If approximately 50% of current “Catholic” marriages are actually invalid, how do I know if my marriage is valid? I was a cafeteria Catholic at the time of the wedding, husband was unbaptized. We got a dispensation from the bishop to marry. Husband has since been baptized and confirmed and we are practicing Catholics. Do we need to do something else to “validate” our marriage?
I am tempted to tell folks like this (and Tribunals around the country are getting calls like this over and over) call Pope Francis and ask him.
Canon 1060 is an important canon. It states that marriage enjoys the favor of the law (matrimonium gaudet favore iuris). A shorthand phrase often used by canonists states that marriage has “the presumption of validity.”
The Church maintains that, unless proven otherwise, a marriage that is properly celebrated is precisely what it appears to be: a marriage. Only after considerable evidence provides moral certitude that there was something invalid at the start, is this presumption of validity overturned.
Sadly, a number of ecclesiastics who should know better have recklessly spouted their personal beliefs about the demographics of marriage and invalidity.
Whatever their beliefs, the position of the Church remains that marriage is a binding institution, lasting for life, contracted by a man and a woman capable of doing so, who exchange consent according to the proper form of marriage.
You can rest assured in the Church’s belief in the validity of your marriage.
If you have a significant reason for doubting the validity of your marriage, then contact your diocesan marriage tribunal and ask to speak to a canonist. After you explain your situation, if indeed there is something to be concerned about canonically, the canonist at the tribunal will be able to direct you to a good priest who can help you with anything that needs some work.