All canonical inquiries should be addressed to the Director of the Office of Canonical Affairs,
Mr. Mark Raper, JCL, MCL, at 208-344-1344.
The Office of Canonical Affairs cannot receive e-mail regarding
canonical matters due to issues of confidentiality.
If a single Catholic wishes to marry a non-Catholic, who is divorced, why does the non-Catholic’s first marriage have to be annulled even though they are not members of the Catholic Church and were married in another church?
The previous marriage of the divorced non-Catholic has to be investigated by the Tribunal process.
A wedding between a non-Catholic single man (who had never been married before) and a non-Catholic single woman (who had never been married before) is regarded as a valid marriage. The Catholic Church presumes the validity of such marriage and this presumption remains in place until and unless the contrary can be proved by means of an ecclesiastical decree of nullity issued by the Catholic Church. This is the Catholic Church’s understanding and teaching with regard to marriage. Therefore, the Catholic Church cannot and does not presume that the non-Catholic divorced party is free to enter a new marriage unless the canonical status of the previous marriage can be determined in favor of the non-Catholic. (See Understanding of Marriage link)
If the Catholic chooses to marry the non-Catholic without a decree of nullity, the marriage is regarded as canonically invalid because of the presumption in favor of the validity of the non-Catholic party's prior bond of marriage.
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V. Rev. Henry Carmona, JV, JCL
Mr. Mark L. Raper, JCL, MCL
Ms. Colleen Cunningham
Phone: (208) 344-1344 Fax: (208) 344-1772
Office of Canonical Affairs
Who is the Office of Canonical Affairs?
Understanding of Marriage
Divorced Catholics and the Sacraments
Defect of Consent
Informal or Documentary Cases & Privilege Cases
Non-Catholics & Annulments
Short vs. Long Marriages
Children & Annulments
How Long Does It Take?
Tribunal Practices & Policies for Formal Cases
Dispensation & Permission Forms