11 May 2016 Vatican Comments (1)

New Swiss Guards promise to serve and protect the Pope

Cardinal urges new recruits to 'give witness to the joyful message of true life' With their left hands clutching a standard and their right hands raised with…

Read more

27 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Should Catholics attend parties celebrating the dead?

Full Question Are parties for the deceased appropriate? In keeping with his wishes, the widow of a friend is holding a big bash to celebrate his life. She …

Read more

21 Dec 2016 Articles No comments

Reaching Out: 7 Steps to a Blessed Christmas

Sending singing carols, sending Christmas cards, giving gifts...It's all tradition and fun, but perhaps this is a wonderful time to really reach out to those am…

Read more

11 Dec 2015 Articles Comments (1)

Responsible Parenthood Guide by Pope John paul II

General audience of August 1, 1984. 1. For today we have chosen the theme of "responsible parenthood" in the light of the Constitution "Gaudium et spes" and …

Read more

12 Sep 2016 Exhortations No comments

'He has two weapons, but the main one is division' - Pope Francis describes the devil's weapons against the Church

Church unity is endangered especially by certain tactics of division favored by the devil himself, Pope Francis told bishops of mission territories on Friday. …

Read more

21 Jul 2016 Articles Comments (1)

God and the Gay Christian: A Critical Review

On March 8, 2012, former Harvard student Matthew Vines gave a talk at a Methodist Church in Kansas titled, “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality." The ta…

Read more

02 May 2016 Americas Asia-Pacific Australia Europe Middle East Middle East - Africa News United Kingdom USA Vatican No comments

Confessors must not put obstacles in the paths of people who want to be reconciled to God - Pope Francis

During the Jubilee Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on Saturday 30th April, Pope Francis addressed the huge audience and made it clear that 'Confession' “is not …

Read more

12 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Be detached from riches in order to follow Christ, Pope says in Angelus address

Pope Francis warned of the dangers of attachment to money in his October 11 Sunday Angelus address. Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 10:17…

Read more

07 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (73)

Did Judas go to hell?

Full Question Did Judas go to hell? Answer Jesus said, "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that ma…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Do these converts need to have their marriage convalidated?

Full Question

Two of my friends are taking instructions to come into the Church. They are getting conflicting opinions as to whether they will need to “convalidate” their marriage after they become Catholic. Both of them are baptized Protestants, and both were previously married to other Protestants before getting divorces and marrying each other. They have applied for annulments of their earlier marriages. Assuming both annulment petitions are granted, will they still need to have their marriage to each other blessed in the Church?


I’m not surprised your friends are getting conflicting opinions on this question, because even many pastors, let alone other parish staffers, don’t understand Church law on this point. The confusion arises because the rules in these cases seem to differ for parties who are Catholic from those which apply to parties who are not.

In brief, if the facts are as you describe them, your friends will not need to have their marriage to each other convalidated by Church authorities upon becoming Catholic. As soon as both annulment petitions are formally granted (assuming this is done and assuming there were no other unusual factors present—your letter suggests none), your friends’ marriage to each other will automatically be recognized by the Church and will be presumed to be both valid and sacramental.

Here’s why: At the time your friends married each other, the only canonical obstacle to their wedding was ligamen, the fact of their prior marriage bonds (canon 1085). But if annulments are declared for both prior marriages, that means that, at the time of their marriage to each other, your friends were canonically free to contract marriage, and the manner in which they chose to marry would have been lawful for them at the time. Thus, their second marriage could be recognized without any further qualifications.

How would this question differ for Catholics, thus giving rise to the confusion? Well, if two Catholics, previously married to others and subsequently divorced, sought to marry in the Church, virtually any priest would have told them “No way, not without an annulment” (canon 1085 again). Unfortunately, such Catholics not infrequently then turn to civil magistrates for their wedding. That kind of wedding ceremony would be a violation of the requirement of canonical form which binds most Catholics (canons 1108 and 1117), meaning that, without an annulment followed by “convalidation” (canon 1160), such a second marriage would not be recognized in the Church.

1 comment

  1. Paul Reply

    What about my case?

    I was a baptised protestant that was married (non church wedding) to another non Catholic. My marriage to this woman ended in divorce in ’99 due to her infidelity and unwillingness to attend counciling.

    In 2010 I married my current wife who was and is Catholic in a non Catholic wedding because of time restraints because of my job and her fiance visa. I was an over the road truck driver that was out for months at a time and couldn’t attend andy classes and her visa stated we had 3 months to be married or she would be deported.

    In 2014 I confirmed into the Catholic church. I have no idea where my ex wife is located nor how to contact her, nor do I wish to being that it was not a peaceful split between her and I. I had to file a restraining order against her and the guy she was caught with. She ended up marrying him no sooner our divorce was final and then divorcing him and marrying his friend.

    Is my marriage valid in the church? If not what can I do.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories