Stephanie Strube wrote:

Hi, guys —

My fiancé and I want to convert to the Catholic faith. We are both divorced and have children by our other ex's. We want to raise the children in the Catholic Church. He was raised Baptist and
I was raised in many different churches, none which I stayed in for more then a few weeks.

  • Could my fiancé and I get married in the Church after we join?

Stephanie

  { Can my husband and I get married in the Catholic Church after we convert? }

John replied:

Hi, Stephanie —

Thank you for your question.

Before either of you could marry in the Catholic Church, you would have to see if your previous marriages could be annulled. For that to happen, the Church would have to determine if these marriages were valid or if there was some previously existing impediment. While annulments are fairly easy to obtain, they are not a sure thing.

I'd suggest you look into starting an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program this fall. RCIA is a time of discerning your call to Catholicism as well as learning the Teachings of the Church. You can also start the annulment process; the process can take a year or so.

RCIA can take anywhere from few months to two years depending on how ready you are to commit to being Catholic. Typically, baptized Christians go through the program between September and April and enter the Church at Easter.

Welcome home and God Bless!

John

Mike replied:

Hi, Stephanie —

If you are interested, here is a page that talks about the process:

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore. Nevertheless, if you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

If you, or any visitor, has been helped by our work at AskACatholic.com, consider financially supporting us today.

Mike

Mary Ann replied:

Stephanie,

While John is correct that your marriages may need to be "annulled", that is not necessarily the case. There is a Scripture-based provision in Catholicism which allows those who convert to be freed from their first union if the first spouse is unwilling to convert or to be at peace with the conversion. It would depend on some circumstances with your first union, which will be looked at, if you wish. Just talk to the Catholic pastor.

Of course, even before you seek an annulment, you may become Catholic and you may remain together, especially because of the children. The question is whether you may live
"as husband and wife".   That would depend on whether both of you were validly married in the first unions, and on other things, so don't worry. One of the main reasons for invalid marriages is that people marry with the belief that divorce and remarriage are an option; that marriage is not until death, in any real sense, independent of the personal choice of the couple.

That is not the Catholic concept of marriage, and therefore one who marries with that concept lacks valid intent.

God bless you both.

Mary Ann

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