What do I need to do to remain in good standing with the Church?


#1

I am trying to sort out what I need to do so I can remain in good standing with the Church. I am divorced and want to remarry. I want to have my new marriage blessed by the Church and remain in good standing (i.e., receive Communion).

My first marriage was in the Catholic Church and my ex-husband was non-baptized, so we had a special service to handle this. I will seek annulment for this marriage. Does the fact my ex-husband was never baptized have any weight with annulment?

My second problem lies with the man I am to marry. He is a baptized Catholic (not confirmed), married a baptized woman (Presbyterian) in a non-denominational Baptist church. After his marriage, he joined a Presbyterian church and has played an active role as an elder for many years. He is legally divorced from this marriage. What does he need to do in order for us to have a wedding that is blessed by both religions? He will continue to be a Presbyterian and I will continue to be a Catholic.

I have three children in Catholic school and we attend Mass each week. It would be very difficult to not receive Communion every week. At the same time, my fiancé is Presbyterian, very active in his church, and asking him to seek annulment when his religion does not require this is hard for him to understand. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We share faith, visit each others churches and I don’t want to harm this beautiful life we now have.


#2

[quote=eastcoast]My first marriage was in the Catholic Church and my ex-husband was non-baptized, so we had a special service to handle this. I will seek annulment for this marriage. Does the fact my ex-husband was never baptized have any weight with annulment?
[/quote]

Unless your first husband was baptized during the course of your marriage, in which case it became sacramental upon his baptism, all that it would mean is that your first marriage was not sacramental. In order for there to be a sacramental marriage, both parties have to be baptized. However, since your marriage to him occurred within the Catholic Church, it is almost certain that the marriage was valid and legal. That means that a marriage tribunal will have to determine your freedom to marry and that you should indeed put the case before the tribunal for a decision.

[quote=eastcoast]My second problem lies with the man I am to marry. He is a baptized Catholic (not confirmed), married a baptized woman (Presbyterian) in a non-denominational Baptist church. After his marriage, he joined a Presbyterian church and has played an active role as an elder for many years.
[/quote]

This means that he was a baptized Catholic. He is now a baptized Christian, and a former Catholic.

[quote=eastcoast]He is legally divorced from this marriage. What does he need to do in order for us to have a wedding that is blessed by both religions? He will continue to be a Presbyterian and I will continue to be a Catholic.
[/quote]

He will need to place the marriage before the marriage tribunal, just as you will, in order to determine whether you are free to marry him. If he had formally left the Church at the time of his marriage, his marriage will be presumed to be sacramental. If he was still a Catholic, even lapsed, at the time of the marriage, and he did not seek the necessary dispensations to marry a non-Catholic in a non-Catholic ritual, the marriage will be presumed legal but non-sacramental and invalid. (If he received the dispensations, the marriage will be presumed sacramental and valid.)

[quote=eastcoast]I have three children in Catholic school and we attend Mass each week. It would be very difficult to not receive Communion every week. At the same time, my fiancé is Presbyterian, very active in his church, and asking him to seek annulment when his religion does not require this is hard for him to understand.
[/quote]

If he is interested in marrying a Catholic, he should understand that the Catholic Church requires its members to marry only those who are understood by the Church to be free to marry. In his case, the Church will not know if you are free to marry him until it is able to determine his marital situation. That is why he will need to place his case before the tribunal.

[quote=eastcoast]Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We share faith, visit each others churches and I don’t want to harm this beautiful life we now have.
[/quote]

One more piece of advice, then. Neither of you are, as yet, free to marry. That means that you should set aside any marriage plans you may have and end any relationship that is not in keeping with chaste friendship. In the eyes of the Church, each of you is presumed to be married to your first spouses until a marriage tribunal determines otherwise for both of you. In order to remain “in good standing” with the Church, you must remember that you are – as yet – a married woman and must order your relationships with others around that fact.

Recommended reading:

Annulments and the Catholic Church by Edward Peters


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.