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Rick Shattuck wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a baptize man seeking to become Catholic. My marital situation is OK. It is my wife's first marriage that is an issue. She was married outside of any church and had a divorce in court.

They say I cannot be a Catholic until she gets an annulment from her first husband. My wife and I were married in a Baptist church but she is not baptized.

They want to notify her first husband but I can see not reason for this. She does not want to have anything to do with this. I have been waiting for over a year and a half. I am in the RCIA course but was not allowed to enter the Church at Easter.

  • They said no paper work had been done so what am I to do?


  { After waiting a year and a half, they said no paper work has been done so what should I do? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:


In your scenario, you do not tell us the faith of her first husband. If he was a Roman Catholic or of the Orthodox religion and the marriage was not in a Church, then you have lucked out and that can be handled easily.

Chances are the man was not Catholic or Orthodox and therefore we consider her to be in a valid marriage and therefore she is not free to marry you.

Consequently, your marriage to her is not valid and you cannot become a Catholic until it is made valid.

Your Church is correct that a process needs to be done and we need to reach out to the former spouse however the process does not have to be a full Annulment — it could be done as a Favor of the Faith case.

You should be in touch with a knowledgeable priest or your local Tribunal and they can help you out.

Fr. Jonathan

Rick replied:

Hello Father.

Thank you for your swift reply.

Her first husband was not Catholic and she believes that he was not baptized either. They were married by a justice of the peace in the court house in Massachusetts.

  • Where do I find information on this Favor of the Faith?

Don't get me wrong, this is a Faith journey I am on. Its just been two Easter's that I have been through and still have no answers.

Again, thank you for your reply.


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Rick —

Faith journeys never go as you planned but as God plans.

Speak to your priest and ask him to help you communicate with your Tribunal about a possible Favor of the Faith case.

Fr. Jonathan

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