Can A Catholic Marry a Divorced Protestant?


Wedding contract certificate cut by scissors.

Getting a divorce is one of the worst things that can happen to a marriage. After getting married, it is the hope of the church, family, and the couple that the marriage will last till their death. But sometimes, then comes irreconcilable issues, making divorce the only option. Some people will opt to stay single while others will try to marry again.

So, can a catholic marry a divorced protestant? A Catholic can marry a divorced protestant but under special conditions. The catholic church abides by the teaching of the bible that says a man who sleeps with another woman after divorcing his wife has committed adultery. Hence, even after divorce, the catholic church still considered the marriage valid under church law. If the catholic wants to marry a divorced protestant, the divorcee has to apply for an annulment.

Marriage is not an easy task; it takes hard work and commitment to maintain a successful marriage. However, if a couple gets a divorce, they can choose to marry other partners. Read on to find more information on a catholic marrying a divorced protestant and the process of annulment.

Can A Catholic Marry a Divorced Protestant?

It is a common misconception that the catholic church does not recognize marriages officiated by other religious leaders or civil leaders. The catholic church does recognize all legal marriages. Whether a couple got married by a judge or an Elvis impersonator at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, if the government deems the marriage legal, then the catholic church will recognize it as a valid marriage.

When protestants marry, their wedding ceremony might be slightly different from that of a catholic church. Hence, this marriage is valid until proved otherwise per the catholic church law. Different religions have different rules regarding marriage after divorce.

Some allow people to marry after their divorce without fulfilling any conditions, some like the catholic church, will require a declaration of nullity before a divorced person can marry.

The catholic spouse will indicate that they want to marry a divorced protestant to their priest or deacon. There will be an investigation of the prior marriage before the catholic is allowed to marry. The investigation is to prove if the marriage was valid or not. If it proved invalid, then the catholic will have a catholic wedding. If not, then it will be impossible for him to have a catholic wedding.

The catholic church has the right to decide who gets married in the church. Before a couple can have a catholic wedding, they have to fulfill several conditions. One of the conditions is that none of them has a prior marriage. The divorce papers from the court are not enough to prove that there was no marriage; the catholic church will conduct its investigation before it gives an annulment.

The catholic church has provided several grounds on which a divorced person can seek an annulment. One of them is a lack of consent, where one or both parties did not give proper consent.

Another one is the intention to preclude children permanently, where when one of the couples decides they do not want children. Deep psychological immaturity, where one of the couples has not grown enough mentally or emotionally, makes it difficult for the other couple to stay in the marriage.

Annulment

An annulment is a declaration by the church tribunal that a marriage thought to be valid according to the church law did not meet the standards of a valid marriage. The annulment states that the marriage, especially during the wedding ceremony, did not fulfill all the church’s conditions to make a marriage valid.

Hence, the reason why the catholic church will insist that the bride and groom follow all the laws, especially when saying their vows, to ensure that the marriage is valid.

The church believes that marriage is a lifelong bond. It even states in the wedding vows that the marriage will stay until death does them apart. Hence, the marriage will still be going on until one of the couple dies. Getting a divorce does not matter, it may be a legal document given by the government, but you still cannot get married in a catholic church.

The job of the catholic church tribunal is to determine if something essential was missing at the moment of consent, saying the vows during the wedding ceremony. To start the process of getting a declaration of nullity, one of the spouses or both will approach the church with a request to have a wedding. The priest or bishop will then direct them to file a written petition with the church tribunal.

The applicant should ensure they include all the evidence they need to prove their case. Witnesses are essential for the applicant. The church tribunal will ask each of them questions regarding the prior marriage. The applicant needs to include people who are willing to speak to the church tribunal.

The applicant should request the previous spouse to sign the petition; however, it is not mandatory that they sign it. If the spouse did not sign the petition, the church tribunal would contact them. The spouse will also be asked a few questions about the marriage. The applicant will also be allowed to present their evidence but limited to the marriage only.

Each party is free to appoint a church advocate. A church advocate shall present evidence on behalf of the applicant. The church will have a representative, known as the defender of the bond, to argue that the marriage is valid. There are three outcomes, a declaration of nullity, a declaration that the marriage is valid, and a declaration of nullity with the prohibition of marriage until certain issues are solved.

When the church tribunal gives a declaration of nullity, the couple is then free to marry. They can also impose certain conditions that should be fulfilled by one or both parties before the couple can get married. Getting a declaration of nullity is not an expensive affair; it can also be free. Sometimes the church will request a small fee payable in installments or ask you to make a donation.

It is not necessary for the divorced person to apply for the petition. The Catholic spouse can apply for the declaration of nullity, but the divorced protestant will be asked to attend the tribunal. It might be a new procedure; hence, some divorced non-Catholic may feel that it is a bad thing.

Some may wonder how the catholic church perceives marriages officiated in other religions. Going through this process is a show of love and commitment to the Catholic spouse and willingness to do anything to ensure that they can get a valid marriage.

Lastly

The catholic church has several requirements that a bride and groom should fulfill before they can get married. If a protestant marriage is deemed valid by their church, then the catholic church will recognize that marriage as valid. A divorced protestant needs to be free from their prior marriage before getting married to a catholic in a catholic church.

The declaration of nullity is not for divorced Catholics only, but all types of marriages. As long as the government deems that marriage as legal, an annulment will be necessary before they marry a catholic in a catholic wedding.

A declaration of nullity does not indicate that these relations did not happen; it shows that the marriage did not follow the church laws on marriage. One should consult a bishop or deacon for advice after deciding to marry a divorced protestant.

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