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Misha
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Forgive me if this reads as ridiculous. 

 

I was born and baptized Catholic. I married my now ex-husband in my step-dad's church (Methodist). We divorced and I met and married my now husband a few years later (courthouse wedding). 

 

Am I still a Catholic? Even though I've been divorced? My husband is Catholic and he has no idea what the rules of the church would be on this one. I'm just really curious and I'd like to start taking my girls to church for them (I'm not religious but my belief is that my children should be able to choose for themselves their faith or lack thereof).

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Forgive me if this reads as ridiculous. 

 

I was born and baptized Catholic. I married my now ex-husband in my step-dad's church (Methodist). We divorced and I met and married my now husband a few years later (courthouse wedding). 

 

Am I still a Catholic? Even though I've been divorced? My husband is Catholic and he has no idea what the rules of the church would be on this one. I'm just really curious and I'd like to start taking my girls to church for them (I'm not religious but my belief is that my children should be able to choose for themselves their faith or lack thereof).

 

Of course you're still a Catholic. :grouphug:

 

However, you are not in a valid marriage. Neither of you at this point is able to receive sacraments. It would be good to talk to your parish priest to get some clarity on this.

 

You may still take your children to church, and they may be baptized and confirmed. I think it's important to take our children to church; of course they can still choose when they are older, but it's important to give them somewhere to start *from.*

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You may still take your children to church, and they may be baptized and confirmed. I think it's important to take our children to church; of course they can still choose when they are older, but it's important to give them somewhere to start *from.*

 

People who don't go to church as children still have somewhere to start 'from'.  We are not nowhere.  

 

We are not a church-going household, but one at least of my boys may end up in a faith.  It's been fine.

 

Best wishes to the OP in her decisions.

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You are Catholic, and if you would like to return with your family to the sacraments, you should consider talking to a priest. Unless there are other complications involved, while your marriage would likely not be considered valid, from your description of the facts it should be easily convalidated if you wish.

 

Your first putative marriage would not be valid for "defect of form" (Catholics are obliged to be married in the Church; you weren't). Thus you weren't divorced in the eyes of the Church, because you didn't successfully marry, and so were free to marry your current husband. Your current marriage also lacks form; but since that's a technical defect, form can be supplied ex post facto (i.e. you don't have to "remarry" your husband).

 

Note! Don't take canon law advice from strangers on the internet. I could be wrong. But a parish priest could help you out here; yours looks like an easy and probably quick "repair."

 

(Edit: You would have to have your earlier attempted marriage declared null; but annulment for defect of form is a rubber-stamp kind of thing.)

Edited by Violet Crown
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http://americamagazine.org/issue/top-ten-takeaways-amoris-laetitia

 

Helpful

 

 

If you have only been baptized you may benefit from RCIA to learn more about your faith and church!  It would also allow you receive the sacraments at Easter Vigil which is like THE MASS OF ALL MASSES.  Seriously one of the most lovely and beautiful rites of the church on the most holy day.

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Am I still a Catholic? Even though I've been divorced? My husband is Catholic and he has no idea what the rules of the church would be on this one. I'm just really curious and I'd like to start taking my girls to church for them (I'm not religious but my belief is that my children should be able to choose for themselves their faith or lack thereof).

 

You don't have to be religious to take them to church and enroll them in CCE so that they can do their first communion. My personal experience as an atheist parent doing the sacrament prep is that it's pretty straight forward. They give you a workbook with the lessons to read and activities to do. You have to be willing to teach the doctrine but it's not hard and it doesn't call for your opinion. My dh was the one who really wanted the kids to do their first communion and he was supposed to do the parent/child events and read the book with them. Then, real life intervened and he had to work late or travel so I ended up doing the prep. It was no big deal, but I was raised Catholic and have fond memories of my childhood church. You need to decide if you can do the parental prep with a smile on your face or if this will cause you a lot of discomfort.

 

I can also say that it's no big deal to go to mass and just not go for communion. There are always plenty of others not going and nobody will question you at all.

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Was your husband not wanting to be married in the Catholic Church? You don't have to answer. I'm just confused as to why he didn't seek a Catholic wedding if he didn't, although I'm guessing maybe he's not practicing and it didn't matter to him. I'd ask myself if I want to get the marriage convalidated and then meet with a priest.

 

I'd guess if you don't want to change the marriage and don't wish to be more spiritually involved in the church you could still involve the children. However, if you really want them to be a part of the faith I'd guess that at least one of you would want to become more active for lack of a better word. The children will need guidance from Mom and/or Dad even if they have a Sunday school teacher. I would recommend RCIA if you're serious about returning. This is not meant to sound judgemental. I was married in the Catholic church to a non Catholic and it's been very difficult for me to raise our children Catholic because I have to keep up with everything. The holy days, the education (we don't have a CCD class at our registered parish), setting up baptisms, and prepping ds for things to come like fasting before Communion. Dh doesn't know this stuff so it falls on me.

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I was under the impression that if you've never been married in the Catholic church, that marriage wouldn't be viewed as a marriage. So while you technically aren't married in the eyes of the church, you could have your current marriage blessed in the church (they wouldn't consider your first marriage a true marriage), and you'd be all good. I'm not positive, but this is what I gathered from speaking with a priest a couple years back regarding my own situation.

 

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I have been thinking about joining the Catholic Church and have been reading up on this because I have a similar situation. (I'm on my second marriage.) From what I understand, your first marriage is considered valid by the church unless you were married in a civic ceremony. You will have to have your first marriage annulled and your second blessed.

 

Of course, this is just what I have been gathering from reading on the internet. American Catholic .org and the cathecism plus Catholic message boards. One person even said it can take up to a year to get an annulment. My situation looks like it is going to be messier, though. I was never baptised and my current dh will not be joining the church with me.

I'm planning on making contact with the priest this week and I'm nervous about it!

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No, I was only baptized. 

 

 

If you were baptized Catholic but haven't received Communion or been Confirmed, you will probably have to complete those things before being able to have your marriage validated in the Church (your husband, too, as he is also Catholic). Though, as you are already married with children, they may just make you promise to get Confirmed ASAP and bless the marriage right away. Depends on the priest.

 

 

Contacting your local parish to meet with the Pastor and explain your situation would be a great first step. Your and your children should be immediately welcomed into the parish.

 

FWIW, I fell away from the church as a teenager and then married another non-practicing Catholic in a civil service (5 months pregnant) at 21. Divorced at 23. I only came back to the Church 10 years ago (at age 32) because I met the man of my dreams and he was in the process of converting to Catholicism. As my previous marriage was neither valid nor licit, we were able to marry in the Church without needing an annulment.

 

Good luck!

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Just wanted to say a huge Hi, and of course you are still Catholic!  Also, wanted to add that Pope Francis recently simplified the annulment process for everyone, and made it free. It should NOT take a year any longer, and there is no cost. And, let me add, ZERO judgement. No one will be giving you side eye, or looking down on you, or whatever. They will bend over backwards to help you return to the fold. Seriously. You know the story of the prodigal, and how excited the father gets? That's how the Church reacts to someone coming back, and trust me, they will do whatever it takes to make you feel welcome, and to get your situation straightened out. The annulment process was actually very healing for me on many levels and I regret how long it took me to actually go in and start the process. (and that was BEFORE they made it easier.)

 

But even if you did nothing, you could bring the children to Mass. But I would think that as they start to recieve the sacraments you and your husband would want to be able to do it with them. 

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I have been thinking about joining the Catholic Church and have been reading up on this because I have a similar situation. (I'm on my second marriage.) From what I understand, your first marriage is considered valid by the church unless you were married in a civic ceremony. You will have to have your first marriage annulled and your second blessed.

 

Of course, this is just what I have been gathering from reading on the internet. American Catholic .org and the cathecism plus Catholic message boards. One person even said it can take up to a year to get an annulment. My situation looks like it is going to be messier, though. I was never baptised and my current dh will not be joining the church with me.

I'm planning on making contact with the priest this week and I'm nervous about it!

 

It's a little more complicated than that.  If a person was baptized as a Catholic, there are more requirements for a marriege to be valid than if they were baptised in another denomination, or not at all.  Because the OP was baptised Catholic, any marriage outside the Catholic Church, without permission, would lack form. 

 

But civil marriages are considered valid for non-Catholics.

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You are Catholic, and if you would like to return with your family to the sacraments, you should consider talking to a priest. Unless there are other complications involved, while your marriage would likely not be considered valid, from your description of the facts it should be easily convalidated if you wish.

 

Your first putative marriage would not be valid for "defect of form" (Catholics are obliged to be married in the Church; you weren't). Thus you weren't divorced in the eyes of the Church, because you didn't successfully marry, and so were free to marry your current husband. Your current marriage also lacks form; but since that's a technical defect, form can be supplied ex post facto (i.e. you don't have to "remarry" your husband).

 

Note! Don't take canon law advice from strangers on the internet. I could be wrong. But a parish priest could help you out here; yours looks like an easy and probably quick "repair."

 

(Edit: You would have to have your earlier attempted marriage declared null; but annulment for defect of form is a rubber-stamp kind of thing.)

 

 

This absolutely blows my mind! My husband has converted to Catholicism and we married in the church of our faith ( before he became Catholic), and made our vows before God ( the same God as Catholics believe in), and yet he could divorce me and it wouldn't count as having been married?? We have been married 20 years and have 2 children. Just don't understand that.

 

PS - sorry to hijack but this is something I have been wondering about.

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This absolutely blows my mind! My husband has converted to Catholicism and we married in the church of our faith ( before he became Catholic), and made our vows before God ( the same God as Catholics believe in), and yet he could divorce me and it wouldn't count as having been married?? We have been married 20 years and have 2 children. Just don't understand that.

 

PS - sorry to hijack but this is something I have been wondering about.

 

Based on what you have said, since your husband converted after your marriage, marrying outside the Catholic Church would not be an issue.

 

the idea is this - marriage is something that is a natural part of human life.  In a sense we could say it is a willed, biological relation.  It's formalized in different societies in different ways, and that does not make it less real.  This, among the unbaptized, is called "natural marriage" in theological marriage.

 

If two people are baptized, in Catholic theology this means they are members of the Church universal.  If two members of the Church are baptized, the marriage goes in a sense beyond the natural and is called sacramental.  This is also true of, say, two Lutherans who marry in a Lutheran church.

 

Now, if one or both are baptized or received into the Catholic Church, the idea is that the rules that the Catholic Church sets out for her members apply and have force.  So - if you don't follow the rules then your marriage is not valid.  Usually that means the couple has to get married in a Catholic setting or get permission to do something else.  It isn't intrinsically necessary that a Catholic couple needs to marry in a Catholic Church - but it is a rule to ensure good order in various ways.  For non-Catholics of course they would have to do anything intrinsically necessary - like they both have to actually agree to be married - but they are not required to follow the "extra" rules.  (And those types of rules vary by time and place, they can change depending on the circumstances.)

 

Anyway - these things are called defects of form, and are pretty straight forward.  Annulments can also be for things like , you actually were married to someone else, or sometimes less easily determined things, which is where it becomes complicated.  Say - someone who had drug issues.

 

But - in any of these cases, it doesn't negate the history the people have together, or the substantial things they share.

 

Personally - and I'm not Catholic - I think that the practice around annulments can be a problem - I think it tries to systematize and legalize something that operates to a large extent on another plain.  But it is a way to try and deal with real issues around why marriages fail, and make it clear what can be done, or not done, about that.

 

ETA - also, legally, no matter what, you would still be counted as married and would have legal and moral obligation to fulfill any duties and laws associated with that.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Thanks for the further explanation Bluegoat. I wonder if you could answer a further question. If we were to divorce, would my husband be able to get our marriage annulled and be married in a Catholic church?

 

I know this isn't a question for me, but I don't think divorce would be permitted because he is Catholic now.

 

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Just wanted to say a huge Hi, and of course you are still Catholic!  Also, wanted to add that Pope Francis recently simplified the annulment process for everyone, and made it free. It should NOT take a year any longer, and there is no cost. And, let me add, ZERO judgement. No one will be giving you side eye, or looking down on you, or whatever. They will bend over backwards to help you return to the fold. Seriously. You know the story of the prodigal, and how excited the father gets? That's how the Church reacts to someone coming back, and trust me, they will do whatever it takes to make you feel welcome, and to get your situation straightened out. The annulment process was actually very healing for me on many levels and I regret how long it took me to actually go in and start the process. (and that was BEFORE they made it easier.)

 

But even if you did nothing, you could bring the children to Mass. But I would think that as they start to recieve the sacraments you and your husband would want to be able to do it with them. 

Yes, annulment (if necessary) should be free.

 

It's always been that way. Or to be more precise, a diocese could ask for a donation (it does require work after all), but couldn't deny an annulment based on inability to pay. 

 

Or at least, that's my understanding of annulments. 

 

Anyway, as the pp, the process is free. 

 

And for the OP, once a Catholic, always a Catholic. Being baptized leaves an indelible mark on your soul. 

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This absolutely blows my mind! My husband has converted to Catholicism and we married in the church of our faith ( before he became Catholic), and made our vows before God ( the same God as Catholics believe in), and yet he could divorce me and it wouldn't count as having been married?? We have been married 20 years and have 2 children. Just don't understand that.

 

PS - sorry to hijack but this is something I have been wondering about.

 

NO! The issue is only with people who are already Catholic, but choose to get married outside the Catholic church. Catholics are required to be married by a Catholic priest unless they receive special permission otherwise. If they marry outside the Catholic Church they are required to have it "consolidated" by a priest for it to be considered valid. 

 

However, non Catholics are NOT required to be married in a Catholic church! Your marriage to your husband would be considered valid and sacramental. No worries!

 

This issue only comes up when someone who is a Catholic get's married outside the church. You were not Catholic, neither was he, you are most definitely considered married!

 

And for the record, even when a Catholic is married outside the Catholic church they are still considered to be legally/civilly married, it's just not a valid sacrament. And their children are NOT considered illegitimate. That's a frequent myth I wanted to clear up. Even if there is later an annulment the children are not illegitimate. Legitimacy has to do with legal matters, and the Church bows to the state in that matter. What is declared by an annulment is that there was never a valid sacrament, not that the two parties were not legally married. 

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It's a little more complicated than that. If a person was baptized as a Catholic, there are more requirements for a marriege to be valid than if they were baptised in another denomination, or not at all. Because the OP was baptised Catholic, any marriage outside the Catholic Church, without permission, would lack form.

 

But civil marriages are considered valid for non-Catholics.

I probably should have kept my big mouth shut. Obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. The more I read, the more confused I get. I have been trying to understand my situation and it's so ridiculously complicated. I'm trying to figure out if I can get baptised before the annulment or if it will have to be after. If the baptism comes first, then what happens with my current marriage? I don't want to hijack the thread.

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Thanks for the further explanation Bluegoat. I wonder if you could answer a further question. If we were to divorce, would my husband be able to get our marriage annulled and be married in a Catholic church?

 

Possibly.

 

It sounds like not based on the form being wrong.  So, it would be more complicated.

 

The idea with an annulment is that in some way, you or your husband did not meet the conditions required to have a sacramental marriage, at the time you married.

 

Some of these are simple, and similar to reasons you can have a legal marriage annulled - maybe you were really drunk, or your husband was already married, or lied about his identity. 

 

However, some of the reasons can be a little more obscure, and hard to determine, and dependent on the individuals involved describing their state and perhaps giving some corroborating evidence.

 

So, perhaps an example might be someone who married in order to gain something (money, security) with the intent to divorce later.  That person was not really entering into the marriage in good faith, they were not really agreeing to the commitment a marriage implies.  Sometimes people will say that they did not really understand or appreciate what it really means to be married even in a fairly basic way.  Mental illness or addiction could play into it.  All of these things have to be at the time of the marriage - it doesn't matter if they become issues later, the idea is that it impacts the ability to really consent.

 

In general. there is more room to argue the less clear things now than there has been in the past, when it had to be something quite objective, at least in North America.  Practically, I would say than to a large degree there is significant overlap between what kinds of problems could give access to an annulment for Catholics, and what most Protestant Christians consider acceptable reasons for divorce.  Many problems that eventually result in divorce do have their beginnings in the start of the marriage in some way.  The most startling difference in many cases is that on occasions where that is not the case, for Catholics who divorce remarriage in the Church is not possible.  That is unusual in Protestant churches, especially for the person who has been wronged.

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I probably should have kept my big mouth shut. Obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. The more I read, the more confused I get. I have been trying to understand my situation and it's so ridiculously complicated. I'm trying to figure out if I can get baptised before the annulment or if it will have to be after. If the baptism comes first, then what happens with my current marriage? I don't want to hijack the thread.

 

You likely could get baptised before the annulment, but should then technically not live with your husband (or live celibately) until your annulment comes through and your marriage to him is regularized.

 

I think many priests overlook this though.

 

Your best bet would be to talk to your priest about your own particular situation.  What you would probably not want to happen is to get stuck and find out you could not get an annulment at all so you could not be married to anyone else.  Not without going into it with your eyes open, anyway.

 

Some annulments can take quite a while, but in other cases it can be quick and simple.

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I probably should have kept my big mouth shut. Obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. The more I read, the more confused I get. I have been trying to understand my situation and it's so ridiculously complicated. I'm trying to figure out if I can get baptised before the annulment or if it will have to be after. If the baptism comes first, then what happens with my current marriage? I don't want to hijack the thread.

 

Normal protocol is to have your marriage annulled first, then be baptized. Any irregularities are taken care of, then you are baptized. Clean slate and all that. Baptisms generally happen during the Easter Vigil, so you have time if you start the process now to get everything cleared up, do RCIA starting in the fall, and be baptized at next Easter Vigil. Honestly though this is definitely addressed at RCIA. One of the first things they do is see if there are any impediments, including marital issues. 

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I probably should have kept my big mouth shut. Obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. The more I read, the more confused I get. I have been trying to understand my situation and it's so ridiculously complicated. I'm trying to figure out if I can get baptised before the annulment or if it will have to be after. If the baptism comes first, then what happens with my current marriage? I don't want to hijack the thread.

 

I know you are meeting with a priest soon. Relax. It will be fine. I'm uncertain if an annulment is required.

 

The baptism probably won't take place for a year because many RCIA classes conclude around Easter and then people join the church at or around the Easter vigil. Classes may start in Aug./Sept. This is my understanding, though I think I've heard of some churches running RCIA classes at different times. Since you are an adult I believe you would need to go through RCIA to learn about the Church and confirm that you do indeed want to join. With a baby it's different so we just picked the time for our babies' baptisms.

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Right. Annulment is saying there was something at the time of the marriage that wasn't right, that prevented a true sacramental marriage. If either party felt pressured into it from family, for instance, or because the woman was pregnant (my case), or if one or both parties was mentally unstable and not really in a place to make a life long decision (also in my case...my husband was mentally just NOT stable at all), if one or both parties went into it with the idea that it might not be forever and wasn't really planning to make a life long commitment, or never really planned to be faithful, etc. 

 

So in my personal situation I was pregnant and felt a LOT of societal pressure to get married ASAP, even though we'd had a LOT of problems in our relationship and I knew he wasn't mentally stable, and had actually intended to break up with him (before I found out I was pregnant). And he was in and out of counseling for severe anxiety and depression, had dropped out of school due to a mental breakdown, couldn't handle a job, or even going out in public much of the time. We had put off and canceled wedding plans in the past, but when I got pregnant I said we had to get married NOW and he just went along with it. So yeah, neither of us were in a position to truly consent of our free will. And by the way, we were not Catholic. Had we been, I'm sure we wouldn't have married, as no priest in their right mind would have done the ceremony, especially not so quickly. In fact, most priests will not marry a couple if the woman is pregnant, to prevent this very issue. 

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I thought about replying the other day and now I'm back...to state some of what's already been said by previous posters: 

 

You can check with you parish priest about all of your concerns regarding marriage, sacraments, and your children's religious education.  If you don't connect with the first priest you talk to or can't/don't get the complete answers you're looking for, don't get discouraged or give up. Being human, they all have different personalities, faults, and levels of experience or understanding of dogma/theology.  Keep asking and figuring things out until you find your way.  You need answers for your unique situation and your family's needs--some of those things might be on a case-by-case basis. IMO, go directly to the source instead vs. relying on what others say (which is usually partially true or not complete, based on people's limited understanding of their own experiences.)  Many priests complete several years of seminary so they're going to generally have a deeper understanding of Scripture and the Church's teachings than most laypeople, even though people generally have good intentions and are trying to help.

 

If you are prone to researching and reading for yourself, go to the source of Church teaching and get a copy of the Catechism if you don't have it.  It is more clearly-written and easily-understood than I would have guessed.  If you are not able to spend the time or energy, find a priest you can rely on to short-cut the process somewhat.  That and the Bible can be "lanterns" for your feet!  

 

I also wanted to add a different perspective from a PP.  We converted to Catholicism last Easter, after a long process of discernment, praying, reading, seeking, and learning practically through RCIA.  (We were long-time Christians already.)  You can bet we are a bit lost in teaching our children the intricacies of the faith, especially the Mass.  It's somewhat unnerving for us, as we had always tried to be proactive in teaching our children our faith...so to go from that to trying to figure everything out as adults for ourselves...and then to turn around and find a way to teach our children (it's hard to teach something you don't know well yourself.)  

 

Anyway, our experience with Religious Ed has been great!  Awesome, committed, loving teachers who have already taught their own children.  It's a drop-off situation and I have no qualms about it.  We knew of my DD's teacher and her family before becoming Catholic and she's trustworthy, knowledgeable, and a great teacher.  If we were totally disinterested or negligent parents, our kids would still be receiving a good start in understanding the faith.  So, depending on your parish, it's not necessarily so that you're going to have to be teaching them alone or "saddled" with an overwhelming course of study for your kids.  (Of course, parents are their children's #1 teachers; that's obvious.  Just saying you wouldn't necessarily be isolated in it.)  There is a lot of info sent home IF we want to explore further, but we are already learning and studying Scripture, our own children's books on the Mass, and prayer as a family, so I only add in things that are sent home if we're missing something or find it fascinating.  

 

ETA: It's my understanding that, in my parish, some parents teach religious ed at home if they prefer that to classes at church for their children.  I assume they have to show that they are actually progressing through the course of study.

 

[My tone--which you might not "hear" in my writing--is one of love and encouragement!  You can do this and I hope you and your family really enjoy the process of deepening your life with the Lord!]

Edited by vonbon
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You likely could get baptised before the annulment, but should then technically not live with your husband (or live celibately) until your annulment comes through and your marriage to him is regularized.

 

I think many priests overlook this though.

 

Your best bet would be to talk to your priest about your own particular situation.  What you would probably not want to happen is to get stuck and find out you could not get an annulment at all so you could not be married to anyone else.  Not without going into it with your eyes open, anyway.

 

Some annulments can take quite a while, but in other cases it can be quick and simple.

 

These are some of my concerns. My dh would not be too happy if we had to live apart or like roommates.

 

Normal protocol is to have your marriage annulled first, then be baptized. Any irregularities are taken care of, then you are baptized. Clean slate and all that. Baptisms generally happen during the Easter Vigil, so you have time if you start the process now to get everything cleared up, do RCIA starting in the fall, and be baptized at next Easter Vigil. Honestly though this is definitely addressed at RCIA. One of the first things they do is see if there are any impediments, including marital issues. 

 

 

I know you are meeting with a priest soon. Relax. It will be fine. I'm uncertain if an annulment is required.

 

The baptism probably won't take place for a year because many RCIA classes conclude around Easter and then people join the church at or around the Easter vigil. Classes may start in Aug./Sept. This is my understanding, though I think I've heard of some churches running RCIA classes at different times. Since you are an adult I believe you would need to go through RCIA to learn about the Church and confirm that you do indeed want to join. With a baby it's different so we just picked the time for our babies' baptisms.

 

The annulment part is what has me worried. I believe the ex was baptized Catholic but, honestly, I don't remember. I don't know how that will affect things. Dh isn't joining and dc are still up in the air. They are going with me and ds says he will take the classes in the fall but he is worried because he is already receiving some kickback from his friends. We haven't told dh's family either. That is not going to be pretty.

 

Obviously, I just need to talk to the Priest. Honestly, it's good to know I'm not the only one going through this.

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Right. Annulment is saying there was something at the time of the marriage that wasn't right, that prevented a true sacramental marriage. If either party felt pressured into it from family, for instance, or because the woman was pregnant (my case), or if one or both parties was mentally unstable and not really in a place to make a life long decision (also in my case...my husband was mentally just NOT stable at all), if one or both parties went into it with the idea that it might not be forever and wasn't really planning to make a life long commitment, or never really planned to be faithful, etc. 

 

So in my personal situation I was pregnant and felt a LOT of societal pressure to get married ASAP, even though we'd had a LOT of problems in our relationship and I knew he wasn't mentally stable, and had actually intended to break up with him (before I found out I was pregnant). And he was in and out of counseling for severe anxiety and depression, had dropped out of school due to a mental breakdown, couldn't handle a job, or even going out in public much of the time. We had put off and canceled wedding plans in the past, but when I got pregnant I said we had to get married NOW and he just went along with it. So yeah, neither of us were in a position to truly consent of our free will. And by the way, we were not Catholic. Had we been, I'm sure we wouldn't have married, as no priest in their right mind would have done the ceremony, especially not so quickly. In fact, most priests will not marry a couple if the woman is pregnant, to prevent this very issue. 

 

I got married in the Catholic church while pregnant. Most parishes want a couple to give the church a few months' notice before marriage and preferably attend an Engaged Encounter weekend. We did both, but it was still rushed and I think Engaged Encounter would have been much better done sooner. I was hiding my pregnancy the whole weekend under baggy clothes except I ended up telling my roommate. I felt a lot of pressure, too, and hated that we got married under the given circumstances since while I did love dh, I wasn't ready. He had bought and hidden the ring before I ever took a pregnancy test so he was more ready than me but still. I'd known the priest most of my life.

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Just read your last post.  We have experienced some social "fall-out" and flak because of our decision to become Catholic.  We agonized a bit over it expected it...

 

and it's totally worth it.  I would not sacrifice any of the deepening of my relationship with God or the fullness of faith that I am experiencing for it.  I know I'm in the right place and it makes every sacrifice worth it.  I know DH would say the same.  

 

My BIL's entire family--including teens--converted this Easter and it was beautiful.  After 40 years as a pastor's kid in a large protestant Christian community, they've for sure had some social pressure and there's been "talk" over it; they know it's right for them and they're loving it.  Take heart and be courageous!  God will meet you and will never leave you hanging--even if long-time friends or family do.  

 

On a practical note, we read a great book by Scott Hahn about his and his wife's (eventual) conversions: Home Sweet Rome.  When I read that book, I knew we were not alone in this journey.  

 

Also, there have been some recent threads/posts by a "Jennifer132" in the Chat forum: Converting, family acceptance....experiences that have been helpful for me to read.  

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Such an interesting thread! I was baptized catholic, had communion and confirmation. As an adult I married in a non-denominational church and am still attending a non-catholic church. If I read this right, I am still catholic, my marriage is invalid (by catholic rules) and any children from such a marriage are considered what?

Just to clarify: I am not returning to the catholic church. I am just interested in how these situations are viewed through their eyes.

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Such an interesting thread! I was baptized catholic, had communion and confirmation. As an adult I married in a non-denominational church and am still attending a non-catholic church. If I read this right, I am still catholic, my marriage is invalid (by catholic rules) and any children from such a marriage are considered what?

Just to clarify: I am not returning to the catholic church. I am just interested in how these situations are viewed through their eyes.

 

Yes, you'd still be considered Catholic. No, the marriage isn't valid sacramentally. But the children are considered legitimate, if that is what you are asking, because you are married legally, and legitimacy (what an awful word!) is a legal matter, not a sacramental matter. 

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Also, the newest document released by the Pope this past friday addressed the idea of asking a married couple to "live as brother and sister" until things are worked out and says this can be a giant stumbling block for the couple's faith, and seems to make allowances for other approaches. 

 

I can say that I had to get an annulment while married to my now husband, and then have our marriage consolidated. At no point was I told to stop having relations with him! Now, that said, I also knew I wasn't supposed to be going to communion until things were straightened out, so I didn't. 

 

But in the previous poster's situation, I'm nearly 100 percent certain you'd have the marriage issue dealt with first, then be baptized. So no issues there. 

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Yes, you'd still be considered Catholic. No, the marriage isn't valid sacramentally. But the children are considered legitimate, if that is what you are asking, because you are married legally, and legitimacy (what an awful word!) is a legal matter, not a sacramental matter. 

 

Thanks! This is what I was wondering about. DH and ds would be hugely amused if I told them they were "illegitimate."

 

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Was your husband not wanting to be married in the Catholic Church? You don't have to answer. I'm just confused as to why he didn't seek a Catholic wedding if he didn't, although I'm guessing maybe he's not practicing and it didn't matter to him. I'd ask myself if I want to get the marriage convalidated and then meet with a priest.

 

My husband was raised very Catholic - his mom goes to church every day and is the most faithful believer I've ever met. DH had a terrible experience in Catholic school (elementary and high) and went away from the church and his beliefs. 

 

I was always a believer but after losing a number of close friends in a very short period of time, I began to question everything. In the years since, I've read a lot of C.S. Lewis and made my way back to full belief, without church. I'd still like to provide my children with the experience, so they may choose to believe or not - on their own. 

 

It's the one argument my husband and I have ever really had - he doesn't think church is beneficial. I told him that just because it wasn't beneficial for him (in his opinion), his experience is not universal and that it's not his place to dictate what his children believe. 

 

 

 

My basis in asking the original question was rooted in pure curiosity. I like the direction this thread has taken - it's very interesting and informative.  :001_smile:

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OP, there are often children at Mass who don't have parents that are currently participating in the church. In fact, it seems to be a pretty common thing for grandparents to take their grandchildren to Mass, and then maybe a meal afterwards. It won't be unheard of or a problem for your children to go even if their father isn't actively participating. 

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Just read your last post.  We have experienced some social "fall-out" and flak because of our decision to become Catholic.  We agonized a bit over it expected it...

 

and it's totally worth it.  I would not sacrifice any of the deepening of my relationship with God or the fullness of faith that I am experiencing for it.  I know I'm in the right place and it makes every sacrifice worth it.  I know DH would say the same.  

 

My BIL's entire family--including teens--converted this Easter and it was beautiful.  After 40 years as a pastor's kid in a large protestant Christian community, they've for sure had some social pressure and there's been "talk" over it; they know it's right for them and they're loving it.  Take heart and be courageous!  God will meet you and will never leave you hanging--even if long-time friends or family do.  

 

On a practical note, we read a great book by Scott Hahn about his and his wife's (eventual) conversions: Home Sweet Rome.  When I read that book, I knew we were not alone in this journey.  

 

Also, there have been some recent threads/posts by a "Jennifer132" in the Chat forum: Converting, family acceptance....experiences that have been helpful for me to read.  

 

Thank you. I am not so worried about myself. I'm more worried about ds. I've never seen eye-to-eye with my IL's for much of anything. Ds is at an age where other people's opinions really matter. He's heard that Catholics aren't really Christians and lots of other things. His friend told him last weekend that I "always had the option to just stay home." This particular friend proselytized to him when they were of the same denomination. Him kicking it up was expected. I don't like that for him. It makes my heart hurt. Still, he wants to go. I told him he has to go where his heart takes him. The Catholic church is where my heart points and I understand that may not be true for him.

 

Also, the newest document released by the Pope this past friday addressed the idea of asking a married couple to "live as brother and sister" until things are worked out and says this can be a giant stumbling block for the couple's faith, and seems to make allowances for other approaches. 

 

I can say that I had to get an annulment while married to my now husband, and then have our marriage consolidated. At no point was I told to stop having relations with him! Now, that said, I also knew I wasn't supposed to be going to communion until things were straightened out, so I didn't. 

 

But in the previous poster's situation, I'm nearly 100 percent certain you'd have the marriage issue dealt with first, then be baptized. So no issues there. 

 

This is interesting. I had read a report about this document that said it talked quite a bit about divorce. My understanding was that he was giving priests and bishops more leeway in handling these issues.

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....there are often children at Mass who don't have parents that are currently participating in the church....

 

My parents were born & raised in Catholic families, but they have never, ever been considered "practicing' Catholics. It's more like being a 'cultural' Catholic - attending weddings, baptisms, and funerals. That said, they sent me and my brother to Catholic schools, pre-K through high school. I sang in the choir at Saturday masses though 8th grade, and I even taught CCD my first two years of high school. (Then, I fell away - I went to confession last week for the first time in 26 years!)

 

My point is, you don't have to be an 'all-in' Catholic parent to give your kids a Catholic foundation. Even if they grow up and fall away or choose a different faith, it is a great foundation to have.

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My husband was raised very Catholic - his mom goes to church every day and is the most faithful believer I've ever met. DH had a terrible experience in Catholic school (elementary and high) and went away from the church and his beliefs. 

 

I was always a believer but after losing a number of close friends in a very short period of time, I began to question everything. In the years since, I've read a lot of C.S. Lewis and made my way back to full belief, without church. I'd still like to provide my children with the experience, so they may choose to believe or not - on their own. 

 

It's the one argument my husband and I have ever really had - he doesn't think church is beneficial. I told him that just because it wasn't beneficial for him (in his opinion), his experience is not universal and that it's not his place to dictate what his children believe. 

 

 

 

My basis in asking the original question was rooted in pure curiosity. I like the direction this thread has taken - it's very interesting and informative.  :001_smile:

 

IMHO, I'd think long and hard before I insisted on taking the kids to church, especially the RCC, if your husband is that opposed. If I had had a terrible experience in a particular church, I would not be willing to risk my children experiencing the same. 

 

A lot of protections have been put in place since the scandals started breaking but I don't think I could ever trust any church at all if I had been a victim or knew a victim or found out years later that a trusted adult had abused other children.

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My point is, you don't have to be an 'all-in' Catholic parent to give your kids a Catholic foundation. Even if they grow up and fall away or choose a different faith, it is a great foundation to have.

 

That's my goal. My kids may not end up Catholic, or even Christian, but if years from now, when they are parents or alone or whatever and they feel a need for religion they will have a church home to go to. If they have made their first communion they will be able to walk into any Catholic church in the world and know they are part of it. I think there is tremendous value in that. 

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ETA: It's my understanding that, in my parish, some parents teach religious ed at home if they prefer that to classes at church for their children.  I assume they have to show that they are actually progressing through the course of study.

 

[My tone--which you might not "hear" in my writing--is one of love and encouragement!  You can do this and I hope you and your family really enjoy the process of deepening your life with the Lord!]

 

I will only speak to this part of it.  When we were still practicing Catholicism I requested from our priest the right to teach my own daughter.  He was happy for it and said it would be a wonderful thing for parents to teach to their own children.  He supplied us with the materials she would have had at CCD class and was able to make her first Communion, etc.

 

He was a good man - married my in-laws and all three of their children and understood why it was so important to me. :)  So, yes, it's allowed.

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I will only speak to this part of it.  When we were still practicing Catholicism I requested from our priest the right to teach my own daughter.  He was happy for it and said it would be a wonderful thing for parents to teach to their own children.  He supplied us with the materials she would have had at CCD class and was able to make her first Communion, etc.

 

He was a good man - married my in-laws and all three of their children and understood why it was so important to me. :)  So, yes, it's allowed.

 

 

Yes, in the parishes I have experience with the kids do religious ed weekly, and a few times a year the kids in scarament prep meet (with parents) for an additional class. If you homeschool you can skip the weekly classes and teach on your own, but they do still want you to do those additional parent/child meetings, which I think is fair. 

 

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Yes, in the parishes I have experience with the kids do religious ed weekly, and a few times a year the kids in scarament prep meet (with parents) for an additional class. If you homeschool you can skip the weekly classes and teach on your own, but they do still want you to do those additional parent/child meetings, which I think is fair. 

 

This is not true everywhere. Our parish (read: DRE) will not allow you to HS for sacrament prep. If you want your children to receive sacraments, they must attend the religious ed classes.

 

I am hoping that we get a priest this summer (the one we currently have is temporary) and that I can convince him to change this. And this is despite the fact that we enroll our children in religious ed.

 

 

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This is not true everywhere. Our parish (read: DRE) will not allow you to HS for sacrament prep. If you want your children to receive sacraments, they must attend the religious ed classes.

 

I am hoping that we get a priest this summer (the one we currently have is temporary) and that I can convince him to change this. And this is despite the fact that we enroll our children in religious ed.

 

 

 

I think our policy is set at the diocese, but I could be wrong. We plan on doing religious ed with the parish anyway though, as my daughter loves it :)

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I live in the boonies where a priest commutes an hour to have Mass at our church once a week. And that's not always guaranteed. Sometimes no priest is available and there's a Communion service instead. The parish is elderly. No CCD classes. My nearest alternatives for Mass are a part of another deanery. So I talked to the priest a while back about allowing me to do religious ed at home. I showed him materials I had bought online and he returned with borrowed materials from their Catholic school/CCD for me to use as well. Since then I found out about MyCatholicFaithDelivered and let him know I had planned on using that and no one flinched. The church/Catholic school linked to my parish pushed First Communion to third grade. I thought it made sense to go along with their timeline, rather than try to take ds to another parish where they do First Communion in second and I can't guarantee I can get him to religious ed regularly (quite inconvenient). I know my situation is unique but that's just what it's been like here. Who knows, maybe at some point they will request I drive ds to the church with the school for some classes, but so far that has not been the case. It actually might be possible for me to do as dh doesn't work that night so he could probably watch the toddler, but again very inconvenient (they meet for class and a meal - it was the only way to get people in the community to go) on a week night an hour from my house late at night.

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This is not true everywhere. Our parish (read: DRE) will not allow you to HS for sacrament prep. If you want your children to receive sacraments, they must attend the religious ed classes.

 

I am hoping that we get a priest this summer (the one we currently have is temporary) and that I can convince him to change this. And this is despite the fact that we enroll our children in religious ed.

 

 

You can take this issue to the bishop of the diocese after trying to figure it out with the director of religious Ed of your parish and you pastor. If your pastor doesn't allow it you can ask the bishop for permission. Of course the bishop can say you have to follow your parishes rules but it can be worth trying.

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You can take this issue to the bishop of the diocese after trying to figure it out with the director of religious Ed of your parish and you pastor. If your pastor doesn't allow it you can ask the bishop for permission. Of course the bishop can say you have to follow your parishes rules but it can be worth trying.

 

I remember reading (at Catholic Answes maybe) whether a bishop was really even allowed to make a decision not to allow teaching at home.

 

I think there can be very good reasons to not allow it, but the argument seemed to be that to restrict people from sacraments who were in fact prepared was just over-stepping on the part of the clergy.  I can also see that - of course it would mean actually looking to see if the person was prepared, but there is something a little off about demanding classes from someone who is actually ready, just to check boxes.

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