Valid marriage between non-baptised people?


Two Apostolic Pentecostals, baptised in the “Jesus only” formula, who reject the Trinity, are married.

Years later, the husband has an affair, divorces his wife, and enters into another marriage with a woman who was validly baptised, though is not Catholic.

If wife no. two ever wanted to enter the Church, would the couple have to seek an annulment of the husband’s first marriage?

Now, question number two is this: What if the man then divorces wife no. two, who then decides to convert to Catholicism? Would she need to seek an annulment of her first (her ex-husband’s second) marriage in order to validly marry someone else?

Thanks for playing!


Annulments are primarily concerned with the (lack of ) validity of a marriage rather than with the lack of the sacramental nature of it. None of the former or existing marriages you have described could be sacramental since none of them involve two validly baptized persons. But in the case of the husband there are two marriages that could potentially be valid (natural) marriages.

I would say in both cases the husband’s first marriage must be examined. If he divorces the second wife and she wishes to remarry as a Catholic then the husband’s second marriage must also be investigated. The validity of the husband’s second marriage can’t really be determined unless the validity or lack there-of is determined first.


irregardless of their religious affiliation, assuming they were both free to marry and there were no impediments, their marriage is valid unless and until it is proven otherwise, so the man is not married to the second wife. Yes, previous marriage of both parties would have to be investigated to determine validity, which depends on the conditions that pertained at the time of the marriage, not what happened afterward. Were they free to marry and able to give full consent.


The husband’s first marriage will be presumed valid unless it has been proved otherwise. It will not be investigated. Therefore the second marriage will be declared invalid. I think this is called a ligumen (Sp?). This is one of the simpler cases. If neither were baptized, and the first wife wants to become Catholic she will probably be allowed the Pauline Priviledge. A natural, non-sacramental marriage may be dissolved in such a case.


OK, this was a thread I was looking for all along.

Since the question has already been put out once, I’ll elaborate my own case.

My boyfriend has been married twice, both of them to unbaptised women, and he was not baptised himself. When he went to speak to the local parish priest about annulments and the process, he was told he may not need one due to the fact that none of them had been baptised, plus his first marriage was ‘witnessed’ by a JP who was also a Pagan priestess. The priest called it ‘Privelage of the Faith’. Both of his former marriages were in error out of immaturity on his part, and manipulation by the ‘other parties’. Another post I read while searching mentioned ‘non-canonical form’ being a reason for a non-baptised parties marriage to be invalid. (PLEASE! Correct me if I am wrong!!!)

I am not… well, let’s just say ‘on good terms’ with my own parish priest, and DB lives 3 states over in a rural area with only one local priest who is busy as busy can be (though he did finally break down and contact a larger parish a half hour away- it’s worth the drive time), so my mother suggested to start here.

Apologies if I end up posting the same question multiple times in different ways- I am just, well, clueless- I’ve never been married, divorced or annulled myself! I know people who have, but , heh, they’re all asleep right now, while I can’t get to sleep without doing something about it. I’m so stressed out because of those infamous words, “I Don’t Know”! I found some stuff from Tribunals, but it’s like reading a bill headed to Capitol Hill! Please, I need something in plain dummied-down English!


Being unbaptized and being married by a JP/pagan priestess do not make the marriage invalid. The second marriage was entered into invalidly. Each would need to be examined by the tribunal.

This applies to a non-baptized person who becomes a baptized Catholic. A good and natural marriage can sometimes be dissolved in favor of the faith. You need to discuss this with a canon lawyer.

He needs to discuss it all with the priest.

Canonical form only applies to a Catholic. It does not aply to your boyfriend, who was not Catholic at the time of his marriage(s).

Go see your priest.


My fiance and I are going through this right now.

The annulment needed is called Pauline Priviledge, and is named that way because of the way St. Paul defines marriage for the church.

When two people are not baptized, and then divorced, and then one wants to marry in the catholic church, the process is different from the “regular” annulment process. Basically the person not baptized goes through the RCIA program, gets verification that neither he (she) nor the ex were baptized, and they and the new spouse move forward. Pauline Priviledge assumes that as an unbaptized person, you made decisions differently than you would have if you had been baptized and practicing your faith and receiving counsel.

I’m hoping ours goes smoothly…we’re planning a January wedding and moving forward with this process…

Good luck to you!


A marriage between two unbaptized people, or a baptized and ;an unbaptized, is a valid natural marriage, but is not a sacramental marriage. While a sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved a non-sacramental marriage can be if it benefits the faith of the requester. **


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