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Pattie PotentiallyHeartbroken wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a cradle-Catholic, and have always practiced my faith. It is very important to me and is an extremely significant part of my life.

Recently, I began talking to a man and, having developed strong feeling for each other, we are exploring the possibility of seriously dating once we are closer to each other. We are currently long-distance, will be for a while longer, and are not looking to start a relationship while that circumstance applies. He is a Christian (a Protestant), who is very strong in his faith and is growing stronger daily.

The problem is, he wasn't always so solid in his faith and he recently dropped a bomb about his past on me.

Four years ago, when he was stationed overseas with a branch of the military, he was in a relationship, and got legally married as he put it. Less than four months later, for reasons I know but will not go into, they got a legal divorce. Since Christ was not much of a factor in his life back then, the marriage was not within any church and the union and divorce were both strictly legal. He hasn't had contact with the woman in over two years.

  • If we were to eventually reach the point of wanting to be married, what would it take (if anything) for our marriage to be recognized by the Catholic Church?
  • Would an annulment be necessary since his previous marriage wasn't within any church?



  { Given this background, what is needed for our future marriage to be recognized by the Church? }

Mike replied:

Dear Pattie,

I have forwarded your question to Fr. Jonathan but if you really want us to help you can you explain what you said here:

Less than four months later, for reasons I know but will not go into, they got a legal divorce.

Also, it is not clear whether you have physically met this man face to face.

  • Have you?

Marriage is about spending the rest of your life with a man. It is not about spending the rest of your life with an internet connection to someone you have never physically met.

Last time I checked, a couple cannot consummate a marriage through an internet connection. : )


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Pattie,

The man is a Christian and I assume his ex-wife was not a Catholic.

If she is a Catholic, it is a different situation.

Assuming these were two non-Catholics, it sounds like a straightforward easy annulment would be necessary for you to marry him in the Church.

This sounds like a simulation case and that you are putting the cart before the horse. He is a man proven to make poor decisions in marrying. You need to get to know him first.

Fr. Jonathan

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