Wife refuses to convalidate marriage. Am I wrong to divorce her?


Wife refuses to convalidate marriage. Am I wrong to divorce her?

8 years ago we were civilly married. Since that time, I have had a renewal of faith and have grown to want to follow Church teachings. We do not live together. There are no children involved. In September, I will be taking a “Foundations for Ministry” course run by the diocese.

My wife refuses to convalidate our marriage. She claims it violates her dignity and beliefs. She feels it is a bureaucratic rubber stamp and an insult to our original vows. She has a “Jesus, Bible and me” mentality, and doesn’t think a church is necessary to be a Christian.

I do not qualify for a radical sanation and I can’t remember why.

We have broken up over this more than once. I can’t take such a course in good conscience, and be involved in any ministry in the Church without a sacramental marriage. We have our convalidation ceremony booked in two weeks, and she has backed out. The course begins in September. She refuses to be taught or read anything about Catholic marriage or Catholic anything for that matter. I think 8 years of patience is enough.

I believe I am doing the right thing perusing a divorce. She is a road block to my walk and development. I love her very much and it is extremely painful for both of us. The counsel I have received from priests is “you will have to decide for yourself”. My question is “Am I religiously deluded?”


Dear No,

As you know, in the eyes of the Church you and your wife are not married. To divorce her would simply be a legal way of equitably dividing the goods you have owned in common. You acknowledge that you love your wife. But by refusing to live as husband and wife without the benefit of a sacramental wedding, you are choosing God first. You are acting in a politically incorrect way, but you are not deluded. God is never out-done in generosity. To act on the grace to put Him first is its own reward. Be at peace. Only good can come from this. You and your wife are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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