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I Returned to the Church—Am I Free to Marry?

Full Question

I had children outside married, was an atheist, found my faith, and am no longer with the children’s father. May I get married in the future ?

Answer

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “outside married.” If you mean “outside marriage” and that you were never married to the father then, yes, you are free to be married in the future.

If you mean you were married outside the Church, then the answer depends on several circumstances:

  • If you were baptized as a Catholic at the time of your marriage and were married outside the Church without a dispensation, then the marriage was invalid. You would, in these circumstances, be free to marry.
  • If you were baptized as a non-Catholic and married a Catholic outside of the Church without a dispensation, then the marriage would be invalid, since the Catholic party was obligated to be married in the Church. In theses circumstances, you would be free to marry.
  • If you were baptized as a non-Catholic and married a baptized non-Catholic, you would have entered into a valid sacramental married. In these circumstances, you would need to apply for an annulment in order to be free to marry.
  • If you were a non-baptized person who married a baptized non-Catholic, you would have entered into a valid natural marriage. In these circumstances you could apply for a Pauline privilege to have the natural marriage dissolved and then be free to marry.

By Fr. Charles Grondin













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2 comments

  1. Emmett Hubarth Reply

    I believe you may have misstated one thing, Father. The Church will not annul a valid sacramental marriage. It is either valid, or it is not. An annulment is merely the process of determining the validity of a marriage.

  2. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Why on earth would you join a Church that welcomes you with rules and regulations, rather than one that welcomes you with open arms? Find a Universalist Church or similar… find a Church that doesn’t obsess over what you do with your genitals.

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