From a reader…
I am in RCIA and am scheduled to be confirmed at Easter. I was raised Baptist and baptized as a teenager, as was my husband, but we had both left church and were only married civilly. I am converting to Catholicism. My husband is not and is hostile to Christianity. I asked my pastor about this and he said our marriage would be made OK when I was confirmed and that convalidation would not be needed, but everything I have read seems to say otherwise.
Also, there is a good change we may end up divorcing, so would it be wrong to have a convalidation if one is needed, knowing that upfront?
If not, should I hold off on confirmation, go through with it but abstain from the Eucharist until my marriage situation is sorted out and made valid, or what?
Thanks for your helps, and for the wise words and straight talk on your blog.
I double-checked on this with a good canonist.
It seems your pastor is telling you the truth. At the time you married your husband, if I’m reading this correctly, neither of you were Catholic. Therefore, presuming it was a first marriage for both of you, all that was needed to make that marriage valid was a valid act of consent (“I do”). That marriage is presumed valid. When you enter the Catholic Church, you bring that presumed-valid marriage into the Church with you, as it were. There is no need for a new marriage, or a convalidation, or a blessing.
You raise the prospect of the marriage possibly ending in divorce. That is definitely something you should talk about with your pastor.
Divorce is serious business and should not be considered lightly.
If the reason for a possible divorce is the tension created by your new-found faith and your husband’s apparent hostility to Christianity, that should be discussed. Perhaps counseling would help. Propose professional counseling, if your husband is unwilling to attend pastoral counseling. Divorce should not be seen as an inevitability.
Pray for your husband. His hostility to the Church might be something that can be overcome by your prayers and the witness of your own joy in embracing the faith.