Valid or Invalid Marriage ?


#1

Would a marriage in an Eastern Orthodox church be considered valid if one of the parties involved did not receive an annulment from a previous marriage in the Roman Catholic church?

Tim Faremouth


#2

It might be considered valid according to the laws of that orthodox church (they might have to get an “ecclesiastical divorce” or something).

However, such a marriage would not be valid according to the laws of the Catholic Church (or objectively speaking). Marriage is by its nature indissoluble. It is too bad that this important point of faith has not been maintained by our Orthodox brethren.


#3

For a Catholic to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony in an Orthodox Church, I suppose, a “dispensation from form” would be required from the Catholic Church since a Catholic is required to follow the Catholic form of marriage. In addition, I suspose, a “disparity of cult” dispensation would be required from the Catholic Church as well since one of the parties is non-Catholic. In addition, a “decree of nulity” needs to be sought because one of the parties is already married or attempted a marriage in the past.

It’s possible for it to be valid in theory at least, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.


#4

[quote=Tim Faremouth]Would a marriage in an Eastern Orthodox church be considered valid if one of the parties involved did not receive an annulment from a previous marriage in the Roman Catholic church?
[/quote]

To give a thorough answer to this question, it is important to know the baptismal status of each party, e.g., Catholic baptism, Orthodox baptism, Protestant baptism, or unbaptized.


#5

[quote=atsheeran]It is too bad that this important point of faith has not been maintained by our Orthodox brethren.
[/quote]

Your use of the word “maintained” suggest that you think that the Orthodox have somehow changed their theology of marriage since the Great Schism. However, it is important to realize that the Orthodox theology and practices relating to divorce and remarriage date back to the early Church, well before the Great Schism.


#6

[quote=Catholic2003]To give a thorough answer to this question, it is important to know the baptismal status of each party, e.g., Catholic baptism, Orthodox baptism, Protestant baptism, or unbaptized.
[/quote]

Why? Baptism in any of those Churches is recognized as valid by Rome. Unbaptized status does make a difference, though, you’re right. Offhand, the only baptism I can think of that Rome does not accept is that of the LDS church as their belief in the nature of God is completely contrary to all Catholic and Protestant Scripture.

deborah1313

They believe that God was once a man, passed through many trials and eternities and became a god. It’s not in the Book of Mormon, but a book called the Pearl of Great Price.


#7

[quote=deborah1313]Why? Baptism in any of those Churches is recognized as valid by Rome. Unbaptized status does make a difference, though, you’re right.
[/quote]

I actually missed an important distinction - for parties of Catholic baptism, it is important to know whether the person was in the Latin Rite or in an Eastern Rite at the time of the wedding.

The reason is that the canon law relating to marriage for each of those groups is different. The Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholics are governed by the Eastern Rite canon law, while the Protestants and the Latin Rite Catholics are governed by the Latin Rite canon law. Further, the Latin Rite canon law has several marriage requirements that apply to Catholics but not to Protestants.


#8

[quote=Catholic2003]I actually missed an important distinction - for parties of Catholic baptism, it is important to know whether the person was in the Latin Rite or in an Eastern Rite at the time of the wedding.

The reason is that the canon law relating to marriage for each of those groups is different. The Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholics are governed by the Eastern Rite canon law, while the Protestants and the Latin Rite Catholics are governed by the Latin Rite canon law. Further, the Latin Rite canon law has several marriage requirements that apply to Catholics but not to Protestants.
[/quote]

You’re right again. It’s also true that “Orthodox” does not usually refer to one of the Rites of the Roman Catholic Church–whether the Latin Rite, which is usually what people in the USA mean when they say Catholic, or one of the Eastern Rites such as Byzanntine, Maronite, Syrian, etc. The Greek Orthodox Church is not in full communion with Rome and as such is not an Eastern Rite, or"Catholic", as Americans use the term. But then, neither are Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. and there are successful mixed marriages with persons of those as well as many other faith traditions.

deborah1313


#9

Catholic2003: you posed the question … “To give a thorough answer to this question, it is important to know the baptismal status of each party, e.g., Catholic baptism, Orthodox baptism, Protestant baptism, or unbaptized.”

The answer is the bride is baptised a Roman Catholic and the groom is baptised Orthodox (not certain of the rite … he is Yugoslavian).

Peace be with you


#10

[quote=Tim Faremouth]Catholic2003: you posed the question … “To give a thorough answer to this question, it is important to know the baptismal status of each party, e.g., Catholic baptism, Orthodox baptism, Protestant baptism, or unbaptized.”

The answer is the bride is baptised a Roman Catholic and the groom is baptised Orthodox (not certain of the rite … he is Yugoslavian).

Peace be with you
[/quote]

Hi Tim,
Just to be absolutely certain; is the groom you mention the first groom or the second groom? To be able to answer your question correctly, we need to establish the first grooms baptism details.

pax


#11

Hi Pax,

The second groom is the person involved in the Orthodox wedding (the Yugoslav fellow) and the first groom is baptised Roman Catholic (as is the bride). The first wedding had been dissolved in civil court but not annuled by the Church. My primary concern is not necessarily the validity of the second marraige (although I certainly hope so for the sake of the couple so that they are not living in sin) … but moreso for the disposition of the first groom who may encounter huge hurdles to ever marry again in the Church.

Shalom, Tim.


#12

Tim,

The rule that says that Catholics must marry in the Catholic Church or the marriage will be considered invalid has a small loophole: If that marriage takes place in the Orthodox Church, it will be considered valid anyway.

The rule that says that those who are divorced cannot remarry without an annulment has no loophole. So the second marriage will be considered invalid until an annulment is obtained for the first marriage.


#13

Very interesting Catholic 2003 … so is the bride’s second marriage invalid ?? that is, she did not get her first marriage annuled. Furthermore, what impact (if any) does that have on her first husband’s ability to ever remarry in the Catholic Church other than he would have to initiate the annulment process with the Church tribunal? Can it be remotely possible for the first husband to appeal to the tribunal to get special marital dispensation on the fact that she remarried in the Orthodox Church ?? Can it be a point of contention ?? (among other points). This scenario is very sticky indeed.
Shalom,

Tim


#14

[quote=Tim Faremouth]Very interesting Catholic 2003 … so is the bride’s second marriage invalid ??
[/quote]

According to the Catholic Church. I believe that the Orthodox would consider both marriages to be valid.

[quote=Tim Faremouth]Can it be remotely possible for the first husband to appeal to the tribunal to get special marital dispensation on the fact that she remarried in the Orthodox Church ??
[/quote]

Not under the current canon law. The first husband must obtain an annulment based on the conditions at the time of the first wedding. The wife’s subsequent wedding in the Orthodox church would have not any bearing on the annulment. And there would be no way for the first husband to remarry in the Catholic Church without an annulment (as long as the wife is still alive).

[quote=Tim Faremouth]Can it be a point of contention ?? (among other points). This scenario is very sticky indeed.

[/quote]

In some circles, I believe it is a point of contention for how canon law should be changed. But it isn’t really relevant to the first husband’s situation until the Vatican decides to make any such changes to the canon law of marriage in light of how the Orthodox church does things.


#15

[quote=pazdziernik]For a Catholic to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony in an Orthodox Church, I suppose, a “dispensation from form” would be required from the Catholic Church since a Catholic is required to follow the Catholic form of marriage. In addition, I suspose, a “disparity of cult” dispensation would be required from the Catholic Church as well since one of the parties is non-Catholic. In addition, a “decree of nulity” needs to be sought because one of the parties is already married or attempted a marriage in the past.

It’s possible for it to be valid in theory at least, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.
[/quote]

I don’t think a “disparity of cult” dispensation would be required if both parties were baptized. I think expressed permission from the Bishop would be required, however.


#16

[quote=Kendall]I don’t think a “disparity of cult” dispensation would be required if both parties were baptized. I think expressed permission from the Bishop would be required, however.
[/quote]

gee … now there’s another twist … how can the husband from the first marriage find out if permission from the Bishop has indeed happened ?? or, even if a “disparity of cult” was granted ?? would this circumvent any need to initiate an annulment ?? This may confuse him.

Shalom, Tim


#17

[quote=Kendall]I don’t think a “disparity of cult” dispensation would be required if both parties were baptized. I think expressed permission from the Bishop would be required, however.
[/quote]

Thanks. You are correct. “Disparity of cult” is needed between a baptised person and a non-baptised person. A mixed marriage (difference of confession; both baptised) requires the express permission of ecclesial authority for liceity.


#18

[quote=Tim Faremouth]gee … now there’s another twist … how can the husband from the first marriage find out if permission from the Bishop has indeed happened ?? or, even if a “disparity of cult” was granted ?? would this circumvent any need to initiate an annulment ?? This may confuse him.

Shalom, Tim
[/quote]

If a couple is married in the Catholic Church it is preassumed to be valid until ecclesial authority states otherwise. That’s the purpose of the annulment process.

Once it has been established that the Catholic party is free to marry, the required dispensations or permissions are needed if they are to be married in an Orthodox Church. It may be that a Catholic priest may witness the marriage in the Orthodox Church along side the orthodox priest. This is not uncommon from what I understand. If the Catholic party was an Eastern-rite Catholic then the blessing of a Catholic priest is needed as well for it to be valid.

If the Catholic party flat out refused to go through the annulment process etc, then the marriage in the Orthodox Church would not be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church since the Catholic party is under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church.


#19

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