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Jimmy Thomason wrote:

Hi Mike!

I am 44-year-old Methodist and am really excited to receive the Catechism and additional information you sent me! I have family members (in-laws) who are Catholic and want to learn more but they live far away from me in Texas.

  • I am wondering if I would be allowed to join the Church as I am divorced and remarried?

My first marriage was when I was much younger. I married a friend at the courthouse and divorced less than a year later after realizing we were only just friends. We had no children and she wasn't there when I met with the judge for the divorce. It was a no-contest divorce without attorneys.

I have been with my wife now for over 15 years. We have two beautiful daughters and things are great. I had a vasectomy after daughter # two.

I am not sure if these two items will keep me from joining or not. I look forward to your advice as well as your information!

Jimmy Thomason

  { Would I be allowed to join the Church if I am divorced and remarried and had a vasectomy? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Mike —

A Methodist marrying someone of no faith by a Justice of the Peace is presumably a valid Marriage. Therefore, Jimmy is still married in the eyes of the Catholic Church to the first wife unless she has died.

Now he is married to another Methodist (who I presume was not also previously married), and since he still has this bond of presumed validity to the first wife, the Catholic Church deems his current marriage invalid.

Therefore, in order to become a Catholic he would need a Catholic annulment of his first marriage.

It doesn't sound from his description that it would be a difficult annulment. He should contact his local priest or Tribunal. Perhaps if they explored a Simulation case it would be the most efficient way of getting it done. This would involve a confession from Jimmy as to his reasons to marry his first wife. When I use the word confession I am not speaking of Sacramental Confession but rather a statement from him that he did not enter into that marriage seeking marriage as the Catholic Church understands it. The Tribunal can help him with this. There is no guarantee, but it is quite possible that the case could be completed by the time he is ready to enter the Catholic Church.

As to the vasectomy, this will not prevent Jimmy from entering the Catholic Church.

Fr. Jonathan

Jimmy replied:

Thanks Fr. Jonathan,

  • Is this process very expensive?

I am the only one working supporting my wife, two children, and a live-in mother in law. Finances are tight.

Also I am willing to do this but need to know if there is any involvement needed by my ex-wife.
I have not spoken with her since 1996, maybe early 1997. I do not know her current status or location. If I bumped into her I likely would not recognize her and I doubt she would recognize me (She's about 80-100 lbs. heavier). In 1996 she lived in Georgia. I do not know where she is now.

  • What kind of problems will this cause?

Thank you for your help!

Jimmy

Fr. Jonathan replied:


The expense depends on the Tribunal but Canon Law gives you the right to ask for it so, if it is not affordable, the Tribunal will cut or wave the fee.

Yes, an attempt will be made to find her and contact her. The Tribunal can help find her. Most people are quite findable with a simple internet search. If you have her social security number it is quite simple.

Fr. Jonathan

Jimmy replied:

Mike,

  • Before I begin, should I first find out if I would be allowed to join the Church?

The local diocese charges $500. and they said it could take 18-24 months to even render a decision.

Thank you!

Jimmy

Mike replied:

Hi, Jim —

I'd be interested in what Fr. Jonathan thinks, but my opinion, if you feel called to join the Church, it only make sense to learn what we believe.

He may have more to add.

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Jim,

Launch in and see what happens. The journey of the soul is forever and there are no shortcuts.

Fr. Jonathan

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