Faith/Spirituality Forum: Anullment

Anullment QUESTION from S.M on April 27, 2002 I am a life-long Catholic, who is very devoted to the church. I have met an amazing man who is a non-catholic. He was baptized LDS and married an LDS woman in the Temple. Prior to their marriage, they did not practice the beliefs of the Mormon church. The consumed alcohol and engaged in pre-marrital sex. They confessed their sins to their bishop and were married one year later. My boyfriend has never believed in the LDS church. He only married in the temple to appease his parents and his fiance who wanted to go back to the faith she was brought up in. My boyfriend ended up going back to his lifestyle that he led before which included things that are forbidden in the Mormon church. His wife wanted him to change, but he didn't want to because he didn't belive in the LDS religion. Therefore this took a toll on their marriage and resulted in a divorce a year later. I am interested in knowing if his case is grounds for an anullment in the Catholic church. We ahve met with my priest and have started the process, but it is very painful for my boyfriend. The questions are very personal, and he is having a hard time establishing a relationship with my preist. Is there any way he can go to another priest that he trusts more within the diocese? Also, he wants to be completely honest about his marriage, but there are things that his ex-wife does not know. He is afraid of her finding out through this process. Does his ex-wife read all the intimate details of this anullment document? I love him and want very much to be married in the Catholic church. Please help.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 18, 2002 Dear Miss S.M.
From what I understand, an annulment is not necessary for your boyfriend because as far as the Catholic Church is concerned he was not validly married in the first place.
A valid sacramental marriage can only take place between two validly baptized persons. Mormons do not have valid baptism and are not Christians. Thus, as far as I know, an annulment is not needed.
I would double-check with the Marriage Tribunal of your diocese (call the Diocese offices). I don't think your boyfriend needs an annulment, but maybe some other paperwork needs filing. You can ask the Diocesan offices.
However, the Church does not recommend marriage to non-Christians (or to non-Catholic Christians). But permission may be given by the bishop.
To get permission you as the Catholic must agree
... 1) the marriage must be a Catholic marriage ceremony presided over by a priest (and cannot be a combination ceremony -Catholic/Mormon).
2) you must remove any possibility of losing your faith.
3) you must promise to raise the children Catholic. Not Catholic/Mormon, but solely Catholic.
4) and you and your fiancee must attend pre-cana counseling.
Your fiancee, of course, needs to understand these promises you are making to your Church and to God and go along with them.
P.S. If you get married outside of the Church, your marriage will be invalid since you are marrying a non-Christian, and in the eyes of God will be living not in marriage, but in concubinage. Thus you would not be in good standing with the Church and will be unable to partake in the Eucharist.
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