sis in law

So, my sister in law might have finally grown a brain when it comes to boyfriends and ditched the last one. It seems like things might be finally falling into place for her to have a chance to get her priorities and life straight. She may be moving closer to us and doesn’t know what church to go to (she is protestant). We have encouraged her to start coming to church with us and I am pretty excited that we might get her to consider Catholicism. One hangup for her is that she is divorced. I told my wife that I don’t think it matters because her protestant marriage is not official to our church anyway…I’m correct, right?

Please say a prayer for her to consider coming to Mass with us. I know it could make a huge difference in her future and I would love to see it happen.

That’s great news!!!

However, my dad is protestant and he had to have an annulment before marrying my mom, it took 2 years… they never finished it :frowning: They ended up having a civil marriage

It matters. As a non-Catholic, your sister-in-law contracted a putatively valid marriage with her first husband and is not eligible to date. She should seek an annulment in the Catholic Church if she intends to convert and continue dating in search of a new husband.

She can attend but she cannot take Communion, of course. If she decides to join the Church she would need to discuss her situation with a priest. She shouldn’t be dating anyone until and unless her first marriage is annulled by the Church. Go slowly on her, let her see the beauty of our Church before you start telling her all the rules and regs.

100% agreed. Even people who are raised Catholic struggle with the ins and outs of the rules. (As demonstrated by this forum). Don’t overwhelm her.

Dang. Well, that’s going to make this a really tough sell…:frowning:

As said by another poster, don’t overwhelm her with rules and regulations before she begins to love the RCC! If she starts RCIA then she can sit down with the parish priest and discuss her situation. Sometimes I worry that if a person who is discerning becoming Catholic read some of these threads they would run for the hills!:shrug:

The reason I said it’s going to be tough is because her first comment when my wife invited her to come to Mass with us was ‘But I’m divorced’…She wants to be married and have a family. There are a lot of things at play here such as life experiences, emotions, etc…We’ll see what happens, but I feel significantly less optimistic now that I realize I am wrong about her previous marriage…:frowning:

ONE THING AT A TIME…why not just invite her to Mass and then be open to answering any of her questions about why we worship the way we do…remember, you cannot sell Catholicism to her…the Holy Spirit is who will call her to Holy Mother Church.

Tell her that the church doors aren’t locked against divorced people. There used to be a lot worse attitude toward divorce. When my husband’s parents divorced, it was automatic admission into hell. Really! That’s one of the reasons he turned his back on the Church and God. But there is no longer any prohibition against the divorced attending Mass, and no scandal since divorce is rampant within our society.

As a non-Catholic, she needs to understand what our Eucharist means, so she doesn’t feel left out when she can’t go up and receive. Stress that with reception you are reinforcing everything you say in the Creed x 5,000,000 - that she MUST believe that the Host becomes the Body of Our Lord and that it is not merely a symbol. Be sure to tell her that even faithful Catholics must not receive if they are in mortal sin, or if they even believe that they are in mortal sin. Hey, I didn’t receive in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this year - even though it would have been special to do so - because I had not confessed and been absolved! That’s just how it goes.

You could get a copy of Catholicism for Dummies and read it ahead of time so you know what parts to point her to.

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