not fair. Not necessary. Judging is ugly.


#10

[quote="puzzleannie, post:7, topic:198272"]
which document? source? full citation? you cannot make this judgment on your own, you need to see your priest for guidance that is relevant for your own personal situation.

[/quote]

YourI tone suggests that you question my statement that the document, which is located in the Narthex of my Church, actually exists. I checked and was informed that all of the documents in the Narthex are reviewed prior to being placed there for accuracy and correctness and for this reason not all documents make the cut.
As far as making this judgment on my own, I'll check but I am almost certain I cannot participate in the Sacrament of Matrimony again.


#11

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:9, topic:198272"]
*I saw you wrote you plan to continue supporting her forever, but I wonder if you'd be able to continue that if you civilly married your platonic freind. *

... not fair. Not necessary. Judging is ugly.

[/quote]

I took the question to mean that there might be reason's beyond the OP's control which would keep him from providing the same level of support if he were to civilly marry someone else.


#12

:rolleyes: Whose judging whom?

First, the only “judgement” I made was that I thought it very nice that the op continued supporting and caring for his ex-wife in a nursing home. Goodness, I would hardly call a compliment “ugly”. Next, the part you quoted was a practical observation of what MIGHT happen–which is why I wrote “I wonder if”. I think if he makes a commitment to another person in a civil ceremony, it would be difficult to continue providing the level of care he currently reports and that he says he wishes to continue providing. You don’t have to agree with me, but please don’t judge me. :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

You think that visiting with someone and feeding them lunch most days would leave a man without enough time for a wife? That sounds like a smaller time commitment (and still an amazing commitment of love and worthy of much praise) than the jobs that most of us have.


#14

I would worry that marrying and living together would become an occasion of sin. Even though you are impotent and she has had a hysterectomy, sexual contact and orgasm, at least for her, would be a possibility. Is your platonic friend Catholic? Would she agree to such a marriage? Although marriage without sexual contact might suit you, it might not be enough for her (I sure wouldn't go for it and I'm probably close to her in age). In effect, you are asking her to be celibate with you until the possible future death of your ex-wife and to give up the possibility of a real marriage with someone else.

Another issue you may want to consider is the possibility of giving scandal. If many people in your parish know that you are divorced, without an annulment, and see you marry, that may give scandal. Even if you resolve the other issues, you might have to attend mass and receive communion in another parish where you aren't well known.

If this would truly be a marriage in name only, why not just move in together as roommates? You could live in separate parts of the house, coming together for meals, etc. and separating before bedtime. When you present yourselves to the world as a married couple, intimacy is presumed.

Would it be possible for you to apply for an annulment? Is there a possible cause for one? Why not look into that. If there's cause, it may go through. It would mean waiting to marry for perhaps a year. At your age, there's still time. Then you would be truly married and with God's blessing you could hold hands etc. And your friends and parish could rejoice with you.

Some might question whether, being impotent (unable to consummate) would preclude marriage. However, I believe there are now aids available that would make consummation possible. Being sterile, because of age or a hysterectomy, doesn't invalidate a marriage.


#15

I didn’t mention the word “time.” You did. I think being in a civil marriage with another woman might complicate daily lunch with his ex-wife. It’s not just about time. A variety of factors might come into play and present difficulties for him to continue doing what he’s been doing for his ex-wife. I thnk what he is doing for her is admirable and beautiful.

I don’t know the circumstances that led to their marriage and subsequent divorce. I do not presume to know what went on between them. But I read what he wrote he’s doing right now. The actions that he describes right now sound like the very loving actions that a man might do for his elderly wife with Alzheimer’s. I suspect that even if they had never divorced, he’d still be quite lonely as he watches the mind of the woman he once loved and married slip away.


#16

There are no grounds for an annulment as I do not meet any of the requirements for one.
Also, I mentioned I was sterile from radiation, not impotent. Catholic Canon Law defines a marriage as consummated when the spouses have performed between themselves a conjugal act for the procreation of offspring. With both sterility and a hysterectomy, a conjugal act for the procreation of offspring is an impossibility.


#17

gardenswithkids, I apologize.


#18

[quote="ir1shguy, post:1, topic:198272"]
Twenty years ago, as part of my cancer treatment, I had full body radiation
which rendered me impotent.

[/quote]

Irishguy,
I think this is where people got confused. You used the word impotent here, but sterile in another post. They are two separate medical issues, as you well know, so people were getting mixed messages. I have learned here at CAF that sterility is not an impediment to the sacrament of holy matrimony, but perpetual impotence is. However, you yourself clarified that you may not be joined in holy matrimony with your lady friend, since your ex-wife is still alive, and neither impotence nor sterility are impediments to civil marriage.
I must say, though, that your thread here is an excellent witness for how we are to love our spouses until death do part us. I have been touched by your loving actions toward your ex-wife, as well as your concern for having an appropriate relationship with your lady friend. And twenty years of living, and serving in love, since your cancer treatment! Wow! That is an amazing testimony in and of itself.
Whatever you do in regards to your relationship with your lady friend, I pray that God blesses you, as you certainly have been a blessing to others.


#19

I don’t think puzzleannie was questioning the existence of the document, she was merely pointing out that it’s difficult to comment on when we don’t know exactly what it is. It is a pamphlet put out by a Catholic publisher that is unaffiliated with any diocese? Is it a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or from the Vatican? There is a big difference between them.

In any case, I think the best course of action is to talk this over with your priest and see what he has to say.


#20

You seriously need to discuss this with a canon lawyer on the Tribunal of your Archdiocese. I would not recommend just going to a parish priest as not all priests are educated to the degree required in canon law to be able to properly advise on such an issue.

You need to understand FULLY and COMPLETELY that you put the risk of your eternal soul, and that of your friend in jeopardy if you go about this incorrectly. PLEASE check this out with someone who understands the law of the Church - and not just base your eternal salvation on a booklet you found in the narthex.

~Liza


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