QUAERITUR: marriage validity question

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Mark says:

    Perhaps the wife was considered to have formally apostatized for some reason, because she joined that other church. Or, at least, maybe that’s what the RCIA was thinking. I mean, if she went through it again, perhaps they considered her non-Catholic for some reason.

    Another question is whether the husband was baptized prior to becoming Catholic. We assume so because they joined the Presbyterian church, but is baptism done right away there? It obviously isnt in some evangelical churches, where it is seen as a precept to be fulfilled later, not an initiatory rite. But as for Presbyterian I dont know. If his baptism only happened upon joining the Catholic Church, could their marriage have been “sacramentalized” by that fact? No, I think even a natural marriage (between baptized woman and non-baptized man) would have been invalid because she was Catholic and so any natural marriage she may have wanted to enter would have needed a dispensation for disparity of cult.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Fr. Z; I see your point about not asking a priest via E-mail about these kind of questions, but what happens, seriously, when you can’t find a priest that is obedient to Catholic teachings. When my husband joined the Catholic Church the priest told him he did not need to go to confession because “it’s not the way he was brought up”. I hate to say this, but, other priests don’t want to make thier brother priest look foolish and don’t correct the problem. Hope this isn’t a rabbit hole. [Speak to a priest face to face. If he won’t help, contact the chancery and explain that he won’t help. One thing for sure… I can encourage through this medium, but I can’t help you directly. Go to a parish in the diocese, even if it must be a different parish and even if it is not close.]

  3. Prof. Basto says:

    Under the official interpretation recently promulgated by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, the situation of wife leaving the Catholic Church to join another Christian denomination does not ammount to a formal act of canonical defection from the Catholic Church.

    That formal act of defection requires that one declares in writting one’s intention to defect, and the instrument must be delivered to the parish priest or ordinaty. The former act of defection is a creation of the 1983 Code, and with the PCILT’s recent ruling, the potential for its application was greatly decreased, since even very public heretics who go to join other denominations almost never execute a formal deed of defection in the manner set forth by the PCLIT.

    So, the wife in question had not formally defected from the Catholic Church. As such, she was still canonically a Catholic, albeit in a state of heresy (for having joined a Protestant faith and ergo professed another doctrine and rejected several of the dogmas of the Church) and of latae sententiae excommunication. The automatic excommunication, however, remained undeclared, and so could be easily removed.

    But, as the wife had not practiced a formal act of defection and was still canonically enrolled in the Catholic Church, she remained all along bound by Canon Law and by the canonical form of marriage.

    Thus, it appears that the marriage is invalid, and the couple is rightly concerned. They should seek to regularize the marriage. If there is no impediment, that should be easy to do.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    If the priest at the parish is not receptive, or you don’t have confidence in his answer, simply call your local, friendly diocesan tribunal.

    There are a number of factors that could further color the situation above (which could be fleshed out much more easily in a personal conversation). Perhaps the priest who worked through the RCIA process to bring the man into the Church and the woman back to full practice of her faith utilized the process of retroactive validation (cc. 1161-1165), which can even be done occultly – without the parties being aware of it (c. 1164).

  5. Magdalene says:

    I think this sort of misunderstanding might be common. I have sponsored people in RCIA. One married couple had the situation where the man, a baptize Catholic, had been married twice before but those marriages, even the sacramental one were annulled. The wife had been married civily before and this was her second marriage and they were unsure if she had ever been baptized or not. She was told she did not need an annulment. Well, lo and behold, she did. The upshot was that it took 3 years for them to enter the church. Of course almost all previous ‘marriages’ are eventually ‘annulled’. I only have known of one case where it was not. And I mean long marriages with children are declared null. If that was not a marriage, then a good imitation of one was certainly done for many years.

    The US hands out thousands of annulments. And the children are impacted just the same as ‘divorce’, imagine that.

  6. going says:

    Prof. Basto and other canon lawyers,

    What if she was rebaptized in the Protestant church? Wouldn’t that be considered a formal act?

  7. Ann says:

    Magdalene, if there is a declaration of nullity then the marriage was not sacramental–that is what the process is about, determining sacramentality, so the fact of the decree states clearly that the sacrament was found to be wanting.

  8. MargaretMN says:

    The wife had never been confirmed? I would bet that the parish required people wishing to be confirmed (whether they had had a period of separation from the church or not) to go through RCIA since it’s a catch-all for cases where adults did not receive all their sacraments at the usual time for whatever reason.

    It’s my understanding that a marraige between a catholic and a non-catholic if done in the church becomes sacramental if the non-catholic converts later. That is what happened in mine and my husband’s case. In this case, they weren’t married in the church so my guess would that it would require a solemnization.

    I think your advice, is great Father, to go to a real live priest but if I were these people, I’d go straight to the archdiocese marraige office for an official answer. It sounds like they approached a priest who didn’t know and didn’t follow up. I think there are some priests who confuse their pastoral role with their role as a legal representative of the church and would be inclined to just pat these people on the head and tell them not to worry when they have a legitimate concern which should have a concrete answer. I am not casting aspersions on the priest, just suggesting that sometimes miscommunication can occur about these situations.

  9. Mark says:

    “Under the official interpretation recently promulgated by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, the situation of wife leaving the Catholic Church to join another Christian denomination does not ammount to a formal act of canonical defection from the Catholic Church.”

    So I guess one question is when all this happened. If it happened before 1983? If it happened before the recently published interpretation?

    How would all that affect it? If she joined another church before 1983, would that have been considered formal defection?

    I believe in all this, of course. But I cant help but thinking as a gut reaction that…when there are hypothetical situations where you might have to tell a couple that, had the wife LEFT the Church a year EARLIER (ie, ’82 instead of ’83)…their marriage would now be valid…that the simple folk are going to immediately think this is all a lot of bureaucratic hogwash. Any answers to such feelings?

  10. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr Z

    Somtimes the priest at the local parish is just not approachable or unwilling (as in my case) to provide guidance. They are just too busy to worry about trivial problems.

    It is entirely understandable that you would be asked such a question. Especially since I hear this same issue all the time.

    Jim Dorchak

  11. canon1753 says:

    I don’t know when this marriage took place. I would think that the priest who did RCIA may have thought that joining the Presbyterian was enough to be a formal defection and therefore not bound to form. The Authentic Interpretation as noted by Prof. Basto says that is not enough. They should either just convalidate the marriage or ask for their marriage to be sanated.

  12. Jim Dorchak: It is entirely understandable that you would be asked such a question.

    And the response I gave above is reasonable as well. I will repeat it here.

    Speak to a priest face to face. If he won’t help, contact the chancery and explain that he won’t help. One thing for sure… I can encourage through this medium, but I can’t help you directly. Go to a parish in the diocese, even if it must be a different parish and even if it is not close.

  13. wsxyz says:

    Magdalene, if there is a declaration of nullity then the marriage was not sacramental—that is what the process is about, determining sacramentality, so the fact of the decree states clearly that the sacrament was found to be wanting.

    Decrees of nullity are not infallible.

  14. supertradmom says:

    In the four dioceses where I have worked in RCIA, this couple would have had to “regularize” their marriage before they or he were admitted into the Church. Annulments in the case of a previous marriage, or true marriage in the Church,in all circumstances, are now requested for any marriage involving a Catholic, whether in or out of the Church. I do not understand why the lapse in procedure, as it is fairly common in my experience. Annulment or true marriage first, admittance into the Church, second. In my experience working with priests and chancery offices, this marriage, as explained, would need to be validated.

    Also, there is no such thing as “rebaptism” in the Protestant Church, if it is a mainline church, as the Catholic Church recognizes all Protestant baptisms are valid. The exceptions include the Latter Day Saints, which do not have a Trinitarian Baptism, and the Unitarians, which also do not baptize nor necessarily believe that the Father, the Son, and the Trinity are truly three Persons in One God. Unless it is an independent church, not connected with any of the mainline Protestant denominations, the baptisms are valid. In RCIA, many newcomers have come from independent, evangelical churches which only baptize in the Name of Jesus. These are not valid, Christian baptisms and such candidates have to be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

  15. Mark says:

    “Decrees of nullity are not infallible.”

    No, but if a party participates in good faith, then they are no longer morally bound by the marriage.

  16. supertradmom says:

    Just a question: why is the second priest not sure about this and why was it ok with the first priest? Seminary training incomplete?

  17. Gail F says:

    Occult retroactive validation — that phrase is just too cool.

    I thought that the church took the position of assuming all marriages are valid, and that’s why a divorced person who was not married in the church still has to have an annulment before marrying in the church.

    What am I getting wrong here?

  18. Tim Ferguson says:

    not necessarily so supertradmom. The first priest may have been okay with the situation, because he may have had the situation regularized through a radical sanation. The second priest may not be sure about the situation because not enough details were explained, and he might want to check with the diocesan records, or with the first priest before he offers his insights to the situation.

  19. TMG says:

    A neighbor who identifies herself as Catholic, but attends almost exclusively a Presbyterian church, was asking me if it is permissible for her to distribute what she termed communion at that church. She also receives communion there. She and her husband (who is Presbyterian) were married there by a minister, and both were divorced before (don’t know if her marriage was annuled).

    She said although she thought God would think it was fine to do the above, she was going to ask a priest. Is this one of the hybrid fruits of ecumenism – is this allowed?

  20. Tim Ferguson says:

    Gail, all marriages are presumed valid, but Catholics (and the Orthodox) have the additional burden (if you want to think of it as a burden) of following canonical form in order to marry validly. Canonical form, for Catholics, consists of exchanging consent before an official witness of the Church – e.g., their pastor or bishop or a bishop, priest, deacon or (in some rare cases) a layperson with appropriate delegation. If a Catholic person marries without following canonical form, (or without receiving a dispensation from form from his or her diocese) he or she marries invalidly.

  21. Folks: Lot’s of speculation here isn’t all that helpful.

    I gave some general comments based on sketchy information so as to encourage people in their own concrete situations to seek clarity and, if necessary, resolution.

  22. saintinthemaking says:

    Sounds like this couple’s RCIA director wasn’t checking all the boxes.

    When I went through RCIA, I actually found out that my husband (former Seventh Day Adventist) was baptized as an infant in another country and he never knew it…or that he as a baptized Catholic should’ve been married by a priest. Needless to say, we didn’t get married following the canonical form.

    Our choices were: 1) have a convalidation, or 2) he could write a letter stating he doesn’t consider himself Catholic because he wasn’t raised in the faith. He was against my conversion, so you can guess which option he chose. I’m hoping and praying that I’ll get that convalidation one day, maybe for our anniversary.

  23. Prof. Basto says:

    Just to clarify: that I am NOT a Canon Lawyer. Since I write under the name “Prof. Basto”, I have sometimes clarified that I am not an expert, but I failed to include such a caveat this time.

    I am a lawyer, and a professor of Law (it is common in my country for professors to have another job), and I do read material in the field of Canon Law from time to time, and I am curious about it, but I have no formation in the field of Canon Law.

    I offer my opinion on the subject based on the fact that the relevant legal documents are avaliable for the general public to consult, and as a member of the general public, not as an expert.

    Perhaps legal formation offers lawyers (especially from civil law jurisdictions) some advantage over other members of the general public in trying to learn and interpret Canon Law, but that still doesnt’t make me an expert.

    Now, that being said, I will reply “going”‘s question, adressed to me.



    As I understand it, even if the wife was “re-baptized” in the other Christian confession, that does not amount to the requiremets for formal canonical defection set out by the PCILT.

    Canonical defection must be in writting, and adressed to the parish priest or ordinary. The Church hierarchy is then to see to it that the act of formal defection be entered in the baptismal records.

    Canon Lawyers such as Dr. Edward Peters have criticized the PCILT document, but the said document is in force and was approved by the Pope and sent to all Episcopal Conferences.



    The sources I’ve read indicate that before 1983 there was NO WAY to formally defect from the Church.

    Therefore, once baptized and canonically received into the Church, the person remained forever, both sacramentally and canonically, a member of the Church, and bound by Canon Law for life.

    Before the recent PCLIT document, there was no official explanation on the part of the Holy See as to what constituted the act of formal defection that was mentioned by the 1983 Code.

    So, between 1983 and 2007, faced with the lack of an official clarification as to what constituted an act of formal defection, Canon Lawyers differed in their opinions, but most considered that publicly joining other denomination; or stating clearly and publicly, in the presence of witnesses, that one was not a Catholic anymore and had abandoned the Church, sufficed as acts of formal defection. However, the Holy See has ruled otherwise.

  24. southerncatholic says:

    More information about the marriage case in point (mine), if it helps:

    I (the husband) was duly baptized in a Southern Baptist church as a teen, about seven years before our marriage, and there were no questions about the validity of that baptism. When my wife approached the parish priest about coming into the Catholic Church, he told us we would have to go through RCIA, which we did. When we were brought into the Church at the Easter Vigil, we were both confirmed and I received first Holy Communion. We also participated in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconcilliation a few weeks before being brought into the Church.

    The priest who brought us into the Church thought that a “regularization” of our marriage was not necessary b/c, he said, my wife had officially “left” the Catholic Church when she publicly joined the Presbyterian church (we were listed as new members in the church bulletin of the Presbyterian church, but my wife did not send a letter any Catholic authorities about “leaving” the Church). So, the priest reasoned, as we were both baptized, non-Catholic Christians at the time of our marriage, the marriage was sacramental. As was already mentioned, our current priest thinks that our marriage should be regularized and we are happy to oblige.

    Thanks to all for the insights!

  25. southerncatholic says:

    BTW: Thanks, Fr. Z, for posting and responding to this question.

    And, for those who suggest we approach the pertinent diocesan authority about this question, one more interesting detail: the original priest in this story (the one who brought us into the Church and who said that we did not need to have our marriage regularized in the Church), is now the judicial vicar of our diocese!

  26. Tim Ferguson says:


    thanks for the additional information, which helps clarify some things. Since the PCILT document that Prof. Basto spoke about was issued relatively recently (within the last five years, if I’m not mistaken), the first priest who thought you did not need a “regularization” may have bgeen acting not only in good faith, but also with full knowledge at the time. Now that the Council has clarified the issue (or at least attempted to), I think it is wise of your current pastor to pursue a regularization, either through a convalidation or a retroactive convalidation (sanatio).

  27. Allan says:

    Went to my pastor, he said “Don’t worry about it.” Called the marriage tribunal office at the archdiocese and they said “speak to your pastor.” I dropped it.

    My situation?

    Me – baptised protestant as an infant, then apostasized
    Wife – never baptised, is athiest

    Then we got married by a “rent-a-minister” (Unitarian Church, I think) at City Hall. Paid $50. Celebrant wore a bedsheet. Really.

    Then I “converted” to the RC Church, and was received, confirmed, first communion. Wife remains as before.

    Marriage – valid? Beats the heck out of me….

  28. Finbar says:

    I have had friends (her a convert, he the son of lapsed Catholic parents raised with no religion but baptized a Catholic) with the same question. It is an easy problem to fix: a few phone calls, perhaps a form to fill out, the words, “sanito in radice,” and all things are made whole. The same solution, equally painlessly, has been routinely applied to marriages witnessed by SSPX priests operating–self-evidently–without jurisdiction to my first-hand knowledge everywhere in the English-speaking world and I assume elsewhere.

  29. ssoldie says:

    Why is it that those who read the Baltimore Catechism, This Is The Faith, My Catholic Faith, The Faith of Millions, etc seem to have no trouble with these problems as to their Catholic faith, read and learn if you want to truly be Catholic.

  30. Tim Ferguson says:

    Allan – based on what you’ve said, it would seem that your marriage is valid. neither of you were bound by any type of canonical form at the time of your marriage, so a civilly recognized “I do” from both of you provides the consent needed to make marriage.

  31. recusant says:

    Presbyterians, at least main-stream ones, do not rebaptize.

  32. Mark says:

    “Marriage – valid? Beats the heck out of me….”

    Valid, yes, everything else being equal. What Tim says is correct. But yours is a valid natural marriage, not a sacrament, unless and until your wife is baptized. It’s an important distinction, as before that it could be dissolved in favor of the faith via the Petrine Privilege.

  33. wsxyz says:

    “Decrees of nullity are not infallible.”
    No, but if a party participates in good faith, then they are no longer morally bound by the marriage.

    Of course Mark. But I am entirely unconvinced that most persons seeking an annulment are participating in good faith. Annulments are treated like divorces in most parishes/dioceses and so people think of them like divorces: I was really married, and now I’m really not.

  34. Mark says:

    “Of course Mark. But I am entirely unconvinced that most persons seeking an annulment are participating in good faith.”

    No, most are, for better or worse.

    Bad faith, strictly speaking, would only include stuff like lying, fudging the evidence, obfuscating the investigation, bribing the tribunal, threatening the investigators, etc.

    In other words, deliberately doing dishonest or immoral things to effect the outcome of a ruling of invalidity.

    Mere indifference is not enough to morally bind them to the old marriage when a tribunal with binding effects on conscience has ruled otherwise. If one of the parties has a real substantive concern about the proceedings or real substantive reasons to believe the marriage was valid, they can appeal. But if both parties and the Church accept the ruling and there was no foul-play…then let sleeping dogs lie.

    Again, unless they have with-held something from the tribunal or “cheated” the system somehow, merely a vague “divorce mentality” about the annulment will not cause their future marriage to be morally imputed as adultery.

    If the tribunal did something disingenuous, then the tribunal will answer to God. But usually they too are acting in good faith, though you may think they are misguided or subconsciously biased in favor of finding marriages invalid.

    “Annulments are treated like divorces in most parishes/dioceses and so people think of them like divorces: I was really married, and now I’m really not.”

    An interesting thought that has come up several times in unofficial “ecumenical” “dialogues” I have had with Orthodox faithful and priests…is that even accepting the logic of annulments, we could still say they were really married.

    The Orthodox find it a ridiculous legal fiction that a marriage that very clearly happened externally and visibly, to the point of having children, can suddenly be declared to have “never happened”. Especially when our “annulments” now outnumber their “divorces”.

    And they have a point. To say that “nothing” happened is odd, to say the least.

    They have been more receptive, however, to some sort of idea like that even if the marriages were not indissoluble sacramental marriages because of some defect, we might be able to still consider them to be something like a valid Natural Marriage, and the ceremony even a sacramental giving actual graces (in western theological terms), even if not, strictly speaking, an indissolubly ratified and consummated Sacrament properly so called.

    In this sense, we could meet the Orthodox half-way without either of us really having to change our teachings or practices.

    We would admit that, in addition to an investigation establishing the marriage to be non-sacramental, the Church is also in effect granting a dissolution to a real, albeit non-sacramental, marriage (along the lines of the petrine and pauline privileges). Only in cases of fatal defects according to the natural [and not just Canon] law (ie, like, they are of the same sex, or are mother and son, etc) would the marriage be totally invalid in terms of both a natural marriage and a sacramental marriage.

    The Orthodox could in turn admit that a marriage should be viewed as theoretically not the full Sacrament (which Christ defined as absolutely indissoluble) if it is going to be dissolved, but would continue to leave such a determination up to the pastoral care of the individual bishop instead of a complicated tribunal system (which is a later development anyway). If the bishop wants to “not ask too many questions” and be liberal in just assuming that most marriages that collapse were lacking something from the start, in order to be “ekonomic”…well, that’s his pastoral decision. If there is anything insincere about it, he’ll answer for that, not us.

    Such a solution would seem to make both sides a little more intellectually honest, and really reveal the “differences” in our teachings to be mainly semantic and solvable without any change to either side that would compromise notions of infallibility or require major changes in practice.

  35. wsxyz says:

    Mark: It is very comforting to know that God cannot be fooled and that the diligent workers of the American annulment assembly line, and their clients – most of whom know very well that their marriages were not in any way impeded – will receive their perfectly just rewards.

  36. Mark says:

    “It is very comforting to know that God cannot be fooled”

    Meh. Why should I be comforted by the idea that other people are going to hell for getting remarried? If I was one of the parties harmed by such an annulment, maybe. But it’s really none of my business. If both parties and the Church accept the annulment…then it’s not my place to ask questions nor to take some sort of secret legalistic joy in the thought of them being punished for a secret shame.

    “most of whom know very well that their marriages were not in any way impeded”

    Again, I dont think they know that. I think most are entirely indifferent these days. They never really knew or were educated about the whole thing in the first place, and dont really care now and are just going through the motions for as long as it remains the path of least resistance.

    And such a mindset does seem to suggest that maybe their old marriage (and their new) might have some serious defects. Enough to render them invalid? That’s for the tribunals to judge, not me.

    We dont know the details of most annulments. We do know that many couples contracept. Many are childless. Many do marry with immature attitudes and without full knowledge of the indissolubility of what they’re getting in to. The fact that so many marriages end in divorce suggests a systematic problem, a problem from the start, from the root.

    I do think that more counselling both before the marriage and once the crisis or separation has started…is needed. That some validly married couples are getting divorced because it is the easy path rather than working it out, and that annulment tribunals might need to exercise a little more tough love to try to get such couples back together.

    But I also believe that in many cases the number of annulments has risen because, indeed, the number of invalid (ie, non-sacramental) marriages has greatly risen.

    I dont really see what refusing to grant the annulment would do in most cases. I dont really see what the scowling finger-wagging “tribunals should not be so lenient!” crowd is hoping to achieve except some absolutely impersonal notion of “truth” that puts the law before people.

    Yes, we cant be soft on the theoretical indissolubility of a validly ratified and consummated sacramental marriage. We need to encourage a culture of fidelity, and for couples in crisis to try to work it out. But it is at this point I think we do need to learn a little from the Orthodox and their concept of pastoral Ekonomy (even while still maintaining the theoretical indissolubility of a fully Sacramental marriage). Because if we’re being honest, we know that most of the couples, if refused the annulment, are just going to say “then screw this” and leave the Church and get married anyway. At that point, what does denying them accomplish? And when the facts are ambiguous, isnt it best to rule in the way that doesnt face them with a choice of adultery??

    The Church needs to cut the losses. If there are some cases where they truly believe not granting the annulment could save the old marriage, encourage the couple to give it another try, etc…then not granting it could be tried. But if their married life is totally disintegrated and over, and “wiggle room” clauses like the “psychological defect” or whatever…allow for a “pastoral” or “ekonomic” interpretation…isnt it better to allow a second marriage, in the church, with a penitential/healing emphasis or character…rather than leave them in a situation where they are almost certainly going to choose adultery and scandal?

  37. Allan says:

    Tim/Mark – thanks. Not sure why I couldn’t get a straight answer like that before….

  38. All: This entry isn’t about declarations of nullity.

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