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James Graspo wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was born into a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school through the fourth grade.

I received my First Communion but was never confirmed. I married a non-Catholic outside the Church and was married for 32 years and then divorced. I have since been married for 6 years to a wonderful person and we would like to both become a part of the Catholic faith.

  • What to we need to do?

We were both previously married and she was never a Catholic.

Thanks,

Jim

  { We were both married and she was never a Catholic so how do we become a part of the faith? }

Bob replied:

James,

It is wonderful that you desire to return to the Catholic faith along with your wife. God must be working in your life and he will guide you on the road ahead. Meeting with a good priest . . . someone who can explain the ins and outs of annulments and sacraments . . . will be essential.

You will in all likelihood need to have an annulment for the first marriage (as will your wife).
The basic reason is:

Sacramental marriage is permanent and remarriage to another is considered adultery unless the first spouse dies. Now don't panic, annulments are a recognition that the first marriage was flawed in the sacramental sense: there was an impediment to a sealed covenant. Therefore, in the case of an annulled marriage, a person would be free to marry again because the former was not a valid sacramental covenant.

The reasons for annulments are too much to discuss at length here but one crude example is a shotgun wedding — if a person has their freedom compromised — they cannot have a valid Union. During the annulment process many factors that are relevant at the time of the wedding are assessed and then the determination is made.

God bless you on your journey and may you find that both the ups and downs bring you to a rich and deep relationship with the God who loves you.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Jim —

You don't need an annulment just a Lack of Form case.

You are a baptized Catholic who did not follow proper form by marrying outside of the Church.

This makes your marriage manifestly invalid. No annulment is necessary. Your wife probably needs one but we don't have enough information to know one way or the other.

Bob misuses the notion of Sacrament in his answer. Annulments are about validity not sacramentality. Some marriages are sacramental, others are not.

Fr. Jonathan

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