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Wendy WonderingIfThisCanBeFixed wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant and was married in the Church to my first husband for 37 years. He died at 57 and he was not Catholic. I raised our children Catholic but as time went on and they grew older and I quit going to Church.

During our marriage I used birth control and had a tubal ligation after my last child. My first husband was never faithful, telling me before the end that there had been 50 women. He made a point of telling me he had never used a condom and he never said he was sorry.

After his death, I stopped digging into his past after counting three illegitimate children. I was very bitter and blamed God.

Looking back now, I see his illness as God's Divine Will. I had been a loving and faithful wife.

After his death, I meet and married a good man. We have been married for seven years now. He is not Catholic and we were not married in the Church. I tried going to non-Catholic churches, but just cannot believe in their spiritual leaders. To me, the pope is the head of the Church here on earth, chosen by Jesus.

My second problem is that I am my husband's fifth wife. He had been unfaithful to his first wife. He was drunk when he married his second wife and in reference to the other two wives:

  1. one was a drug addict, and
  2. the other married him so he would pay off an IRS debt of $200,000 which she had lied about.

I think he would convert if I asked him to and marry in the Church. We are currently going to our parish church.

I have not been to Confession because I believe I am excommunicated due to two issues:

  1. birth control, and
  2. my new marriage.
  • Can I fix this?

Wendy

  { As a lapse re-married Catholic with a long marital history and other issues can I fix this situation? }

Bob replied:

Dear Friend,

No you can't fix this, but God can.

Don't forget that in all of this mess you are God's precious daughter and He loves you.

  • Why not simply meet with the parish priest, tell him the story, seek Confession, and get started on the way back to full communion with the Church?

It may be a long journey, but God has time, lots of it.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Mike,

I have been on vacation so sorry for my lack of replies.

Wendy's first husband has departed so an annulment is not an issue in that union.

In order to make an appropriate assessment of whether Wendy's marriage can be sanated or convalidated, depending on the circumstances, we would have to get a little more information from Wendy's current non-Catholic husband like:

  • What were the faiths of the husband's previous four wives? and
  • Has Wendy's current husband been baptized, and if so, where?

Visitors reading this answer may ask:

  • Why does the Church need this irrelevant information?

The information is relevant because it will help us determine whether any the husband's previous four marriages were valid or not.

If one of the marriages were valid, the Church could not bless their current marriage.

Depending on the circumstances of each marriage Wendy's husband may need no annulments or as many as four annulments.

That is the canonical answer. Obviously there are pastoral concerns as well.

I would recommend the couple start the discernment process by making an appointment with their local Catholic pastor.

Fr. Jonathan

Wendy replied:

Hi Mike,

My husband was baptized in an Evangelical church. His other four wives were Christians.

I know his first wife and she is going to an Evangelical church now — she has remarried several times.

He has no contact with the other three women and was not married in a church with any of them.

Wendy

Mike and Fr. Jonathan gave the following team answer:

Dear Wendy,

I talked with Fr. Jonathan about your situation and we are guessing that since:

  • your husband was baptized in an Evangelical church and
  • the four other woman were professed Christians

unless any of their baptisms were invalid, he may need four annulments for your current marriage to be convalidated in the Church.

This may be easier than it sounds especially if the proper intent for life-long marriage was not present in some of them.

Start the ball rolling by talking with your local pastor. Tell him you would like to get your current marriage blessed in the Church, if possible, and as Bob said:

No you can't fix this, but God can. Don't forget that in all of this mess you are God's precious daughter and He loves you.

It may be a long journey, but God has time, lots of it.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Wendy replied:


Thank you so much for finding me an answer to my question.

I appreciate your taking time out of your day to help me.

Have a great day,

Wendy

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