Un Baptized Getting a Divorce



Curious question here…

Recently a non Catholic female friend has been confiding in me about her pending divorce. I’ve been telling her to stay married as I always thought that’s it for Catholics…it’s not much help for her…especially as she’s expressed interest in Catholicism…

Not being an expert I went to the Catechism and found this:

“1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent;”

Does this mean un baptized could get a civil divorce, be Baptized Catholic and marry in the Catholic Church without the gamble if annulment?

This seems to be one of 3 requirements for it to be a Catholic marriage.
Must both be baptized? What if only one?

I’m I right?

I just have a feeling she’s gonna ask me about the Church at some point and I hate to have to say “no divorce…no 2nd marriage for you” as an introduction…




If she married a baptized person in a recognized Christian denomination she may need to seek a nullity of marriage; she can, of course, still become a Catholic even if she is a divorced person - the question will be whether or not she will be considered MARRIED in the eyes of the Church.

Have her speak to the DRE of your parish. We deal with people with very complicated situations all the time and oftentimes the problems are not as convoluted as they fear. If God is calling her Home to Rome, He will not make it too difficult for her to answer that call.
You are a good friend.



The typical sermon doesn’t provide loopholes as it were.

I guess there must be some…This one has a couple potential: Husband lied about a previous marriage and child…she was addicted and alcoholic…

I generally shrug my shoulders when asked about this and it’s so common…I suppose I should be asking as I still like to think I could be married one day. I never was and was away from the Church for many years in “relationships”. Now back in at a later age and it’s hard to find never married single woman. Especially away from the Church…kinda scary actually…I’m real gun shy but that’s another thread…

Any further input would be nice,



No, it doesn’t mean that.

All prior marriages would need to be investigated. However, as an unbaptized person either the Petrine Privilege or the Pauline Privilege may be available to her.

This is something she should discuss with a priest.

I also recommend the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster.


there is no way to provide an individual answer, each marriage situation is different. when and if she decides to enter the Church she will be interviewed about, among other things, her marital status and background, and advised at that time what action must be taken. There are simply too many variables, which is why a formal process is required to answer the question on whether a previous marriage is valid.


If she converts, and wishes to remarry, she would require an anulment.

Even if she didn’t convert, but she wanted to marry a Catholic, she would have to get an anulment first as she is currently not considered free to marry.

Baptism doesn’t really have much to do with it.

A friend of mine is in the same boat.


Actually, baptism has quite a lot to do with it. Marriages of the unbaptized are not Sacramental, and therefore even if valid they can be dissolved via the Petrine or Pauline privilege in some circumstances.


Okay, that was too broad of a statement I made.

BTW… to the OP, what do you mean by Un Baptized?


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