My niece is planning to be married, the young man she is marrying was previously married by a justice of the peace and the marriage has since been dissolved. I thought the Catholic faith did not recognize a marriage outside of the Sacrament of Marriage. She has been told by her parish priest that any marriage, in the Chruch or in the courthouse must be annuled in order for her to have a Catholic wedding. The groom is not of Catholic faith but totally supports and participates in her faith. What proccess is necessary for these two young people to bein their life in the family of the Catholic faith. My brother is very upset and they don’t know where to turn. Any comment will be appreciated.
The Catholic Church does recognize as valid the marriages between non-Catholics—whether they were in church or in a courthouse. It does not recognize as valid those marriages of Catholics that are performed outside of the Catholic Church. Your niece’s fiancé needs to talk to the priest about the possibility of having his first marriage annulled by the Catholic Church.
I would suggest that you get the book “Annulments and the Catholic Church” by Ed Peters. You may order it through shop.catholic.com. It answers any questions you might have and shows how the Church not being arbitrary about all this. You niece and her fiancé are in my prayers.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.