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Kathleen Anderson wrote:

Hi, guys —

I would like to convert to from Protestant to Catholic. I am married now and was married once before.

The first marriage lasted 3 years; my husband drank and was abusive. That was 41 years ago.
I have tried to locate him, and can't find him or his family. My husband now does not practice religion and will not have his first marriage annulled.

  • Can I still join the Catholic Church?

I am currently attending a St. Anne's Catholic Church and have started RICA classes there.

Thank you for your consideration and answer.


  { With my marital history and current situation, can I still join the Catholic Church? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Kathleen,

This one is certainly complicated.

As I understand your situation. You are in your second marriage. Your first Marriage was only three years.

  • Can I assume your first marriage was not to a Catholic?

If so, we need to obtain a declaration of nullity for that first marriage. You say he is unlocatable. The Tribunal you end up will need a record of all the various ways you have tried to locate him.

Now you are married to a man who will not get a declaration of nullity for his first marriage.

  • What faith is he and what faith was his first wife?

That is missing information that is crucial to figuring this out.

Fr. Jonathan

Kathleen replied:

Hi Fr. Jonathan,

My first husband was not religious, so we were not married in a Catholic Church.

My current husband has no religious affiliation and seems largely ambivalent. I do not know about his ex-wife's religious background. His first marriage was 44 years ago and he does not care to know where she is.

Thank you for your help.


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Kathleen —

Ask your husband whether or not he was baptized.

Then you and your priest should consult your Tribunal for detailed questioning. There is the possibility of a special process called a Favor of the Faith case.

This is not going to be easy but there are possibilities.

Fr. Jonathan

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