In most cases I refer people with questions about the validity of their marriages directly to a real live parish priest who will be in a position to help them work out any problems they may have.
This question, however, is about a situation which is fairly common.
I post it here to help inspire any of you in a similar situation who may have doubts or questions about the status of your marriage you seek clarity and resolution.
Sometimes, most of the time, the resolution can come pretty easily.
Your peace of mind is worth any "inconvenience".
My wife was baptized as a Catholic but, soon after, her parents divorced and she was raised by her father (an agnostic). Even though her father never took her to church, she spent a few weeks one summer staying with her devoutly-Catholic grandmother who, during her visit, took my wife to the priest for catechesis and made sure that she received her first Holy Communion. She was about eight years old. When my wife and I met in highschool, we began attending a Presbyterian church together (I was not Catholic at that time). We joined the Presbyterian church our senior year of high school and, after college, were married in that church. Within a year of being married, we went through RCIA and joined the Catholic Church. We have been Catholic ever since.
My question is whether or not our marriage is sacramental. We have never had our marriage "blessed" in the Catholic Church, and the priest who brought us into the Church through RCIA did not think it was necessary to do so. Our current priest is not so sure. I would greatly appreciate your insight and opinion on this matter.
So, the man was not Catholic at the time of the marriage. The woman was baptized in the Catholic Church and she received first Holy Communion. At that time they would have made sure she had been baptized or received properly. Thus, she was bound by the Church’s laws about the proper form of marriage.
I am rather puzzled about the process of RCIA which they participated in so as to bring him into to the Church. You would have thought that at that time the priest would have tried to help them get their marriage situation straightened out. Oh well. Perhaps there were reasons to wait.
It seems to me, from what information we have here, that this can be resolved fairly easily. The couple has definitely made good moves to demonstrate that they want to participate in the life of the Catholic Church. But their marriage is irregular: she was bound by the Church’s law to marry in the way the Church prescribes. They did not do so, it seems.
However, the marriage can be validated by a fairly simple procedure. I encourage them to get together with the priest at their parish very soon and start working that out. He will know precisely what to do to help them in the process, which will probably be fairly quick. Each priest will handle these things differently. Sometimes they want a demonstration that the couple is practicing their faith together for a reasonable period. But… if this guy and/or his wife are reading this blog… I suspect a measure of interest in the Catholic Church is present.
Folks, if you have questions about your marriage, doubts, rather than write to some guy via e-mail, don’t be afraid to approach a real live priest at the parish! Just lay out the facts, bring the documents you have, and answer his questions. Unless he is a wacko, he’ll know how to proceed and you will feel better about life.