Validity of evangelical marriages


#1

So being a revert, I know a lot of evangelical Christians who came from Catholic families. They have no desire to be part of the Church or even think the Church as any validity. Most of them get re-baptized. I have to think this is not a small number of people.

So if a formerly Catholic evangelical Christian marries another Christian in his evangelical community, does the Church hold these marriages to be invalid???


#2

[quote="mizznicole, post:1, topic:185901"]
So being a revert, I know a lot of evangelical Christians who came from Catholic families. They have no desire to be part of the Church or even think the Church as any validity. Most of them get re-baptized. I have to think this is not a small number of people.

So if a formerly Catholic evangelical Christian marries another Christian in his evangelical community, does the Church hold these marriages to be invalid???

[/quote]

The Catholic Church considers those who were baptized Catholic or received in to the Church as bound to the Catholic form of marriage, or to receive a dispensation from that obligation, in order to marry validly. Since evangelical communities generally permit remarriage following a divorce, such marriages, when a remarriage is involved on the part of either party, would be invalid as well on the basis of the impediment of a prior bond of marriage.
There are some complications that involve cases in which the Catholic had defected from the Catholic Church by a formal act, since the 1983 code of canon law made this an exception to the obligation of canonical form (marriage before a Catholic priest or deacon with the faculty to witness marriage and two witnesses). However, even being rebaptized, or ceasing Catholic practice, was insufficient to create such a formal act. It would also have to be accepted by the Bishop or pastor, and that seldom happened. Moreover, the law has been changed to remove that exception, and will take effect in the near future.


#3

I’m not talking about remarriage, but first marriages.

I just can’t believe the Church would not assume validity in these cases, of people who become evangelicals and never rejoin the Catholic Church.

I mean, if this is the case, then half of my family is in invalid marriages. Lifelong, faithful spouses raising children.

Or is validity not really an issue, because they are not seeking remarriage and not seeking to be part of the Church?

If these marriages are invalid, are we bound to find out whether our evangelical friends were ever Catholic, and boycott their weddings if so?


#4

The reply was found in the first sentence, and the rest was some elaboration.

The Catholic Church considers those who were baptized Catholic or received in to the Church as bound to the Catholic form of marriage, or to receive a dispensation from that obligation, in order to marry validly.

This reply was based on chiefly on canons 11, 1059 and 1108.


#5

If a Catholic (practicing or not) marries without form or dispensation from form, and they did not go through the "formal defection" process, then the marriage is presumed invalid. Pray that these people will return to Jesus and his Church.


#6

They are Catholics. The Catholic Church requires of them what it requires of all Catholics.

That is quite possible if these people were baptized Catholic and then ceased to practice the faith. Pray for them that they will find their way back as you did.

Certainly is is an issue. Objectively, their marriage is invalid before God. Their culpability for that centers around their understanding of the authority of the Church and what they were rejecting when they rejected the Catholic Church. They may or may not be culpable depending upon their knowledge and freedom to act.

No, I don’t believe you would be obligated to ferret out information. If it is given to you, then you would need to act on what you know. I don’t know many former Catholics who hold back on telling me their status as a defected Catholic as soon as they find out I’m a Catholic. So if these people are of any close acquaintance or family, you probably already know. If they are of a level of acquaintance where you do not know, you are not obligated to quiz them on their life’s history.


#7

a Catholic remains bound by Catholic law unless he formally defects. The meaning of formal defection, as it pertains to marriage validity, has recently been clarified and that ruling has been discussed on the liturgy and sacraments forum recently. short answer: should that person ever wish to return to the Church his marriage situation would have to be investigated to see if any action needs to be taken to render a current marriage valid in conformity with canon law, or to get a ruling on a previous marriage.

If you are an uninvolved 3rd party you are not called upon to investigate anything, nor are you ever required to “boycott a wedding”.


#8

I still find it hard to believe that two atheists married in a civil service are validly married, but two committed Christians are not.

How many evangelicals do you know “formerly defect”? They don’t even know what this is! The reality is that the vast majority of these people will never return to the Catholic church.

I don’t know what “uninvolved 3rd party” means…

I see regularly on this board families who are advised to boycott weddings because they are invalid.

Of course I pray for my friends and family to return. I just find it very odd that their marriages are considered invalid, when they are practicing Christian virtues of fidelity and charity, raising children, and living their faith as well as they know.


#9

It is the same as people find it odd that “being a good person” is not enough to get to heaven.

Remember, God’s laws on marriage apply to all people, not just practicing Catholics.


#10

But what do the Catholic concepts of invalid marriages and annulments have to do with God’s law?

Matthew 19:8 – Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.

Matthew 15:9 – But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.


#11

[quote="mizznicole, post:8, topic:185901"]
I still find it hard to believe that two atheists married in a civil service are validly married, but two committed Christians are not.

.

[/quote]

the question arises when the supposedly "committed Christian" has rejected the Catholic church in which he has been baptized

the parent or sibling of the Catholic party planning to enter into an invalid marriage is an involved third party, someone who does not know the circumstances or who is not charged in some way with protecting the spiritual health of the party is an "uninvolved 3rd party" as is anyone on this forum trying to give advice long distance

no one of any religous belief, or lack of it, can enter into a valid marriage if they have previously been validly married to someone else.


#12

The Church never contradicts scripture, and as Jesus said, does not believe that divorce ends a valid marriage.

The Church may determine, with the Authority that Jesus gave Peter, that a marriage was never valid - as Jesus spoke of in more than one place. They then issue a decree of nullity.


#13

I think we have all beaten the perpetually lifeless equine on the divorce and remarriage issue. However, the OP also mentioned first marriages in the Evangelical churches involving baptized Catholics.

I personally wonder- who would it matter to except for the Catholic Church if the Catholic Church does not recognize their marriage. They left the Church. They no longer believe the teachings and in some cases outright teach against. I doubt very much these types of Christians particularly care what the Catholic church cares about the validity of their marriage. If it doesn’t concern them (second marriages/adulterous unions/homosexuality aside) why should it concern us?


#14

Just food for thought: As a Reformed believer, I (and my denomination) do not consider any Catholic marriages to be valid where one or both of the parties received an annulment for any reasons except adultry or abandonment. So, it works both ways.


#15

[quote="ChosenAndCalled, post:14, topic:185901"]
Just food for thought: As a Reformed believer, I (and my denomination) do not consider any Catholic marriages to be valid where one or both of the parties received an annulment for any reasons except adultry or abandonment. So, it works both ways.

[/quote]

Ouch- and I know for purposes of RCIA and such when people are entering the Church Protestant marriages are presumed valid unless validity is challenged or unless one of the participants was Catholic which would have given them the duty to be married in the Church.


#16

[quote="ChosenAndCalled, post:14, topic:185901"]
Just food for thought: As a Reformed believer, I (and my denomination) do not consider any Catholic marriages to be valid where one or both of the parties received an annulment for any reasons except adultry or abandonment. So, it works both ways.

[/quote]

Well, there are no annulments received for adultery or abandonment. Clearly you don't understand what an declaration of nullity is.

It says there was no valid marriage to begin with.

Why do you think that when someone commits adultery that the other person is just no longer held to the vows they professed?


#17

Could you please support this from the teachings of Christ?


#18

Sure: New Testement. Christ said a divorce is only permissible when adultery is involved. The Apostle Paul, in his writings, also said that. He also added in cases of abandonment. There is no indication that “going into marriage with the intent of not having children”, for instance is grounds to invalidate a marriage. Cheating or abandonment- those are the only two reasons the majority of non Catholic churches allow for remarriage after civil divorce.

I’m really not here to debate anullment. I’m just telling you that the road runs both ways.


#19

I’m curious which versus you are referring to here.


#20

[quote="NoAvailableName, post:19, topic:185901"]
I'm curious which versus you are referring to here.

[/quote]

Matt 5 32

But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


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.