Expert Answer Forum

Annulment QUESTION from te August 14, 2000 A non-practicing Catholic marries a non-Catholic outside of the church (and without dispensation). The couple is later divorced. Because the marriage was clearly not valid in the first place, is the process of annulment still necessary? It seems that the process of annulment is highly necessary on questionable marriages. But what about a case where it is seemingly irrefutable?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on October 17, 2000 Dear Miss Te:
If the non-practicing Catholic has formally left the Catholic Church, then he is not bound by the requirement to seek permission before entering a marriage with a non-Catholic.
If the Catholic who has formally left the Church marries a non-Catholic who is baptised then I believe that the wayward Catholic coming home to the Church will have to seek a Nullity. This would be similar to two baptized non-Catholics.
If the Catholic is merely non-practicing and has not left the Church by a formal act then this situation is a little different in that canonical form, permission for a mixed marriage, etc. would still be required.
In any event, you need to contact the Marriage Tribunal at the Chancery of your diocese to discuss the details of this to determine whether an petition of Nullity will be needed or not.
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