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James C. wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have done a lot of research and I cannot determine the answer to my question so by the power of Google here I am. I am currently an Episcopalian but I have been Catholic envious for a very long time. My reticence is due to, for lack of a better word, my eligibility to be a Catholic.

The issues in prior marriage(s) are:

  1. I was married in Reno, Nevada when I was 21 at the county courthouse. There was drinking and the folly of youth involved. She was not a Catholic. She was also a single mom but the child was not mine and I wanted to be there for her. We had no children together and we ended up divorcing.

  2. I was then married in a vineyard by some Universalist Unitarian in a non-Christian ceremony. My wife at the time was an atheist. Again, I was young and thought I knew what love was and we went from being engaged to being married in six months . . . or some stupidly quick time period.

  3. I then married my true love. She was Catholic. We were married for six wonderful years when she suddenly passed away from a stroke. We have a daughter who is now five.

My current my daughter and I live alone. I am not dating or seeing anyone nor do I see that happening any time in the near future. I would like to join the Church and be eligible to receive Holy Communion after going through RCIA .

  • Will I be able to do this?

I understand the issue is not my last marriage. I just don't know where to start or if it is even possible. I was young and foolish once but I also understand there are consequences for our actions.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

James

  { Can I get your thoughts on my eligibility to be Catholic in light of my specific marital history? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

James,

You can join now, even without an any annulment.

As long as you understand that if you want to be married again in the future you will need two annulments.

I don't know how many years your first marriage was but from what you said, they [the annulments] sound straightforward.

Go and speak with a priest. Ask about their RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program. Hopefully, it will answer all your questions and any that your child has as well.

Fr. Jonathan

Eric replied:

James,

Since you are not married and not in any relationship (and don't plan on pursuing one), I don't personally see any impediment to being received in the Church, so I encourage you to talk to your local pastor to confirm this and get the ball rolling.

He will probably encourage you to pursue annulments but it should not, as far as I am aware, prevent you from entering the Church. Persevere. If you don't succeed at first, try another parish. Some of these issues may be up to the discretion of the pastor.

Eric

Bob replied:

James,

Welcome home!

Come join the family . . . we are glad to have you.

Being Catholic is wonderful and it gives us the fullness of the Christian faith. Don't wait, the annulment issue can be pursued at any time but you and you daughter can live so much fuller and closer now.

God bless,

Bob Kirby

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