What is the status of this marriage in the Catholic Church?


#1

Is a Catholic marriage between two baptized Catholic valid although one of the persons lied about the couple already having been married legally and that the ceremony would be a convalidation of a previous legal marriage? This is a strange situation I encountered. One of the marrying partners thought that the Catholic ceremony would be serving for both the religious and legal marriage. The other person knew that this was not the case and for some reason, lied to the priest and claimed that they had been married in another country legally and just wanted to convalidate the legal marriage. The person must have gotten a false marriage document to show the priest. Life went on...until one day the naive partner found out he was never married legally and the the woman had made such a claim. The marriage itself lasted about five years but the man did not legally divorced the woman because they had a child and he wanted them to be covered by his health plan.

However, many years later he needed a copy of the legal marriage and that is when he found out. That's what he got for working hard and leaving the marriage arrangements to the woman. Unbelievable but true.

Given that, there can not be a legal divorce as there never was a legal marriage. What is the standing of the Catholic Church in such an incredible situation?


#2

This sort of question doesn’t relate to traditional Catholicism, but ought to have been posted in the Family Life forum.

The Church would say that being married in the Church before a priestly witness is the true marriage. Not having obtained a marriage license beforehand might mean that the state sees it as a common law marriage, depending on its duration, etc. while the Church would see it as a sacramental marriage regardless. The person interested would have to consult a civil lawyer to see whether a divorce would even be required to satisfy the state, whereas the Church does not recognize divorce.


#3

Thank you for your response.

I wasn’t sure where it would go. I suppose Family Life forum would be fine even though I think of that forum as for dealing with actual family life not necessarily Church procedures etc…:shrug:

Even though there was deception? You think it would still be considered valid?


#4

Marriage is a Sacrament and this will fit well in the Liturgy and Sacraments forum.


#5

It’s a deception based on confusion about the legality of the marriage, not the marriage itself (sacrament before God & in front of witnesses). Marriage = consent + consummation (unless there is a good reason not to consummate it, but in modern times non-consummation isn’t really an issue). I would say they are married in the Church, but not legally.

Same thing if a Catholic couple gets divorced and then decides to get back together. According to the state, they’d need to get re-married (new marriage license) but in God’s eyes they were married all along, so another wedding is unnecessary.


#6

The marriage is valid in the eyes of the Church because both parties understood the nature of the sacrament.


#7

Everything about marriage was changed during Vatican II, and I have read some pretty negative stuff in this section concerning our Modern Church. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this is not a good place to get information about marriage.


#8

Yes, you are right. That’s where it would fit well in LIturgy and Sacraments. Maybe a moderator will move it.


#9

Even though the priest was also deceived about a previous legal marriage existing?

Is there a substantial difference in the ceremony of first time marriage and a convalidated marriage? The ceremony was supposedly a convalidation of a legal marriage that never happened.


#10

[quote="Abba, post:9, topic:289030"]
Even though the priest was also deceived about a previous legal marriage existing?

Is there a substantial difference in the ceremony of first time marriage and a convalidated marriage? The ceremony was supposedly a con*valid*ation of a legal marriage that never happened.

[/quote]

There is no difference in the ceremony since, as far as the Church is concerned, the marriage starts now. The only difference is that, in countries where a Church marriage is also a civil marriage (the US & Canada for example) no government paperwork is filed after a convalidation.


#11

We are members of the Catholic Church, not something called the Modern Church. You keep mentioning how Vatican II changed everything about marriage, and while as you say everyone is entitled to their opinions, your sounds like they’re driven by some kind of agenda.

1ke has previously pointed out to you the falsehood of your Vatican II statement. Here is a link if you need to review it: “Moreover, Vatican II has nothing to do with anything. The revised code of canon law was promulgated by Pop John Paul II in 1983, not at the Vatican II Council.”


#12

[quote="Phemie, post:10, topic:289030"]
There is no difference in the ceremony since, as far as the Church is concerned, the marriage starts now.

[/quote]

It seems as though you are correct. I was reading on the website beginningcatholic.com that the requirements for a marriage to be valid are:

  1. Be able to exchange consent, and do so freely and unconditionally
  2. Consent to fidelity, indissolubility, and openness to children
  3. Not have any impediments to marriage
  4. Follow the sacrament properly

beginningcatholic.com/catholic-annulment.html

So, the lying to a priest which is huge and the deception to the partner falls under sins that can be confessed if the person repents. Right? But, do not affect the validity of the marriage. It would be valid if there were no impediments which may or may not have been the reason for the deception. Assuming there were no impediments it seems as though the marriage would have been valid.

And, this, even though there was infidelity which was the reason for the separation. According to what I read on that website, a marriage can be annulled due to infidelity if the person consented to the marriage with no intention of being faithful. However, just because a person is unfaithful after the marriage it is not grounds for an annulment. This last part is news to me. I thought infidelity during marriage was grounds for an annulment. It appears as though this is not the case.

The only difference is that, in countries where a Church marriage is also a civil marriage (the US & Canada for example) no government paperwork is filed after a convalidation.


#13

If their partner had known about the deception, would they still have married this person? If not, than it’s not a valid marriage. That’s all I know about this.


#14

What must be remembered is that it is what was going on at the time the consent was exchanged that is looked at when a decree of nullity is sought (although subsequent actions may be evidence of a problem at the time of the exchange of consent).

For example, a man who has a mistress and no intent of giving her up is contracting an invalid marriage when he exchanges consent. A man who has every intent to be faithful contracts a valid marriage (at least where intent to be faithful is concerned) even if he later fails to live up to his own expectations.


#15

No agenda here! I just went through the process of getting our marriage blessed in church, and it wasn’t anything like what I read on theses Internet Forums. The priest came up with something entirely different. The laity seems to have it all mixed up with
memories of pre-Vatican II ideas, and the priest is ahead of the curve.


#16

Exactly how was it different? I dealt with convalidations several times in recent years and they were exactly as written up on these boards, with more or less preparation depending on the couple’s situation but always with a prenuptial investigation and legal documents required.

Unless the priest decided that a convalidation by radical sanation was the answer in your case, I’m curious to know just how your priest was “ahead of the curve”?


#17

Then please explain what it was like.

What exactly did he “come up with” and how was it “different”?

This member of the laity was:

a) Not born until a year after Vatican II closed
b) Not Catholic until 1992

So, I think you have some misplaced notions regarding the laity being “mixed up” with pre-Vatican II ideas.

How exactly was he “ahead of the curve”?


#18

Well, actually, if you read my replies to marriage. annulment, and divorse questions, maybe I do have an agenda? The information that I collected for years by reading the Internet prolonged my self-excommunication. If we would have joined a Parish, and after 6 months of being practicing Catholics everything would have been taken care of be the parish priest.

When my wife and I finally sat down together with a priest he told us to make a reservation for the chapel now, because it’s a busy place during this time of the year. :slight_smile:

I am not going to post the loop holes, because it’s the priest’s discretion whether or not to put the couple through a long painfull process. Just speculating, if the priest determines that the couple needs more time to repent. it can be a long drawn out process that will cost a lot of money for canon lawyers to solve.

In short, when these questions come up, first tell them to join a Parish and be an active practicing Catholic. The priest will take care of it!


#19

Certainly joining a parish and being an active practicing Catholic is commendable and highly recommneded, not only for the purpose of convalidating a marriage.


#20

Yes, that is what I have been trying to get across. We are community of believers, not a law library. All we have to do is visit a nearby Protestsnt church and we will find those Catholics who feel alienated because of their marriage problem with yhe Church.


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