Marriage Validity: Protestant Unions
#1
With the rise of civil ceremonies, I'm wondering what the truth is regarding the nature of marriage between two Protestants that takes place outside the context of their sects' requirements.

Indeed, since most Protestant groups now essentially have no laws governing the conduct of their congregations, two Protestants could hypothetically be following the 'requirements' of their rites (that is, because their law lets them do anything or there is no law.)  In these cases, are these marriages valid?

And what if one of the two parties was not validly Baptized?

As a final question, to what degree is a marriage null if contemporaries speak the words of a vow but either enter into the arragement viewing it as non-binding or simply lack the grasp of what a vow even is?



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#2
Interesting questions -- I don't know the answer to them, except for the fact that the Church does recognise natural unions between non-Catholics.  In other words, if two hindus marry as hindus, or two secularists down at the courthouse -- they do not have to re-marry in the church if they become Catholic.
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#3
I have been wondering for the past year something similar.  Are the unions of these doctrinless Protestants, these young people, are they really even contracting marriage.  Many younger people, in my experience, those under about 35 years, these are contracting a marriage with little to no intent of staying together for life.  With these intentions, I have been wondering if I should be doubting these "marriages.". I think I should doubt them, because, they are marriage in name only and not in essence.  In essence, these marriages are really nothing but an -entering-into-fornication ceremony because there is no intention of till death do us part.  Or it could be "till death do us part unless something goes wrong."

It is a case by case thing, but when someone tells me they are married, I am now assuming that they are not, or are suspect at least.
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#4
And I know that the presumption is for validity, but, as a practical everyday evaluation, when someone tells me they are married, you never know what they mean.  They could be divorced, and remarried which is but adultery, or could they have never even contracted a real marriage?  With these young people, I am beginning to wonder.

We are living in refined techno paganism.
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#5
(11-13-2011, 08:06 PM)OCLittleFlower Wrote: Interesting questions -- I don't know the answer to them, except for the fact that the Church does recognise natural unions between non-Catholics.  In other words, if two hindus marry as hindus, or two secularists down at the courthouse -- they do not have to re-marry in the church if they become Catholic.
Why does the church recognize those marriages?
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#6
Because marriage is so tied up with nature, not only the economy of Grace.  Marriage between two unbaptised people is still a marriage, it is just not a sacrament.  Marriage between two baptised people is a Sacrament, including protestants, due to requirements of validity for the sacrament of marriage being where they are at.  The Protestants have two valid but illicit Sacraments, Baptism and Marriage, but amongst the pan-doctrinless-protestants, the baptisms are called into question more and more.

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#7
It is probably impossible to know the validity of the marriages except on a case by case basis. The practices are too varied.
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#8
I am myself a product of a mixed marriage.  My wife is Japanese and a Shin Buddhist.  Albeit, she is more a cultural buddhist and not very educated within her belief excepting as it connects her to the Japanese ethos and family life. 
The circumstances of my marriage are as follows:

1.  I was a Protestant growing up in an Assembly of God, Evangelical Charismatic tradition.
2.  I backslide and lived an inconsistent lifestyle.
3.  I met my wife and we married by a justice of the peace in 1999.
4.  I restarted going back to church in an Episcopalian church in 2000.
5.  I left the Episcopal Church in 2002 upon hearing about Gene Robinson's election in NH as an open homosexual priest left his wife and children for his partner.
6.  I became a Catholic on Easter 2004.

I have since asked if there was anything needed to be done in regards to the validity of my marriage.  Since she is not a Christian in any sense of the word, I could not seek for a convalidation ceremony.  I asked if I needed "radical sanation" and even wrote the letter to the bishop just in case.  However, my circumstances did not warrant it as I was accepted as a convert.  We have been married for over 12 years and we are still strong.

What gets me is that I know a woman recently who wanted to become Catholic and the RCIA formation director said she needed an annulment prior.  She is in her second marriage, but she was not a Catholic; although one of her parents was a Catholic.  I told her that lady didn't know anything as civil law and canon law are two seperate things.  Her marriage to her first husband was not sacramental, so there is no need for her apply for an annulment.  Her current husband is not a Catholic either.  She was convinced that the Church's teachings are true and so she was trying to join the Church.  She is planning to go to another parish not far from her, but not to the one where that lady formation director attends.  I think the manner in which the conversation unfolded was misunderstood and appeared accusatory.  RCIA directors should not place judgement on a situation for potential converts; if they do not know, they should ask the priest.  I think RCIA formation directors need a greater education in the matters of canon law or simply state they will look into something and state directly they do know rather than make assumptions. 

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