~*~Another validity question~*~

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2003
~*~Another validity question~*~
2
Sat, 02-07-2004 - 3:58pm
If two people are married in the Catholic church and one is a confirmed Catholic and one is not, then what happens if they divorce? Do they have to get a church formal annullement or is it just an incorrect form annullement? Does the sacrament of confirmation make the difference here or is the place and by whom it was witnessed?

Also, how does a Catholic church wedding differ if it is between two confirmed catholics or between one confirmed and one non-confirmed (perhaps different religion) catholic?

Is that enough questions for ya?!

BONUS: {{opinion/debate question (But not to be debated in a mean spririt)}} What is the point of getting married in the catholic church by a priest or other church leader if one of the parties doesn't subscribe to the catholic religion? Is it something done out of respect for the practicing catholic party? I am just wondering because sometimes interfaith marriages don't work out. For the catholic party the consequences could be much more drastic than for someone of a different religion if the marriage were to fail. So it seems like a bigger risk on the Catholic persons part. As a way of protecting it's members I am just surprised they would allow it in the first place, because how would a person not of the Catholic religion understand what the sacrament is fully about and therefore put the effort forth that it requires. I am thinking in the case of Christian faith people who believe remarriage is okay, divorce is okay, etc.

Thanks~Nisa

Edited to add that I am NOT a Catholic. I am married to one, and he wants us to start practicing the faith. He also wants me to convert. I am a non-practicing protestant trying to find out about the religion and have been reading many Catholic web links to help me decide what to do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 02-07-2004 - 8:17pm
Hi Nisa,

If two people are married in the Catholic church and one is a confirmed Catholic and one is not, then what happens if they divorce?

The Catholic Church considers them still married. A civil divorce does not disolve the Marriage only the civil/legal aspect of the relationship.

Do they have to get a church formal annullement or is it just an incorrect form annullement?

A formal annulment would be needed if the Catholic wished to enter into another Marriage.

Does the sacrament of confirmation make the difference here or is the place and by whom it was witnessed?

The Sacrament does not effect the validity of the Marriage.



Also, how does a Catholic church wedding differ if it is between two confirmed catholics or between one confirmed and one non-confirmed (perhaps different religion) catholic?

In order for a Catholic to Marry a non-Catholic the Bishops permission is required. To Marry a non-Christian a Catholic needs the Bishop to wave certain parts of Chruch Law.

BONUS: {{opinion/debate question (But not to be debated in a mean spririt)}} What is the point of getting married in the catholic church by a priest or other church leader if one of the parties doesn't subscribe to the catholic religion?

Because the Catholic party is required by Church Law to do so or the Marriage is not considered valid.

Is it something done out of respect for the practicing catholic party?

That is a good way of putting it the non-Catholic party should understand that the Catholic party has certain responsibilities to the Faith. And must enter into the Sacrament of Marriage in a proper manner.

I am just wondering because sometimes interfaith marriages don't work out. For the catholic party the consequences could be much more drastic than for someone of a different religion if the marriage were to fail. So it seems like a bigger risk on the Catholic persons part. As a way of protecting it's members I am just surprised they would allow it in the first place, because how would a person not of the Catholic religion understand what the sacrament is fully about and therefore put the effort forth that it requires. I am thinking in the case of Christian faith people who believe remarriage is okay, divorce is okay, etc.

The non-Catholic party must clearly understand the Catholic view of Marriage, or the Bishop will not grant permission and the pastor will not be allowed to perform the Marriage.

The Catholic Church states from the very beginning that mixed Marriage is not a good thing and interfaith Marriage is is realy looked at hard.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2003
Fri, 02-13-2004 - 3:48pm
Hello MuchBlessed

Brother Rich has given you very accurate information (he's a great resource). Sometimes the laity hear snippets of Canon law and, without the benefit of the full picture, end up with the wrong conclusion.

Some "cradle Catholics" do the same - it's good to ask questions. It's even better when the answers are solid.

On the "debate" question - why have a Catholic interfaith marriage in the Church? Because even if one spouse is not Catholic, they are entering into a sacrament where they will be "whole life" partners. One spouse would do so for the other out of respect for the other's beliefs and religious foundation and because they believe in their vows - not because they are thinking of divorce. The required vows are "until death" (or equivalent phrasing) - and other religions include similar phrasing. As a values question - would you want to marry someone who wasn't committed to the marriage? Could you be intimate and vulnerable with someone (the trust factor) after stating in a religious marriage ceremony that said "or if we divorce..."? Essentially saying - this may end so you better protect yourself. I'd rather live fully in married life than in fear of divorce. (that's the "debate" answer from me)

As to your interfaith marriage, what I would suggest is that you and your husband attend RCIA, especially if it has been a long time since your husband has attended any formal religious instruction. ESPECIALLY if the last time was when he was a young teen. This way you will both be have common ground on "what is Catholic". You can take the class to be informed, with no pressure to "convert" (at least not with the non Catholics I know that have attended), though there may be a fair share of fiances and other folks that are taking the classes just for that reason. Get a sitter and have a "school date" and some together time with your hubby in a different context :). Ask around at your husband's parish, or even in your diocese about who has a good class. Not all RCIA classes are created equal, and with a good instructor, it's something people will recommend.

One analogy that helps with interfaith relations and the Catholic Church for me is to think of the Catholic Church as a Grandmother - She's at the beginning of the histories of many, many faiths, starting with Peter, if you want to think that way. Or with the gathering of writings to create the Bible. Or King Henry VIII, or Martin Luther. Some periods in her history are more graceful than others. Grandmothers may do things that other generations and non-family members (atheists and agnostics) don't understand, yet are worthy of respectful dialogue.

Best wishes on your spiritual path.

WA, who is not here often, and appreciated your questions!