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BecomingCatholic wrote:

Hi, guys —

We are non-parish members who currently have our son enrolled in a Catholic school. Before enrolling him, my wife and I had little-to-no-idea of what being Catholic was about or their teachings. We don't go to church regularly but on occasion go to non-denomination churches.

After having him in school, meeting other families, and learning the faith, little by little, we are interested in learning more and becoming members of this Catholic parish.

I am 36-years-old and have been baptized but that was a long time ago, when I was in high school, and I really haven't followed up by being a great Christian as I have not attended church regularly. My wife and I have been married for 8 years but before that she was previously married. She got married when she was 18 and divorced within 3 years. I didn't know if this would be a problem and if we could start the process of becoming Catholic.

  • If not, what steps would she have to do to be on the path to becoming a Catholic?

I guess my real questions are:

  • What is the process of becoming Catholic since I was baptized but really haven't really lead a Christian life and haven't really been instructed in the Christian Faith?
  • Do I just begin process of becoming a Catechumen?

This is a lot to take in and I feel we have so much to learn. Thank you for reading my inquiry.

I look forward to hearing from you.

BecomingCatholic

  { What is the process for becoming a Catholic Christian and will these marital issues be an issue? }

Mike replied:

Dear BecomingCatholic,

First, if you want to quickly comprehend the teachings of our faith, the best source is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You can get cheap ones on Amazon.

Also look into the Compendium and the Early Church Fathers:

Also check out my other resources on my Early Church Fathers web site.

You said:
I am 36-years-old and have been baptized but that was a long time ago, when I was in high school, and I really haven't followed up by being a great Christian as I have not attended church regularly. My wife and I have been married for 8 years but before that she was previously married. She got married when she was 18 and divorced within 3 years. I didn't know if this would be a problem and if we could start the process of becoming Catholic.

I guess really my question is:

  • What is the process of becoming Catholic since I was baptized but really haven't really lead a Christian life and haven't really been instructed in the Christian Faith?
  • Do I just begin process of becoming a Catechumen?

This page answers your question in general:

Fr. Jonathan may wish to comment on the marital issues you have brought up.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear BecomingCatholic,

Mike addressed the becoming Catholic part of your question fine so I will address the Canon Law part.

You are a Catholic by Baptism. Drifting away does not make you less bound to the law of the Church so you are currently married outside of the Church and therefore must fix your marital status before fully participating in the Catholic Church such as going to Holy Communion.

Speak with your priest about what he would recommend as to how you can find out more about the Church as you come back to us. By the way – welcome back, we missed you.

You cannot have your marriage made valid until we settle your wife’s marital status.

She is an unbaptized person who was married before and now wants to become a Catholic and marry you in the Church. Going by what you have shared, it does not look too complicated either:

  1. If her ex-husband was a Catholic (or Orthodox) and they were married outside of the Church then it was a manifestly invalid marriage and that is simply a matter of paperwork. (Your priest will help her do a Lack of Form case.)
  2. If he ex-husband was not a Catholic (or Orthodox) then she should explore with your priest a Pauline Privilege case.

These are not insurmountable things, it just takes finding a priest to help you analyze this properly.

Good luck.

Fr. Jonathan

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