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Jamie wrote:

Hi, guys —

My question involves a Pauline Privilege.

My fiancé submitted all of the paperwork for an annulment of his former marriage so that he and I can get married in the Catholic Church. I am Catholic and he was not raised in any religion nor has he been baptized.

The Tribunal looked over all of his information and said that we could instead go the route of a Pauline Privilege due to the fact that neither he nor his ex-wife have ever been baptized and the fact that my fiancé wishes to be baptized into the Catholic church in the future.

I have done a lot of reading on the internet about the details of this process. Nearly everything I have read states that he must first be baptized as a Catholic in order to receive the Pauline Privilege and then marry me in the Church . . . however he spoke at length with the Tribunal and they said that he only needs to have the desire and plan to be baptized.

They said that he does not have to be baptized at the time of our wedding.

  • Can anyone offer any insight to this?

Thank you!


  { Does my fiancé have to first be baptized a Catholic in order to receive the Pauline Privilege? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:


You are correct. His Baptism must precede your marriage.

There are two things that sometimes get mixed up:

The actual dissolution of the first marriage via the Pauline Privilege happens with the new marriage and not with the granting of the Privilege. The Privilege is granted therefore prior to the second marriage and comes into effect with the second marriage.

The granting of the Privilege can therefore happen prior to the Baptism. To be clear, the order can go like this:

  • Divorce
  • Enter into RCIA
  • Application for the Pauline Privilege
  • Pauline Privilege granted
  • Baptism, and
  • Marriage

You see in this case, the granting comes prior to the Baptism but the Baptism still comes prior to the wedding.

  • Could this be what the Tribunal is referring to?

You said:
. . . he must first be baptized as a Catholic in order to receive the Pauline Privilege . .

This is technically incorrect. He has to be validly baptized but it doesn't have to be as a Catholic.

I hope this is helpful.

Fr. Jonathan

Jamie replied:

Thank you so much Fr. Jonathan.

This makes it much more clear and is very helpful to us!

God bless,


Fr. Jonathan replied:


Glad I could help clarify the issues involved.

Fr. Jonathan

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