Dear Father Bloom

...Why, when neither myself nor my husband was Catholic at the time of our marriage (we were both baptised and married in a church) do I now have to seek an annulment in order to be remarried in the Church as a Catholic? I have talked to my parish about this but I can't seem to explain it to others who insist it doesn't make any sense. Thank you for your time, and if you could offer me your explanation of it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks! And thank you for your prayers.

Charlotte

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Dear Charlotte,

Thanks for your e-mail. I do not know if I can offer any more explanation than what you already got from your parish. Did they tell you the Catholic Church presumes the validity of all first marriages, even if neither are baptized? Jesus was pretty global when he said, "Therefore what God has joined together..." (Mk 10:8) When both are baptized (even if not in the Catholic Church) it is considered a sacrament. There is what is called the Pauline privilege (I Cor 7:15) when neither was baptized...

I do know couples who, rather than try for an anulment have chosen to live together as brother and sister. That is hard, especially in the kind of world we live in, but can be a powerful witness. Another option is remaining faithful to the Church's rules (that is attending Mass, but not receiving communion). Another painful road but also a real witness.

All this is pretty general. Feel free to ask any clarifying questions. You may want to tell me more about your specific situation.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom