Faith/Spirituality Forum: Interfaith, Divorce, and Marriage

Interfaith, Divorce, and Marriage QUESTION from Kayleigh Joyce August 2, 2001 Hello,
My friend just got engaged to her boyfriend. He's Catholic, and she's Baptist. Both have been married before. His wife passed away two years; she was divorced twenty years ago. They are hoping, and planning on getting married in the Catholic Church.
My question is, can they get married in the Catholic Church? Will the Catholic Church allow her to be married there even though she is divorced?
What happens if they can't get married in the Catholic Church and decide to get married instead in her church, or by a justice of the peace. In that case, would he still be Catholic and can he continue to practice his Catholic faith and receive the sacrament of holy communion?
Thank you, Kayleigh
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 31, 2001 Dear Miss Joyce:
Your friends can get married in the Catholic Church IF the woman's previous marriage is null (not sacramentally valid). She needs to apply for a annulment or other determination from the church that she is indeed in single status. She must be in single status to be eligible to marry.
If the church determines her previous marriage was not sacramental, then yes, she can marry the Catholic boyfriend in the Church ---- BUT, the man will have to have permission from the bishop to marry a non-Catholic and must make a statement to the bishop that he will not defect from the faith and that the children will be raised Catholic. The woman, obviously, needs to cooperate with this.
If they get married without the blessing of the Church, then they are living in a state of sin and the man will be barred from the Sacraments.
However, these need not be the way things go. Tell your friends to talk to the parish priest and tell him that an annulment may need to be obtained before the marriage. The priest will then get them going with the needed paperwork.
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