Returning after 20 years

Hello,

A friend of mine is returning to the Catholic Church after 23 years away from the church.

He is currently married and just received what I think is a lack of form annulment for his previous two marriages. The deacon he is working with told him that he is now “In good standing” with the church and already scheduled the convalidation of his current marriage later this month.

They haven’t really talked about confession or receiving the Eucharist, which I thought was odd, and he thinks he has to get his marriage blessed before he can do that…

I thought that seemed backward. I would think that the Church would want you to go to confession immediately and be able to receive the Eucharist BEFORE you have what is essentially the Sacrament of Marriage…

If it was me, as soon as I heard “In good standing” I’d be running for the confessional!

Any thoughts? :shrug:

Your friend is not yet “in good standing” with the Church – that would mean to be in union with Christ and His Church – which means to have no mortal sins on his soul. You are right – he needs the sacrament of Reconciliation to do that. He also needs to abstain from sexual relations until after his marriage is convalidated.
Also, it is not just a “blessing” – it is the marriage becoming a valid one in the eyes of the Church – it is the sacrament of Matrimony he and his wife will be giving to each other, at which a deacon or priest will officiate.

If his wife is also Catholic, she should also go to Confession – and the two of them can ask for a convalidation ceremony during Mass, where they can each receive the Eucharist. If she isn’t Catholic, they can have the rite outside of Mass.

That is exactly what I thought… Thanks for the affirmation. I’ve suggested He talk to the priest in the parish, specifically about his sacramental needs now that the past marriages seem to be taken care of…

Its very disheartening that he’d be told he’s in good standing without really being so!

To be fair, that may not have been what was said. The deacon could have simply told him that he’s no longer committing adultery since the previous marriages and he misunderstood. Unless you were there, you wouldn’t really know.

Also, I’m surprised that he has not been to confession. That’s the first thing I would recommend for someone to do and I imagine it’s the first step in returning to the Church. Then again, it’s not really a good idea to try to keep track of how often someone else goes to Confession.

You are right. I am trying to not to pry or second guess the Church. I’ve simply asked some basic questions in conversations and its apparent that, for whatever reason, the message they’ve given him is to get the marriage convalidated first and then go to confession and the Eucharist. He’s simply doing what he’s been told needs to be done and to me and a few others we are puzzled by the order of things.

I just want to make sure that I’m not giving him bad advice when he asks me for clarification. I’ve told him to go talk to the Pastor for sacramental help now that the Deacon has done his job with the annulments.

Thanks!

You are right. I am trying to not to pry or second guess the Church. I’ve simply asked some basic questions in conversation and its apparent that, for whatever reason, the message they’ve given him is to get the marriage convalidated first and then go to confession and the Eucharist. He’s simply doing what he’s been told needs to be done, or assumes needs to be done, and to me and a few others we are puzzled by the order of things.

I just want to make sure that I’m not giving him bad advice when he asks me for clarification. I’ve told him to go talk to the Pastor for sacramental help now that the Deacon has done his job with the annulments.

Thanks!

I have been coming back to the church myself, and have not had my marriage convalidated yet because my husband won’t assent. Anyway, the priest in my former parish told me I could not participate in either sacrament (confession or communion) until my convalidation occurred. So, it is my understanding, though I have not asked my current priest, that I was to wait until I had permission to go to confession. So, I have been attending Mass for two and a half years but no confession and no communion.

I don’t mean to second guess someone, but that does seem like a strange comment. I was under the impression that you are supposed to go to confession before the convalidation ceremony. In fact, I was under the impression that if you live “as brother and sister”, even before the convalidation, a good confession can get you back into good standing with the Church.

Here are a few links I found: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=61830 (a poster is informed that s/he can participate in confession and communion before a convalidation as long as s/he abstains from sex) and americancatholic.org/newsletters/cu/ac0604.asp (step 6 of the 7 steps to convalidation is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation).

Now, I could see the follow: “Father, can I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before my convalidation?” “Will you abstain from marital relations and live as Brother and Sister until the convalidation?” “No” “Come back when you’re truly repentant.”

If there is no obstacle to your husband marrying you, i.e. previous marriage, there is a procedure called radical sanation which does not require his participation, though I think it would require his consent, or at least not opposition.

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