Expert Answer Forum
Previous marriage to a non-christian QUESTION from Carole March 16, 2000 I am a protestant considering conversion to Catholocism. My husband however, is not at this time considering conversion.
My question relates to his previous marriage. He was married to an orthodox Jew.
In order to convert to the Catholic faith and receive the sacraments, does my husband have to obtain a decree of nullity for his first marriage. So that we are not living in a state of sin in the Church's eyes?
I understand the Church views all marriages between baptised individuals as sacramental, but what about a marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 23, 2000 Dear Mrs. Carole:
You REALLY need to contact your local diocese about this. The situation you have described is technically complicated being we are talking about non-Catholic in which one is converting and the one not converting had a previous marriage to a non-Christian.
There are many pieces of information missing. Was your husband a baptized Christian when he married the non-Christian? If so, did the non-Christian leave him, or the other way around? If he was not Christian at the time of his former marriage, was baptized later?
All of these questions have to be answered to know how to proceed.
The question can be easily answered by the Marriage Tribunal of your diocese. I would call the diocese offices and ask for someone with the marriage tribunal.
Whatever has to be done in order for you to convert to the Catholic Church in good standing will have to done, of course. And whatever needs to be done is not really a big deal. You just need to get the paperwork in and let the Holy Spirit comfort you in the process.
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