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Charles Prewitt wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am 60 years old and I am not currently a Catholic. I have taken an on-line course similar to RCIA.

I was married to a non-Catholic for 20 years then, after a divorce, I married a Catholic 18 years ago. She has two previous marriages:

  • the first one was to a non-Catholic but it was in the Church
  • her second was to a non-Catholic, not in the Church.

  • In order for me to be baptized, after completing the RCIA, do I have to have an annulment?
  • What steps are required by my wife and I for me to be received into the Church?

We both have grown children but none between us.

Charles and Cynthia Prewitt

  { In order for me to be baptized, after completing the RCIA, do I have to have an annulment? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Charles and Cynthia,

You have a fairly long road to getting this all sorted out, but step by step, it can happen.

Charles:

As I understand it you have been married twice. Your first Marriage, which lasted 20 years, was between two non-Catholic persons. This was a valid Marriage and remains valid today in the eyes of the Catholic Church even though it ended a long time ago and you have since remarried. Therefore, you would need a Declaration of Nullity, commonly known as an annulment regarding your first marriage, in order for the Church to reconcile your second Marriage to a Catholic.

This needs to be done prior to your entering the Catholic Church through RCIA.

Cynthia:

You have been married three times. The first was to a non-Catholic, however you say it was in the Church so I assume the proper dispensation or permission was given and that makes your first marriage a valid marriage. The second marriage looks manifestly invalid because you are a Catholic and your did not follow the proper form for Catholics which means to be married in the Church.

That said, you too need a Declaration of Nullity of your first marriage and you need what is called a Lack of Form case on your second Marriage. Currently, you are still a Catholic and I hope that you keep your faith, but you are not able to receive Holy Communion when you go to Mass.

To proceed, talk to your local priest or deacon or one in your area and begin the process in whatever way your diocese does that (it varies).

As a hint, the Tribunal that you end up dealing with could possibly explore something called the Pauline Privilege to process Charles' first marriage but many other factors would be involved, so do it normally, and let them figure that out.

I hope this is helpful, I wish you all the best — remember to be patient — step by step.

Fr. Jonathan

Charles replied:

Dear Fr. Jonathan,

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Charles D. Prewitt

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