Expert Answer Forum
RCIA-Valid Sacraments? QUESTION from Pat June 5, 1999 My daughter-in-law entered an RCIA program while being in a civil marriage with my inactive Catholic son. They have not entered into the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. She was baptised, received First Holy Communion, and Confirmed all on the same day. I am confused. Please try to help me understand how this could happen. Don't they need to enter into the sacrament of Holy Matrimony before she can validly receive these sacraments? She is also confused and although she is not registered at a parish she attends Mass regularly and receives Holy Communion. I told her that I thought she may not validly receive Holy Communion until she enters into the sacrament of Holy Matrimony with my son but we are both confused. She looks to me for help as she is from a foreign country and my son is quite inactive and doesn't care to be bothered with all of this. Has she validly received these sacraments? May she continue to receive Holy Communion? I am willing to research this question if you can direct me to internet sites where I might obtain information regarding this situation.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on June 15, 1999 Dear Pat:
This is one of those scenarios that involves some complicated analysis of marriage laws. This is beyond my expertise.
I think that according to what you have said, that your son is a baptized Catholic who entered into a civil marriage with an unbaptized women. I believe this would make the marriage sacramentally invalid because the wife was unbaptized.
As for her conversion, it is typical for the convert to receive baptism and conversion in the same day and to receive first Holy Communion. However, the circumstances of the marriage might have required that the baptism, confirmation, and Communion be delayed until the marriage was blessed sacramentally in the Church.
It is possible that the priest did this just before the wife was baptized or confirmed, or the couple may have agreed to live as brother and sister until the marriage situation was resolved.
I would ask the priest about this to determine what was done or not done in this regard.
If you are unsure after that, I would call the Marriage Tribunal at the Chancery of your diocese and ask them about the technical details about a situation like this.
I really don’t know, and even the little I related here may be wrong. So, please contact your diocese to get the accurate information about this.
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