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Teresa C. wrote:


I am Catholic and but my husband doesn't practice any religion. We were married 25 years ago by a (St. Pius X Society), traditional priest.

I found out years later that he had no jurisdiction from the bishop, except to celebrate daily Mass in his home. He also heard Confessions and carried out comparable ministry work. He was a very good and pious monk who only married three couples in 1982. I was one of them.

When one of the other couples wanted an annulment from the Church, the Church did not recognize the marriage because it was not even listed in the archdiocese. At the time, I had unconfessed mortal sin and my husband admitted, seven years after our marriage, committing adultery before the wedding.

  • Where do I stand in this marriage?
  • Am I even married?
  • Is this considered a sacrament or a blessing of marriage?

Please help!


  { Am I really married if a Saint Pius X priest, who had no jurisdiction from the bishop, married us? }

Mary Ann replied:

Teresa —

Assuming no prior marriages, the sexual sin and unconfessed mortal sin does not render a sacrament invalid. It only means that the sinners are incapable of receiving the grace of the sacrament (the actual graces, the supernatural help it gives) until they repent (him) and confess (you).

As for the validity of the marriage, it is complex. The Society was schismatic at the time so, without an official Catholic witness, one would have needed a dispensation to get married before him. Lacking that dispensation, the marriage would generally be invalid due to defect of form (which applies only to Catholics, who are required to marry within the Church — not the building, but within the rite and by the witness of the clergy.) In any case, this is not something we can determine. It is up to the Church.

The good thing is this is simple to determine and very easy to rectify, if rectification is needed. The marriage can be validated very simply, before a priest, with the consent of both parties. It can be a lovely opportunity to renew one's marriage vows. Just talk to your local pastor.

With no previous spouses, you probably won't even have to do any paperwork.

Blessings on you both!

Mary Ann

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