Is it good to pray for divorce
(04-25-2017, 01:17 PM)Jeeter Wrote: My thoughts are generally with what PM said.  If they weren't Catholic, got married in a non-Catholic church, or even in front of an Elvis impersonator in Vegas, but then became Catholic, would the marriage be valid or not?

Where's MagisterMusicae?  This is a question for him.

Marriage is both a natural and supernatural reality.

On a natural level it is a contract between two of the opposite sex by which each perpetually and completely surrenders and receives the rights over their bodies for acts proper to generation. It is also accompanied by some degree of sharing in a common life and common goods, but this second part has varies by place and time. What is essential is that there is some degree of common life and support.

Christ, however, raised this human contract and naturally sacred reality to a supernatural level for the Baptized, making it a sacrament — that is, an act which, by its very nature, gives grace. As a sacrament it is also a mystic symbol of the union between Christ and the Church.

That's a preface to understand that marriage is thus governed by two different, but related degrees of custom and law.

Second important point, a marriage is an essentially and substantially equal union. While each spouse has his proper role, no spouse suffers is any less or more married or gets less or more benefits from the marriage. A wife has the right to demand the marital act as much as the husband. The husband has the right to mutual support as much as the wife does. And, most importantly, the marriage is either a sacrament for both or neither.

For those who are not baptized, or where one of the spouses is not baptized, the marriage is merely natural. While that does not mean that it is less of a marriage, it does mean that, for a higher purpose, the true marriage can be dissolved under very specific cases for the good of the Faith. This is why these are called "favor of the Faith" cases.

The first is called the Pauline Privilege (from 1 Cor 7.12–15). St. Paul explains that in the case of a marriage between two unbaptized, if one converts (and is baptized) and the other spouse leaves or refuses to live in peace in this new situation, the marriage can be dissolved to favor the Faith of the new Christian. In this case the marriage is dissolved when the baptized spouse marries another Christian (he can't marry a pagan, because that wouldn't favor the Faith).

The second is sometimes called the "Petrine Privilege", because it is an extension of the Pauline logic to the case where one of the parties is baptized, but is only adjudicated by the Pope acting as successor of St. Peter in judging the case. In this case it applies to the non-baptized spouse converting. Usually it would apply to cases where the baptized spouse was a heretic and wouldn't let the newly baptized spouse live in peace as a Catholic. It could also apply to the case where the baptized spouse was an apostate Catholic, and wouldn't tolerate the newly baptized living as a faithful Catholic.

In the case of two baptized persons, the marriage once properly ratified (i.e. vows exchanged according to the proper norms) and consummated cannot be dissolved by anyone, even the Pope.

So, applying that to your question : If two unbaptized exchange consent properly and really intend marriage (or put no impediment in the way), they are truly married. It is a "valid" a natural contract, which by the Divine Law (Cf. Mt 19.8) They cannot legitimately divorce, but if one converts and the other refuses to live in peace, or leave as a result, the new convert could marry a Christian and this would dissolve the former marriage. In the Catholic Church, this situation goes through a lengthy process to determine if the convert has grounds to remarry. In a Protestant sect, this would not happen, so for us we'd need to investigate the whole case.

That's precisely why we have to say the OP's parents situation is complicated. There's the question of the original marriage of each, then the baptisms and remarriage (did the Pauline case apply dissolving the original marriage?), then the question of what they intended (e.g. their frequent remarriage is evidence they didn't think marriage was indissoluble, but did it actually affect their consent) ...

It's complicated ...

Messages In This Thread
Re: Is it good to pray for divorce - by Jeeter - 04-25-2017, 01:17 PM
Re: Is it good to pray for divorce - by Jeeter - 04-25-2017, 01:42 PM
Re: Is it good to pray for divorce - by MagisterMusicae - 04-27-2017, 09:12 AM

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