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Karen Friar wrote:


I am a 46- year-old, divorced Catholic who is remarried to a divorced Protestant man.

  • My first marriage was annulled.
  • My second marriage was by a Presbyterian minister.

At the time, I did not understand that my current husband needed to have his first marriage annulled as well before we could be married. After I found out, I asked him if he would get an annulment and remarry me in front of a Catholic priest. At first, he said he would, but now he has reconsidered. He doesn't like the fact that it costs money and he says, his first wife will never allow it. I have tried to understand his reasons and reassure him of his doubts but it has not worked. I still attend Mass faithfully but do not receive the sacraments. My question is:

  • Is there any way I can receive the sacraments again, even if he refuses to get an annulment?

Thank you,

Karen F.

  { Is there any way I can receive the sacraments again even if he refuses to get an annulment? }

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Karen,

  1. First, where does he get the idea that it costs money?
  2. Second, his wife does not need to allow it. It can proceed without her input.

If she is concerned that it casts her marriage into a bad light, she need not be. The civil marriage status remains intact. The Church simply examines the consent and the circumstances to see if the contracting parties meant what she means by marriage when they took their vows.

  1. Third, if he refuses to get an annulment, he is letting minor considerations (money and the displeasure of an ex—) determine whether or not you can follow your conscience.

    That is not love.

  2. Fourth, you are right to perceive that you need to have your marriage convalidated — right now it is invalid for two reasons:

    1. the presumed pre-existing marriage bond of your husband, and
    2. the fact that, as a Catholic, you married without a Catholic witness and a dispensation from the bishop.

Finally, to answer your question:

You may receive the sacraments without his annulment if you live as brother and sister. If you choose not to do that, then you may attend Mass and be part of the parish but not receive the sacraments.

I hope this helps. Do not be discouraged.

Pray, trust, and don't worry.

Mary Ann

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