I am a little unclear
what the term "2nd marriage" refers to (one can only have a valid "second
marriage" after the death of a spouse). Nevertheless, I will try to explain in general terms
If you and your
"estranged husband" were validly married to begin with, you would have remained
married to each other until his death. Note that "validly married" may be
different than "civilly married". A valid marriage is for life, regardless of
any "civil divorce". A valid marriage can be dissolved by no power on earth.
Remember that Jesus says...
divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries
a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk.
16:18) [Note: Also see Mt. 5:31-32 & Mk. 10:2-12
for similar quotes by Jesus.]
Certainly there could
be no adultery if a divorce truly ended a marriage. Actually, it is impossible
to dissolve a valid sacramental marriage while both spouses are living
(regardless of what the state chooses to believe). As expressed in Church law...
"Can. 1118 A
ratified and consummated valid marriage can be dissolved by no human power and
for no cause, outside of death." (1917 Code of Canon Law)
"Can. 1141 A
marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by
no cause, except death." (1983 Code of Canon Law)
If there is any
question as to the validity of your marriage to him prior to his death, you
would need to contact the Church for assistance. Also, I have assumed that you
did not obtain an annulment. An annulment is a declaration by the Church that
you were never married to begin with (even if it seemed otherwise – even if
there was a wedding at a Catholic church). Yet this may be 'moot' now since a
valid marriage would have ended at his death. If you have questions about
annulments, you might find the article
here helpful. You may also find the following reflections on 'Divorce /
Regarding legality of
a "2nd marriage" under civil law, you might want to speak with an attorney.
Lastly, it would be
good if you could find it in your heart to pray for your now deceased husband
and have Masses said for his soul. As Christ has instructed us to forgive
others, it would be in your own interest to forgive him and perform acts of
charity on his behalf...
"If you forgive
others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you
do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
(Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 6:14-15)
I understand it may be
difficult for you right now, but you may find that deeds done out of love of
Christ become sweet burdens - ones that may be rewarded for all eternity in
In any event, I am
very sorry for your loss and for the difficult situation.
God bless you.
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