Q: I am Catholic, and was married with civil ceremony to my ex-husband…and we divorced the following year. Now older and hopefully wiser, I want to share the rest of my life with my current partner. We want to get married, but can’t because my previous marriage (only civil, not in the church) is still not annulled.
A Catholic priest told me that I can marry anyone in the church, so we can be blessed. It would be considered a Secret Marriage.
My question is, would that marriage be valid? I want to know if doing that would not be against God’s law? –Ethel Continue reading
Q: We have a lot of confusion in our parish…. Complicating the equation, our diocesan bishop has retired and the Pope has yet to name his successor. We have a diocesan administrator, but he is also currently the bishop of [the diocese right next to ours]. The bishop-administrator is taking very much a “hands-off” approach to running our diocese… laypeople have tried to contact him regarding other matters and he told them to wait for the new bishop to arrive. So many of us have begun to despair of resolving our parish problems…. Do you think maybe we should contact Rome? —Marie Continue reading
Q: My brother and I have a disagreement. We are both Catholic and have a decent understanding of what is required for a Catholic to marry outside the Church, including canonical form (which is well explained in some of your responses on your website).
My brother posits that attending such a wedding, in which the Catholic spouse had not obtained permission from his bishop, would be considered “intrinsically evil.” Since the Church would not consider such a marriage valid due to a lack on canonical form, the attendee would be helping to celebrate and be offering at least tacit approval of a marriage that the Church does not consider valid.
For reasons I cannot fully articulate, I don’t think the attendance can be considered “intrinsically evil”…. Can a Catholic attend the marriage of another Catholic that takes place outside the Church, when that Catholic has not received permission from his bishop to do so? –Sharon Continue reading
Q: Out of academic curiosity I thought of asking this: how can we describe the marriage between Our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph in the light of present Canon Law? I’m not certain, but I have heard that the Church regards their marriage as a true Marriage. If that is so, is it only “Ratum”? So as it is “Non-Consummatum” is it not indissoluble?
Some say that Mary took a vow of Virginity when she was small. If that is so, is her consent defective, and consequently their marriage invalid? –Supun Continue reading
Q: In a previous article, you stated that under canon law we all have the right to privacy and a good reputation. I’m having a hard time reconciling these rights with the need for transparency in the Church regarding sexual abuse by the clergy. Doesn’t preserving an abusive priest’s “good reputation” mean covering up his misdeeds?
…Everyone is outraged because bishops have long been sweeping sexual abuse under the rug, but if bishops are required to protect the good name of their priests, can’t they cover up and then argue that they were just following canon law? –Zach Continue reading