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Laura Roberts wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was baptized in the Coptic Church but I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school where I studied and received my First Holy Communion but did not receive my Confirmation.

I want to get back into my faith and want to raise my children Catholic. I married a divorced man in a registry office.

  • Can I be accepted into the faith as a Catholic?

Many thanks,

Laura Roberts

  { Can a Coptic, raised Catholic, with my marital history be accepted into the Catholic faith? }

Bob replied:

Laura,

Please, by all means, make your journey back for you and your children's sake . . . and even your husband's sake.

First, you will need to square away the marriage issue by having your husband seek an annulment. If his marriage is annulled you will have a clear path to having your marriage blessed in the Church, provided he consents to raising the kids Catholic.

You will also want to get to Confession and seek the counsel of a good priest on how to proceed with your journey home and receive further sacraments.

Peace and God bless,

Bob Kirby

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Laura,

There is certainly a path for you to come into the Catholic faith but your situation is canonically very complicated so I advise you to speak with someone who can ask the important questions and help you find the best path. Depending on your local priest's knowledge this could very well be beyond him so ask the local Catholic priest to help him find the right person in your diocese.

Things to look out for:

  • Someone needs to analyze your husband's first marriage. This may possibly involve an Annulment but perhaps it will require a different process.

    • What faith is he?
    • What faith is his ex-spouse?
    • What faith were the children baptized in?
    • How old are the children?

      All these are variables.

  • Your road into the Catholic Church also could take different paths.

    • What happened on the day of your Coptic baptism? Were you confirmed that day?
    • What was the faith of your parents?
    • Why were you brought up Catholic?
    • Were you received into the Church?

  • When someone comes from the Coptic Church they cannot come into the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church directly but instead need to first be received into the Coptic Catholic Church — then they can come into the Latin Church through a different process.

Completely answering your question in this forum is just too complicated so I urge you to get the right person to advise you.

Fr. Jonathan

Laura replied:

Dear All,

I cannot thank you enough for your swift responses in a matter so delicate and important to me. I think I will have to seek out someone who can help in my local diocese (Westminster, United Kingdom).

My husband was married in the Catholic Church because his first wife was Catholic. There are no children. I would hope there would be a chance of annulment so we could get our marriage blessed. Their marriage was a disaster lasting only a few months and it was her choice to leave.

With regards to my situation, I was accepted into the Catholic faith locally from a very young age seeing I attended Catholic schools and my mother has been fully integrated into the Catholic faith since birth. It was my father who was Coptic — hence why I studied to receive Holy Communion. I was blessed at my brother's Catholic Baptism. At my own Coptic Baptism, I was baptized and confirmed at the same time.

Any further help you can offer in this matter would be appreciated but I will take your advice on board and perhaps contact someone who can help.

Kind regards and many thanks,

Laura

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Laura —

I am glad you will find the right person to get help.

Your husband's first marriage, being in the Catholic Church, is a valid marriage and it sounds like it needs an annulment.

It sounds from what you have written that you are still Coptic (it goes by the father), so again, you should find someone who knows what they are doing to get this all taken care of.

Fr. Jonathan

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