(Detail from) "Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife" by renowned Catholic artist Jan van Eyck, 1434
Rev. Fr. UK, hi.
If two baptized non-Catholics have a sacramental marriage (as determined by the Catholic Church after specifically reviewing it and declaring it as a valid marriage) and both convert to the One True Catholic Church, does the Catholic Church require
them to restate their marriage vows, or to go through a special marriage ceremony, to receive the Church's blessing on their sacramental marriage? Or, do they receive that marriage blessing the moment they are officially admitted into the Catholic Church as converts - with no mortal sin on their souls?
May Our Lady Protect You!
The Miller Family
Dear The Millers:
Hello. Thank you for your question.
1) If two baptized non-Catholics have a sacramental marriage (as determined by the Catholic Church after specifically reviewing it and declaring it as a valid marriage)...
Yes, a priest must investigate such a marriage in order to be sure that the marriage is valid.
2) and both convert to the One True Catholic Church, does the Catholic Church require them to restate their marriage vows...
If a marriage contract is declared to be valid, the Catholic Church does not require a husband and wife to restate their marriage vows (mutual matrimonial consent).
Sometimes one of the spouses who has a scrupulous conscience or both parties, want to restate the mutual matrimonial consent, one more time before a Catholic priest and two witnesses.
This can be done. Yet, it is not new marital vows, but only a so called moral self-satisfaction for the sake of the peace of the conscience of one, or both spouses. It can
be called a renewing of already existed mutual consent, but it is not a duty.
3) or to go through a special marriage ceremony
to receive the Church's blessing on their sacramental marriage?
A ceremony can be observed. But that is not required by Church law.
Every case has it own factors. For young spouses it is often facilitated with ease. For spouses who have lived together for decades, and say have grandchildren, such a ceremony may be uncomfortable.
4) Or, do they receive that marriage blessing the moment they are officially admitted into the Catholic Church as converts - with no mortal sin on their souls?
This variant is enough. They receive that marriage blessing at the moment they are officially admitted into the Catholic Church as converts - with no mortal sin on their souls.
Again, every situation usually has its own specifics.
Below are relevant quotes from Moral Theology:
THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE
The marriage contract is a contract by which two competent persons of opposite sex give to each other the exclusive and irrevocable right over their bodies (ius in corpus) for the procreation and education of
Besides this primary purpose marriage has as secondary ends the mutual material and spiritual assistance to the married parties and protection against the abuse of sex life (C.
The primary purpose of marriage is essential for its validity.
The marriage contract is valid even when it is certain
that there is no possibility of having children.
The SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY is the marriage contract between
baptized persons which Christ elevated to the dignity of a Sacrament (C. 1012).
Accordingly, if baptized persons have been validly married, they have also received the Sacrament of Matrimony.
The explicit intention to receive a Sacrament is not necessary for its reception; it sufficies to intend contracting a valid marriage.
makes the contract valid and a Sacrament, even though one is convinced that the marriage is no Sacrament.
A legitimate marriage between two non-baptized persons becomes a Sacrament when they are
baptized without their renewing matrimonial consent.
The MATTER of the Sacrament is the outward manifestation of the mutual conferring of the marriage rights; the FORM is the external
expression of the acceptance of the same.
Accordingly, the essence of Matrimony consists in the marital consent.
of Matrimony are the matrimonial partners only, and not the priest. The latter's presence is necessary for VALIDITY, in the same manner as the presence of a notary is sometimes required for a valid contract.
THE MATRIMONIAL CONTRACT
The Ordinary Form:
for Validity. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the parish priest or local Ordinary or a priest delegated by either of them and before two witnesses (C. 1094).
must be able to observe and testify to the contracting of the marriage, and, together with the assisting priest, they must be present when matrimonial consent is expressed.
Therefore, they must have
the use of reason, but they need not be adults. Nothing is prescribed about the sex or religion of the witnesses, nor is it required that they be free from censure; scandal, however, must always be avoided.
is also valid if the witnesses are forced to assist by violence, fear or deception.
The contracting parties have the right to choose the witnesses.
The Extraordinary Form (C. 1098):
I. In danger of death two people may validly and lawfully marry without assistance of the competent pastor, but before
at least two witnesses, provided they cannot without great inconvenience either send for (haberi) or go to (adiri) the pastor, local Ordinary or delegated priest.
If another priest can be had he should
be called so that he may assist at the marriage together with the two witnesses.
The danger of death may arise from illness or any external cause, e.g., a battle, flood, etc. - It suffices that only
one of the parties be in danger of death.
II. Apart from danger of death marriage may also be validly and lawfully contracted before two witnesses alone if a competent pastor or
delegated priest can neither be summoned nor approached without great inconvenience, and one may reasonably presume that this state of affairs will last for a month. Lawfulness, however, requires as in the preceding instance that a priest, even though not
empowered to assist at the marriage, be present if possible.
Moral Theology, by Rev. Heribert Jone, O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D.,
by Rev. Urban
Adelman, O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D.
The Mercier Press Limited, Cork, Ireland
Nihil Obstat: PIUS KAELIN, O.F.M. CAP., Censor Deputatus
Imprimi Potest: VICTOR GREEN, O.F.V. CAP., Provincial
July 2, 1955
Nihil Obstat: RICHARD
GINDER, S.T.I., Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: JOHN FRANCIS DEARDEN, D.D., Bishop of Pittsburg
August 15, 1955
The Sacraments, Section VII, The Holy Sacrament of Matrimony
Copyright 1929 and 1951 by Ferdinand Shoening of Paderborn.
vested in the Alien Property Custodian, 1951, pursuant to law.
Printed in the United States of America
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