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Anonymous Anna wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question regarding getting married in the Catholic Church. I've grown up Catholic, and have been confirmed in the Catholic Church. When I was in my early 20s, I went to the Justice of the Peace and married a non-Catholic. The marriage resulted in a divorce several years later.

I am now engaged again and would like to do things right this time and be married in the Catholic Church. I've had several people tell me that because I was married in a civil ceremony the first time, the Catholic Church didn't recognize the marriage, and that I could be married in the Church this time.

  • Can you tell me if this is correct?

Before you answer, I'd just like to add that about a year following the civil ceremony by the Justice of the Peace, I had a wedding/reception. The wedding was held in a non-denominational church however, it was more for show, as at that point, I had already been married for a year or so.

I'd greatly appreciate any information you could provide.

Thanks so much,


  { Can I be married in the Catholic Church though originally I was married in a civil ceremony? }

Eric replied:

Dear Anna,

You need what is called a documentary process annulment. (See Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus for more.) This is relatively quick to get and unless you plan on getting married within a few weeks should probably be doable.

You should speak to your priest about this. I presume you've already talked to or planned to talk to a priest about your wedding; discuss this with him.


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