Wanting to get married by Catholic church


#1

I apologize for the long post before hand but I have a situation that hopefully someone can give me some answers.

I was raised Jehova’s witness and have been never baptized. I met my wonderful wife a born/raised catholic and deeply religious. I have my battles with my spirituality and I think that came from been raised Jehova’s witness and seen first hand the damage that it can cause within a family (no disespect to any JW out there). I separated from JW and even started to question my belief in GOD to the point that up to two years ago I called myself an atheist even though I heart I didn’t believe that.

So I met my wonderful wife and at the beginning she knew my feeling about religion and chirch and she never ever once tried to convince me to go to church with her. She will sayd that she prayed for me because she said that she could see that my love for GOD was there but that past experiences were keeping me from reconciliating with my spititual self. So one day as she was getting my stepdaughter ready for mass, an impulse overcame me and I got dressed up and went to mass with her, the look on my mother in law and her entire family when I walked in with her after almost 2 years of relationship warmed my heart. My wife made me realize that I do love GOD that I want my life to follow a path of rightneousness and love of Jesus Christ. It was never gone, it was there dormant waiting for someone to reenergized it and that person was my wife.

Now it comes the hard part, my wife was once married by the Catholic church, she has two daughters from a previous marriage. When we got married we wanted to do it under the blessing of GOD but since we couldn’t do with the Catholic church I had a friend who is a evangelical pastor to marry us. Now me and my wife want to get married by the Catholic church but we have no clear guidance on how to get that accomplished. Any guidance will be appreciated.


#2

You may be able to get a convalidation, which is actually a new marriage (because no Catholic marriage exists now between you two). That would allow her to receive the sacraments again. To do this requires that you both demonstrate freedom to marry, have no impediments that cannot be dispensed, and have the proper consent. If the her Catholic marriage is found invalid (through annulment) or the former spouse has deceased, then she would be free to marry in the Catholic Church. Also if you have no other prior marriage then you would be free her. A Catholic priest would answer your questions about it.


#3

First, you both need to speak to a priest and explain the entire situation.

Having said that, based on your post, it sounds as though you BOTH have some things to take care of prior to being married in the Catholic Church. You will need to be validly baptized. Your partner will need to petition for an annulment from her first marriage. Assuming that you become validly baptized and an annulment is granted, the two of you should be free to marry. Again, speak to a priest to make sure because we are not privy to all the specifics of the situation.

Additionally, until the two of you are married, you need to live as brother and sister and NOT man and wife.

I wish you both the best and I’ll say a prayer for you. God bless and welcome to the forums. :thumbsup:


#4

They actually have one thing to take care of-- her first marriage.

He does not have to be baptized or be Catholic for their marriage to be convalidated in the Church. The marriage would typically be convadliated prior to his reception into the Church.

To the OP: Your wife needs to make an appointment with her parish pastor to have a discussion about her situation and receive counsel on pursuing a decree of nullity.


#5

[quote="Bunch, post:1, topic:298151"]
I apologize for the long post before hand but I have a situation that hopefully someone can give me some answers.

I was raised Jehova's witness and have been never baptized. I met my wonderful wife a born/raised catholic and deeply religious. I have my battles with my spirituality and I think that came from been raised Jehova's witness and seen first hand the damage that it can cause within a family (no disespect to any JW out there). I separated from JW and even started to question my belief in GOD to the point that up to two years ago I called myself an atheist even though I heart I didn't believe that.

So I met my wonderful wife and at the beginning she knew my feeling about religion and chirch and she never ever once tried to convince me to go to church with her. She will sayd that she prayed for me because she said that she could see that my love for GOD was there but that past experiences were keeping me from reconciliating with my spititual self. So one day as she was getting my stepdaughter ready for mass, an impulse overcame me and I got dressed up and went to mass with her, the look on my mother in law and her entire family when I walked in with her after almost 2 years of relationship warmed my heart. My wife made me realize that I do love GOD that I want my life to follow a path of rightneousness and love of Jesus Christ. It was never gone, it was there dormant waiting for someone to reenergized it and that person was my wife.

Now it comes the hard part, my wife was once married by the Catholic church, she has two daughters from a previous marriage. When we got married we wanted to do it under the blessing of GOD but since we couldn't do with the Catholic church I had a friend who is a evangelical pastor to marry us. Now me and my wife want to get married by the Catholic church but we have no clear guidance on how to get that accomplished. Any guidance will be appreciated.

[/quote]

There's several issues that you raise, even if you aren't aware of raising them.

  1. Your wife needs to resolve her marital status with the Church. From what you say I infer she was married before she met you. If her spouse from that marriage is still alive she will need a civil divorce from him (I'm guessing she's got that) and then she needs to go through the Church process of what is commonly called 'annulment'. Then she will be free to marry you.

  2. What is your faith status? In the heading you state you're Catholic. In the body of your text you don't confirm this. If you're not baptised as well as the annulment I mentioned above your wife may require dispensation to marry you because you're not baptised. This is called dispensation from disparity of cult.

As you have been advised, you do not live in a marriage the Church can recognise. To be frank that means you must not engage in any sex. You should sleep separately. The ideal, but probably not practical, would to be live in different dwellings until the situation is resolved.

A lot of your post generates more questions than answers. You and your wife need to be forthcoming with a lot more personal information than you should ever reveal here.

To start the process make an appointment to see the priest. I hope you will continue going to Mass together. I hope you both pray fervently about your situation.

My family will pray for you.

Good luck and best wishes.


#6

I am going to reiterate that you and your wife need to speak to the priest and HE will guide you.

Matt, I mean no disrespect, but it is not our place to tell a couple to abstain from relations and certainly not to separate-- the Church does not require the couple separate most especially when children are involved. I think these types of comments only serve to place unnecessary stress and anxiety on the OP, and possibly even despair.

The best thing for the OP and his wife to do is to go see their priest and take things one step at a time. This can be resolved, and with the help and guidance of your priest it does not have to be scary or overwhelming. The priest has helped many couples in your situation before, he will be able to help you too.


#7

Bunch, your post is one of the nicest things I have read in a long time, for many reasons. Above all, for your honesty. I pray with all my heart that God may grant you and your family the fullness of joy.

The Church regulates all of these matters based on what is called Canon Law. It also provides specific guidance on these matters. The first thing to do would be to talk to your Parrish priest and ask for his assistance. There are many factors to be taken into consideration - the foremost one being: what happened to her previous husband?

Talk to the priest and you will find all the guidance needed. Perhaps it may be necessary in the future to also receive the guidance of a Canon Law lawyer.

Please be assured that your family will be in my prayers for a very long time, because your post has touched deep into my heart.


#8

Ike, I do not feel disrepected by you. I wonder if we are at cross purposes.

I am not sure why you decided to pick up on this with my post. I am not the first one to deal with this issue.

As we both know not even their priest can make any declaration on their marital status. That has to be decided by a tribunal that has the competence for the case.

Despite my comments above, I think it would be difficult to come to any conclusion, relying, of course, on what the OP tells us, that this couple cannot be in a marriage that is regarded by the Church as valid. I can only emphasise this has to be an inference based on the facts the OP has provided.

I believe that the moral teachings of the Church are that a man and a woman who are not married should not engage in sexual relations. If a couple have their marriage declared null after 20 years are not considered to have been having extramarital sex for all those years. Until their marriage is declared null it was presumed to be valid. But, here we have circumstances where the OP appreciates they are not in a valid marriage. With this knowledge it would be appropriate if they don’t have any sexual relations.

As for living apart I do know how great a difficulty this would be. In my previous post I think I said it would be ideal but not practical. It’s ideal because it is, as I understand it, part of the Church’s moral teaching that as they are not man and wife, as understood by Catholic teaching, they ought not to live together. I will reiterate that I see this as an ideal. I fully appreciate that doing this may be impractical and without the means of the family budget.

As the OP has not responded to my earlier post we cannot know what affect it had on him. I can reassure the OP that I didn’t have the intent of distressing them. I still persist in the hope the OP and his wife will contact their priest to begin the process of regularising their marital situation.

May they both continue to be strengthened and nourished by our Holy Mother, the Church.

My family will be praying for them. I hope others will pray for them too.


#9

Thank you all for your guidance. Hopefully me and my wife can get this resolved because I think is the last piece missing of an otherwise wonderful marriage. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers and may the Lord bless you all and your loved ones.


#10

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