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Rob RecognitionWanted wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about getting married in the Catholic Church.

My wife and I eloped in Las Vegas a year ago for reasons that are difficult to explain. At any rate, we are both baptized Roman Catholics and would like to have our marriage convalidated by the Catholic Church (I believe convalidated is the correct term). Each of us were previously married in Protestant churches (one a non-denominational church, the other a Methodist church).

It is my understanding that the Church does not recognize our previous marriages since they did not occur within the Church.

  • I realize it is a complicated question, but what, if anything, can we do to have our marriage recognized by the Catholic Church?

We pray that someone might be able to help us with this question. We desperately want our marriage to be recognized before God within His Church.

Thank you for any assistance you might be able to provide.

God bless,


  { If two baptized Catholics married outside the Church, how do we have our marriage recognized? }

Eric replied:

Hi Rob,

Assuming the previous marriages were the only other marriages you have, and you did not get a dispensation for them, getting a convalidation should be trivial.

  • Talk to your parish priest. You will have to do some routine paperwork to establish that your previous marriages suffered from a defect of form.
  • You should go to Confession.
  • Then you'll exchange vows in front of witnesses and a priest and you'll be good to go.

As you are not technically married in the eyes of the Church, you should live as brother and sister until this is completed, which should not take long, (by long am thinking of something on the order of several months), but ask your priest for details.


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