Marriage a Bar to the Eucharist?

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Viki59

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Please help. I am devastated because I went to confession tonight to our associate priest and he refused me absolution, and said it would be a sin to receive the eucharist, although I’ve been doing so for the seven years since I converted.
The reason is that my husband and I were married in a protestant church when I was a protestant eleven years ago, then four years later I converted, but we never remarried in the Catholic church. Our priest has said it would be a good idea to have our marriage blessed, but my husband, who is a lukewarm cradle Catholic, never thought it was important so we never did. But our priest never said we couldn’t receive the sacraments or that it would be a sin to do so. The associate priest said he’s not from this country and that he may be incorrect, but that he would discourage me from receiving the eucharist.
I would be grateful if anyone can shed some light on my situation.
 
If your husband did not get a dispensation of form, then it is important to get the marriage validated. This is only difficult if there are impediments to a valid marriage. If for example, one of you was previously married to someone else, then that previous marriage would have to be found invalid.
 
There is not enough information in your post to give you a firm answer. Examples: Was this a first marriage for both of you? Did your husband receive the proper dispensations from his bishop when you were married (to marry a non-Catholic and to marry in a non-Catholic ritual)?

Don’t feel compelled to answer these questions publicly. But these are questions that you and your husband need to take to the pastor of your parish. If need be, the pastor or a designated member of the parish staff will help you rectify your marriage situation.
 
Thank you for the responses.
My husband never got a dispensation, as he wasn’t living as a Catholic when we were married. I was married previously but I had to get an annulment before I could join the Church. That’s why I didn’t think we needed to do anything further.
I will talk with our pastor as you suggest.
 
I am sorry about your situation. You must have indeed been devastated.

During your annulment process, the annulment advocate, or the person handling the annulment should have told you that you would need to have your marriage rectified.

Marriage isn’t a bar to the Eucharist; the lack of a valid marriage is a bar to the Eucharist. It should be a fairly simple matter to rectify, however. I hope your husband is willing to have your marriage validated by a priest in your parish.

Does your parish have Perpetual Adoration, or an Adoration schedule? You can spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, with our Lord. That is another way you may commune with our Lord, while you await your marriage validation. (It’s a wonderful thing to continue, even after your marriage is validated, too! 🙂 )

I’ll be praying for you. May the Lord bless you.

dust

PS: I hope the priest you saw for confession reminded you, that you are still required to attend Mass, even though you cannot receive.
 
Because your husband was a Catholic at the time of your marriage, you should have had your marriage convalidated after you received your decree of nullity, but before you joined the Church and took First Communion. I’m very surprised that your priest and/or RCIA catechists didn’t inform you of this. Did they know your husband was Catholic?

Anyway, having your marriage convalidated is a quick and easy process, and there is no reason you shouldn’t have this done right away. All you need is a priest to marry you, two witnesses, and about a half-hour of everyone’s time.
 
This is an interesting scenario, and one that I do not completely understand. I am in a similar situation (first marriage for both of us, though). My husband and I were married by a protestant minister, mainly because we were eloping in Florida and it made a Catholic marriage difficult. But, neither of us were practicing Catholics at the time, so we were not terribly concerned. We have since become very active in our parish and are even Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. We will be having our marriage blessed, or “validated” as my parish priest called it, in August. Our priest never told us to abstain from communion or from distributing communion.

I’ve done other reading on the subject, and there are some who think my husband and I are living in sin, and should therefore abstain from the Eucharist until the marriage is validated, and also live as brother and sister. While I never brought up that particular issue with my priest, I hope if it were the issue he would have said something while we were planning the validation ceremony. Guess I need to talk to him again.
 
MooCowSteph,

Your situation is discussed in Familiaris Consortio. (Under current canon law, if you are Catholic, then being married by a Protestant minister is the same as having a civil marriage, in that it is recognized by the government but not by the Church.)
  1. There are increasing cases of Catholics who for ideological or practical reasons, prefer to contract a merely civil marriage, and who reject or at least defer religious marriage. Their situation cannot of course be likened to that of people simply living together without any bond at all, because in the present case there is at least a certain commitment to a properly-defined and probably stable state of life, even though the possibility of a future divorce is often present in the minds of those entering a civil marriage. By seeking public recognition of their bond on the part of the State, such couples show that they are ready to accept not only its advantages but also its obligations. Nevertheless, not even this situation is acceptable to the Church.
The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments.
 
I’m wondering why there is no mention of the tribunal in your diocese in this matter? Do you even know that your matter should have been referred to them and have they even contacted you yet? I’m surprised that this situation is seven years in the making and I’ll be praying for you both and for those involved in your situation. Perhaps things will improve.

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
Please go and speak with you pastor about your situation. The process for repairing lack of dispensation from form is not that difficult to obtain and takes much less time than the annulment process. I will be praying for you.
:gopray:
 
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Viki59:
Please help. I am devastated because I went to confession tonight to our associate priest and he refused me absolution, and said it would be a sin to receive the eucharist, although I’ve been doing so for the seven years since I converted.
The reason is that my husband and I were married in a protestant church when I was a protestant eleven years ago, then four years later I converted, but we never remarried in the Catholic church. Our priest has said it would be a good idea to have our marriage blessed, but my husband, who is a lukewarm cradle Catholic, never thought it was important so we never did. But our priest never said we couldn’t receive the sacraments or that it would be a sin to do so. The associate priest said he’s not from this country and that he may be incorrect, but that he would discourage me from receiving the eucharist.
I would be grateful if anyone can shed some light on my situation.
The first question that needs to be answered is this the only Marriage for either of you? Second did you marry according to the requirements of the Catholic Church since he was Catholic, even though you were not?

If the answer to 1. is no. You need to follow his advice.
If the answer to 2. is no. You need to follow his advice.

If the answer to both is Yes, Go back to Confession and explain this to him.

If this is a first Marriage for both of you and you were both non-Catholic at the time. Nothing else needs to be done. The Marriage would be valid.

Another thing that keeps poping up in RCIA is if a person is divorced. They DO NOT need to seek an Annulment before entering RCIA or entering the Church. Unless they intend to enter into another Marriage. If they are single, they don’t need to seek an Annulment!
 
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