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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Yet another marriage question

by Catherine Frakas 18 Oct 2001

Yet another marriage question QUESTION from Kris on March 28, 2002 This might be complicated but here goes.
My fiance/husband and I have been together for almost eight years. We lived together for 4 (I know, I know... It was primarily for financial reasons, and I am still trying to make peace with God and myself about that one). We have an almost 5 year old son, who out of respect for his family, I had baptized, but he attends church with me as his father rarely attends.
He is a baptized Catholic, who rarely attends mass, but has not been to confession or received communion in many years (he estimated it to be 15-20). He was married before to a Catholic woman, but it was not in the Church. They separated a year before we met and divorced a few years later. They have two children, now teens.
I am a practicing Protestant, raised in the church but not yet baptized. I plan to be as soon as I feel worthy.
We were married by my pastor in a small ceremony at my church, with my sister and one of his as witnesses. So according to my church and the law, we are husband and wife. The question now is this:
He wishes to be married in the Catholic church. I would like to honor his wishes, but I have no intention of converting. What procedure(s) must we now follow to make this a possibility.
Thank you for your time and assistance.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 18, 2002 Dear Kris:
I am happy to hear that your husband wishes to return to his faith. I presume that is what he is wanting to do?
The Catholic Church does not recommend mixed marriages (between Protestants and Catholics) but will allow it with the permission of the Pastor.
However, you have an additional difficulty. If you are not baptized, then in the view of the Catholic Church you are not Christian. A Christian must be validly baptized.
In Church teaching any marriage between two baptized people is valid (even Protestant marriage). But if one party is not batpized then the marriage is not considered valid.
Therefore, if you are not baptized, the bishop would have to give special permission for your husband to marry you in the Catholic Church.
To begin this process, your husband should contact his local parish and talk to the priest. The priest will give you the details of what must be done for your marriage to be recognized by the Catholic Church.
May the grace of God be with you and I praise God that you are willing to have the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church even though you will remain Protestant.
By the way, until your marriage is regularized within the Catholic Church, your husband is considered NOT in good standing with the Church and cannot receive communion. Once you two do what is needed to have the marriage regularized in the Catholic Church, then your husband will be in good standing in the Church and is eligible to receive communion.
God Bless.
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