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January 08, 2007

Comments

The Reader

Wow. Protestants can apply for annulments in the Catholic Church? I didn't know that!

JD

yes, all the baptized have the right to have their marriage judged by the Church. As a matter of practice, however, in accord with Dignitas Connubii, we generally only consider a marriage between two protestants when one intends to marry a Catholic. Do some folks think that's problematic. yes. but, actual limitations to our tribunal capacity neccessitates this practice.

amihow

Because this entry will bring in a lot of knowledgeable comments about Catholic marriage I would like to ask another related question.

What should be the position of a grandmother whose Catholic grandson is going to marry a Protestant girl in a Protestant ceremony? He says he doesn't care about the Catholic thing and has been attending her church for years.

kaneohe

As always, this is a great learning experience for a non-Catholic. Many thanks Jimmy and the gang!

I have a question and would appreciate any comments and direction:

A friend of mine is getting married. She was baptized Catholic but not raised as such, and has never attended church or received instruction or other sacraments. The groom-to-be is also in this same situation. They are planning a civil ceremony. Is it alright to attend this wedding, praying that when this couple starts a family they might see the need to raise the children in the faith?

Also, rumor has it they are getting a special permit from the governor for a special "one day" justice of the peace. The person they are asking to perform the civil ceremony is a practicing Catholic. Is this a problem?

Please remember I am non-Catholic but do attend the local parish church. I realize at times some of my question might seem unsusal, but that why I ask them, so I can learn more about the Catholic faith. Many thanks for your help and input.

Patrick

This is giving me a big "uh-oh" moment, so can someone help me? Situation: While still a Protestant, I married a divorced woman, also a Protestant. I am now in RCIA and was hoping to be confirmed this Easter. My wife is remaining Protestant but supports me in my conversion.

The RCIA questionnaire the pastor gave us asked simply "Are you re-married?" I said no. It did NOT ask if my wife is re-married so I have not told him that fact. The article above makes me think that I am now in an adulterous relationship. Is this correct? Will it prevent me from being confirmed?

If it matters, my wife's first husband was abusive and abandoned her and their child. She believes he is mentally ill. I am now his child's father, for all practical purposes - he does not pay child support and has not tried to see his son for almost 7 years. So I would think there are strong grounds for annulment, but she has not requested one.

Where does all this leave me with the Church? Thanks for any help.

BillyHW

Does anyone know if Firefox has a plug-in that will scrape off the word "annulment" and all posts containing it from the pages you view?

Esau

Situation: While still a Protestant, I married a divorced woman, also a Protestant. I am now in RCIA and was hoping to be confirmed this Easter. My wife is remaining Protestant but supports me in my conversion.


Patrick:

If you look in Mark 10, Christ is very clear that marriage is a “for life” commitment and we cannot simply marry someone else if it doesn’t work out the first time.

So, whenever you have something that looks like a marriage and the person has divorced and wishes to re-marry, the Church needs to take a look at that first marriage to see whether or not it really was marriage as the Church understands it; whether it was a valid marriage.

If it was, then the Church will have to say: you know, we’ve got to be faithful to the Teachings of Christ and that we’d love to have you as a Catholic, but if evidence has not been presented that would show the Church that (and Jimmy could expound on this much more expertly than I ever could) your divorced wife's first marriage was invalid and, thus, was free to marry, then she wasn't free to marry you to begin with and your marriage to her may be invalid.

That is (Jimmy, please kindly correct me here), your wife would need to apply for an annulment in order to establish that she was free to marry you. If she wasn't free to marry, your marriage to her isn't valid by the standards of the Church and that which Christ established for us.

Esau

By the way, Patrick, CONGRATULATIONS!

SDG

Patrick,

As Jimmy's post clarifies, one cannot say exactly that you are in an adulterous relationship -- that's more than we know -- but the Church must presume that your wife's first marriage was valid, and therefore that your present marriage is invalid, until the contrary is established. This would involve seeking a decree of nullity for your wife's first marriage.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but as long as you are living in a presumptively invalid marital relationship, you cannot be confirmed.

This is a very difficult situation, and it's hard to know what to say. Certainly, you should seek a decree of nullity for your wife's first marriage, but in the interim your situation is very difficult.

I have some thoughts on the subject, but unfortunately I don't have the time to post them now. I will try to follow up later. Perhaps Jimmy will take up your situation in a follow-up post of his own.

Patrick

Thanks for the info, Esau and SDG. I'll speak to the priest and see what he says to do. Now I'm kicking myself for not asking about this earlier; I heard him tell other people that annulments in our diocese take 6-9 months to process. He had everyone fill out a form that he said was supposed to sniff out such problems. It did not, apparently.

You don't have to explain how the Church must follow scripture. I know this, and it's why I want to become Catholic. I don't expect the rules to bend just for me.

Lurker #59

Question:

Isn't INTENT necessary for a marriage to be considered valid? For example, during a play that has a marriage ceremony no real marriage takes place because there was no intent to marry.

In order for a sacrament to actually be a sacrament, the INTENT must be at least "to do what the Church says it does" even if one's own knowledge of what the Church says the sacrament is about is limited. For example, a Catholic can take part in the sacrament of Penance without really knowing how he is absolved of his sins so long as he intends for his sins be be absolved. Conversely, if a Catholic during Penance intends to be forgiven for all sins, save for "that one", the sacrament is not valid.

Now many, if not most, Protestants do not intend to do what the Church does when they marry. Many will actually take classes that will teach them that marriage can be dissolved in X Y Z circumstances, and most Protestant groups will actively teach that marriage is not a sacrament. Therefore, at the time of marriage, many Protestants have not INTENT or WILL or KNOWLEDGE to enter into the sacrament of marriage.

Is it therefore not the case that, while Protestant marriages are given the favor of the law, most of them are not valid sacramental marriages anyway?

David B.

Patrick,


I'm not really qualified to give advice. I will say that, if you are uncertain about the validity of your wife's first marriage, it is an admirable choice to live as brother and sister until you know the truth on the matter.

God bless you and your wife.

Esau

No problem, Patrick!

I'm very glad hearing of your journey into the Catholic Church!!!

Don't worry about what's past. Certainly, you didn't know about it initially -- and you were a new person just joining the Church! Whereas there have been many Catholics who are actually a part of the Catholic Church who do not even know of such things!

God bless you and hope things all work out!

Louise

A question for SDG (or Jimmy) regarding Patrick's situation:

Could Patrick be confirmed if he stops having marital relations with his wife, even if the annullment request has not gone through yet?

I have sometimes heard this given as the regular advice anyway (to stop having marital relations until you find out if the annullment goes through). Is that correct?

Phil M.

Can. 1148 §1. When he receives baptism in the Catholic Church, a non-baptized man who has several non-baptized wives at the same time can retain one of them after the others have been dismissed, if it is hard for him to remain with the first one.

2 questions regarding this one:

1. Does this mean he can keep his favorite one, even if she is not necessarily the first one? I’m confused about the meaning of “if it is hard for him to remain with the first one”.

2. Could this apply to those Mormon groups who still practice polygamy, since the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize the Mormon baptism as being valid?

This has nothing to do with my life, I'm just curious.

Leah

Lurker #59,

I agree that intent is one of the bases on which the validity of a marriage is judged. The couple must intend the union to be life-long, to the exclusion of all others, open to children, etc. I don't think they need to intend that it be a Sacrament specifically.

If the couple, however, believes their marriage able to be ended by divorce, for instance, then that would be grounds for questioning the validity of the marriage.

Realist

Even JD Crossan gives Mark 10:11-12 a positive rating but one is troubled by the ease/difficulty of annulments in various dioceses i.e. choose your diocese well. And are we to condemn to Hell persons, i.e. billions, who do not believe in the passages of the NT ? And should celibate priests of questionable character be ruling on affairs of the heart?

Mary Kay

Patrick, great news about your journey to the Catholic Church!

The only thing I have to contribute is that I've read other people who had to wait while an irregular marriage situation was resolved and they said that God richly rewarded their obedience and patience.

David B.

Realist,

Do you ever attempt to give answers, or do you just like to ask questions that we all know you think you have the answer to?


BTW, validity has nothing to do with the heart, but with the will and with reality.

SDG

Could Patrick be confirmed if he stops having marital relations with his wife, even if the annullment request has not gone through yet?

That is correct. The problem isn't the invalid marriage contract itself. The problem is living as if you are married if the Church can't recognize you as actually being so.

In this case, the Church must presume that such a relationship is gravely sinful, which is an impediment to being confirmed, since one must be in the state of grace in order to receive confirmation licitly. This doesn't mean that Patrick's relationship is gravely sinful, only that the Church must presume that it is.

This is a sticky situation, for lots of reasons. It would be one thing if both spouses were jointly convicted of the need to abstain from sexual relations until such time as the Church could recognize their union. This does happen, and I should think it's the best solution in a far from perfect situation.

But what happens if one partner wishes to abstain and the other doesn't see the need? Even then, if one of the partners believes that his or her soul is in peril unless they abstain, it seems to me that he or she must be willing to do so even over the objections of the other.

I am not sure, though, that this is always the right course in such a situation. It would think that it would be the case if one had no idea whether his putative partner's first marriage were valid or not, or (worse) were to suspect that the previous marriage was valid.

In that case, it seems to me that the previous marriage must enjoy the benefit of one's own presumption -- at least until/unless the Church says otherwise -- and therefore one must presume that the present marriage is not valid, which would mean one would have a moral obligation before God to abandon marital relations with his putative partner, even over the other's objections.

But what if one is convinced from the start that the first marriage is not valid, and that one's present marriage probably (let's say almost certainly) is?

I'm not sure what Jimmy or anyone else would say, but I would hesitate before advising someone, "Better be safe than sorry -- give up sex with your wife for the next couple of years anyway, even though you're sure you're really married, despite the terrific strain it will put on your marriage and family denying your (probably-valid) wife her conjugal rights against her wishes."

On the other hand, given that the alternative is apparently postponing reception into the Church until such time as the Church renders its judgment, that doesn't seem like a very easy call either.

Jimmy? Ed? Anyone? Any advice?

Esau

Even JD Crossan gives Mark 10:11-12 a positive rating...

Realist:
Well, in spite of your other comments, I must say that, at the very least, I'm glad you seem to approve (?) of my referencing Mark 10 in my Jan 8, 2007 11:38:56 AM Post.

Tim J.

"And are we to condemn to Hell persons, i.e. billions, who do not believe in the passages of the NT ?"

Hell, Realist? How very un-Crossan-like of you. You had better go seek forgiveness from the nearest atheist college professor. Why get upset over something you don't believe is even possible?

"And should celibate priests of questionable character be ruling on affairs of the heart?"

Again, you're all twisted up, here. I thought priests who defied the antiquated teaching of the benighted patriarchal Church would be heroes to you. Have I missed something? I mean, celibacy is this inhuman and impossible requirement, right? So, by your view of things, priests who set out to break their vows of celibacy would be great and courageous reform-minded individuals, wouldn't they? You certainly have me confused.

M.Z. Forrest

Simple advise Patrick:

Consult your priest. Any remedy will be found there, and not in a combox.

Patrick

I don't want to sound bitter here, because I'm not. I will go through the proper steps to resolve this and try to remain faithful in the interim.

However, I must point out that when bishops allow people who are clearly in a gravely sinful condition to receive the sacraments (Nancy Pelosi comes to mind), they make it a lot harder for people in situations like mine to understand why we are treated differently.

I guess it is like the traffic cop who can't stop all the speeders. He does the best he can. Zoom by at 100 mph and you get away with it, while the poor guy driving 60 gets a ticket.

amihow

I have a question for the experts on this forum. What is appropriate for a grandmother to do when a grandson baptized in the Catholic Church decides to marry a Protestant girl in her Church. He says he does not care about the Catholic Church and has been attending her church with her for some four years.

Mary Kay

However, I must point out that when bishops allow people who are clearly in a gravely sinful condition to receive the sacraments (Nancy Pelosi comes to mind), they make it a lot harder for people in situations like mine to understand why we are treated differently.

Bingo! There you have it, Patrick, the reason for the teaching on scandal. That Pelosi, a public person, both publicly claims to be Catholic and publicly makes statements and actions contrary to Catholic teaching, is scandal by its disrespect for the souls of others. See the Catechism 2284-2287. The bishops' silence only compounds it.

amihow, I'm not an expert and my only suggestion is prayer.

Esau

Patrick:

Jesus was very clear that if people get divorce and re-married and their previous spouses were still alive, if they were validly married the first time, then that’s adultery; and adultery is something we know from Scripture to be a mortal sin. It’s, I should say, a grave sin. It’s a violation of the 10 Commandments and it’s right there, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”.

In the New Testament, it’s very explicit that the Kingdom of God is not inherited by Adulterers.

Now, it’s talking about people who are not only committing adultery, but who know that it’s what they’re doing and deliberately doing it anyway.

And there’s a question, given how people’s understanding about faith and morals vary, there’s always the question of whether or not people fully understand that whether they’ve assimilated that that’s the fact of what they are doing; especially in our culture where marriage and divorce are extraordinarily common.

A lot of people simply don’t understand that.

So, the Church would not presume to judge whether or not you would be committing a mortal sin that would doom you to Hell but you would certainly be objectively committing a grave sin that has the potential to do that if you adequately understand and consents to this.

Viajero

PATRICK: In regards to feeling we are treated differently, I try to tell myself to focus on my own soul (and the souls of friends who might be misled by the actions of others, like Pelosi). For all we know, maybe Pelosi IS being advised by her priests and bishop to follow the Church's teachings more closely, but she's choosing to ignore them. You could do the same thing, too. You could choose NOT to tell the priest about your wife's first marriage and still receive the Sacraments. But you know better. And may God bless you for your faithfulness.

Esau

I have a question for the experts on this forum. What is appropriate for a grandmother to do when a grandson baptized in the Catholic Church decides to marry a Protestant girl in her Church. He says he does not care about the Catholic Church and has been attending her church with her for some four years.

AMIHOW:

Jimmy and the others could speak more expertly about this, but for what it's worth, I would think that marriage would automatically be invalid because he, as a Catholic (regardless of his current feelings for the Catholic Church) failed to observe the Catholic form of marriage.

Not only did he fail to observe the Catholic form but he did not have a dispensation from observing the Catholic form, so his marriage will be invalid.

The fundamental underlying moral problem here is that if a Catholic gets married outside the Church, without a dispensation, that marriage is not going to be valid and, consequently, any sexual acts that are performed in the context of that union are going to be morally illicit; they’re going to be wrong, they’re going to be sins.

What I would do in your case is continue to pray for them and maybe give them Catholic material or something to read, something that might help draw them back to the Faith and, as they come back, the importance of this issue could become more important to them.

Viajero

AMIHOW: I'm not an expert either, but it sounds like your grandson has truly left the Catholic Church (as opposed to being a lazy Catholic). If that's the case, then I think you can consider him a Protestant. So if he and his fiancée are free to marry as two Protestants, then I guess it'd be okay for you to attend. Of course, keep on praying for his and his future wife's conversion. God bless you.

Esau

...it sounds like your grandson has truly left the Catholic Church (as opposed to being a lazy Catholic). If that's the case, then I think you can consider him a Protestant. So if he and his fiancée are free to marry as two Protestants, then I guess it'd be okay for you to attend.


Viajero:
Regardless if a person has 'left' the Catholic Church for another denomination, that does not release him from form since he is still regarded as a Catholic and bound to Catholic form.

Just Another Lurker

Amihow, my suggestion - assuming this wedding is scheduled for the future - would be that the grandmother counsel her grandson to seek dispensation to marry in her future granddaughter-in-law's church, on the basis that she has stronger ties to her church than he does to his. She could couch this both as spiritual counsel and also as a favour to her that he might indulge as a loving grandson.

Although this situation is not as good as bringing the grandson back in communion with the Church, it does mean that the grandson will have respected the obligations of his own Church-of-origin, and also ensures that the marriage is valid. It also means that he will have made (minor) contact with the Church, rather than severing contact, and he will feel able to return later should he ever wish to do so, rather than feeling separated from the Church by the circumstances of his marriage.

Finally, the resulting validity of the marriage would mean that his grandmother could attend the wedding in good conscience.

Realist

Hmmm, annulments via "blogees"? I sense a new trend amongst we "pew peasants".

Of the recent annulments I am aware of, most ruled as per the divorce court. So it appears we have a convergence of civil and religious thought and a another means to downsize the priesthood?

Esau

Realist:

Of the recent annulments I am aware of...

You actual read the decisions of the Roman Rota??? Really???

...most ruled as per the divorce court. So it appears we have a convergence of civil and religious thought and a another means to downsize the priesthood?


Among many other things I can comment here:

First off, I didn't know that the Civil Authorities were actually part of the Church that Christ established.

Second off, I didn't know that the Civil Authorities actually have intimate knowledge of Canon Law.


COMING SOON: Judge Mablean Ephriam to celebrate Sunday Mass at Sandra Day O'Connor Parish.

David

New question: I attended the wedding of my sister-in-law, practicing Catholic, and her husband, a divorced Protestant. They were wed outside of church by a Lutheran minister because husband had not sought an annulment. I knew at the time that their wedding was improper, but I never thought twice about attending. Is this a sin for which I must confess?

Patrick

Dear Esau,

Thank you for making sure that everyone knows MY WIFE AND I ARE COMMITTING ADULTERY. As noted above, I have just become aware of this and am taking steps to resolve the situation without causing even more harm to my family. It is thoughtful of you to use bold print so that everyone else is crystal-clear about this fact. Maybe Jimmy can re-program his board to place a Scarlet Letter "A" next to my name whenever I post something.

Also, I knew that adultery is sinful without your lecture. Even us poor Protestants are aware of this, confused though we may be about its practical applications. And yes, I am referring to myself as a "Protestant," because that is apparently what I will remain for the time being. I don't really want to call myself this, but you don't seem inclined to accept me as a Catholic anytime soon.

Thanks again for your kindness, understanding, and generosity of spirit. Have a nice day.

Patrick

Esau

Patrick,

That was not the intent of my post but rather that, in concern for you, you should very well be aware of the reality of the actions.


That's why I remarked in the following manner:

Now, it’s talking about people who are not only committing adultery, but who know that it’s what they’re doing and deliberately doing it anyway.

And there’s a question, given how people’s understanding about faith and morals vary, there’s always the question of whether or not people fully understand that whether they’ve assimilated that that’s the fact of what they are doing; especially in our culture where marriage and divorce are extraordinarily common.

A lot of people [including lay Catholics--see my previous post to you] simply don’t understand that.

So, the Church would not presume to judge whether or not you would be committing a mortal sin that would doom you to Hell but you would certainly be objectively committing a grave sin that has the potential to do that if you adequately understand and consents to this.

Also, as I've said in my previous post to you:

I'm very glad hearing of your journey into the Catholic Church!!!

Don't worry about what's past. Certainly, you didn't know about it initially -- and you were a new person just joining the Church! Whereas there have been many Catholics who are actually a part of the Catholic Church who do not even know of such things!

God bless you and hope things all work out!

anonymous

I've got an actual situation on my hands for which I could use some advice. My sister was married in the Catholic Church some 17 years ago. She's since left the Church and is divorced from her first husband. (It sounds like this was largely his choice, but that doesn't affect the validity of the marriage.)

She's planning to marry another man this summer. Obviously, the assumption is that her first marriage was valid, but from her perspective, she sees know reason to get an annulment. I do know that her first husband, by his own admission, never believed that marriage was necessarily permanent, but I don't know how much weight that would carry in determining validity.

In any event, I'm probably the only member of my family who feels I should not attend this event. Is there any tactful, loving way to explain this. I'm hoping to avoid upsetting her too much.

She lives far away, so telling her in person is out of the question. Would a nicely written letter be better, or a phone call? What would YOU say to someone in this situation?

I should add that I haven't actually received a formal invitation yet, although she's indicated that she will be inviting everyone.

David B.

FWIW, Patrick, I admire your courage in speaking out publicly about this very personal topic. It is commendable that you are willing to live according to the teaching of the Church, and I hope you can be confirmed as soon as is advisable.

May the Holy Spirit give you the strength to be strong always!

SDG

Patrick,

You have my admiration, and my prayers.

FWIW, let me point out, again, that the Church doesn't say you are committing adultery. Only that she can't presume you aren't, without finding out.

That may be cold comfort, but I hope it's something.

Esau

Patrick,

Remember --

As I’ve heard it said that the Church isn’t a museum of saints; it’s a hospital for sinners!

GOD BLESS!

Tim J.

Esau, I would handle this via e-mail, but I don't have yours...

Would you mind terribly avoiding the bold type in your posts, especially combined with italics? Again, this is like SHOUTING in the combox.

I know you have very strong feelings on a lot of issues, but so do many others.

Esau

Would you mind terribly avoiding the bold type in your posts, especially combined with italics? Again, this is like SHOUTING in the combox.

Thanks for the word of advice.

I had used the bold and italics to accentuate certain points in my posts, as I had been used to as far as college textbooks go.

Realist

Patrick,

With God, a simple I am sorry does the trick without getting some anxiety attack about annulment. Fear not the "guilt trippers" and Canon "reiterators" with or without priestly robes.

Esau

Fear not the "guilt trippers" and Canon "reiterators" with or without priestly robes.


Realist,
There is always a more convenient Gospel, be it from people with or without priestly robes, in Christianity or in paganism, in Atheism or in religion, etc.

Tim J.

I'm no writer, Esau, and I don't know if you might have aspirations in that direction, but I remember in the foreword to Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis apologized for using italics in a few spots (he fixed it in a revised edition) because, in his view, good writers should have other, better ways of of giving emphasis to certain thoughts.

Mere Christianity was compiled and adapted from transcripts of radio broadcasts, and in the first edition Lewis had used italics to sort of mimic how he had used vocal inflections as he read on the radio.

He revised the subsequent editions and got rid of the italics.

I don't know anything about writing, but just personally find bold type fatiguing if overused.

I always appreciate reading your thoughts.

God bless!

Tim J.

"With God, a simple I am sorry does the trick without getting some anxiety attack about annulment."

Sorry for what, Sur-Realist? Sin? Golly, you are positively medieval today! Isn't "sin" some kind of illusion, in your view?

Tune him out Patrick, and thank you for your courageous example. My prayers are with you and your family.

amihow

it sounds like your grandson has truly left the Catholic Church (as opposed to being a lazy Catholic). If that's the case, then I think you can consider him a Protestant. So if he and his fiancée are free to marry as two Protestants, then I guess it'd be okay for you to attend.

Amihow, my suggestion - assuming this wedding is scheduled for the future - would be that the grandmother counsel her grandson to seek dispensation to marry in her future granddaughter-in-law's church, on the basis that she has stronger ties to her church than he does to his.

__________________________________________________

The grandmother thanks all for your advice and prayers.

I have suggested that he go to the priest so that he could obtain permission to marry in her church.

He just isn't interested in doing that. I guess he is just going to get married as planned, so my dilemna is how to handle it.

Juli

Anonymous - I attended a day long seminar on how to start the annulment proceedings. If her former husband didn't intend 'forever' that does make a difference.

The annulment proceeding is not to place blame, but to decide the validity. In other words, the "gulity" party could file for an annulment (e.g. her ex) based on his thoughts at the time.

This is all IMHO, of course.

Jimmy Akin

REALIST: THIS IS YOUR RULE 20 WARNING.

ONE OF YOUR COMMENTS APPEARS TO DISMISS THE NEED OF OBTAINING AN ANNULMENT IN FAVOR OF SIMPLY SAYING "I'M SORRY" TO GOD. YOUR FURTHER URGE THE QUESTIONER TO IGNORE CANON "REITERATORS," WHETHER THEY ARE CLERICS OR NOT.

THIS COMMENT VIOLATES RULE 20 ON TWO GROUNDS: (1) IT UNDERMINES THE BASIS OF THE PASTORAL ANSWER I GAVE IN THE POST, WHICH PRESUPPOSES THE VALIDITY AND NECESSITY OF THE CHURCH'S ANNULMENT PROCESS. (2) IT APPEARS TO URGE READERS TO DISMISS ANSWERS THAT *I* WOULD GIVE BASED ON CANON LAW.

THIS IS A VIOLATION OF RULE 20 AND WILL NOT BE ALLOWED. I WOULD DELETE YOUR COMMENT AND BE DONE WITH IT EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT THE QUESTIONER DISPLAYS THE LEVEL OF THEOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AND INTEGRITY NOT TO BE AFFECTED BY IT. HOWEVER, SHOULD THIS ACTION REPLICATE, I WILL HAVE TO DISINVITE YOU FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE BLOG.

IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ONE OF MY 20-FLAGGED ANSWERS, E-MAIL ME PRIVATELY. DON'T UNDERMINE THE ANSWER IN PUBLIC. IF A CHANGE IN THE ANSWER NEEDS TO BE MADE, I'LL MAKE IT.

WHILE WE'RE ON THE TOPIC OF RULE VIOLATIONS, THE CROSSAN HOBBY HORSE NEEDS TO BE PUT BACK IN ITS STABLE.

I'M PLEASED TO SAY THAT YOU'VE BEEN PLAYING A POSITIVE ROLE ON THE BLOG, DESPITE THE TAUNTS OF OTHERS (WHICH I HAVE ASKED TO BE DISCONTINUED), BUT WE NEED TO AVOID HOBBY HORSES AND *CANNOT* HAVE VIOLATIONS OF RULE 20.

Jimmy Akin

I'd like to ask that folks discontinue discussing Patrick's situation. It's sensitive enough that I'd like to handle it myself (though the advice given by some people is quite good).

Patrick, I'll be putting up a discussion of your situation as part of a post Tuesday. Please feel free to e-mail me privately if you have additional concerns or questions.

Patrick

Wow, Jimmy Akin says I have "theological knowledge and integrity." Can I quote you on that? :)

Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes and prayers.


Patrick

Jimmy, I will send you an e-mail shortly.

BillyHW

However, I must point out that when bishops allow people who are clearly in a gravely sinful condition to receive the sacraments (Nancy Pelosi comes to mind), they make it a lot harder for people in situations like mine to understand why we are treated differently.

Aw gee. I don't have the heart to tell him about Michael Schiavo.

kaneohe

As always, this is a great learning experience for a non-Catholic. Many thanks to Jimmy and the gang!

I have a question and would appreciate any comments and direction:

A friend of mine is getting married. She was baptized Catholic but not raised as such, and has never attended church or received instruction or other sacraments. The groom-to-be is also in this same situation.

Neither considers themselves as Catholic - agnostic yes, but Catholic no. They said they had no choice in the matter of baptism and they don't reguard this as binding them to the Catholic church.

They are planning a civil ceremony. Is it alright to attend this wedding, praying that when this couple starts a family they might see the need to raise the children in the faith?

Also, rumor has it they are getting a special permit from the governor for a special "one day" justice of the peace. The person they are asking to perform the civil ceremony is a practicing Catholic. Is this a problem?

Please remember I am not yet a Catholic but I do attend the local Catholic parish church. At times some of my question might seem unsusal, but I ask them so I can learn more about the Catholic faith and do the right thing.

I can really use your insight on this. Many thanks for your help.

Jimmy Akin

kaneohe: answer on the blog in the morning!

Esau

Tim J.:

Thanks so much for your kind words as well as for all the advice!

I'm actually lousy in writing as some can attest here and so any advice is welcome. In fact, I still can't see how some of my English professors actually found merit in my essays.

The one thing I do know is that I do love the Lord so, so much -- and that may very well be why I'm so passionate in expressing some thoughts as regards Him, because I know without Him, truly, truly, truly, I'm nothing. He's the One who makes losers like me and St. Peter shine in spite of many personal character flaws and other such human deficiencies.

Quite frankly, I also love reading your comments as well!

God bless you, too!

bill912

Esau, you just reminded me of something Bishop Sheen once wrote: that our Lord chose Peter, who denied Him, and not John, who stood at the foot of the Cross, to be the head of His Church, so that we, who are also "weak and sinful", would know that we need never despair.

Realist

Peter chosen vs. John at the foot of the Cross stories are by many NT exegetes simply embellishments. Might want to check with some contemporary Catholic theologians.

Esau

Esau, you just reminded me of something Bishop Sheen once wrote: that our Lord chose Peter, who denied Him, and not John, who stood at the foot of the Cross, to be the head of His Church, so that we, who are also "weak and sinful", would know that we need never despair.


bill912:

Thanks so much for the great Bishop Sheen moment!
Love that guy!

Mary

I knew at the time that their wedding was improper, but I never thought twice about attending. Is this a sin for which I must confess?

Humm.

Well, the evil of attending an invalid wedding ceremony is that you encourage both the couple and those who know of it, by your example, to regard it as a valid marriage. It would be a case of scandal.

If you didn't realize it, the only way it could be a sin that you must confess would be if you could have realized it and didn't.

But unless you are suffering from scruples, you could mention it at your next confession and be certain.

John

The initial question is a perfect example of an ignoramus Catholic sticking his foot in his mouth and making all of us look bad. He probably attended parochial school and thinks that is the be-all and end-all of knowledge on the Catholic faith. Likely basing his judgmental, pejorative remark on something he thinks he heard from a cloistered frustrated nun long ago, he presumes to judge the validity of another person's intended marriage without knowing all the facts and without having complete knowledge of the church's rules on the subject. No wonder some Protestants think we are a wacko cult, when we have people like that giving us a bad reputation.

As for the issue of prior marriage, nowadays, there is almost no marriage that cannot be "annulled" by the church. Annulment, with much justification, is simply the Catholic form of divorce.

bill912

Speaking of Rule 20 violations...

Anne

I had a close friend in the "agnostic with a Catholic upbringing, getting married in a Protestant ceremony" situation. He was mulling over trying to get a dispensation to make his parents happy. I felt I had to discourage him from applying for the dispensation, however, because the whole reason he was getting married in a Protestant church was that he (and his bride as well) had an explicit intent against getting married in the Catholic sense.

The dispensation wouldn't actually make their marriage valid, in other words, it would just make it more difficult for the church to recognize its invalidity should he ever want an annulment, or even a convalidation.

Maybe I was wrong to discourage him - maybe there was some potential that in talking to the priest to get the dispensation he'd learn something and change his mind. But it wasn't like he'd never heard the church's position before; he knew it and rejected it, and he was at least hearing about it from me. So it seemed at the time the more likely scenario was that he'd get a fraudulent dispensation and then set up an obstacle to ever returning to the church in the future.

Some Day

Maybe I am misunderstanding something,
an Egyptian is preassumably muslim, therefore being a pagan, natural law allows him to marry validly, by marrying and having the witness.
But these are two heretics and not pagans who want to get married.
Since they "believe" in Our Lord they are not simply subject to Natural Law. If they were validly baptized in a protestant church, then they are bound to the precepts of Our Lord.
Their "marriage" is non-existent, neither the first or the planned one. If they became Catholics, they would just need confession and marriage no? I don't know if I am getting this right. Do you mind clarifing this Mr. Jimmy?

Tim J.

" Might want to check with some contemporary Catholic theologians."

Or maybe not. I think you'd have better luck asking any random Wal-Mart shopper.

I'm serious.

bill912

In view of Jimmy's above warning, Realist's last post looks like his way of giving Jimmy the finger. (Same Hobby Horse, name deleted).

Inocencio

"Might want to check with some contemporary Catholic theologians."

Ok..."The man who puts to one side any consideration of the reality of God is a realist only in appearance." Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

David B.

John,

"Annulment, with much justification, is simply the Catholic form of divorce."

That is what non-Catholics fire at us all the time. Are you a Catholic or not?

Tim J.

David B.

No, he is not.

He is not Christian at all, despite his protestations to the contrary.

Patrick

Does anyone have any hard statistics on how many annulment applications are approved? I'm sure it is very high; people don't apply unless they already think they have a good case. Pastors probably filter out most of the ones which won't qualify.

However, if the numbers vary in different dioceses then it might suggest other factors are at work.

Mary

Maybe I am misunderstanding something,
an Egyptian is preassumably muslim, therefore being a pagan, natural law allows him to marry validly, by marrying and having the witness.
But these are two heretics and not pagans who want to get married.
Since they "believe" in Our Lord they are not simply subject to Natural Law. If they were validly baptized in a protestant church, then they are bound to the precepts of Our Lord.

I think the answer to your question is (if I understand the question correctly): the requirement that Catholics marry in a Catholic ceremony is not a precept of Our Lord -- it is a requirement made by the Catholic church, by its power to bind and to loose. It was added fairly late in church history, and it did not apply in a country where the decree was not published (so that people would not accidentially enter invalid marriages).

Because the Catholic church has explicitly said that Protestants are not bound by it, they are not bound by it. (See "authority to loose.")

Some Day

But the ceremony is not just a ceremony it is a sacrament. So where is the power to marry outside the Church? From what you said Mary, the first coumple of centuries, Catholics did not recieve the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is that right?
I'am going to do some research for further clarification, but I definetly appreciate it anyways.
Our Lady Help You

John

In answer to David B's question, you may wish to read the following,

http://www.defendingholymatrimony.org/html/blasts_annulments.html

in which Pope John Paul II criticized the excessive number of annulments being granted in the United States, and warns that easy annulments may cause people to think of them as divorce under another name.

If the Pope is worried about it, we should all be.

John

So Tim J. does not think I am a Christian. What a remarkable, fascinating, and astounding display of "Christian charity" on his part, especially considering that we have never met.

We obviously disagree on various points, but I have not presumed to question the sincerity of anyone's beliefs.

Tim, you may wish to leave such judgments to Jesus, who alone knows the heart of man and who, having died for our salvation, is alone entitled to judge mankind.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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