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Duane Weige wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm dating a wonderful Catholic woman who has never been married however I have been married and I am now divorced.

My previous marriage was a civil marriage, the same as the divorce, but how does that effect my getting married to Leticia. I am a Christian but I have not been baptized.

  • What do I need to do?

Like me, she is in Mexico, so I don't know if that is going to be a problem.

Thank you for your time and considering my question.



  { Seeing I am not baptized and have been married and divorced, what's needed to marry her? }

Bob replied:


It is likely that your former marriage would not be an obstacle in that it had no sacramental character, and furthermore, formally you are still not a full Christian because you were never baptized.

  • Why not?
  • Would you be willing to look into the Catholic faith and consider baptism in the Catholic Church?

If you are serious about Christianity, and this woman, you ought to think this through after a thorough examination of the Catholic claims — including that it is the Church Christ founded with His Apostles and (Peter, as the chief among them).

You will find the best marriage possible when you are both united in faith in Our Lord.


Bob K.

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Mike —

The first question to ask the man is what is the religion of his first spouse.

If she was a Catholic and the ceremony was only a civil ceremony then the Catholic Church does not recognize that Marriage and the man and his new wife would not have to do an annulment but rather what is called a Lack of Form case (i.e. his former wife was obliged as a Catholic to be married with a dispensation from the Church and she didn't, so the marriage lacked form and is manifestly invalid).

Now if she was not a Catholic (or she did get the proper dispensation) what you had was a perfectly valid marriage.

The Catholic Church doesn't just recognize Marriage as an exclusively Catholic thing but as a universal right and action.

  • If two Jews get married we recognize it just as we recognize that Mary and Joseph were married.
  • If two Muslims get married we recognize that as a holy action from God, and
  • even if two people of no faith get married we recognize that as a perfectly valid action and from God (just not Sacramental unless they were both baptized).

The bottom line: We recognize all Marriage as holy and from God as they are Natural Marriages so although the Catholic Church had nothing to do with it, the man would still need an annulment of his first Marriage in order to be free to marry his Catholic girlfriend.

Go to her local priest to begin the process.

Fr. Jonathan

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