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'Quick Help' Page: Twice Divorced, Wants To Marry In The Church

 

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"My boyfriend and I are both Catholic. I have never been married. He was married and divorced twice, but not in the Catholic Church. We would like to get married in the Church but don't know if this will be allowed. Can you help?"

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

If your boyfriend has ever been validly married (i.e. married in the eyes of God), he is STILL married, regardless of any so called 'divorce', assuming the spouse is still alive. A valid marriage is for life, regardless of what any civil authority says. Remember that Jesus said that those who 'divorce' and 'remarry' commit adultery – obviously a person could not commit adultery unless the person was still married.

However, whether or not your boyfriend was ever validly married to begin with would need to be determined by the Church. You should contact your parish regarding the annulment process. The annulment process would clarify whether or not a valid marriage ever existed. If a valid marriage never existed, he may be free to marry you provided there are no other impediments to the marriage (however, please see below for some additional thoughts).

You may find the following helpful... (click link to view)

* Annulment Information (user-submitted article)

* 'Divorce / Remarriage' Reflections (quotes from Scripture, Popes, Saints...)

* Information on Holy Matrimony

* Reflections on Marriage

* More Marriage Reflections

Also, given what you describe, it seems that some additional serious thought and preparation should be undergone before your marriage (assuming it turns out your boyfriend was never validly married and you can therefore proceed to marry). If your boyfriend doesn't consider marriage to be "until death do us part", this would be a problem and should prevent you from entering a valid marriage with him. It is also concerning that he did not live up to his Catholic faith by getting 'married' outside the Church on two occasions. I would advise you to meet privately with a *good* priest and discuss this situation very frankly with him (just you and the priest). Obviously, two failed "marriages" is not an ideal situation and may potentially be problematic for you in the future. Remember that if you were to enter a valid marriage with him and he later 'divorced' you, you would be married to him for life in the eyes of God, even if he "remarried" someone else.

Likewise, one's faith must be central in one's life, and his past actions do not seem to be a very good indicator in that regard, IMHO. If it was me, I would want to know why he previously disregarded his precious Catholic faith to enter into such unions and what has changed since then regarding his commitment to the Church. With life-changing decisions, one must be careful to consider not just positive emotions, but reflect on the reality (& difficulty) of married life and the central part that faith should play in one's life. No one but you can make your life-changing decisions, but I would strongly advise you to think carefully with your head and not simply make decisions based on emotions (which, BTW, are all too often fleeting as time passes and difficulties present themselves). For a valid marriage, there is no "do over" or second chance – as long as both spouses remain alive they remain married to each other, regardless of whether either one turns out to be a saint or a monster, and regardless of any so-called civil 'divorce'. You definitely want to make sure you make the right choice on this.

I wish you both the best.


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Other Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

Holy Matrimony (Topic Page)

Divorce (Topic Page)

 

  

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