Valid Marriage


My husband and I are Protestants considering becoming Catholic. (He was actually baptised as an infant in the Catholic Church). We were married in a civil ceremoney. My husband has had a vasectomy and we have no children. I have read that the only marriage considered valid in the Catholic tradition is a marriage that is open to children. Is this in fact the case and if we were to take steps toward uniting with the Catholic Church would our marriage ever be considered valid and the sacraments ever be open to us. Thanks for your help. FNP


Considering that sometimes vasectomies fail, and if you would be open to life in that circumstance, yes, your marriage would be valid. The Catholic Church recognizes that people come to Her in all stages. And She seeks to make them whole. And some couples have infertility that comes by nature. And their marriages are still valid.

But talk to a priest. I’m sure they run into this issue many times.


Go talk to a priest.

Since he was baptized Catholic he is NOT a Protestant… he’s a Catholic.

You will need to talk to the priest about taking steps to convalidate your marriage-- he did not marry in the Catholic form or receive dispensation.

Your husband’s prior vasectomy is not an impediment to a valid marriage.

The first step is always to go talk to your priest.


I agree with 1ke, but just have one question, would your husband consider reversing the vasectomy?


Except that if he formally left the Church for a protestant denomination, he’s no longer bound to marry according to the rules of canon law, and the marriage might already be considered valid. I don’t know how to link to posts, but there’s discussion of this in old threads from the “Ask an Apologist” forum.

Of course, best thing to do is to ask a knowledgable, orthodox priest. We can speculate all day long, but we (the posters) don’t know for sure whether the marriage is valid or not.


your husband is already Catholic, in his case his preparation for reconciling with the Catholic Church would involve preparation for sacramental confession, first communion, and confirmation, thereby completing his Christian Initiation. He would probably take classes alongside non-CAtholics, including people such as yourself, to learn about doctrine, scripture etc. That is where you background in your current faith will be of great value if you are already Christian, and where you specific answers about Catholic teaching and practice will be answered.

the specific issue of the marriage must be addressed by the priest, preferably in your initial interview or shortly afterward. He will advise you, but no, having had the procedure does not invalidate your marriage and is not a barrier to joining the Church, and does not mean you are not open to children, if presumably you would accept them should the procedure fail to prevent conception. If you decide to reverse the procedure, that is great, but not required. Your marriage is invalid because your husband, a Catholic, is still bound by Church laws on marriage, but presuming there are no other barriers (previous marriage etc). that is a rather simple matter to convalidate the marriage. This has to be done before you can receive the other sacraments, and you can be prepared for that while you are taking the other classes.

talk to the priest of the parish closest to you or where you feel most at home. the graces of all 4 sacraments are waiting for you because Christ wants to bless you in this way, and is calling you. Welcome home.


Thanks to all of those who posted opinions to my question. Your answers have been very helpful and reassuring. FNP


You definitely want to talk one on one with the priest about this. It looks as though the marriage might need to be blessed and your husband will need to confess that vasectomy along with his other sins when he goes to his first confession.

Praying for you both on this journey.


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