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Annette Johnston wrote:

Hi, guys —

My first marriage was in the Catholic Church and I was given an annulment. Six years ago
I remarried and wanted to get married in the Catholic Church again. My husband is not Catholic, his first marriage was at a court house, and his divorce was at a court house. When we talked with the priest, he informed us that my husband needed an annulment as well even though he is not Catholic.

  • Why does he need an annulment if he is not Catholic?

I would not get married with out God's blessing over us so we married in a Methodist church.

This leads to my second question:

  • Why am I unable to receive Holy Communion now in my Catholic Church?

We would like to have a child and this has really been bothering me. I want my marriage recognized in the Catholic Church and I don't think my husband will do the paper work for an annulment.

  • How can I go about this?

Thank You,


  { Why does he need an annulment if he is not Catholic plus? }

Mary Ann replied:

Annette —

I can understand your dismay. You deserved a bit more explanation than you perhaps received.

Your husband's prior marriage is presumed to be valid.  A courthouse marriage is not valid for a Catholic, but it is valid for others so the Church needs to see if there is any reason why the marriage might not be valid. For instance:

  • the concept of marriage might be defective
  • one of them might have had a faulty intention regarding:
    • children or
    • the permanency of marriage or
  • one of them might have lacked full consent or discretion

This can be caused by pressure, fear, pregnancy, age, mental or emotional problems — or one of them might have been deceptive in a serious matter [alcoholism, prior unions, occupation, etc.]

If your husband loves you, he will want you to be at peace in your conscience and will want you to be able to receive Holy Communion (something you cannot do as long as you are having intercourse with someone, presumably married to someone else.)

Mary Ann

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