Saints Peter and Paul Church, San Francisco

Ask the Fathers! about Liturgy and Church rules

Do you have a religious, ethical, or historical question for any of our Priests?

Ask the Fathers is taking a break. We will be taking questions again soon.

This page answers questions about Liturgy and Church rules. Other questions are sorted by subject matter at the links below.

Back to SS Peter and Paul Homepage

Marriage

Liturgy and Church Rules

Baptism

Sexuality

Theology

On January 30, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I am a baptized, confirmed Catholic who has never been married, I am engaged to a wonderful man who was baptized Christian but is now agnostic. He has also been married previously in a civil ceremony to a non-baptized woman. That marriage was dissolved a short time later. My fiancé does not practice in organized religion, and does not wish to go through an annulment. In his belief he has already had his marriage dissolved. When inquiring with my pastor about the marriage in the Catholic Church I have been met with a surprising response, siting my relationship as spiritually impoverished. I am feeling very lost and questioning my belief system, as I feel blessed by God for us being brought together. I would like to celebrate our difference of spirituality, and I do not want to turn my back on the Church but I feel as if that is not a possibility to be marry with their blessing. I have researched dispensation from the Canonical Form but I am not understanding exactly what that means. Is there a way for myself as a Catholic to have my marriage recognized and blessed?

Megan

Father Bob Stein answers

Your fiancé being baptized in a previous marriage to an unbaptized and desiring to marry a baptized person could apply for an annulment on those grounds, or on other specifics regarding deficiencies of knowledge and/or consent. The church recognizes marriages of non-Catholics as valid until proven otherwise. (Showing the same respect for his previous marriage you want shown for your own.)

The church's understanding is that you are free to marry. He is not. You would need his cooperation in applying for an annulment of his prior union.

Dispensation from canonical form is requesting the privilege of being elsewhere than in a Catholic church before a Catholic minister. That would apply to the Catholic party. That would not come into play with your fiancé's situation.

After his annulment, you would be looking at dispensation for disparity of worship/mixed marriage, since he is baptized/agnostic.

God may have brought you into your fiancé's life to bring him healing and reconciliation. We will have to wait and see.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hi,

At what age is parental permission no longer required for a teenager to be baptized and confirmed? My niece is very active in my church but neither parent supports her religious upbringing (they don't mind her attending with me, they just don't want to be involved). They don't want her to be baptized/confirmed but won't give a reason except to say they don't want to have to attend the parents classes. She's accepted that her parents don't want to be part of the ceremonies but doesn't know if she's allowed to receive these sacraments without explicit parental consent. Thanks for your help.

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

There is a part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children where the minor asking for baptism is asked if his/her parents are in agreement with his/her decision. The church conforms to civil law about when an individual is of legal age. (Patience is never easy. That is why it is a virtue.)

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Fathers,

My wife and I were married in her Lutheran Church 17 years ago. I was raised Catholic and she is now becoming Catholic. Our Fr. scheduled her time for Reconciliation, then was to receive the Eucharist a few days later. In 3 months we planned to have our marriage blessed with family and friends while visiting our hometown. Our priest told us that we must abstain from marital sex and live as brother and sister in Christ for her to remain in a state of grace for Holy Communion. Does this mean we both should not receive communion Until our marriage is blessed? While we were married in the Lutheran Church, both of us believe that our marriage is and always has been a Holy Sacrament. We were both surprised by this unexpected change, can you help explain?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

The priest is giving you proper advice.

One possibility would be to have your marriage blessed shortly after the reception of the other sacraments. This could be very private with priest and two witnesses and free you both to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Then at your family celebration you could have a public ceremony with the priest's blessing and your renewal of vows.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I have a question about qualifying to be my niece's godmother. I was raised Catholic, baptized and made my first communion in the Catholic Church. However, I never made my confirmation. Does this stop me from being her Godparent? If so, how long does it generally take to make my confirmation? Can it be done privately?

Thanks for your help,

G.P

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Gabrielle,

What an honor to be asked to be a godparent! I am a godfather – for the second daughter of my very first wedding. I have been close to her parents and her all her life. Her dad (groom of the first wedding) died last year and I did the funeral. I am blessed by her and her now husband, father of her children, as they are practicing the Faith and rearing their children in the authentic practice of the Faith. She and they give me good example and bolster my priesthood.

I am adding a P.S. at the bottom of this letter. It is an excellent article on Godparents, which explains the qualifications and duties of godparents. So this is an opportunity for you to fulfill your own initiation Sacraments. This is an invitation for you to review your Faith and its practice. Perhaps your parish has an adult initiation process on-going, the so-called RCIA, that is Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Or perhaps your diocese has a celebration of Adult Confirmation each year with special preparation for it. Consult your parish priest.

As you see the Sacraments imply practice of the Faith, both for those receiving the Sacraments and for those who are their sponsors or godparents. For if we are not practicing the Faith ourselves, how can we promise to uphold and encourage it for another? It becomes quite hypocritical! Let’s not fall into that.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

P.S.

GODPARENTS

by Paul Turner

Everyone baptized into the church receives a godparent. Godparents assist the baptized "to lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations connected with it." That means we ask very little - or very much, depending on how you look at it.

To be a godparent you must be 16, baptized, confirmed in the Catholic Church, taking communion with us, leading a life in harmony with faith, and not a parent of the one to be baptized. Godparents may be chosen by the one to be baptized, by the parents or guardians, or even by the pastor or parish minister. A baptized non-Catholic may serve as a witness to the baptism if a Catholic godparent also takes part. Only one godparent is needed, although two may serve. The baptismal godparent becomes the preferred sponsor for confirmation.

Very often people will ask a family member to be a godparent. This has the advantage of binding families together. However, a godparent from the parish community may make a better choice. A parishioner can set a good example for the child from week to week and can represent the role of the entire parish community - bringing Christ to each new member.

Some families have further expectations of godparents of young children. They may expect a gift at the child's birthday or further assistance throughout life. Some godparents devote a lot of time to their godchildren; others do not. The church does not specify these extended responsibilities; families may discuss them with their godparents.

Godparents for adults play an important role during Lent. They support the catechumen at the rite of election and the scrutinies in addition to the rites of initiation. They usually are the sponsors who have accompanied the catechumens throughout their preparation. If the adult joining the church has already been baptized, their sponsor remains a "sponsor" since a godparent already exists.

During infant baptism, we ask godparents if they will help the parents in their duty as Christian parents. We invite them to renew their baptismal vows together with the parents, and they may assist in lighting the child's candle. However, parents hold the child for the baptism.

(Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Sant' Anselmo University.)


Hello father, i have a questions. On feb 9,2013 my son was schedule to be baptize here in wisconsin at st josaphat basilica. I chose 10 total sponsors 5 godfathers and 5 godmothers. some of them were filipino and i know they were practicing catholic, members in the church and also baptized in the church and confirmed in the philippines. My church gave two paper for sponsors to fill up through their the parish. One of my sponsor will be confirmed in april 2013 and i havent recieved that paper yet is it going to be a problem to my priest? and one is my husband brothers which the parish where he was member decline to sign it because he was not confirmed. Now, i know i only need atleast one sponsor in order to baptize my son that the person must be baptized in catholic, confirmed and practicing catholic. Although one godmother is my sister that she was a member in church, baptized and confirmed in church in the philippines. How can i get to sign that priest knowing my sister was confirm and baptized in philippines? Do the priest need a proof in order to sign the paper? Im running out of time. And although i have so many sponsors none of them were confirmed here in america. What should i do? All my invitations were sent out and set the date and time for baptism. Please help i really appreciate it.

Thank you so much!

Maribel

Fr. Bob answers:

You need one godfather and one godmother, baptized, confirmed and practicing Catholics. Culturally, you can have other witnesses as well. Two official godparents are essential. With your group, it sounds like that is covered.

When you receive other sacraments (like confirmation or marriage) the churches where that takes place forward the information to your baptismal record. Contact the church where the baptism took place and they should have proof of confirmation. (They can fax it to the church you are dealing with.)

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


In my youth I belonged to the Congregational Church but converted to Catholicism to marry my fiancée who was Catholic. We are no longer married and have not been for 30 years and I have not attended any church but am now ready to go again especially after a recent near death experience. Am I still considered Catholic or do I have to return to the Congregational Church?

Thank you,

Don

Fr. Bob answers:

I am sure both churches would be willing to accept you.

Once you joined the Catholic church, that is good enough for us.

After being away for a while, there is no "re-entry" necessary.

Like most Catholics, it might be good to sit down with a priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation when you are comfortable and ready to do so. (That is really never a comfortable practice, but helpful.)

Take your time. I hope things work out for you.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello Fathers,

Thank you for reading my hopefully simple question. I was married in a Catholic Church but unfortunately had to get a divorce and would now like to remarry. Can a Catholic priest remarry me outside of a Catholic church without an annulment? I am in the process of getting one, but wasn’t planning to remarry in a Church. It will be an outdoor wedding.

If a Catholic priest is unable to do this, what other options do I have to remarry if I don't have an annulment?

Thank you,

Gary

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

In some places it is possible to get an dispensation from "canonical form" (ie in a Catholic church before a Catholic priest or deacon). Without that dispensation a Catholic minister (priest or deacon) would not be allowed to officiate at your wedding. Nor could they officiate before your annulment is granted.

If you are in the process of getting an annulment, it sounds like being married in the church is important to you. Give it time.

Is there a chance for a "convalidation" of a civil marriage, after the annulment comes through? Yes. But is that playing games?

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have met a divorced man and would like to date the person. I am a widow who is active in my church. Would dating this perosn keep me from receiving Communion at Mass?

Thanks you for your help.

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Carole,

Just being friendly with someone and doing things together without sexual intimacy, by itself does not keep one from the Sacraments. However, taking the long view, if the purpose of dating is in view of the ultimate possibility of entering marriage, some research has to be done before things get serious.

Is the divorced person Catholic? or his ex-wife? Were they married in a Catholic church? or civilly? If both are not Catholic and married, then inspection of the full circumstances might be undertaken to see if there was anything present at the beginning of the marriage which made it invalid to start with.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Good Morning Father:

I guess i am looking for a second opinion. I tried to enter RCIA locally, I can not do so without remarrying my wife in a church. Is this a rule throughout the church, or perhaps this is specific to my parish or even the Arch Diocese of Boston? Does my salvation really depend on somebody else agreeing to marry me a second time?

Thank you for your time.

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Leo,

Before trying to evaluate your situation, there are other facts to gather. I will try to put things into context and then you can see where you are.

The Catholic Church has a very high reverence, love and respect for marriage wherever it occurs according to law and custom. But it makes rules only for its own members. A couple, neither of whom was baptized Catholic, who get married at city hall or a chapel in Reno, are considered truly married, unless it is proved otherwise.

The Catholic regulations are simply to have present the couple, two witnesses and the deacon or the priest to officiate. Without all these the Church considers the marriage NOT valid

If your situation is: your wife is Catholic and you were not married in the Catholic Church, then you are not married yet. Thus you, in connection to Christian initiation in the Church, would also have to be prepared for marriage in the Church.

If, instead neither of you were baptized Catholic, and it is the first marriage for both of you, the marriage is valid and one or both of you could enter the Church and the marriage when it is consummated after Baptism becomes a Sacrament.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I am getting married this year and have found a gorgeous church that is open to performing the ceremony on a sunday. I want to know when the priest asks "why do you want to get married here" what is the answer you are looking for? I know only to say how important it is to me to just get married in a church. I have a reception that will be very close to the church. I honestly can say all i know- the importance, my religion, the location, and how beautiful the church is. But what is the answer the priest is looking for? Any guidance would help. thank you=

Fr. Bob answers:

In regard to marriage, the statements you make are supposed to be the truth.

If you are looking for an "expected answer" instead, you are on shaky ground.

Be honest.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Fathers,

Can a baby be baptized Catholic if the parents have been baptized but have not received any other sacraments?

Father Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Nancy,

It is legitimate in church law to baptize a child when there is a grounded hope that the child will be reared in the practice of the Faith. It is hard to form a child in the “practice of the Faith” when there has been little evidence of it in the family.

Jesus proclaims of his disciples: You are the light of the world. People should look at you, see such goodness in your lives, that they will give glory and praise to God.

Thus in seeking Baptism for a child, the parents should be catching up in their practice of the Faith by following the indications of the Church through the local parish to complete their initiation Sacraments of Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Confirmation themselves. Then it will make sense to baptize a child.

For all of this the family should be in a beautiful conversation with the local parish priest.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father, My husband is an ordained deacon in the catholic church. We have done our traditional and court marriage in Nigeria. I am pregnant and we intend to do the white wedding after I give birth in december. I wish to know if it would be possible to do the white after giving birth. Thanks.

Fr. Bob answers:

Colors have more to do with cultural traditions than church teaching. Go with whatever you and your husband are comfortable with.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


My granddaughter was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. Her father is Greek and her mother, my daughter is Catholic. After much anxiety and a lot of pressure from the Greek side, my daughter agreed to a Greek Orthodox marriage ceremony. The frustrating part is that their children attend Catholic school and frequent Catholic mass. The oldest of 3 is now of age to make her First Holy Communion, but the Catholic priest feels he needs permission from the Greek bishop. He feels obligated to this because he does not want any conflicts. My daughter has asked her husband to please talk to the bishop My son in laws attitude is : I will not ask. I know he will say no. If this child is going to attend Catholic school and frequent both greek and catholic services, What is so wrong with this her making her communion with her classmates? Every time she attends Catholic mass whether on a Sunday, holiday or with school, she needs to sit back at communion? Do you think this should be such an issue? The Greeks serve communion. Personally, I see no reason for making such an issue. As far as I see it, these faiths a very similar, so why not embrace both. Please send your opinion. Thank You and God Bless

Sara

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sara,

Sad to say, your daughter is not a Catholic and cannot receive holy Communion in the Catholic Church until she makes a profession of Catholic Faith and so ceases to be Orthodox. To do this would require some instruction from a Catholic priest.

I hope you can find a priest that will show you the way, but since you yourself have turned Orthodox it would be extremely difficult, until your daughter reaches a older age..

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 24, we received these questions:

Hello Father,

My daughter who has been raised Catholic has been living in Australia with her Protestant boyfriend. They just got engaged and are discussing having an outdoor wedding in NY. How can I explain to her the importance of marrying in the Catholic church?

Thank you.

Father Bob Stein answers

You have a conflict between the sacrament of Matrimony and the wedding event industry.

Catholics understand Matrimony as a sacrament (an encounter with Christ) and teach that the couple must knowingly and freely enter into it. That is why they demand instruction before the sacrament. The state also demands a license from the government to make it legal. For a church wedding you need 5 people, bride and groom, 2 witnesses, and a priest or deacon in a Catholic church where the sacrament will be recorded and record of which will be forwarded to the parish in which you were baptized.

The wedding industry sells photo ops, events, destination weddings, theme weddings, media extravaganzas, and other major productions. What people have seen in the movies (sometimes in over-budget productions) is marketed as "normal". All the extra add up. Sometimes to the detriment of the couple.

This is the wedding day, not the marriage it self. Most people do not get the distinction.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Father,

I was married in 1983 in a civil service. At the time neither of us had been baptized. . In 1985 during the marriage, I went through RCIA classes and was baptized in the Catholic Church. My husband chose not participate in any religious practice. Both of my girls were baptized in the Catholic Church. We divorced in 1993 due to his physical violence. I not only feared for myself but for my two little girls. During the divorce process I was told I "must" not divorce no matter the circumstance and I would not be allowed back at church by the priest. Even though I pleaded with him that I feared for our safety. I left the church in 1993 and moved to another state.

I remarried, in a civil service to my present husband in 1995. Our relationship is everything the bible speaks of as a as true union. He has been a wonderful husband and father. He was baptized in the Baptist church as child. We all attended a Methodist church as the girls grew up.

Both girls are engaged now to very nice Catholic young men and will go through RCIA to complete their catholic education. Both couples will be scheduling Pre Cana classes too.

My husband and I have had many challenges during my our life together but have remained prayerful and faithful. However, I have missed mass and practicing the Catholic faith desperately. My husband is very supportive in my desire to return to the Catholic Church.

What do I do from here? Am I allowed to participate in mass? Can my husband enroll in RCIA classes? Do I have to have my first marriage annulled? If so this will be very difficult as we have had no real communication through the years except through attorneys.

Can you please give me some advise?

Thank you,

Pam

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Pam,

"Am I allowed to participate in mass?" No reason why you may not participate at Mass, even though you may not receive Holy Communion at present.

Even as a Catholic you may secure a divorce for sufficient reasons, which you appear to have. However the divorce does not make you free to marry in the Catholic Church without an annulment from your first wedding.

Since your case involves a change of religion, there are possibilities that the annulment can be reached.

I suggest you present your case directly to the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal of your diocese. It may be reached by phoning the Bishop (Archbishop's) office directly. They will probably refer you to your local priest and if so ask their help and explain the situation and difficulty you have.

"Can my husband enrol in RCIA classes?" He may attend the classes, but could not receive the sacraments until the marriage straightened out.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers

Need your help...On July 21,2012 a Deacon married us outside the church because I already had been married by church to my first marriage, this is my second marriage so we asked if he can do a small ceremony at the hall reception and he said yes,,,well after the ceremony I asked him to sign our marriage license and he said he couldn't sign it cause he married us outside the church,,,what I want to know now,,,is my marriage valid or not? can the Deacon still sign my license? please I cannot keep thinking my marriage is legal and have doubts,,,thank you for your help

Letty

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Deacons can officiate at weddings of Catholics, in Catholic churches, according to the laws governing Catholic marriages.

If you had an annulment of your previous marriage, and if you had a special dispensation from the (arch)diocese for a wedding outside the usual setting (in church), the deacon might have received delegated authority from the pastor of the local parish to preside at your ceremony. Without the annulment and dispensation the deacon had no authority from either the church or the government to do so.

FR. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Father,

Does an eight year old child who has been baptized Lutheran, and whose parents profess the catholic faith, need to make a profession of faith (in the catholic church) if he wants to celebrate the First Eucharist in the Catholic Church?

Thank you for your kindness

ofelia

Fr. Bob answers:

It sounds like there is more going on here. The parents who are practicing the Catholic faith but had their child baptized Lutheran may need to reevaluate their stance.

The parents and child could all make a profession of faith in preparation for the Eucharist.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello Father,

I find myself in an interesting situation, and am trying to figure out how I should respond to a friend. I would appreciate any guidance that you might be able to give on the situation.

I am a catholic layman who was asked if I would officiate at a friend's wedding. Both parties are more or less agnostic with a leaning toward belief, but both were brought up in christian traditions. The Groom-to-be was baptized as a Methodist, but the Bride-to-be was never baptized. We spoke about it and she says that she believes that accepting Christ into your heart makes you a christian and that baptism isn't necessary (she views it as a public ceremony, no sacrament, etc.). Their wedding is to be held in a Unitarian hall building.

My initial thought was "I don't think that I am able to perform that function," but as I thought about it, I considered the fact that they would be the ones who were marrying and I would be there only to act as a master of ceremonies, of sorts, and that the position would allow for a prayerful atmosphere from someone they know, as well as the support of someone who they have said they look up to in a spiritual sense.

The questions I have for you are as follows:

Is their marriage valid?

Can I, in good conscience, officiate in such a marriage?

If not, what would you suggest I do to explain my position to them?

I am confused because I feel torn between a potential conflict in doctrine and the command to love one another that I hear from Christ. Thank you for your guidance.

Yisep YHWH,

-Mark

Father Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Mark,

What a blessing and opportunity to be asked to officiate at a wedding! Catholic judges do it all the time, even for Catholics who “attempt marriage” [canonical term] civilly. If you do not qualify by your position to officiate, it is simple enough to become [at least temporarily] a deputy marriage commissioner for the ceremony.

You have the opportunity to share the “Good News” even without specifically mentioning Jesus or God. Mutual love is a sign of the presence of God in people, especially a married couple.

The Church, at first sight, looks upon marriage according to law and custom as a good, valid marriage, unless it is proven otherwise. The Church only makes rules for its own members, not anybody else.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

Thank you for taking the time to answer this question. I do not feel comfortable asking my own priest. I have been married 32 years to the same man and have never been married to anyone else. My husband, however, has been divorced twice. His first marriage lasted 7 years, his wife had a mental issue at the time and he received custody of his son. His second marriage lasted 3 years and he admits that they were never compatible to begin with but she wanted to be married. Both of those marriages were in held in Methodist churches. Our marriage was performed by a Justice of the Peace in 1980.

My husband and I have raised both of our now grown sons in the Catholic church. When my children were making their first communions, I talked with our priest and he told me it was acceptable for me to take communion and I have been doing that ever since then. My husband and I both attend mass every Sunday and most people assume we are both Catholic and were married in the church, even though he does not take communion. I am very active in my church and community.

I would like to become a Eucharistic Minister but I was told from another parishioner that unless my marriage was blessed by the Catholic church, that could never happen. And now I am even wondering if it is acceptable for me to take communion.

Since we have been married for over 30 years, is there some “streamline” convalidation that would apply for us?

Fr. Bob answers:

If your husband has attended church with you and helped raise your children Catholic, has he ever thought of joining the Catholic church himself? You mentioned that both of his prior marriages were in the Methodist church, but did not say whether or not he was baptized or a member of the Methodist church.

The statement that his first wife had an unspecified "mental issue" raises the question of whether or not she was capable (having sufficient understanding and freedom of choice) of entering into a permanent, lasting relationship of mutual fidelity. The validity of the second marriage would be questionable during the life-time of the first spouse.

From the bits and pieces, there are hints that annulments and convalidaton or sanation might be possible. That is something to take up with your local (arch)diocese; whether or not you go through your local priest.

In the meantime, refrain from the Eucharist and delay putting yourself forward to be a Eucharistic minister.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


I have a 2 month old son and want have his baptism soon. The problem is when I was pregnant me and my fiance ( he is the baby's father, but we are not married) agreed that his brother and my sister would be the godparents. Now that my son is here he wants to change it to his brother and sister in-law. I really want my sister to be the godmother because she is my only sister and loves my son with all her heart. I know she will always be here for my son. The only problem is she's only 14 ( i'm 19) and my fiance says she's not old enough to be a godmother. Also i heard that I can not baptise my son until we get married. Is any of this true?

Thank you

Danielle

Fr. Bob answers:

Danielle,

To be a godmother one must be a practicing Catholic who has received all the sacraments of initiation (baptism, Eucharist and confirmation). If your sister is confirmed, she would be eligible.

You call your baby's father your "fiancé". When "fiancé" is used it seems to imply marriage is in the picture. Without a date and time and commitment, he might just be "boyfriend". The question will come up, but the sacrament of baptism and the sacrament of matrimony are two separate sacraments. You will have to seriously look at the commitments involved in each of them.

The decisions involved must be mutually derived at, not imposed by one party or the other. I hope the two of you can do so.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Father

I am a catholic and my ex husband is a catholic. He divorced me in 2001. I am 68 years old and he is 75 years old. I don't think it is a reasonable option for either of us to seek a catholic annulment due to our ages and his having documented memory and cognitive problems.

I do not envisage a further marriage for myself. Do I still have a catholic sacrimental marriage with my catholic ex husband. Our two sons were raised catholic, baptised, confirmed. We were married in the catholic church before a priest in 1968. The separation was due to his inability to control his aggression or remember such.

I would really appreciate having this matter clarified to me.

Estelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Estelle,

You do not need an annulment unless you plan to marry again.

Your first marriage is still sacramental, and you have no restrictions to your Catholic practice....

Fr. John Malloy SDB


On January 17, we received these questions:

Dear Father

I would be grateful if you could confirm the following from me. A married couple, wife Catholic & husband Baptist are married in the Baptist church but now weekly attend Catholic Mass and are Sunday Ushers. The wife as i mentioned is Catholic, goes to regular confession. Can she receive Holy Communion?. Can their Parish Priest give their marriage a blessing if the husband was married before but that marriage was never annulled? If a blessing is given, can the wife who is a catholic then receive weekly/ daily communion.

Many thanks

Amanda

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

The proper course of action would be for the prior marriage to be annulled, and the current marriage convalidated thus allowing the Catholic party to receive communion. This done through the (arch)diocese, not at the parish level.

A priest may bless them and try to incorporate them into the parish community as ushers or whatever, but without the annulment and convalidation, receiving the Eucharist is not permitted.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello Father,

I was married in a civil marriage to a Jewish man several years ago. I am a practicing Catholic as well as our children. I want to join a new parish. Their questionare asks if we were married in the church. If I tell them that it was a civil marriage, what are the consequences? My kids have been baptised and my youngest will be confirmed in s few years. I really want to be accepted into this parish but I'm worried that I will be rejected or reprimanded. Can you explain the consequences of a civil marriage?

Thank you for your response.

Linda

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Linda,

The "proper form" for a Catholic marriage is in a Catholic church before a Catholic priest or deacon. That hold true whether or not both parties are Catholic. A 'civil marriage" declares before the state that you are married. A church marriage is both a civil marriage before the state and a sacramental marriage before the church.

The first step is for you and your husband to discuss whether or not you are open to having your marriage blessed in a Catholic church.

The process is called "convalidation". The process is similar to that of marriage in the church: proof of your freedom to marriage--your testimony and that of family witnesses, your baptismal record, an instruction about the Catholic understanding of sacramental marriage, an affidavit that your husband does not oppose your sharing your faith with your children.

It sounds like all that is already happening.

I cannot guarantee you will not run into cold and insensitive people in the best of parishes. There is always that chance, that risk. But there are also warm and caring people in all parishes. I hope the support of the one helps you overcome the challenge of the other.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


I was recently baptized and I don't remember if my pastor said in the name of Jesus or not. I also didn't receive the Holy Spirit, should I be baptized again, please contact me as soon as possible.

Thanks,

Antoine

Fr. John Malloy answers

Antoine,

If you were baptized in the Catholic Church, have no fear. You are baptized even if you did not hear the words.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I thank you for taking the time to read this. To get right to the point almost 10 years ago I was granted permission as a catholic to marry a Jewish girl. The ceremony was performed outside of the church but done by a deacon. In the short of it all I am legally divorced a couple years now and although I do have grounds for annulment I don't have the time to go through the process considering I would like to re-marry my current fiancé who by the way is catholic and never married. I understand the churches position re-marrying only if annulment has taken place. My question is could it be possible to still have a wedding ceremony in a catholic church without annulment? Even if someone performed the service and in the eyes of the church was not valid is it still possible to use the church for its beauty ? I apologize if this is offensive that is not my intentions... With all do respect father I would have gone through annulment had I known earlier it would be an issue and now we are engaged I we lack the time it takes to go through it... We REALY just want to be married in a catholic church that we love. I'm asking if it's possible before I attempt to speak with anyone from the church we have in mind. Thank you once again for your patience and attention to my situation.

VIVAT JESUS!

Billy
Knight of Columbus

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

From what you say you have two routes for an annulment. The first is your statement that you have sure grounds, whatever that might be. The second is a marriage to a Catholic after a previous marriage to a non-Christian. Yes, both will take time.

Yes, the church demands that an annulment takes place of your previous marriage before you can marry in a Catholic church. Just as the Knights of Columbus demand that you are a practicing Catholic. No, churches are not open to use for marriage other than those sanctioned by the Catholic church.

Start the annulment process as soon as you can asking which route would be fastest in your case. Good luck.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hey there,

We baptized our daughter through a roman catholic church we are roman Catholics but we just found out that the godmother is episcopal catholic and really she's not in my daughter life since then my daughter was 2 yrs old and now she's going to be 5yrs old. So what can I do by revoking the baptism?

We really need advise and Also want her to be roman catholic too.

Thank you for taking the time to answer

Jose

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jose,

Don't worry. Your daughter is a validly baptized Catholic. IT WAS THE PRIEST'S FAULT FOR NOT CHECKING MORE THROUGHLY.

You can ask someone else to fill in as godmother. Ask the priest to make a note on the child's record. But carry on regardless.

Rev, John Malloy, SDB


On January 13, we received these questions:

I have been asked to be the godfather to my nephew. He is being baptized February 3, 2013. I am a college student and have not registered with my parish or my campus ministry. I need documentation that I am a practicing Catholic. How can I get the necessary papers when I am at a college facility and not the standard parish? Please advise.

Sincerely, Mark

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Mark,

The first step would be to go to campus ministry and explain your situation, and register with them. If you are not practicing your faith, being asked to be a godparent could very well be a graced moment inviting you to start. See your situation as a positive.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


My cousin and his wife recently had a baby girl. They have asked me to be her godmother. It is my understanding that since they are Catholic and I am not, that I can still be the baby's godmother as long as they choose a practicing Catholic male for the godfather, as long as I have a letter of proof from a church that I am a Christian. I was raised in the Zion Lutheran church but have not attended for many years. Am I still able to be the baby's godmother?

Thank you for your time and guidance!

Kacy

Fr. John Malloy answers

Kacy,

As a committed Christian you can stand in with the godfather at a Baptism.

According to Canon Law # 873, "one sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex." But, "a baptised person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a Catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism." ." The role is together with the parents to present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a Christian life befitting the baptised and faithfully to fulfil the duties inherent in baptism."

Rev John Malloy SDB


Dear Father,

My husband and I are both Catholic immigrants to this country from the Philippines. From Kindergarten to high school I was schooled by the Sisters of St. Paul and from college to Med School went to a Dominican University . My husband was also schooled from Kindergarten to High School by the Theresian nuns and got his college education from De La Salle University in the Philippines run by Lasallian Brothers. We met here in the USA while I was in my residency training in Anesthesia at the University of Iowa in 1996. We had plan for a Catholic wedding, however at that time we were unable to fulfill certain requirements to attend pre-wedding seminars because of my schedule. We decided then to have a civil wedding and planned for a church wedding when we go back home to the Philippines. Also because most of our relatives were there including our parents. However, as the time went on we were unable to do this because by then I have a J visa and was not able to go home without procuring lots of paperworks from immigration. My child was born the following year and we have her baptized in the Catholic church. Meantime I became busy as I continued my training in Pittsburgh. At about that time I started inquiring about convalidation of my marriage but too often we either could not complete the seminar or my husbands confirmation certificate could not be found. The elementary school run by the Theresian sister has long been gone in the late 60s and the church could not provide us any documents. Throughout those years me and my husband continued our Catholic faith going to mass every Sunday, making confessions and receiving the sacrament. Everytime we joined a new parish I do not volunteer to inform them that I have not yet receive the sacrament of Matrimony for fear that they will not accept us and thus would not be able to attend the mass and participate in the Eucharist. Deep in our hearts are our desire to get the sacrament but I feel that there was too many impositions of the Church preventing us to obtain it. By 2004 I started to have this strong desire to have my marriage get convalidated . We were residing then in Tallassee AL and I spoke to our parish priest, he requested that we again have to join some seminar and then have to provide at least 2 pairs of catholic sponsors. Being immigrants and new to places most of our neighbors and co workers then were Baptist and could not complete the requirements. I was too ashame to tell the priest our situation , and was just waiting to schedule it when relatives from CA who are Catholic come and visit us in AL. Well, by then we have moved again to Pittsburgh, in 2006 . I was glad the priest from St. Pauls Cathedral was willing to meet us. I thought that he may be more lenient to our situation. To my dismay , he again requested that my husband secure the lost Confirmation certificate or we have to attend the RCIA for most of the year then attend a weekend retreat and provide a pair of Catholic sponsor. By this time I am fed up . I told Christ , he have witnessed our union , we are now blessed with a 15 years old girl who is raise in the Catholic faith , attends Sunday school got confirmed 2 years ago. Our family continues our Catholic upbringing as we go to church every Sunday and holy days of obligation in a small Catholic parish in the suburb of Pittsburgh. I am afraid to tell our parish priest the real situation since he knows our faces and might start to refuse us communion during the mass if he is aware. Father, all we want is to receive the sacrament of Matrimony. I don't think Christ will require us paperworks for us to receive the sacrament if he was here on earth. I don't think Christ would require us weekends of seminar from Catholic couples when we are in fact better to give them seminars having been together for almost 16 years now . I know several friends who were married in the Catholic church who underwent all those seminars and are now separated.

I think the only way would be to go home to the Philippines spend a fortune ($1200 for a RT airfare) , get confirmed again (the Basilica of the Black Nazarene gives a one day seminar and we will get confirmed the same day), then maybe find a priest there who can give us the sacrament if we tell him our situation, unless you can give me any suggestions.

Marie

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Marie,

For a valid Catholic marriage in any country, the US or the Philippines, you must know what you are doing and freely choose to do it.

The pre-nuptial instruction you seem to be baulking at is an attempt by the church to instruct couples in the Catholic understanding of the sacrament of matrimony. This covers the first requirement.

The witnesses being asked for are two people who have known you since your teen years who can verify that you are free to marry. Those witnesses can do the paperwork at any Catholic parish and have it signed by the priest taking their testimony who will forward it to person doing your "convalidation." This covers the second requirement.

If the school where your husband was closed, the sacramental documents should have been a) sent to the parish he was baptized in, b) recorded in the local parish the school was located in, and c) forwarded to the motherhouse and or diocese.

It is not a question of finding a priest who will do things your way. It is a question of your being willing to do what is asked of anyone wishing to be married in the church.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello Father,

My husband and i want to have my two sons (age 4 & 4months) baptized between january 15-22 2013 but the godparents we have chosen are not confirmed, is this possible?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Adriee,

They should seek instruction first from the priest. Confirmation isrequired.

ONE GODPARENT IS SUFFICIENT. A second could be honorary and need not be confirmed.

Rev John Malloy, SDB


Hello – my fiancé and I have our wedding scheduled for May 31st of this year. We both want to be married catholic (I am Catholic and she is Lutheran but never really practiced it). The day of our wedding, we want to have the ceremony and reception all on site. Meaning ceremony first and then reception to follow immediately. The priest we have asked to marry is OK doing the ceremony outside BUT wants to do the actual marriage with the paperwork a day or two before the ceremony. At first my fiancé was ok with this but then asked if we could do it the day after the ceremony because she is thinking it will be weird getting officially married before the ceremony in front of everyone. She believes walking down the aisle won’t be the same and won’t feel as special if it’s more of a renewal. I guess my question is, can the priest do it the day after? At first he said yes but now he seems to be opposed to do it after.

Thoughts? Thank you for your help and God Bless

Jesse

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

The Catholic understanding is that there is one sacrament, one exchange of vows, one commitment. There can be another ceremony in another church or another locale renewing the sacrament, the vows, the commitment, but not one day for one and another day for another--Lutheran church one day, Catholic church another. "Faking it" one day to have the "real" marriage another day might not go over too well with the state or the church. Have one date with both the church and the government.

The "proper form" for the marriage of a Catholic is in a Catholic church before a Catholic priest or deacon. Dispensations from proper form are given, but I am not sure "desire to have it at the same site as the party" will be enough to get that dispensation.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Fathers,

I was raised Catholic but haven't gone to mass in several years. My husband isn't Catholic and doesn't express any interest in converting. We were married in a church with traditional vows but a Catholic priest didn't perform the service. Our daughter is six months old and I have just made the decision to have her baptized instead of a dedication. I do want to start attending church regularly and devote my life to God. I have moved to a new state and know no one. I wouldn't consider most of the people in my life to devout Catholic. I. Know I need to have someone that is Catholic as a God parent. Could I ask my God son to do this? He will be 18 in several months and attends regularly. Will I have problems getting her baptized because of my marriage and lack of attendence described above?

Elisabeth

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Elisabeth,

You can regularize your Catholic status by joining the local parish RCIA program Your husband would not have to convert, but he must promise that the child be instructed in the Faith.

Your marriage is not recognized by the Church, so you need advice as how to straighten that out. It can be simply done.

A local priest can help you, and explain RCIA.(instruction in the Catholic faith)

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Good morning Father,

I have several questions that I need help with. I was raised a Catholic, was baptized, received holy communion and confirmation. Married in the catholic church in my late 20's.

I thought I was marrying a good man and believed I would be married forever. However almost from the beginning he drank allot and stayed out until all hours with both men and women.

I told him I did not like what he was doing and we argued allot. He was jealous and accused me of having affairs which I did not. He

also wanted to control me. I could not take it anymore and 7 yrs. later “D“ with a broken heart. Six months later he wanted a second

chance, I agreed and 6 months later we split for good. I have not received communion all those years because of my “D“ as I understood I could not. I however attend Mass every Sunday when I am able to and have never been away from it.

However I have friends that are “D“ and still receiving holy communion as if nothing ever happened. Is it still a church law that onced “D“ you can no longer receive holy communion.

Is there something I can do? I apologize for the long e-mail.

God bless you and thank you.

Sincerely,

MV

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

The Catholic church does not believe in "divorce and remarriage". The church does not demand that you stay in a dangerous, abusive relationship. Sometimes separation is necessary for the safety of a spouse and/or the children. In our society divorce is also necessary to protect the spouse and/or children from legal and financial responsibility for the other party. That is understood. This civil divorce does not negate the sacramental marriage. Nor does it bar one from the sacraments.

What would prevent one who is divorced from receiving the sacraments? Entering into another relationship while the sacramental marriage is still in effect. One who is single and divorced can receive the sacraments. One who wishes to marry again must go through the process of "annulling" the first marriage--proving why that marriage was not what it appeared to be, due to lack of knowledge, freedom, maturity, intention, or whatever. An annulment is not necessary to receive the sacrament, only to remarry.

Divorce does not keep you from communion. Remarriage without an annulment does.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Fathers, my sister and I are extremely close. She is having a baby soon and has chosen me to be the godmother. I really want to, but I'm concerned because I am married but my husband is not catholic, so we were married by a justice of the peace and not the catholic church. I'm I still able to be the godmother if all other requirements are met but this one???

Thank you for taking the time to answer.

Andrea

Fr. Bob answers:

Catholics can marry non-Catholics in the Catholic church. Since you already have a civil marriage with the justice of the peace, you can have that marriage "convalidated" by the Catholic church. Once this is done you can receive all the sacraments and also be a godmother. Talk it over with your husband.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


I have a question concerning the RCIA process I began last night at St Mary's. I am married to a catholic (civil marriage) and I have previous marriages ending with civil divorce. Am I eligable to join the Church and be Baptised or must I have annulments approved first? Please advise. Thank You!

Michael

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Michael,

Many blessings as you continue your faith journey – and asking questions!

Before attempting a response, there are a couple of things to ascertain first. Were you ever baptized in any Christian church?

If you were never baptized, the process of being clear for Baptism becomes simpler.

If you were baptized, then other details of your previous marriages become more relevant. For example: was your first wife a Catholic? Had she been married before?

You should enter a dialogue with your parish priest right away. Perhaps he may direct you to someone at your diocesan Tribunal who will be able to sort it out with you in legalities of Canon [Church] Law.

We are entering into Ordinary time in the Liturgical year. It is the ordinary time of God’s grace in our journey with Him.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father,

I'm a 13 year old girl named Madie.

I believe in god and want his blessing but I'm not baptized and my family doesn't have religion (I think we're Christian?) It doesn't look like i will be baptized anytime until I can do that my self. But I want to learn all about god. I don't know about the differences between religions, so I don't know what one is right for me? (My friend is Greek Orthodox, there's Catholic schools..) and will I still have gods blessing and be loved and tooken in by god if I'm not baptized?

Fr. Bob answers:

Madie,

When you are legally on your own you can be baptized without your parents' permission. As a minor part of the baptismal rite is asking if your parents have any objection to your being baptized.

Christians are baptized, whether those Christians are Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Coptic) or Protestant (Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist) or Catholic. Anyone believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is Christian.

Whether you are baptized or not, God loves you. You are His child, His daughter. For you God the Father sent His Son as Lord and Savior. You do not have to worry about His love and care for you. Talk to Him (in prayer) and try to learn about Him where you can.

When you can, approach the church of your choice and see what steps they ask you to take. The Catholics will ask that you study with them for awhile to see if this is really what you want. That process is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. (They also have one for minors.)

Yes, you will continue to received God's blessings, His love and His protection.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


On January 8, we received these questions:

Fathers,

I am Catholic and I got married in a wedding chapel in Las Vegas in 1990 and got divorced 10 years later. I am in a relationship with a Catholic widower and we’re talking of getting married in the Catholic Church.

What do I need to do?

Appreciate your help and guidance.

Annabelle

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Annabelle,

It is a matter of collecting all your paperwork.

You would need marriage registration and final decree of divorce, and verification that your civil marriage was not "convalidated" or blessed by the church during those 10 years. You would be applying for a dispensation for a "lack of form"--as a Catholic you were not married in a Catholic church before a Catholic priest or deacon.

He would need his marriage registration and death certificate for his first wife.

These papers would document both of your freedom to marry within the Catholic church.

Then you would follow all the local procedures for marriage in your parish.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello,

My sister asked me and my children to be in her wedding (civil union). We are practicing Catholics, and she recently admitted to me that she no longer believes in God even though we were both raised catholic. She doesn't want God to be a part of their wedding. I told her that we couldn't be in the wedding, but we will still attend. This has caused everyone including her to become very angry with us. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and God bless,

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers

Mary,

So sad to hear of your sister's loss of faith. Insist that you love her dearly, but it is sinful to be part of such a marriage ceremony.

Better that people, rather than God, are angry with you.

Tell her that you will pray for her and love her always.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

Here's my situation. I am catholic and have been since practice since i can remember. I'm 37 now. I was married in the Catholic Church in 96 to someone that was not catholic and I thought I was going to be with forever. I was raise with great morals and beliefs. We were married 3 years when we were blessed with a little girl in June of 99. My daughter was raised as catholic since she was born. A little after she was born he committed adultery and did not want to be married. I wanted to save the marriage but, he would treating me to take our daughter because he's family had money. I was young and very scared and naive it was a horrible divorce that with Gods strength I through it. We were divorced in 01. I spent all my time raising my daughter men and myself weren't a priority. My daughter started asking me questions about why we weren't married at the age 9. I didn't think it was right for a young girl to know what happened so I just said, that she was brought into this world with love and we love her. Sometimes things don't workout. I know I lie but, I was doing it for her. He on the other hand puts the blame on me, which i explained and I know god knows and that's all that matters to me. I have not been with another man since my ex husband. Dec '10 I met a wonderful man and to be honest I didn't think I was going to love or be with a another man after my husband. We have been together for two years now and couldn't be happier. He's catholic and never been married before. We go to church together and we really want to get married and have the churches and gods blessings. I just found out that I have to get my first marriage null. We are very simply people with not a lot of money. Then with this economy it's hard. I picked up papers and it will cost a lot to do this. Which i don't have the money for. Plus, I have my daughter asking me why do I have to do this. I explained and she's very upset that the church that she's been going to and part of is wanted to null a marriage and say that in gods eyes that marriage was void. I understand being catholic and we have rules but, I'm torn what to do. I want to marry this great man and stay in our faith but, father I'm having some concerns for my daughter and myself too. I feel like I'm being punished by my own church and I don't like that feeling and part of me is questioning my religion. I would like some guidance father. I have not talk to my priest at our church yet because I'm afraid too. But, if that's what I need to do then I will.

Sincerely,

Diana

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Diana,

A lovely letter, full of Faith! It reminded me of my own life situation growing up. My mom divorced my dad when I was just two years old. What I remember is that she never said anything bad about my father.

Now you have a working relationship with someone, and you are thinking about getting in harmony with the Sacraments of the Church. We human beings! Sometimes we end up with complex situations. But if we are to be authentic disciples of Jesus in the community of the Body of Christ in the world, then we have to work to be in harmony with Him. Thus the principle is that an authentic Sacramental Marriage is a lifelong covenant. If circumstances break it up, the Church can made a formal research and evaluation to see if everything was present so that the Sacrament existed not just by external celebration, but internally also.

So this is what a Church Tribunal does. It looks into everyone and everything to see if everything was present, or not. If not, then a formal decree is issued, so that a person may be able to enter into the Sacrament.

In your situation, when you enter into dialogue with your own parish priest first, then with the Tribunal, you will be looking to see if anything was missing at the beginning of the marriage. This ends up to be a real healing.

In the mean time, and if everything doesn’t work out in the end, you should follow the advice of Blessed Pope John Paul II who told couples to do their best in their Christian life; participate in the community of the parish in everything possible; rear your children in practice of the Faith, including the observable things, such as Sunday Mass and catechism.

As regards the office fees, the Tribunal is usually open to negotiating this. Also the parish can be involved. Or the Catholic Charities of the Diocese. Or the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Or the office of the Bishop. It is not an insurmountable thing.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father

I am a practicing catholic. I was married years ago in the church and got an annulment. I then got married in a civil ceremony. We have twins. Can I get the twins baptized in the Catholic Church? Can I get my marriage blessed in the church or have a church ceremony now?

Thank you

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mary,

You can have your marriage blessed in the Church. Your local priest can help you. Your twins can be baptized hen.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

My ex-husband and I were married in 1980. We renewed our vows in 1993. After 22 years of marriage, 2 children and 6 years of divorce, my ex was granted an annulment of our 1980 marriage. Does the renewal of our marriage vows in 1993 still hold or was that annulled, too? Thank you….gail

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

The renewal of vows is not another sacrament, but a recommitment to one another. Some couples do that quite often.

The annulment would apply to the whole marriage. It does not, however, effect the "status" of any children born of that union.

The annulment granted to your ex-husband is also granted to you at the same time.

I hope that clears up some points for you.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Fathers,

My husband is Greek and Greek Orthodox. I am a lifelong Catholic. We are going to have a child and he would like to baptize the baby as a Greek Orthodox. We intend on sending our child to Catholic schools and we would like our child to receive first communion, reconciliation and confirmation with his/her class.

Is this possible?

Heather

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Heather,

To respond completely and correctly, there are a couple things to ask: Were you married in a Catholic Church? Or, if married in the Greek Orthodox, did you have the Catholic Bishop’s permission to have the wedding in the Greek Orthodox church? There are a series of documents and forms done for a marriage either done in a Catholic church or with the direction of a Catholic priest with the permission of the Bishop. Among these is the formal commitment by the Catholic person to baptize and rear children in the Catholic Faith.

All of this assumes that the Catholic spouse continues life as a practicing Catholic. In this case it makes sense to rear children in the practice of the Catholic Faith and receive the Sacraments in the Catholic Church. If one is not practicing the faith, doing all these things brings confusion into children’s lives instead of authentic belief and practice of Faith.

For all of these things you should be in contact with your local Catholic parish priest and follow his advice.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On January 5, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers:

I am a baptized Catholic since babyhood/attended Catholic School for 12 years. I am married to a man of Jewish descent for over 26 years. We were not married in the Catholic Church due to his family's objections at the time. My husband has converted to Christianity many years ago (since our engagement in1984) and is familiar (and practices) many Catholic prayers and traditions because of his exposure to the faith through my family. Our faith is sincere and has stood the test of time.

I was denied confession after our marriage during a particularly difficult time in my life and the priest said in the confessional that we were living in sin and I could not receive the sacraments in this state and turned me away. I found this so jarring at the time (in a particularly vulnerable state) and so hard to reconcile I have not been to mass regularly since. I struggle with imagining Jesus turning me away and it seems impossible from all I have been brought up to believe that He would do so.

I miss the sacraments but struggle with whether I should remarry in the church to satisfy the rules so I can receive the sacraments, or continue to pray as we have these many years, happily married but not connected through the sacraments.

Your insights would be appreciated.

Thank you, Fathers,

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mary,

You could repeat your vows at a simple ceremony; 2 witnesses, yourselves and a priest or deacon. As long as neither of you was previously married. Your husband would not have to convert to make this possible.

Speak to your pastor for arrangements.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I am 16 and I'm Lutheran and don't usally attend church but I went with my girlfriend to church and she is catholic so we went to her regular church that she attends and she didn't tell me anything about communion so I took communion at a catholic church what should I do or can I even do anything?

Tony

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Tony,

If you are not a Catholic and attending a service in a Catholic church it appropriate for you to approach the priest or minister and cross your arms across your chest. At that point they would know to give you a blessing. If you are not comfortable with that arrangement you could also remain in your pew while others go up for a blessing or communion.

The understanding of sacraments was one of reasons Martin Luther ceased being an Augustinian priest. With 500 years of debate behind us, I am sure you and your girlfriend will have plenty of material on the topic to talk about.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello Father,

I was baptized and confirmed Catholic. ihave been married 13 years. My husband was previously divorced. We tried to get an annulment before we got married but his ex-wife would not cooperate fully. Thus we were not married in the Catholic Church nor have we had our marriage blessed.

We have two children that are baptized Catholic.

My husband's ex-wife was married before she met my husband. Her marriage to my husband was her second marriage.

She is not Catholic my husband is not Catholic and her previous husband to my understanding was not Catholic either.

Is there anything I can do to have my marriage recognized by the church without the annulment? Also is there anything I can do to be in good status to receive communion again?

Thank you in advance for providing clarification.

Sincerely,

Tracy

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Tracy,

We human beings! Sometimes we get into situations that become technically complicated. Then we can only follow the advice of Blessed Pope John Paul II who encouraged people who have become not in harmony with all the Sacraments simply do the best we can, participate as much as we can regularly at Sunday Mass, give good instruction and enroll the children in religious education classes, be sure that they are practicing the faith fully, etc.

As for your current circumstances, let us see what is possible. The principle which guides the practice regarding marriage is that the promise made as husband and wife is made for a lifetime, unless it can be proved that it was not a true marriage in the first place. Technically there may be a variety of reasons why a true marriage did not happen. An easy example would be that one of the spouses had been forced into it. If this can be proven, the marriage can be declared non-existent. So a decree of nullity can be issued.

In your husband’s case, if his first wife’s first marriage, still technically existed [that is, not proven that it did not exist in the first place], then his marriage to that spouse was not valid, as her previous bond had not been dissolved by death of a spouse.

Yes, this legalese sometimes seems somewhat arbitrary. The Church, however, has to live what she believes: that marriage is a permanent covenant until death of one of the spouses. If the Church shrugs at this principle, what is to prevent her from shrugging at a variety of things, and thus not being faithful to Jesus Christ?

So I would encourage you to begin a new contact with your local diocesan Tribunal, and see what is possible, if anything can be done. In the meantime follow the counsel of Pope John Paul II.

Blessings and peace in the new year!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years. We are both juniors at the same college and met our freshmen year. I get along wonderfully with his family and him with mine. However, he was born and raised Catholic, and I was raised in an Alliance Church. His family goes to church every Sunday and I have been to church with them many times. I otherwise go to a non-denominational church, he has visited with me a few times. I am fairly certain that my boyfriend has been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church. I have not yet been baptized but I am a "born again Christian" (I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus into my heart when I was young). For a long time I felt as though my boyfriend and I were perfect for each other- we have many things in common and have the same interests in life. But as we become more serious as a couple, the fact that we are two different denominations seems to be dampening our relationship and I feel as though our relationship is losing it's long-term purpose. He is pretty set on remaining Catholic and raising kids that way, and I am leery of becoming Catholic because I feel more connected to God in the non-denominational setting. We have discussed this issue countless times; coming up with options such as going back and forth between a Catholic and non-denominational church- if we were to get married. My issue with this is that the kids (assuming we would have kids) would not have consistency, and I myself would resent not being able to have a "home church"- one that we could become part of a church family with. I know there is a lot of pressure in Catholic families to marry Catholic and raise the kids Catholic. We are at the point in our relationship that we want to reach a conclusion on this issue. I think I can speak for both of us when I say we don't want to invest years in a relationship that doesn't have the potential to one day develop into a marriage. We are both very committed to our separate denominations, yet I feel as though he is committed for the sake of tradition and I am committed for the sake of a relationship with God. I deeply respect his commitment and appreciation for tradition, but I am having a tough time helping him to understand the relationship part. (I'm still working on it myself!)

What advice do you have for us (that I can share with him also) about addressing the denomination issue and then making a decision on whether or not we should continue our relationship? How should I go about the topic of a future wedding/marriage and how the kids will be raised?

Thank you so much for you time.

Missy

Fr. John Malloy answers

Dear Missy,

Your personal connection with God is admirable. Your sincerity is evident. Your boy friend's connection with his Catholic tradition doesn't seem so fervent.

However. We believe that the Church of Jesus was founded by Him, and His Apostles were chosen to spread this one true faith.

My suggestion to you would be to join the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) in the local Catholic Church. It's a program for Catholic and non-Catholic who want deepen their understanding of the Church.

You can marry without changing your faith, but your friend would have to promise to raise children as Catholics for a valid Catholic marriage.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten you.

With my prayers for a peaceful and God=filled relationship

Fr. John Malloy SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am scheduled to married in late May. We have most of the paperwork started and the Can-A classes scheduled. My fiance' is baptized, has done communion and been confirmed. I am baptized catholic but have not done my first communion and obviously not been confirmed.

I heard from one source that I can be allowed to marry so long as I have started the classes for communion, plan to be confirmed and get a document stating that is the case. However, I have also heard from another source that I can still have a sacramental marriage in a church just so long as I am baptized. There was also something mentioned as about possibly needing permission from a Bishop to do so without the document.

The whole situation has left me very confused and worried we may have to push the wedding back, costing her family thousands upon thousands (obviously our fault, but none the less it would be great to avoid!). Can anyone there give a definitive answer or point me to someone who can?

Thank you so much and best holiday wishes!

Matt

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Matt,

Any pastor could help you. Speak to your local priest.

You could be married without the sacraments mentioned, but a plan to make up would be a great help to your Catholic marriage.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On December 29, we received these questions:

Hello Fathers,

I lived in SF for many years and attended Mass at different parishes, mainly at yours, at St. Dominic Church and at St. Thomas Apostle. I am now in NYC, namely Northern Queens. I have not felt welcome in any parish here. Wherever I go, something seems to happen that tells me, “Don’t go back, out of self-respect.” Nastiness of a pagan flavor seems to pervade encounters with other parishioners at St. Michael Archangel, or wherever. The entire environment both inside and out of Church in general seems stiflingly pagan. Should I take this as a sign to leave NYC? I grew up on the Queens/Nassau border, at a time when there were many families around. I never felt such an antagonistic environment before. At present, I feel I should follow the example of Jesus, who did not run along after the Pharisees but instead practiced a true faith. I feel that the Church is not the Church here. Any thoughts?

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear John David,

Interesting critique of your experiences of the community of Faith you find in NYC!!

I have been mulling this over in my subconscious for a couple of weeks. So I am starting to write down some of my thoughts. What kind of Mass schedules do some of the surrounding parishes have? Do some have an evening daily Mass? When I was pastor in Edmonton, Alberta, we had daily Mass at 7:00 PM. Does your church have a server at daily Mass, especially the evening Mass? Introduce yourself to the pastor and volunteer to serve at the Mass. That will put you right in the middle of the single most important thing that the Church does in the world: the Eucharistic celebration.

Does your parish have a Holy Name Society? Join up. Is there a parish school of Religion? That is catechism for school children. There are a variety of names this may be called. Even if you are not a teacher, there is always a need of a teacher aide. My great uncle George, gave his time to the religious formation of students in his parish. Simply being around, sometimes telling Bible stories, showing the youngsters how important it is to learn our Faith, and especially to know and love Jesus.

Does any local parish sponsor a Bible study group? Or a prayer group of some kind, from praying the Rosary together, to glory and praise?

Pick up bulletin from the parishes or look up their websites to see what different groups there may be. In one parish in Edmonton, we started a missions committee. We designated a certain portion of the Sunday collection to support the Church’s world mission of evangelization. We sent donations to the Church Extension Society, the diocesan Propagation of the Faith, different Mission congregations. The correspondence was magnificent!

These are just a few possibilities but certainly starters. I think the first thing is to introduce yourself to one of the parish priests saying you came from San Francisco. Yes, we are one country, but there certainly a variety of cultural differences from East to West and North to South. Many things are simply different.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am scheduled to married in late May. We have most of the paperwork started and the Can-A classes scheduled. My fiance' is baptized, has done communion and been confirmed. I am baptized catholic but have not done my first communion and obviously not been confirmed.

I heard from one source that I can be allowed to marry so long as I have started the classes for communion, plan to be confirmed and get a document stating that is the case. However, I have also heard from another source that I can still have a sacramental marriage in a church just so long as I am baptized. There was also something mentioned as about possibly needing permission from a Bishop to do so without the document.

The whole situation has left me very confused and worried we may have to push the wedding back, costing her family thousands upon thousands (obviously our fault, but none the less it would be great to avoid!). Can anyone there give a definitive answer or point me to someone who can?

Thank you so much and best holiday wishes!

Matt

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Matt,

Any pastor could help you. Speak to your local priest.

You could be married without the sacraments mentioned, but a plan to make up would be a great help to your Catholic marriage.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I want to give myself and my family to God. I have 3 children i am with the father of my children but we are un married. When we first got together he said he was going through a rough time with his first childs mother(wife). He never said anything about being married untill after i was pregnant with our first. I know the way we are living is wrong and i want to raise my children to have a relationship with God. I just dont know where to start or if they can be baptized... Any advice... Thanks

Desiree

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Desiree,

Children are a gift from God. To love them best you must love God first. The Holy Spirit will then be able to give you wisdom and light to love them as they ought to be loved by their mother.

Now a couple of follow up questions. From your letter, is the father of your children Catholic? When you described your current relation with him, it was not clear if he had been married before or not. If he had been married, was it in the Catholic Church? If he was not married at all, or if a marriage happened outside the Church, then your situation in that regard is easy to fix.

If that cannot be taken care of, you still have a mother’s responsibility to rear your children in love of God and neighbor. I assume that you yourself are of Catholic background. For your children [and for yourself too] the first thing is to begin bringing them to Sunday Mass. Then your school age children should be enrolled in the religious education program in your parish. When the parish priest sees you regularly at Sunday Mass, he will invite you to the parish Baptism class and will be very happy to baptize young children. All this you can do whether or not you are able to get officially married in the Church.

Maybe over time, this can happen too. In the meantime, do what you can.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

Desiree followed up:

We are both baptised catholic. He was married outside of the catholic church. I was only baptised by the church my parents split up when I was a baby and never took me back to church. Ive always been lost when it comes to religon. Thank you so much for your help.

Fr. Harold answered:

Dear Desiree,

Thanks for your response. Your parish priest will be most pleased to help you to get married in the Church. It should be quite simple to get everything straightened out.

The community of disciples [the Church] will encourage you in forming your children to the love of God and of one another.

Blessings and peace for the new year,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On December 26, we received this questions:

jmjt

Dear Jesus' Ask the Fathers, in Love:

A gentleman would like to enter our RCIA. He is a baptized and married in the Evangelical Methodist Church, in Mexico, now divorced. Can he enter the Church, via RCIA, without an annulment? Thank you,

God bless you, in Him and in His Sweetest of Names, your friend, devotedly, Jesus' June, a little daisy of the Trinity, who is ever learning to cover everything with love and gratitude, in sinu Patris;

with "mercy, humility, praise, peace and charity". St. Augustine

Fr. John Malloy answers:

The gentleman in question would have to receive an annulment. He could enter the RCIA, but would not be able to receive the sacraments until he can straighten out the status of his previous union.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On December 13, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

My Fiancé and I would like to have our wedding ceremony at St. Peter's Church this upcoming May of 2013. I am not a Catholic but he is a Catholic. His family prefer to have the ceremony in Vietnamese language. Is there a Vietnamese speaking Father who could facilitate our wedding ceremony?

Thank you!

C.D.

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear C. D.,

Church bulletins all over the country state that arrangement for marriages should begin at least 6 months beforehand. You are already over a month late for a wedding in May 2013. If, indeed, you need to have a May wedding, there are only 4 possible times in May next year: 11:00 AM on May 11; 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM on May 18; and 11:00 AM on May 25.

We do not have a Vietnamese priest at SS. Peter and Paul. There are three parishes which have Vietnamese Sunday Mass: St. Boniface and Holy Name of Jesus in San Francisco and St. Raphael in San Rafael. There is also a Vietnamese priest working at the Archdiocesan Tribunal. I do not know his availablility. If you go to one of these parishes, they will be able to accommodate you more easily than here.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


dear father, my name is ashley my boyfriend and i would like to get married he is catholic i was saved as a christian as a child i was wondering what steps i should take so we would be able to be married in a catholic church before God.

 

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ashley,

If your boyfriend is a practising Catholic you can be married in the Church, as long as you promise to raise your children as Catholic.

You don’t have to be Catholic, though it would be better for your future family and yourself, if you did join the faith..

The local Catholic priest can explain the simple steps you would have to take.

Wishing you God’s blessing,

Fr. John Malloy SDB


Hello,

I am Catholic since I was 2 weeks old. I have a good friend of many years that has recently asked me to marry him. He is a non-Catholic and has been divorced about 4 years. I would have to move out his way and live at his house.

Can we get married at the court house and get the marriage blessed even though he is not Catholic? If not what is the process he needs to go through? I have never been married so I know it shouldn't affect me since this would be the first for me.

He got his ex wife pregnant out of wedlock and decided to marry her out of his dying mother's request. Does he need an annulment first or can we get the marriage blessed? Thank you for your help.

Susan

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Susan,

In looking at the validity of a marriage, understanding and free will are essential.

For him to marry you or to have a civil marriage to you blessed, he must be free to marry. The question of the pregnancy and his dying mother's request could both influence the level of his freedom in his decision to marry his ex. That is what the annulment process would have to look at.

Since he is seeking to marry a Catholic, the marriage tribunal would have jurisdiction. (Marriages between non-Catholics are presumed to be valid unless proven otherwise.)

Other questions that might come up are: Was his ex a Catholic whom he married civilly? Are you speaking about "moving out his way and living at his house" before the annulment and church marriage, or afterward?

Step one would be for him to get his papers (marriage registration, final decree of divorce, baptismal records if they come into it) together. Then he would approach the archdiocesan marriage tribunal about an annulment. They would ask him questions about his first marriage and ask for names and addresses of people who could corroborate his testimony. They would also try to get her side of the story. Then they would try to weigh all the information and come to a decision.

So, don't call the moving van just yet...

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB

Sue followed up:

Hi Father Stein,

Thank you for your quick response :) To answer some of the questions. His ex-wife is not Catholic and neither is he. I think he is Christian but not sure what faith exactly.

He was married about 18 years or so. I am not moving out there to his house till we are married first. I have my own house and he is buying a new home 3 hours from where my house is. I have to get rid of a lot of stuff and then rent my house out first. It should take time.

Is there times where the Catholic church will not grant annulments? He was young back then and he cared about his child. He was the care taker of his mom while she was dying of cancer. I don't think he loved the mother carrying his child at the time but did so because he cared about the unborn child and his mom said it was the right thing to do. He was really close to his mom. He told me his wife got worse and harder to live with over the years. She started to yell at his children as they got older and he felt it was best to leave. He separated and started the divorce about 4 and half years ago. His kids are 16, 19, and 21. He wanted to stay till his kids were old enough.

What are the chances the church won't grant him an annulment? I feel we will have a great marriage and life long. We have always had a lot in common and get a long well. We feel we are soul mates. He has been having life like dreams at night for years of us married and are very happy. He is 49 and I am 54. He said he wants his life partner. He brought it up to me with no persuasion from me.

Thank you,

Susan

Fr. Bob responded:

All of those facts will be considered once the annulment process begins. What is most important is the situation at the time of the actual marriage. Did he know what he was committing to, and was he freely doing so? was there pressure from his mother? the mother of his child? society at large? did guilt or shame add pressure to marry? was there fear of "labeling" the child? It all comes up.

Finding someone new or better after the fact is considering a second marriage, not the first.

What the chances are of getting an annulment depends on the nature of the case, and the testimony of the witnesses. He will have to consider who among his family and friends knew about his thoughts and feelings, his promise to his mother, and other particulars at the time of the wedding. There testimony will be important.

I cannot predict how long the process will take. Distance and time can either work for you or against you. If the documents and witnesses are all local, it will move quicker. If you are dealing with other states or other countries, it will take longer.

The church tries to show as much respect for the first marriage as you want them to show to intended/second marriage. Until proven otherwise, that will be how they will proceed.

Fr. Bob Stein


On December 6, we received these questions:

Fathers,

Back in the day after a baptismal, I recall my parents passing the infant into the godparents arm stating some der words such I give you my son, please receive him with love , then the godmother says I receive this child as my commitment to... I truly don't know the words, could you help with this? It is said in Spanish And a beautiful moment. I know that it is performed right outside the church doors before going home.

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Rachel,

What you describe is a beautiful custom sealing the spiritual relationship of godparents [compadres and commadres] and their godchildren. I have never before heard of this custom. And I have not been able to find anything about it on the internet. So you will have to do a personal research among grandparents and great grandparents.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

My fiance and I are both Catholic and plan to marry in a Catholic church in front of all our close friends and family 2 years after our private civil ceremony.

My fiance is divorced from his estranged wife, whom he married in a non-denominational (non-Catholic) church 8 years ago. They have 2 sons who he wants to raise as Catholic. I understand that his first marriage is not recognized by the Catholic church because his ex-wife is not Catholic, nor was it in a Catholic church. Is this correct?

I just want to know if we should work on his annulment, or if the Catholic Church will recognize our marriage with no problems. Please advise.

Thank you!

Fr. John Malloy answers:

If your fiancée was Catholic at the time of his first marriage, it was invalid in the eyes of the Church.

An annulment is not needed, but you have to take steps to staighten out his status in the Church. Approach your local priest, and he can direct you.

Living together in marital union is sinful. Why wait two years, when you could settle it simply in a private exchange of vows? You can always arrange a celebration at a future date.

Rev . John Malloy SDB


Fathers:

Why can a priest not baptize my husband if he goes to church but does not want to join Catholic Church

Margaret

Fr. John Malloy replies:

Margaret,

An adult who wishes baptism in the Catholic Church must profess in the Church and accept the teachings of the Church. This includes the Ten Commandments and the Commandments of the Church, which includes Mass on Sundays.

Rev. John Malloy SDB


Dear Father,

I have two daughters that were baptized in a Methodist church as an infant. Although we have since then switched to a catholic church. Both girls are in there second year of CCD and studying to receive their First Holy Communion. But I was told by our parish that they will not be able to receive their first communion with their class because they were not baptized Catholic. I was told that they would receive the week before their class during mass while receiving their first communion they will also be confirmed. I was very surprised by this since they are both very young (7 and 9 years old) I feel like they are being treated like RCIA students. Is this the only way? I would like them to receive first communion with their class and wait to receive confirmation until they are older and can understand it better. Could you please let me know if this is correct and if there is any way they can be treated like the other students?

Thank you!

Melissa

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Melissa,

Yes, there is another approach (called RCIC--rite of Christian initiation for children).

With adults there is a "profession of faith" ("entering into full communion" with the church) for those validly baptized in another Christian church. Then they would receive whatever sacraments they lack, be that holy communion or confirmation or both.

For any sacrament, the one receiving it should have both understanding and freedom. If you feel the children do not have the understanding necessary at this age, talk to your pastor and make your concerns known.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB

Melissa followed up:

Thank you! One more question. Can my daughter be re-baptized in the catholic church?

Fr. Bob responded:

The Catholic church recognizes baptism in other Christian denominations (using the formula--"in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit") as valid. There is no reason for rebaptism. You daughter has been baptized, and we count baptism, like confirmation, as a non-repeatable sacrament.


On December 3, we received these questions:

Fathers:

I'm 17 and I plan on getting married to my boyfriend, however we need baptism records how do we obtain them, what are the steps?

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Denisha,

According to law, you are of marriageable age. However there are extra steps you have to follow besides the ordinary ones. Are you Catholic? Or your boyfriend? Or both? Request your Baptism certificates from the church in which you were baptized.

Besides filling out certain forms for yourselves, there is also a form for a witness for you and and one for your fiancé.

Then because of your current age, both of you will be expected to see a family marriage counselor. I am sure the Catholic Charities in your diocese will have that service. You will also need your parents’ approval.

Your letter implies you want to get married in the Church. You need to really pray and ask guidance from the Holy Spirit for this important step in your life. As disciples of Jesus Christ you need to be sure that this is what Jesus is inviting you to. Without Jesus as the anchor, you don’t have a chance. With Jesus, you become a bright light in the world around you. This is the Sacramental sign of God’s presence among us through the unity of husband and wife in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

we are a greek orthodox family. all my 3 boys went to a catholic school which i thought was very similar to greek orthodox. I now also want my daughter to go to a catholic school. I was told that she could have to be received by the catholic church. can you please let me know what this means.

thank you

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Antonia,

If the school will accept only Roman Catholic children, your children would not be allowed there.

However, this is not the condition in most Catholic schools in the country.

All schools in my area would be happy to accept your daughter--conversion can never be forced.

The Greek Orthodox is very close to the teachings of the Catholic Church, but years ago separated from allegiance to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

It's our prayer that as ties grow closer to the Orthodox we may once again be united in the successor of St. Peter.

Praying God's blessing on you and your family,

Rev. John Malloy SDB


Fathers,

My boyfriend is a baptized catholic that has not been to church in many years. I am preparing to begin my RCIA lessons and we have an 18 month old daughter we live together but are not married. The RCIA woman at the church that I am joining says that after all my rites but before I can be baptized my boyfriend and I have to get married or I can’t be baptized. However, his mother, who is an old school Catholic German says that I should be able to be baptized even if we are not married. But it is my understanding that we are currently sinning and that that would still be a sin. So I guess my questions are

1. Do my boyfriend have to be married before I can be baptized?

2. Can I still be baptized if my boyfriend refuses to marry me?

3. When my daughter gets baptized does she have to be fully immersed?

I am really lost here please help.

Blessings,

Tiffany

Fr. John Malloy replies:

Tiffany,

1. Do my boyfriend have to be married before I can be baptized?

Answer: No. A good preparation will prepare you for baptism. No restrictions, if your faith is firm and spiritual life in order.

2. Can I still be baptized if my boyfriend refuses to marry me?

Answer: Certainly. His agreement has nothing to do with your baptism. , provided you are prepared.

3. When my daughter gets baptized does she have to be fully immersed?

Answer: No she does not. A simple sprinkling is sufficient. Immersion is used in some parishes, but it should be by choice.

My prayer is that you make the right decision.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

My husband and I were married December 1997 broncx new York in the Catholic churh. I was clear to him that i would only marry him if it was in My Catholic church, we were living in south Korea at the time. Now he is saying he was forced to agree. He meet with a priest in South Korea, and he knows many exceptions were made for us, we didn't attend clasees, and he knows that. He agreed to raise children Catholic, or Priest wouldn't have married us, all 4 boys were baptised catholic and In the early years we attneded Catholic church, he never expressed a desire to go to a different church, we started going to a different denomination just so that we would have his participation, I asked my father first if it was okay. Where does my marriage stand , he has been abusive and unfaithful most of our mariage, So is this fraud , Where does the church stand,

Thanks

Donna

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Donna,

There seems to be a couple of questions here.

Understanding and free will are necessary for a marriage. What is important is: "What was the situation at the time of the marriage? Did he know what was being asked of him and did he agree to go along with it?" That is essential for the validity of the marriage. Changing one's mind after the fact does not change the validity of the marriage. It does make life miserable for those suffering through it.

If the present situation is abusive, you should take steps to protect yourself and your children from danger. If professional counseling does not help your relationship, physical separation might be necessary.

Each relationship is unique and the church tries to listen to both parties to see what course of action to take.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


On November 27, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I have two daughters that were baptized in a Methodist church as an infant. Although we have since then switched to a catholic church. Both girls are in there second year of CCD and studying to receive their First Holy Communion. But I was told by our parish that they will not be able to receive their first communion with their class because they were not baptized Catholic. I was told that they would receive the week before their class during mass while receiving their first communion they will also be confirmed. I was very surprised by this since they are both very young (7 and 9 years old) I feel like they are being treated like RCIA students. Is this the only way? I would like them to receive first communion with their class and wait to receive confirmation until they are older and can understand it better. Could you please let me know if this is correct and if there is any way they can be treated like the other students?

Thank you!

Melissa

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Yes, there is another approach (called RCIC--rite of Christian initiation for children).

With adults there is a "profession of faith" ("entering into full communion" with the church) for those validly baptized in another Christian church. Then they would receive whatever sacraments they lack, be that holy communion or confirmation or both.

For any sacrament, the one receiving it should have both understanding and freedom. If you feel the children do not have the understanding necessary at this age, talk to your pastor and make your concerns known.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Hello!

So I am baptized, raised, confirmed, part of a parish Catholic and am planning to marry a non-Catholic. He is baptized and it has always been a dream for me to get married by my parish priest because I've known him all my life and been very involved in my parish. Can he officiate the ceremony? Even if we don't want to participate in a Sacrament of Matrimony would he be able to act as the officiant?

Thank you!

Catherine

Fr. Bob responds:

Catherine,

Catholic priests can officiate at wedding of two Catholics in a Catholic church. They can also officiate at the wedding of a Catholic and a non-Catholic in a Catholic church. Marriage is understood as a sacrament by the Catholic church. The ceremony for a Catholic and a non-Catholic included the liturgy of the word, the exchange of vows and rings, and nuptial blessing. It does not include the Eucharist prayer and communion from which the non-Catholic partner and guests would be excluded. All of this your priest-friend could do.

Catholic priests are not authorized to do strictly 'civil ceremonies'.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


Dear Sirs, My Name is Vatche I am A Catholic.

Last August I became godfather To My Niece! Since my Sister had Twins the Other Babbie's Godparent was my Brother in Law's Brother.

What I wanted to inquire about is that. When I marry my girlfriend does she automatically become my Niece's Godmother?

Thanking you in Advance

Sincerely

Vatche

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Vatche,

The answer is NO. God parents stand up when babies (or adults) are baptized.

Marriage would have nothing to do with becoming a God father or mother.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I've recently become engaged and my finance and I are planning our wedding. I'd like to married in my parish church as it is where I was baptised, first received communion and then confirmation as well as being my primary school church. My future husband is happy to get married in a Catholic Church however he is not baptised in any religion and has been divorced for about 10 years.

I've briefly looked into our options and understand that the Church would need to annul his previous marriage. I feel conflicted as the questions asked are very invasive and I feel bad that my husband to be's ex-wife will have to get involved. Whilst they were married at a young age and the marriage turned out to be an unhappy one, I've no doubt at some stage they were in love and their marriage produced two lovely children. I feel by having the marriage annulled it is unfair on his ex wife to almost say that it never existed although there marriage was not in a church and his ex-wife is not religious it still takes away from what must have been important and special years in her life. The other issue is that of the nature of the questions, unfortunately she is a rather difficult personality and she will mock the questions and answers and make them public for all friends and family to see, including John's children.

I feel extremely conflicted and feel that rather than encourage us to marry in the Catholic Church before God and our family we are being pushed away by the very nature of this process. And if I choose to marry outside the Church, which we may have to consider, then it is not recognised by the Church.

What are your thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Sarah

Fr. John Malloy replies:

Dear Sarah,

You are certainly called to make a difficult decision. I will pray for your fortitude in facing a dilemma, which concerns heaven and hell. These may sound as harsh words, but are at the heart of every marriage between Catholic and divorced man or woman.

My thoughts may sound cruel, but they are not mine—they are from the Lord’s Church—which is concerned with your eternal happiness. You know a Catholic may not enter a marriage with a previously valid marriage partner (civil or Christian) without an annulment of the first marriage.

Life is short and feelings are powerful. I realize how difficult it is for you to give up your relationship. But remember only God knows how long you will live. The state you are in when you die will last forever. It comes down to minutes of earthly pleasures (with pains included) versus eternity. I pray your soul will win over your body.

With prayers,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

we are a practicing catholic family. my children all go to catholic schools and my oldest daugther went to a catholic grammar school and hs. she dated this boy for 3 years long distance because she was home going to college and he stayed in Tx with his family also finishing college. they would see each other every 3-4 months. She asked him to ask her to marry him and he did. They never had the formal meetings witha priest and only attended the pre cana here in chicago one day. I did not know that she had asked him to ask her because she wanted to get out of the house. Needless to say she wanted a divorce 2 years later. By this time was she already leaving in Tx. it turns out that he got a girl pregnant while they were getting the divorce. Now she is telling me that she already started the process to have it annuled. She is dating this other man and tells me that she doesnt sleep with him but he is her boyfriend. She was very upset at me because I told her that I was not sure that she shouldbe taking Holy Commmunion because before God's eye she is still married to her husband. the boyfriend is not a practicing catholic but he was baptized and then his parents changed religion. He is willing to learn about the catholic religion.

I dont know what to tell her about her situation and she taking Communion. She goes to church every Sunday.

thank you!

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mother,

If your daughter has been to confession within the year, and is not sleeping with her boy friend, and has made her peace with God, she may go to communion.

An annulment would leave her free for a second marriage.

If the new boyfriend was baptized in the Catholic Church and is willing to return to the Catholic Church, he should take instructions to make up for what was missed in his youth and then can easily be re-admitted to our Faith.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father:

I am a devout Catholic and secretly baptized both of my grandchildren when they were infants. They are now 9 and 5 years of age.

I did it myself. It was not in a Church. The parents appear to have no intention of having them baptized.

I tried following the Catechism which says that this can be done in an emergency situation. I felt that this was an emergency since the childrens’ souls would be in danger.

I thought that I was doing a good thing, and the right thing.

Now I have recently read that, according to Canon Law, I did not do the right thing and that I may have committed a sin.

My questions are:

Were the baptisms valid?

Did I commit a sin?

Thank you,

Frank

Fr. Bob Stein answers:

Frank,

In an emergency anyone (even a non-believer) can baptize using water and the proper form(ula) with the intention of baptizing according to Catholic beliefs. That seems to be the case in question. Therefore it was valid.

For something to be a sin, according to what we learned years ago, it has to be wrong, we have to know that it is wrong, and we have to choose to do it. That does not appear to be the case from what you have said. Therefore, you did not sin in this regard.

Rest easy on both counts.

Fr. Bob Stein, SDB


On November 20, we received these questions:

Hello Fathers,

My husband was married briefly when he was a teenager – 23 years ago. He never lived with the woman, in fact, he never saw her again after the ceremony, which was performed at city hall. She was not Catholic, although he was. At some point later an official divorce was granted, presumably so she could marry. My husband and I were married in 2006 in a non-Catholic ceremony. We are now wanting to come back to the Catholic church, have our marriage recognized and baptize our children. Is it necessary to go through the formal tribunal process for annulment or is there another way to annul his previous marriage? There has been no contact with the previous wife or her family in 23 years and he is not willing to dredge up the past, even if it is the only way to return to the church.

Any help is welcomed.

Thank you

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Melissa,

If he was a baptized Catholic, the marriage in question was not valid. He can easily be freed to marry you in the Catholic Church.

Your local pastor can help you. Tell of your interest to rejoin the Church and validate your marriage. You can have a simple ceremony, without fan fare, and have the children baptized.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

We are coming in from the east coast over the Christmas / New Year Week. Is there a possiblity I could have my grandson baptized during our time at there?

Thank-you

Diane

Fr. Harold Danielson replies:

Dear Diane,

Certainly possible. The request for Baptism should be from the parents. They should fill out the Baptism registration form; then come to the preparation class on the first Tuesday of December, including godparents. If godparents are far away, they should attend a baptism class in their own parish. Thus the class is December 4 at 7:00PM at our parish center at 620 Filbert St. Assumably the child and parents live in San Francisco. Technically, they should get the OK from their own parish for their child to be baptized here, unless they are of Italian heritage, in which case we have jurisdiction already as the Italian parish of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, besides being the parish of this section of San Francisco.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

Can someone marry the ex husband of her cousin of they have obtained an annulment. There are children from the marriage.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Katrina,

As long as you are not married to the ex-husband, and free to marry, you could marry the man in question.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

i was baptized catholic. my husband is also catholic. we were married by justice of the peace. i would like to have a better standing and relationship with the father but my husband has lost his faith & refuses to have our marriage blessed. yes i committed sin by marrying outside the church but now i am trying to right a wrong & no confessions, prayers, or beggin are enough to allow me to fully receive christ in my life. what can i do without my hudbands willin participation can i do to be able to receive communion?

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Marcia,

There are a couple of possibilities for your situation. But first a couple of things should be ascertained. Is this the first marriage for both of you? If it is, we can continue in one direction; if not, something else would be tried. I’ll continue in the first instance.

Under the direction of your own parish priest, you should contact your local diocesan Tribunal with the request of a “sanation” [Latin “sanatio in radice : healing at the root”]. After gathering sufficient information, the Church acts retroactively in healing a bond now which was begun long ago.

So, see if your situation fits this scenario. If this is not possible, get back to me. It gets more complicated.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On June 11, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

My sister in-law ( who is a somewhat practicing Catholic ) is planning a civil ceremony to be attended by her friends and then a year later having a Catholic wedding that can be attended by her large Catholic family. She is in the process at the moment of doing a marriage preparation course. My husband and I have objections to this and are trying to find the right words to express to her our concerns. We need help in communicating clearly what exactly the Church says about this situation.

Many Blessings

Karen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Karen,

It will be painful for you to express your concerns, if the marriage in not in accord with Catholic teaching.

Putting it simply: She cannot have a civil marriage and exercise marriage rights, without committing a serious sin, which would prevent her from receiving Holy Communion and would make her a sinful member of the Church which she wishes to profess.

What prevents the marriage ceremony from taking place without the civil ceremony?

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On June 8, we received these questions:

I have a son who is gay and is getting married in Nov 2012. He know we don’t believe in same sex marriages. He also know that we don’t believe in his gay life style. We have made it very clear that we love him as our son and will never stop. We will support in his career and all he does in life, expect for anything dealing with his gay life style. He wants us to attend the wedding, but I don’t know what to do. We hear so many different pros and cons on going to the wedding, but what is the truth? Awaiting your answer, soon please.

Thanks Andrew

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Andrew,

Love the sinner not the sin.

He’ll always be your son. Reaffirm your love for him at every opportunity.

I would tell you not to attend this ceremony, which is a travesty of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Don’t participate in an act which will make your son believe that you approve his action.

Fr. Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers

I am an atheist, and my husband is Catholic, in good standing, and a weekly church goer. I was not comfortable being married in the Church, so we weren't. We don't have children yet, but the issue is that when we do, he wants them to be baptized in the Catholic Church, and I'm against an infant being baptized (I believe they should make that decision for themselves when they're older). Can the baptism take place without my involvement? I would allow it, but it would be without my blessing. I wouldn't attend any classes, meet with a priest, or attend the baptism itself. What requirements are involved, for both parents? And what is involved in having our marriage "blessed", which I believe would be required for our children to be baptized.

Stephanie

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Stephanie,

You remind me of my uncle Don. He married a Mormon lady, who then was my Aunt Mary. She was such a wonderful person. Her daughters, my cousins, are magnificent women, mothers of families. Back to Don: He was having a heart attack, Aunt Mary rushed him to the closest hospital, a Catholic one. In the admitting office while he was on a gurney being rushed into emergency, she was answering the questions of the admitting clerk. It came to “religion” (asked at a Catholic hospital so that they could contact clergy for the individual). My aunt did not know what to say, so she said “Mormon.” Uncle Don from the gurney interrupted: “I am not. I’m nothing!” That’s the way he lived, and died. Two weeks later he had another attack and died in her arms.

For your husband, unless he obtained the permission of the local Bishop to be married in another venue than by a priest in a parish church, would not yet be in “good standing” with regard to practicing the Catholic Faith. The tone of your letter tells me that you love him dearly. That being so, you would do everything you can so that he can practice his faith fully and freely. This would imply getting your marriage “blessed” [a non-technical word) or (technical word) convalidated in the Church.

This reminds me of my grandmother, and my mother. My grandmother married my grandfather who was not Catholic (I doubt if he was ever baptized) – in the Church. My mother married my father who was not Catholic – in the Church.

The expectation for the Baptism of children would be the underlying hope that they would actually be raised in the Catholic Faith. If there is no hope in this regard, no baptism should occur.

Peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On May 29-June 5, we received these questions:

Hello,

I am responding to the ask your question on your website. I certainly appreciate the opportunity and thank you in advance.

My sister-in-law is my sons God mother. However, she has left the Catholic Church and the sacraments. She and her husband and children belong and are very involved in a non-denominational church. We are very disappointed that at no time has she ever participated in her role as his God Mother. She has no intention of returning the Catholic Church. Now after 17 years she has decided that she likes our oldest child best and only wants to be involved in his life by only sending him a birthday card each year while ignoring the others. I am at wits end. I know that there is nothing documented that state that we can remove her as his God mother. However, I plan to do so anyway and ask someone to stand in for her and ask our parish priest to change the name on the baptismal document. My question is, can I do this and is there anything wrong with it?

Yours in Christ,

Bonnie

Father Malloy responds:

Bonnie,

You can tell your sister-in-law that she can no longer be the God Mother of you son. However, you cannot change the listing on the baptism record. Leave it to God who will take care of the removal. One God Parent is sufficient, so if you have a God-Father put him on notice.

You son can be polite and thank his aunt for the birthday gift. He could also tell her that the relationship would be stronger if she had not abandoned the Catholic Church. That may be too much for your son to do, but remind him that his aunt is no longer in good standing with the Catholic Church.

Meantime pray for your sister-in-law and ask God’s pardon for her sin.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I am a 65 year old Protestant. My first husband and I were married for 14 years. He became sexually involved with my best friend and moved out, leaving me with our three young children to raise by myself. He asked me for a divorce. I did not want a divorce but had no choice in the matter. He married her and they are still married.

I have now been remarried for 14 years. He is a Protestant and does not want to join the Catholic Church or get an annulment from his first marriage.

I want to join the Catholic Church and am willing to apply for an annulment but I have read that even if my annulment is granted, I will not be able to join the Church because the Church does not recognize my 14 year old marriage. To join and take communion either my husband would have to get an annulment or I would have to leave him. I can't believe the church would ask me to leave my wonderful husband in order to join the Church.

My ex-husband and his wife joined the Catholic Church 10 years ago. They were never asked about prior marriages, were active in the church and took communion with no questions asked.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am having problems understanding what I need to do to become a Catholic. I have been praying the Holy Rosary for a year and have asked my ex-husband to forgive me for whatever I did or did not do to cause him to leave me.

Sincerely,

Patty

Fr. Harold responds:

Dear Patty,

We human beings can certainly get into complex situations. Sometimes they can be unraveled, sometimes not.

You have made some assertions which I am not so clear about. Your former husband and his wife joined the Church and were never asked about prior marriages. That is certainly something that should have been asked and resolved. If not, it is a situation which contradicts the Church’s understanding of authentic marriage.

If instead it was resolved, then you should have been notified also.

To the present! By any chance was your current husband’s wife a Catholic and not married in the Church or had been married before? Certain circumstances could be ascertained without your husband being involved.

On the other hand, in circumstances such as yours and a variety of others, we should follow the advice of Pope John Paul II, namely do the best you can, participate as much as possible, believe in God’s love for us notwithstanding everything. Through the ages, sometimes couples have promised to live as brother and sister, and thus are admitted to the Sacraments.

If the Church [i.e. us, the people] does not uphold its principles, then what depths we could fall into!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


My son and his girlfriend who now live together just recently baptized their baby girl who is my first grandbaby. We are all catholics. Monsenor asked them to come back the following Sunday to light the baptismal candle. My son, Gloria and God parents could not attend. I strongly believe the candle needs to be lighted. My question is can the candle be lighted at home with prayer or do they need to light it at church?

Thank you

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jennifer,

The lighting of the candle would have nothing to do with the validity of the baptism. Lighting the candle in home or in the church would not change or add to the baptism. The pouring of the water and the recital of the proper words is essential for the sacrament. The lighted candle is sacramental in as much as it is part of the ceremony, but not of the essence of baptism.

It’s a shame that the parents are not living as Catholics

It would be much better for the faith of the child if the parents regularize their union so that they might see the child grow, hopefully in faith and morals.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

Here is my and my husband's predicament.

My mother in law started the process for an annulment last year. At that time, the priest let them pick a wedding date. Reason was that the annulment process was only a year process and the church fills up fast so they wanted to save their spot.

It seemed as though the annulment was not coming through on time and my mother in law and fiancé became impatient as they have made many plans and sent out "save our date" cards to everyone some of which will be spending money on plane tickets and such arrangements. They made the decision to have their wedding at a Methodist church instead of their home Catholic parish, with the idea that they will have their marriage blessed once the annulment was final.

We are trying to live our Catholic faith. We are presenters for Catholic Engaged Encounter and know the importance of marriage and want to uphold that as best we can. We told her that we will not be able to come to the wedding if the annulment is not granted, as that would be celebrating adultery. We were also unsure if we could even attend the wedding ceremony of two baptized Catholics in a Methodist Church.

It is now four weeks from the wedding. My mother in law received the first letter stating the annulment is approved but is now being sent to the "defender of the bond" process. Our understanding is that until the process is final and she receives notice of a declaration of nullity, she is not free to marry. But, she then called her Vicor and told him about our situation. The Vicor acknowledges the fact that the annulment has been sent to the "defender of the bond" step of the process, but he said that the annulment was approved on their end and that her son could buy plane tickets and attend.

Our concern is two fold, that we would be attending and supporting their union, but the annulment wasn't in fact final. Our other concern, is that they are two baptized Catholics marrying in the Methodist church. Which by the way, their preparing priest is in support of and has even offered to say a reading during the ceremony.

If you could shed some light on our situation, we want to make sure we are upholding the sanctity and importance of marriage and are keeping in accordance with Church law.

Thanks,

Roisin

Fr. Malloy answers:

Roisin,

Too bad they did not set the wedding date a little later in the year--although it would not have been right to do so until the annulment was finalized. The present conclusion is costly and disturbing.

The priest doing a reading is not acting in the interests of the Catholic Church. His conscience must be his guide.

You may attend the ceremony in the Methodist Church as long as you take no part in the service. It is not a valid marriage for the Catholic partners.

In order to reinstate them in the Catholic Church, they would have to seek permission from the Bishop, or his vicar, and then have the marriage blessed in a Catholic ceremony--which may be a very private one.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello again Father,

I have spoken to both a parish priest from my diocese in NY and to my fiance (whom I address as husband, and he addresses me as his wife). We will be meeting with a priest from the parish closest to us now, as we live in another state. I'm sure all my questions will be addressed as well as his, but I would appreciate and value your feedback to the following issues. I'm not sure how long it will take to be in contact with the new parish in respect to getting more in depth with religion and Catholic teachings. My husband has many many questions which I cannot always answer, despite my religious upbringing and lifelong Catholic school education (all the way to college).

As I mentioned before, I made a promise to God and our Blessed Mother that I would help him find his faith again, so I am doing all I can. One big issue aside from his lying has been his addiction to pornography. His ex wife condoned and even pushed it on him but that sort of stuff has no business in a true, loving, Christian relationship. He knows I am against it and I see that he has gotten a lot better about not watching it, but he still doesn't understand why it is wrong. I threw his entire porn collection away when i found it in his old house which he & his ex wife used to live in. It hurts me so much that he watched any of this during our relationship, and i dont know how else to handle it. I feel that a great deal of his behavior has to do with his loss of respect for all churches and lack of faith. His mom blames his ex wife for this too because that is when he changed. He has not attended his services since he married that woman, except for a few times that I brought him to my parish. He questions God, thinks every bad thing that happens is because "God is up there laughing and getting a kick out of us." ...... His dad died when he was 10 and I know that affected him greatly. He also says that when he would ask his pastors questions about religion they would simply tell him "that's just the way it is." His stepdad was Catholic but converted to Methodist when he married his mom.

So my questions are these:

1. How do I help my husband understand that porn and checking other women out is wrong?

2. How can I help him find his way to our Lord in a manner that does not make him feel like I am pushing Catholicism on him?

Respectfully,

Grace

Fr. Malloy answers:

Grace,

Porn will break up the strongest of marriages. You would be better off if you withheld vows until he promises to seriously try to cure his addiction.

Certainly, the marriage will not be blessed if he refuses to change. God will not be part of the union. Its durability is doomed to failure.

You can’t do it alone. You can’t push Catholicism on him, but you can demand that he keep the law of God and his country, as long as he wants a relationship with you. He can’t love you and porn at the same time!

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers,

I have lived in SF a long time and am a great admirer of the church itself (I am Jewish, so I am not a Catholic, but I am an admirer of Jesus' basic message of "love thy neighbor".)

I work as a hotel concierge down on the Wharf and we often send people to your church to worship.

I always point out to them that you possess (no pun intended) the ironic address of 666 Filbert St. Since that is considered the number of the beast, has the church ever considered petitioning the city to have your address changed? I find it odd that after all these years, it still maintains that address.

On a separate note, I would like to know if someone would be willing to sit down with me and discuss faith. As I mentioned, being a reform Jew, I do not have belief in God. I lived in Israel for six months in the early 90s in Jerusalem and was fascinated by the story of Christ, especially after visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I personally have a hard time believing in a God whose existence cannot be proven. I struggle with the Catholic Church's opposition to homosexuals and their interest in marriage. I can't understand why the Church doesn't acknowledge the individuals' right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness; also put as "why are two gay peoples' love for each other less valid than two straight other people's?" Furthermore, defenders of religion slam gay marriage as "destroying the 'sanctity of marriage' " however when you look around the landscape of America and the world, you find incredibly high rates of divorce, adultery and murder among straight couples; yet gay couples have incredibly high rates of success in their marriages/partnerships.

Thank you,

Scott

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Scott,

One would have to study well the Book of Revelation in the context of the whole Bible and the conditions of the first century of Christianity to give a thorough interpretation of what it meant then and what particulars we need to be aware of today.

I think it is wonderful to have the numbers 666 as our mailing address. They are simply numbers and have no reference at all to anything else. Leaving them on our door is a witness to that.

One of my theology professors in Italy long ago (!) gave a short logic explanation of God. “If there was a moment in which there was absolutely nothing (no matter, no cosmic dust, nothing), there would be nothing now. But there is something (so many things), therefore there had to always be something. This something has to have all the characteristics of what is today. We give it a name: God. We continue to learn about the magnificence, the power, the knowledge of this entity whose created world continues to expand even today. Thus our concept of infinity is continuing to expand by leaps and bounds every day.

There are many people I am sure who could enter into a lively discussion with anyone about this limited world and its source. I am not sure that I could be that one. I am a quite reserved person. Conversation is not my strong point. One could read and study to fill in the blanks. I am adding as a P.S. my list of Catholic bookstores in the Bay Area. To get an authentic idea of what we believe one would need to absorb some of our own witness, not just read criticism from the outside.

With best wishes,

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB
SS. Peter & Paul Church
666 Filbert St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-0809

P.S. CATHOLIC BOOKSTORES

Old St. Mary’s
614 Grant St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-288-3844

Kaufer’s Religious Supplies
1455 Custer Ave.
[off 3rd St., south of C. Chavez]
San Francisco, CA 94121
415-333-4494

West Coast Church Supplies
369 Grand Ave.
So. San Francisco, CA
800-767-0660

Pauline Books & Media
935 Brewster St.
Redwood City, CA
650-369-4230

Mc Coy Church Goods
1010 Howard Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
650-342-0924

Ave Maria Community Book Center
1084 S. De Anza Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95129
408-725-2511

Also some churches, such as

St. Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94109
415-567-4040

SS Peter & Paul
666 Filbert St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
415-421-0809

“Francesco Rocks” Porziuncula Gift Shop
At National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi
624 Vallejo St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
415-983-0213

Christ Our Light Cathedral Shop
2121 Harrison St.
Oakland, CA 94612
510-496-7280

Some Retreat Houses, such as

San Damiano Retreat
710 Highland Dr.
Danville, CA 94526
925-837-9141

Jesuit Retreat Center
300 Manresa Way
Los Altos, CA 94022
650-948-4491

Mercy Center
2300 Adeline Dr.
Burlingame, CA 94010
650-340-7474


Dear Fathers,

First and foremost, may the Light of the Holy Spirit enlighten you always. I am a Catholic woman from a very strong, religious family. Although they are good people who meant well, my family upbringing was very harsh and violent. I tried to always follow my religious teachings, however in my 1st year of college I became pregnant from my high school sweetheart. My dad forced me to marry him and knowing the circumstances were not good, I refused to marry in the church and chose a justice of the peace instead. Sadly, I knew inside that the marriage was not out of love and I did not see it correct to be married before our Lord. We did try to make it work but the families actually made it worse. Needless to say we later divorced amicably.

Fast forward several years... I am now engaged to the love of my life. This is a love that has truly endured the greatest and the worst. My fiance, who is a non-practicing Methodist, and I met 12 years ago in the military but had lost touch until 6 years ago. At the time, he was going through divorce of his own and we kept is friendly. After a year he told me he was divorced and we began dating. It wasn't until a year later when we became pregnant that he confessed to me of his divorce not being finalized. I never suspected because he lived alone and it has taken a lot to get past his betrayal, but we persevered and made it through once i found out WHY he lied. To make a longer story short, he married this girl because she lied to him about being pregnant (we have proof and witnesses to all this ). She also lied about her infertility. She made him believe it was all his fault and constantly threatened to kill herself if he left her, no matter how many times he tried filing for divorce. She knew about me before I knew of her still being in the picture. She became obsessed with our son and tried to kidnap him. It has taken police involvement and court orders to MAKE her divorce him and also to leave us alone. My fiance is trying to turn the divorce into a legal annulment. Is this acceptable by the Church?

Fathers, it has been pure hell and pain but love conquers all. In the nearly 5 years we have been together, we have been blessed with 3 beautiful children (our littlest just born) and have been living together for 3 years. His family loves us and in fact thank me for reuniting them. You see, his ex somehow made him lose his faith and when he refused to be near her she began pushing pornography on him as well as pushing him to drink. I took him out of all that and have slowly brought him back not only to God but perhaps even to Catholicism. All my children are baptized Catholic. I made a promise to God and our Virgin Mother the night before we unknowingly conceived our son, that i would help my fiance find his way back to Him. This is why I never gave up. It is my firm belief that this is what God wanted for us. My fiance feels the same and he is very devoted to our family. We want nothing more than to sanctify our unity. What can we do to be married in the Catholic Church? Can we be forgiven?

Respectfully,

Grace

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Grace,

The easiest part of your story is an answer to your question: “ Can we be forgiven?” You certainly can!

But we need some clarification.

I don’t understand how you could have had your three children baptized as Catholic, without the regularization of your marriage status. All your marriages are invalid for you as a Catholic.

Your present husband needs an annulment of his civil marriages, since they are accepted as valid.

However, you will have to do a lot of paper work. Get documentation of all marriages involved—yours and his. Approach your local Catholic priest with the document acquired and ask his help. He can help you make the needed corrections, acquire other papers. If needed, and obtain support from the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal, which has authority in the case.

Retain your trust in Jesus and Mary and pray the grace necessary for and your family.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB

Grace followed up:

Dearest Father,

Thank you for your quick response. Let me clarify some things:

1. I was only married once through the justice of the peace. That ended in divorce and I understand it is considered invalid. Annulling my previous marriage, if necessary, won't be a problem as my ex feels the same.

2. I have 5 children altogether, 2 from my ex-husband and the 3 babies from my fiance. We are trying to do the right thing by getting married after meeting so much hell from the woman he married. That was his only marriage. After speaking with lawyers it seems HIS marriage meets the guidelines for an annulment. The problem is that his ex refuses to let him go and it is taking court orders to push the divorce, stalking charges against her, etc.. due to her infertility and his not wanting kids with her to begin with, he feels he was coerced into marrying her through the Methodist religion. Her constant threats to hurt herself if he left her were witnessed by everyone.

3. My parish never had a problem with baptizing my children. The only one not baptized yet is our newborn. They are aware of my divorce. Why would the church deny baptizing a child? As far as I've always been taught, the Rite of Baptism is for anyone wishing to be a part of God's community without any prejudice and it is our decision and responsibility as parents to raise our children in good faith. Is it not?

Respectfully,

Grace

Fr. Malloy answered:

Grace,

If your parish allowed your children to be baptized they should be able to help you through the process of making your marriage valid.

You don’t need a formal annulment, only a permission from the Bishop.

An annulment for your present companion’s marriage is also available.

If his first wife refuses to testify, others who know the circumstances can take her place and explain the circumstances of the marriage and her present refusal to testify.

Get your priest to work!

With God’s blessing,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hi my name is Shawn and I belong to the knights and I was told by my uncle that I need to get a priests blessing that I marry my fiancee because she is not catholic and we are not marrying in a catholic church we are getting married in a Christian church I just need to know because we are having a hard time getting a hold of a priests to give us a blessing because my uncle said I would lose my insurance and spot in the knights I need to know the answer to this question before June 10th because we are getting married on June 23rd of this year thank you so much.

Shawn

Fr. Malloy answers:

Shawn,

You cannot remain a Knight if you marry out of the Catholic Church.

You should b e able to find a priest to bless your marriage. I don’t know what diocese you are in, but check the office, if you have difficulty. Or go to another diocese for the wedding.

One problem may be the shortness of time and lack of preparation.

You can marry a non-Catholic if you receive approval.

You could also marry her in a Christian Church, provided a Catholic priest participates and permission from the Bishop’s office obtained.

However, most requirements for Catholic Marriage include a longer time record, than just a few weeks.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father(s),

I'm grateful that such site exists where people can gather answers to possible common questions. I have read through most of the Q&A's posted here, but did not find any that completely answered my question.

My 25 yr-old niece recently got engaged to her longtime boyfriend of 6 years. The entire family could not be happier. We've begun with what we consider the most important of all of the wedding preparations, calling our church(es). Unirtinately, this is where the problem lies.

My niece is a raised, baptized and confirmed, active catholic. Her fiancé is a Baptist. According to the churches we have contacted, she is allowed to marry in the catholic church, as long as they complete the premarital classes and promise to raise their children in the catholic faith, both of which they have no problems with, and intend on doing. The problem is that we're being told here in Miami, that she cannot have a full mass, where neither she, nor any other elegible guests, could receive holy communion. There would also not be any readings from the bible. She would instead, simply have a "wedding service".

I was shocked to hear of this, as I was in her same situation when I got engaged to my husband of 22 years now. I was fortunate to be able to get married in a catholic church, with a "full" catholic mass. We gladly agreed to have our children raised in the catholic church, as we have, and the only restriction we given, was that my fiancé (now husband), would not be allowed to receive the holy communion, but any other elegible guest, as well as myself, would.

My question is, has the catholic church changed their view/law on this? If the couple has no objections to completing the premariral courses and agrees to raise their children in the catholic faith, why wouldn't the catholics attending the wedding, be allowed to have a full mass with readings and holy communion?

If this were to be the case, it would be truly sad to know that a catholic person was being denied what I would consider the most important part of the service, just because they chose to live the rest of their lives with someone of a different religious belief.

Respectfully,

Maria

Fr. Malloy answers:

Maria,

I am sorry to hear of the difficulties presented for the marriage in question.

I don't know of any diocese that won't allow Mass for mixed marriages.

Did you get this information from the Miami Diocesan Tribunal or the local parish?

If it was the parish priest that required this, I suggest you call the Diocesan Office, or you can speak to a different priest at a neighbouring parish. The marriage could take place wherever you can find a Catholic priest willing to offer Mass with the Sacrament.

May God give you the way!

Fr. John Malloy,

SDB


Father,

My name is Chei and I am completeing RCIA and will be baptised at Easter Vigil Service. If I cannot forgive a certain member for something they did years ago, should I still be baptised at Easter Vigil?

Thank you

Fr. Malloy answers:

Chei,

I realize that some hurts are so great that they have left a deep scare on our persona. But not letting go of past hurts, no matter how great, does more damage to you than your abuser.

If God has forgiven you, and me and many other sinners why shouldn’t we forgive?.

Leave “our enemies” punishment to the Lord.

No hurt or sin is so great that God cannot forgive it. As believers in Christ and his message of love, we are all called to the same forgiveness.

At baptism all your sins are forgiven and even those that you find hardest to let go of-- including lack of forgiveness.

When you die and appear before the Lord is a life of resentment going to make it easier for you?

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On May 21, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I’ve been married (in the Church) for 15 years and have two children. Simply put, my marriage is dead. My wife doesn’t want me sexually and we only have sex once or twice a year and it’s only her, as she puts it, “letting me have it.” No desire on her part only a putting up with it once or twice a year. When I ask her if she loves me, she says she doesn’t know what love is. I translate that as meaning, no, she doesn’t love me. She has struck me on several occasions and puts me down in a verbally abusive way some times. She won’t have anything to do with couples therapy and puts any blame for things squarely on me.

I am sad about this and think constantly about how I can get out of this marriage or whether I should, morally or not. What does the Church teach as a remedy for this type of situation?

Thanks,

S.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dear S.

It’s sad that your marriage has crumbled. If your wife is Catholic, she certainly has not lived up to her part of marriage vow

Sad for your children, too. How does she relate to them and they to you? That is a serious consideration you must take before you seek a divorce. Morally you have already been forced out of his marriage. Only she can change that by accepting her duties as a wife.

You have not taken the final step and for the sake of your children delay as long as you can. Offer up your pain for your salvation and that of your wife and children.

Divorce would be allowed in extreme circumstances, but you would not be free to remarry.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I am blessed to be in a beautiful relationship with a very Catholic man, I myself follow the faith too. We know we want to get married. However, I wonder if my previous marriage will present itself as an issue. I was married in court only, not through any church. We were divorced 2 years later. My former husband & I never consummated the marriage b/c we didn't get married for romantic reasons or to create a family. This was an error from my part that I later regretted & therefore we were divorced. I'm thinking that as long as I'm divorced this previous marriage shouldn't present itself as an issue, am I right? Thank you for you response. Have a blessed day!

Ana

Fr. Malloy answers:

Ana,

If you are Catholic, your first marriage was invalid and null in the eyes of the Church. If you are not Catholic a dispensation would be needed.

As you prepare for this new relationship, present the facts before the priest who prepares you for the ceremony. He can easily procure the necessary papers, which will free you from any ties with the first marriage.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was divorced March 2011 & my ex-husband remarried August 2011. To my knowledge she is Catholic & my husband converted to catholicism about 5-6 years ago & we had our marriage blessed at that time. I have no knowledge of an annulment & am confused of how he can take communion & seem to be convinced he is in communion with the church. Could he have gotten am annulment without me knowing? Also, we divorced because he had an affair & after tring to move past it for 6 months he assaulted me & put me on a deep confusion & depression. I then stepped out & he became more violent despite my efforts to keep my family together he told me I ended this relationship & I live with the guilt everyday of what I did even though I have confessed several times & prayed to God for healing. He has really made me feel like I wasn't good enough for him & to see him create a new family with my children on his weekend with them kills me. They don't like to go with him because they have been rushed into so much change & feel unimportant to him but I have no choice but to send them with him by law. Please help.....any advice helps.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Your pain grieves me. I pray God to help you in these difficult times.

If I understand you correctly, you and your husband, both Catholic, had your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church.

When divorce follows, no remarriage would be allowed without a declaration of nullity.

Your ex-husband could not have received such a declaration without your knowledge.

If an annulment can be obtained, do your best to promote it.

The presumption is that he is living in sin and is not free to receive Communion.

You are precious in God's love. Thank Him for that and offer up your pain for the good of your children and the conversion of a selfish ex-husband, especially as you attend Sunday Mass.

It seems to me you have nothing to confess. You did your best to preserve the union. Don't blame yourself for a situation you could not change. Encourage your children with your love and positive comments and without disparaging their father.

If things become worse, speak to a family counsellor and see how the visitation rights can be changed.

May your faith, and self approval, be kept firm! God love you.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

I am currently, and always have been a practicing catholic. I became friends with a great guy a year before he was sentenced to prison. He has been married 3 previous times and I know he would need to get his past marriages annulled, if he were "free" to marry me. He has a wonderful family and 4 gorgeous, great young girls. He is looking at 14 years, but we will know for sure in a week, how long he will have to serve. He is being charged with drug related charges from 3 years ago. I know him well and he hasnt been involved with that world he was previously in in 2 years. He is not catholic. I would like to be able to visit him while he is "away". In order to have face to face contact, we would have to be married. I know we could marry with a justice of peace, but that is not exactly how I should be married. I want to be married in the church. Is there anyway, while he is serving his time, that we could go through the process of him getting his marriages annulled and us getting married by the church? What would this take? Is this even possible?

Thank you! Brenna

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Brenna,

Helping someone begin anew is certainly what a Christian disciple is called to do. In the practical forum with the circumstances you describe, the first thing would be to figure out if, indeed, your friend is free to get married. So, yes, his past marriages have to be looked into. Contact your local Diocesan Tribunal; learn about what has to be done; do a lot of the leg work yourself. Once it is known that he is free, there are either of two things to do. One is, if there is a Catholic chaplain, perhaps he could undergo the task of preparing you for marriage. That is not easily possible, I would think. The other way is to have a marriage commissioner officiate in the prison environment, but do not take advantage of “conjugal” intercourse. Then when he gets out, your first visit is to your pastor, to prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

My daughter received her First Communion without my consent. Her mother, without regard for my opinion, enrolled her in classes and the church was aware that I did not consent to her receiving the Sacrament. The church went through with it and my daughter against my wishes received Sacrament. What does this mean and who's responsibility is it?

Jose

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Jose,

Certainly you describe a bewildering circumstance. And I can be no judge of it. I can, though, offer a few thoughts.

First off, what is, or was, the marriage situation of the child’s parents, and the current dispositions regarding the child? Then, when she was baptized, the parents and godparents promised to raise the child in the “practice of the Faith.” This includes the Sacraments at the proper time. All of it, of course, implies following up in daily practice of the Faith.

If this was being done, the parish would have acknowledged it and proceeded to the next step.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

Jose followed up:

My daughter's mother and I are divorced. We have joint custody of the child and an existing court order to discuss and agree in writing any and every major decision regarding the child. This has I understand it is a major decision to be made. I also understand, according to Jahira at the Archdioses of Miami that both parents need to consent in writing to the communion. I, at no point, did consent to my daughter receiving her first communion. I visited the church were she received her communion and the John showed me the paperwork. He confirmed that my signature was missing on all documents. He also confirmed what Jahira told me that both parents need to consent. That is why you have a letter of consent that requires a notary public to authenticate. None of this was done. Furthermore, in a conversation that I had with John early this year, I made it clear to John that I was not in accordance with this taking place and that I was not going to grant consent. He stated that he would speak to the mother regarding the issue. He does not have any paperwork proving that he communicated with the mother he said he left her a message When I visited the church he chucked it to an oversight on his part.

I can understand the fact that my daughter was baptized and the implications of that with regards to the church but circumstances change and procedures exist for that reason. If it was automatic there would be no need for a letter of consent. The church failed to follow the protocol and violated my rights as a part to choose what I now think is right for my daughter. I would like you to address the inability of the church officials to safeguard the interest of the child and the parents in a situation like this and not to simply say that she wad baptized.

If you please, answer the following question. Is it required in the case that the parents are divorced, each with joint/equal custody, for both parents to consent for the child to receive sacraments in the Catholic Church?

I await your response,

Respectfully,

Jose

Fr. Harold answered:

Dear Jose,

In two letters you have described unfortunate circumstances of not following the regulations in your diocese. You need to approach the Bishop if you want a reprimand of the pastor. First Holy Communion has already happened. As you love your child, be happy for her, even though you may be not on the best of terms with her mother.

I am very grateful in my own life, that my mother, who divorced my father when I was just two years old, yet she never spoke ill of him to me or my younger brother. I did not even know that an actual divorce had happened until I got my driver license as a teenager and my mother had to sign for me, a minor.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On May 19, we received these questions:

Fathers,

I am a practicing Catholic. My daughter is also a practicing Catholic. She will not be able to have her baby baptized until August because of some particular circumstances. In the meantime, she wants me to baptize my grand child. Can I do that, and would it be a sin? The reason is in case her daughter would, heaven forbid, get killed before her baptism in August and not be baptized.

Thank you,

Rita

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Rita,

You, or any one with the right intention, may baptize one who is in danger of death when there is no priest or deacon immediately available

You should not baptize your grandchild on a feeling that she might unfortunately incur death before August That’s a very long shot, and August is only a short time away.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


 Fathers,

My mother was raised catholic and in some ways passed some of her beliefs onto us although she was not active in the church since she was a child. I was never raised to be one specific relegion until i was a teenager and i have been considering converting to catholic. I was previously married and my husband passed away and we have 2 children together. I have since remarried and my new husband had 2 children from a previous marrige. He got a divorce because his ex wife commited adultry many times and she is an alcoholic and drug addic still to this day. I have good faith that his marriage to her could be annuled by the catholic church. My question is would his two children from his previous marriage be considered bastards in the church and how could they be accepted and also my new husband and i have 2 children together, so are my children considered bastards as well? I feel so horrible about this beings i was raised that as long as my children were not created out of wedlock and i was married before conception that they were not bastards. But now looking into the catholic relegion it has me second guessing. I want all of our sins abolished and to be right in the eyes of the lord.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Beth,

God bless your good intentions. I pray your journey, and your family with you, will be grace filled!

Don't even think of it! Your and his children are not bastards!

May the annulment be successfully pursued.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi,

My name is Claudia, and I have a question. My husband and I have a 3month old daughter and are planning to baptize her in the Catholic church of course, but my question is, can we choose to have two god mothers instead of a male and female?

Thank you,

Claudia

Fr. Malloy answers:

Claudia,

Only one godparent is necessary, but there are usually two: male and female.

Two men or two women are not allowed. However one may be selected as witness (either man or woman) and stand with the godparent at the ceremony.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


I got married in a free catholic church at the time I did not know it was a free church, my mom set it up. Today I call to get a copy of my marrage certificate to bautise and they tell me it's not valid in the regular church. I am so sad I feel like if I have been living a lie. I call to talk to a father and no one is available to talk what should I do

Edith

Fr. Malloy answers:

Edith,

Don't get discouraged.

Continue to contact your parish (or a neighbouring parish) and ask for an appointment.

Explain your mistake and tell the priest you would like to correct the discrepancy.

If you and your husband are free from former marriages, it would be easy enough for you to have a private ceremony (yourselves, two witnesses and a priest or deacon) that would validate your union in the Catholic Church.

Contact me again. If you have further concerns or doubts as to your standing in the Catholic Church.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Can my daughter and her catholic boyfriend get married in the catholic church? She is not catholic. She is pregnant.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ann,

As long as neither of them have been married before, they can get married in the Catholic Church. She is not required to convert, but must agree to raise the baby as Catholic.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On May 15, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I am 18 years old and have a 1 year old(I am not married). I was baptized and confirmed as catholic. I have actively gone to mass my entire life. My father belongs to the parish that I have gone to my whole life, but I no longer live with my father or the boundaries of that church, but I do want my son baptized there. Is that possible?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ashley,

Are you still living with your baby’s father? If you are, you must get your marriage blest before you can get your child baptized.

If you have broken up you may get your baby baptized, if you promise to raise the child as a practicing Catholic and follow baptismal requirements.

There is no reason why you cannot have your child baptized in your father’s parish.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My parents are first cousins. I was told since they are excluded from catholic mass, I cannot convert to become a catholic and attend mass having been brought up attending a protestant church with my parents.

Harry

Fr. Malloy answers:

Harry,

No one is excluded from Catholic mass, or church for that matter.

Second cousins would need a special dispensation to get married in the Catholic Church.

Nothing excludes you from becoming a Catholic no matter how you were brought up or what church you attended.

Speak to a local Catholic priest if you are interested in pursuing the matter.

John Malloy, SDB


My cousin is getting married soon in a protestant church. He was raised in the Catholic Church and has been divorced twice. This is his third marriage and he has never gotten an annulment.

I am wondering what the church says about Catholics attending this wedding?

Mary

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mary,

Catholics can be present at the wedding as long as they take no part in the ceremony.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father My Name Is Alondra And I Want To Ask You A Very Important Question I'm In Love With My Cousin And He's In Love With Me. We Are Madly In Love And We Would Give Up Our Lifes For Each Other But My Family Is Againist It And Dont Let Us See Each Other We Want To Be In A Relationship But Our Family Members Wont Let Us Not Even Speak To Each Other. Is My Family Doing The Right Or Wrong Thing ?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Alondra,

Cousins cannot validly marry. Not according to canon 1091.2, which says marriages are invalid up to and including the fourth degree.

When it comes to the biological relationship between prospective spouses, the Church has laws which are based on natural law. We all know that geneticproblems tend to arise in children whose parents are too closely related by blood. Canon law is therefore simply reflecting what nature (i.e., God) intended.

Twenty five states also prohibit such marriages.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I am a 21 year old college student who is in a long-term relationship, practicing abstinince until marriage. I am a cradle Catholic who has just recently began to have a personal relationship with God, being out on my own and attending a Christian group at my university that has challenged and encouraged my faith in a new way.

I always knew the official stance of the church on birth control, but I did not realize the serious gravity of it until recently when it has come to light in the media. I always thought I would use it with my husband until we were ready to be parents, but there was no doubt that we want children. But now that I have researched so much, I am afraid of going to hell.

I know that my parents use it, as well as a number of good friends who are Protestant. I have just gotten obsessed with it and feel like I can't enjoy life because I am too busy worrying about the fates of people I love, and mine, as well as obsessively researching online. I have spent 5 hours online, reading, this evening alone (which is actually how I found your website) and my final exams at school suffered this week due to my being side-tracked from studying.

I can definitely understand the teaching of the church on contraception, I think it makes a lot of sense, but a part of me believes that we can be stewards of the Lord's gifts. I am completely against anything that could cause any sort of abortion in any form. I see conflicting views about whether the sole purpose of sex is procreation, even among Catholic priests. It's just a lot to take in and sort through. I hope you don't think I am being disrespectful from personally having a bit of a different opinion, but it does not necessarily mean that I think I am right and the church is wrong, or that I will act out of my own beliefs.

I have been turning to prayer and my Bible, while keeping in mind the teaching of the church trying to put my mind at ease, but I can't stop worrying. I don't have a priest that I would feel comfortable discussing this issue with at this point.

Also, my boyfriend is Protestant and I am not sure what he would think of the NFP method. I just feel so confused and wonder whether I should just be single forever, rather than have to deal with this problem.

I just want to live with Christ forever. It is undoubtedly a tough road and not meant to be easy.

Do you have any advice for me?

Thank you,

Worried

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Worried,

I see you are aware of NFP. Take courage, it works. You can have sex without sin when you watch your cycle and engage in sex accordingly

Where there is true love the partners can enjoy liberated sex. Couples who have practiced this have noted the great peace and joy it brings. NFP Respects your body and your health and is morally acceptable to all major religions. It Increases the strength of & intimacy within marriage It's such a positive, natural, and healthy approach to sexuality within marriage.

Don’t judge other people or worry about them. God is merciful and certainly does not want anyone to die in mortal sin. But you are called to a higher standard.

Even non-religious people use NFP because it brings true love.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On May 9, we received these questions:

Good morning Father,

My wife and I had a civil wedding and we're planning to have a church wedding in the philippines by next year but i'm wondering if the church will allow us since my wife was divorced twice ( both civil marriage). She had kids in both past marriage. And we have son.. With these facts, would the Roman Catholic church in the philippines allow us to get married?

Lawrence

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lawrence,

The Catholic Church would not allow you to get married until your wife-to-be is released from her first marriages. Her case must be referred to your pastor. Follow his instructions.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I was just wanted to know if I should attend my sons wedding,the ceremony will not be in the Catholic Church.He was raised in the catholic church. The thing I am really considered about is,that a women is officiating the ceremony. And I don't believe that a women should do that. He is telling me that I am not supporting him. And, my heart is telling that I should not go.

God Bless

Fr. Malloy answers:

Unfortunately your son has lost his faith. As a baptised Catholic, his marriage out of the Catholic Church will not be recognized as a sacrament.

A woman may not take the place of priest or deacon for any Catholic marriage.

You may attend the ceremony, but make clear you do not agree with what your son is doing, But do support him with your prayers.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Can anyone be a reader or read the prayers of the faithful or Eucharist minister at Sunday Liturgy or any Liturgy celebration?

e.g. Someone who is not in a good status with the church, like someone who divorced and re-married or live together and not married in the church yet can be a lector or serve at Mass?

Ofa

Fr. Malloy answers:

Ofa,

Anyone who partakes more closely in the liturgy of the word or other liturgical ceremony should be a model Catholic

Every Catholic Eucharistic Minister should be in good standing with the Church and a faithful Catholic. How is it possible for one living in sin would be allowed to handle the Body of Christ?

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On April 30, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

While having a book club discussion the topic of a Catholic being able to receive communion in the Catholic Church if one is divorced came up. I said that while a Catholic would have to confess it once forgiven a divorced person can receive communion. They told me no, that is not true! I know that if a Catholic remarries before an annulment is obtained the rule states they cannot receive communion. Is there or was it ever a rule of the Catholic Church that a divorced who is not a remarried Catholic cannot receive communion?

Respectfully & Gratefully,

Angela

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Angela,

Nothing excludes a divorced single person, just because of the divorce, from receiving Communion.

A divorced person is not sinful because of the divorce. He or she may have committed sins leading to the divorce. Confession can cure that!

Remarrying out of the church would be sinful.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I am married to a catholic. I am a protestant. We have gone through the process of getting my previous marriage annulled or cancelled through the catholic church and my husband just

announced that we will have to have a convalidation of our vows. I don't want to cause any problems I just want to know what that consists of.

I (being a protestant) just do not want to say anything or make a vow that I don't believe and am not comfortable with before God.

I do not believe that we should be praying to anyone other than God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit so will there be any vows made to Mary or the saints?

I love my husband and do not want to upset him that is why I am asking you.

Thank you for whatever help you can give me. If you have an example of what would be said that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Kathy

 

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kathy,

The spouses are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage because the mark—the external sign—of the sacrament is not the wedding Mass or anything the priest might do but the marriage contract itself. This does not mean the wedding license that the couple receives from the state, but the vows that each spouse makes to the other. As long as each spouse intends to contract a true marriage, the sacrament is performed.

The effect of the sacrament is an increase in sanctifying grace for the spouses, a participation in the divine life of God Himself.

The saints, including the Mother of God, are not part of the ceremony if not personally introduced by the spouses.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have a question regarding reparation for a sin. I recently cheated on an assignment. We were supposed to print off a document, and bring it to class. Someone printed off two, so I used it. We were not suppose to get credit without doing it ourselves, but I was somewhat confused on whether I was cheating or not at the time. I have confessed this sin, but did not ask the Priest if I needed to make reparation. He did not tell me I needed to.

This assignment was in a religion class with very few assignments. This could end up accounting for 3-6% of my grade. If I need reparation, do I just tell the teacher I cheated.

Fr. Malloy answers:

My friend,

The priest forgave you. Follow the penance he gave you and don’t worry about telling the teacher.

Be at peace. But should the cheating come to light later, admit it and promise to do what the teacher might ask of you.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Father,

Okay, I don't think that our situation is that difficult; however, nobody seem to know the answer. I am a lifelong Catholic who, as a youth, never finished my Sacrament of Confirmation (Baptized and First Communion I have). I will receive Confirmation next month.

My Wife and two children recently (on Easter Vigil) completed their First Communion, Baptism and Confirmation.

Now, I was told (by a church administrator) at my Adult Confirmation class that my Wife was OK to take First Communion... she [Wife] should then have confessed her sin of accepting Communion due to the fact that our marriage is not yet blessed AND not take Communion moving forward until OUR marriage has been blessed.

She [administrator] also advised that I not accept Communion either. I would really like some clarification.

PS. We are SOOOO not opposed to having our marriage blessed. In fact it something that we are--very much--looking forward to we just want to practice our Faith to our best ability.

Thank you,

Fr. Malloy answers:

Brandy,

Neither of you should receive Communion until your marriage is blessed.

Previous marriages must be absolved by the Church before a new marriage maybe entered into.

The Communion may be received by you both when that is completed.

Once the partners are free, a simple ceremony of marriage vows can be performed (priest, two witness and yourselves).

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I have a child 13teen and iwant to have him a baptism. His father amd i are no longer togather. How do i go about this. Im not catholic

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Sabino,

A youngster who is already in school should be in a religious education program of the parish. Preparing for Baptism, Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation will probably take at least two school years of religious education before admittance to these Sacraments. Be sure to be enrolled at the beginning of the school year.

As your son/daughter is learning, you too can learn what the basic things that make Catholic Christians who they are. Who knows that you too might feel the tug of the Holy Spirit to enter the Church yourself. One is never forced into this. It has to be free choice, as it will be for your child, who is old enough to make his/her own choice at this point.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

A couple is married by a justice of the peace—both the wife and husband are baptized Catholics. Their marriage has not been blessed by the Catholic Church. What is the status (if any) in the teaching on adultery?

Sherrie

Fr. Malloy answers:

Sherrie,

Their marriage is not recognized by the Church.

As Catholics married out of the Church, they are both guilty of adultery.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On April 25, we received these questions:

Hello, my name is Mike. I am a lifelong practicing Catholic who is engaged to be married to a lifelong practicing Catholic woman from the Philippines. We live in Los Angeles. Her father cannot make the trip to the US due to health problems. Her mother would like us to get married civilly in the us and then come to the Philippines and get married through the Catholic Church there.

My family is in Northern California. My question is can we have 2 catholic marriage ceremonies one in cal usa and the other in the Philippines?? Is there a way to hurry the process if we meet the requirements marriage classes paperwork etc. Does it help that her tourist visa will expire soon and we want to get married in the US before going to the Philippines?

Is there acceptance by the church for being civilly married first by a non denominational minister and then one year later on anniv date get married in the Philippine Catholic Church??

I would of course had preferred to get married one time only and in my los angeles parish but matters seem to be needing a different situation. Please give guidance in any way thank you.

4th Degree Knight of Columbus, Mike.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mike,

You may not have two marriage ceremonies, civil and Catholic, to the same person-- unless a civil marriage would be a requirement of another country. (Not the case in the Philippines.)

I suggest you marry here and have a special ceremony in the Philippines. You could have a solemn blessing there.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am not Catholic, but am a member of the Chrismatic Episcopal Church in America. I am currently in Japan where I worship at the Anglican church with my daughter and her family. A young friend of ours is having her first Communion in the Catholic Church on 4-19-12. I have a nice plaque about Confirmation which I had planned to give her, but am wondering do First Communion and Confirmation go hand in hand? Would I be out of place giving her a plaque with a cross on it titled Confirmation which also said " May the Spirit of the Lord rest upon you and Lead you to Wisdom and Understanding."??

Thank you very much.

Sincerely in Jesus,

Gail

Fr. Malloy answers:

Gail,

The plaque is excellent and would certainly be a good gift to one receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Communion and Confirmation do not usually go hand in hand.

However, an individual convert received into the Catholic Church at Easter, may be baptized, receive Communion and be confirmed at the same ceremony.

In your case it seems that a confirmation plaque would not be appropriate at the First Communion.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello! I have a question

I baptized my brother’s son and am currently pregnant we are catholic, I want to know since I baptized his son can they baptize my baby when born, my mother who is Mexican and very catholic says both of the commitments from mine to his son and his to my baby will null. Is this true?? I really want him and his wife to be my child’s godparents. Thanks!

Fr. Malloy answers:

Nancy,

Your mother is mistaken. Parents may not be godparents of their children, but nothing prevents you or your brother from being mutual godparents, provided of course you are Catholics, confirmed and in good standing with the Church and its requirements.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have long had a desire to become Catholic. I was baptized, confirmed and received Communion in the Lutheran Church. I married a divorced (no annulment) Catholic in the Lutheran Church. That marriage ended in divorce. I am currently married to a non-Catholic man who was divorced. We were married in a civil ceremony. He suffers from mid to late stage Alzheimer's disease and is no longer able to process complex information. We have lived in a non-conjugal state for more than a year because of his health. My question is, can I become a Catholic?

Thank you for your help.

JM

Fr. Malloy answers:

Janell,

Speak to the Pastor of the Church first.

I would suggest that you ask about joining the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) This is a program for anyone who is interested in knowing about the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I have never been confirmed. I have been divorced from a Catholic marriage after 18 years. I have been married (in a civil union) for the last ten years to a Methodist, who has had numerous marriages/divorces. I attend Mass and am heartsick over not taking communion.

Does a lack of confirmation in any way negate my first marriage? If not, and I have to seek an annulment, what about the circumstances of my present marriage?

My ex was an alcoholic, though I did't realize the extent at the time of the marriage. There is much resentment on his part, though he filed for the divorce, and an annulment would be difficult. He has alienated himself from our children and has not helped financially. The priest who performed our marriage has said he will be happy to write a letter for me, as he had some reservations at the time about my ex. However, I neglected to tell him about my lack of confirmation. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Nancy

Fr. Malloy answers:

Nancy,

Lack of confirmation would not change your marriage situation. You can be confirmed as an adult, even after a legitimate marriage..

If you have married again, you would need an annulment, which would make it possible to receive Communion .

Speak to the priest who performed the marriage.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On April 18, we received these questions:

In confession, I was truly sorry for all my mortal sins, but not for a venial sin.

To avoid quarrelling with my wife, I would frequently lie to her. And I knew with certainty I had no intention of stopping the lying if she started asking questions.

When I said the Act of Contrition “ That I am sorry for all my sins, and that I will not sin again” it reminded me that this statement was not true for me, and I had to decide quickly whether to correct my Act of Contrition, but I didn’t make the correction. I was probably being afraid of being denied absolution.”

Was my confession valid? What should I do?

Father John Malloy answers:

Your confession was valid, but remember a good confession requires that we seek forgiveness from all our sins.

While venial sins are not necessarily confessed for our eternal salvation, they should be included in our sorrow for our sins committed.

When we are faced with questions from one who has no right ask us we may withhold a correct answer. But if your wife as a right to a correct answer you do risk punishment, not in hell (because it is ordinarily a venial sin) but in purgatory.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


My grandson (whose Father is Italian) is in Italy on vacation. He is scheduled to be baptized in the Catholic church. There will be a couple of member of the family named as Godparents. However, it is my understanding that my husband and I (Americans) would be raise the child in the event his parents were not able. We are not Catholic but are Christians.

My question is, “How legally binding is an Italian baptism?”. If something happened to his parents while they are in Italy, could I get my grandson back to the United States?

Thanks.

This is a concern.

Betty

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Betty,

Baptism wherever it is administered using the correct formula is valid throughout the world. In the event of parents’ inability a state’s [or nation’s] laws kick in for who would take care of the children. Certainly grandparents are in this equation. They do the best they can not only in our earthly life but also in faith for life hereafter.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

I am catholic, I attend church I teach my kids about the catholic church. I have four kids, I have been married twice none by the church, I feel I'm not ready to make that commitment since I fail once. Marriage is sacred and even though I love my husband I hesitate to make that decision. ( I pray for guidance every day) my two younger kids are not baptized, My kids want my sister and her husband (who are not married but not by the church) to be their godmother but the Father at my church told me they can not because they are not married by the church even though they attend church and were raised catholic what can I do to get my kids baptized?? The Father wants me to find someone else who is married by the church or single I know very little people in my community and I don’t like the idea of having some stranger who hardly knows my kids to take on that responsibility so sacred and meaningful, please help.

MTZ

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear MTZ,

Blessed Pope John Paul II encouraged people in awkward situations to participate as much as possible in the church notwithstanding. So when your pastor sees that all your children are participating in the regular religious instruction classes and sees you and your children regularly at Sunday Mass, then he will encourage you in your living the faith as much as is possible for you.

In your letter you state that your children want their aunt and uncle to be their godparents. That makes me ask: how old are they? Are they old enough to be attending catechism classes? If so, they should be in a Sacrament preparation class, probably with others in similar situations.

When you are bringing all you children to Sunday Mass, you are going to meet other people. This is a great resource in a parish community. You pastor was just quoting from canon [Church] law for the requirement of godparents. This can be an incentive for them to get into harmony with the Sacraments and the Church – and also for you as you have promised for our older children and now for the younger ones to bring them up in the practice of the Faith.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold danielson, SDB


Father,

I am a women who is a sibling of 8. My mother passed away on May 16, 2011. I wrote an email to my siblings on behalf of four of us on how I was upset at my siblings who went into my parent’s home and were packing up, distributing my parent’s possession without all 8 children notified or invited to be involved on June 24, 2011. My mom had been dead for a month when this happened! We all agreed at the time of her services May 23, 2011 that we all would get together at a later date June 4,(which did not happen) to decide how this would take place. It was not the property I wanted, I wanted to go through the memories in my parents’ home of 45 years with their eight children. My siblings have been angry at me and some have not spoken to me since my email. Even two of the four siblings who were speaking about others regarding my parent’s house have sided with those who are angry with me. I did write an email that apologized. I do apologize for my email but I still do not feel it was right to ignore others feelings and very disrespectful. My siblings are very one sided and making a phone call would of not worked because I would have been told off and so I thought email was the best way to express myself. I now wish I would of just went away and said nothing and had nothing to do with no one.

Several members of my family decided to retaliate against my daughter and her fiancé and not attend their wedding. I heard of this in August 2011. In October 2011 my siblings canceled their reservations to not come to the wedding which took place March 10, 2012. My sister told me today that it was my fault my siblings did not come to the wedding because of my email in June 24, 2011. I told my sister that the wedding between my daughter and her now husband was not about me and my siblings had really hurt her. I told her the marriage was about them celebrating the sacrament of marriage and it was wrong of them to retaliate against them. They owed my daughter and her husband an apology and it was wrong.

We were all raised Catholic and there is division of family – 2 against 6. I am one of the two. I am sad of the division but I feel I have been abused and it is the family past to do so. I have a wonderful family of my own and I don’t hate my siblings, but it is time to move on and mourn my mother’s death and work with people who want to be part of my life.

My question - Is it right that they blame me that they did not attend my daughter’s wedding for an email and anger about my parents trust or should they have attended the wedding of my daughter and not hurt the bride and groom. What would God want them to do in this issue?

Thank you for your help!

Susan

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Susan,

Ah! Families! How weak we are! The only long term solution is forgiveness without assigning blame on anyone.

On your part continue to send birthday and holiday greetings to all family members. What they do with them is their business, but your heart is clear. Keep sending invitations to family gatherings, birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc.

Remember, forgiveness is an act of the will. It is a decision that is not based upon feeling or emotion. When we are feeling hurt and let down, it is an invitation to be united to Jesus who was let down by His closest friends in His time of need. And nevertheless He forgives and we forgive.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I want to get my son baptized. I'm roman catholic my fiancée is Greek orthodox. I'm tired of fighting about which church the baptism takes place in. I'm getting heat from my mom (she expects roman catholic, his parents Greek orthodox) his family is no longer talking to me because I said my son will be what I am. I go to church sadly about four times a years but belong to a church. He and his family are none practicing. Also belong to no church. Can my son be baptized Greek othodox but be raised roman catholic? Receiving the sacrament of communion and confirmation in the roman catholic church? Bc I'm the only person that goes to church, plus I want him roman catholic. I can't take the family bickering any longer. Thank you for any insight in this matter.

Jonny

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Jonny,

The basic thing is “practice of the faith.” When there is little external practice of faith (Sunday Mass, frequent Communion and Reconciliation), one has to reflect on why baptize a child.

When there is very little participation in the life of the Church, baptizing in the kitchen sink would be just as effective as doing it in Church.

Practice of faith implies marriage in the Church. There no mention in your letter regarding this. If you had marriage preparation and celebration in the Church, this topic of Baptism would have been discussed and decided already.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


FATHER:

I WANT TO HAVE A PRESENTATION OF THREE YEARS FOR MY DAUGHTER AND I WAS WONDERING. CAN THE SAME GODPARENTS THAT BAPTIZE HER WHEN SHE WAS BABY CAN THEY BE THE SAME ONES? OR DO THEY HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT

THANKS

MARIE

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Marie,

Godparents are supposed to build relationships with godchildren. It is wonderful when they participate in celebrations of grandchildren.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Was just wondering, my nephew was born June 6 2006, want to get him baptized. But finding it difficult to find someone who will baptize him because of his birth date.

Kamila

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Kamila,

Once a child is already in school, he is considered to be “of catechetical age.” The means that the child can already understand some of the main things about our Faith. Thus the directives state that any such child should be given the basic instructions before baptizing him. Usually this is done along with other class companions. Often since there are very few unbaptized children they join the others who are preparing for Holy Communion and Reconciliation (confession). Then nearing the time when the class is ready for Communion, to then baptize those who are now ready for it.

This is why your pastors hesitate simply to baptize an older child. There needs to be some discernment for the possibility of practicing the Faith. The instruction period gives a chance for the child and the family to fulfill their responsibilities. Church law states that there has to be a real hope that this is going to happen before baptizing.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


My boyfriend and I both are Catholic and have never been married through church although we both have had a civil marriage with other partners and have been divorced. We have been together for 1-1/2 yrs and had seriously been talking about getting married. We both agreed to have a church wedding. He has a daughter with his ex-wife and she was not happy when he decided to move on with his life. At first she refused to allow him to visit and then she refused to let me be around their daughter. They were fighting in court about custody but mostly because she wanted to be paid more alimony. But because he refused to give her any more money she went to the authorities and is now accusing him of molesting their child. He is currently in jail because unfortunately we cannot afford the bail. We want to continue with our marriage plans and do not want to wait for however long this process is going to take. We love each other and I believe in his innocence. Is there any way that the church will marry us with him being in jail?

Thank you,

Yesi

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Yesi,

Oh, we human beings! How weak we are! How hurtful we can be! --from the very beginning of human life on this planet.

That is why Jesus came – to show us God’s love for us, to encourage us to love each other as He does, to build His peace and harmony among us.

I know that marriage commissioners do officiate at marriages in prisons. One would have to discuss the possibility of this kind of thing with the prison chaplain.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On April 15, we received these questions:

We would like to baptize our twin girls but our chosen godfather hasn't been baptized. Can he still be part of the ceremony as a witness? The godmother is a practicing Catholic in good standing.

My understanding is that we only need one godparent. Is this correct?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Natalia

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Natalia,

You are correct: while godfather and godmother are allowed as sponsors, one only is required.

Anyone may serve as witness.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Was there ever a ruling that mothers were not to attend their baby's Baptisms prior to Vatican II? I say no such ruling ever existed, my friend says yes.

Thank you

Lorraine

Fr. Malloy answers:

Lorraine,

You are correct. No such ruling existed.

However, it was often customary to baptize the baby as soon as possible, andsome mothers still bedridden could not attend the ceremony.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Father

I just want to know if I could have my mother and eldest brother baptism my son? Is that possible?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Elena,

They may serve as godparents provided they are both practicing Catholics,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My Dear Fathers,

My daughter is to be married on May 22nd and she is starting her marriage out on a lie. I am so sorry and feel so very ashamed to tell you I lied to a priest.

I did another sinful thing when she was 7 she made her confirmation and this is the lie, I lied to the priest and told him she was baptized, now she is getting married in a Catholic

church and they need,proof of her baptism , She does not have this. I am at fault for all of this and I really need some help now as it is such a burden to me. What will I do?

What can I do? She is to be married on May 22nd, this year and I want to correct this ,if it can ever be corrected. Please help me.

Faith

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Faith,

Have faith! Everything can be corrected as long as one is alive.

Certainly you are embarrassed and there is no way to change that other than to admit to the wrong and ask help. Nothing you can say will shock a priest-- most of whom have heard it all!

Speak to the priest who is set to perform the wedding (or any other priest) and ask his help.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On April 10, we received these questions:

Hi, I have a question.

Could my son be baptized by his grandparents?

Paola

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Paola,

You son would have to be baptised by a priest or deacon.

Grandparents may be godparents.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Good Afternoon Father,

My husband and I got divorced legally in 2006. We never got an annulment and he just recently passed away as a dear friend to me. I was wondering I we are still married in the eyes of god.

Thank you,

Pearl

Fr. Malloy answers:

Pearl,

You are legally free of your marriage, but when your husband was alive, and you did not get an annulment, the bond of marriage was not broken.

But death separates us and in heaven there are no marriages.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My sister has just been blessed with a baby boy and has asked me to be godparent, I was baptised at 14years old as I chose to take classe to become a Catholic like the rest of my Family. I did not make my Holy Communion and was not Confirmed though. My sister is not Married and her partner is Church of England. The other Godparent is also Church of England also and we have been told that I would need to be a Full catholic in order to be a godparent. I have enquired about RCIA but have just missed the Term that finished in Easter. The thing is my sister plans to have the baby baptised in September, Is there any other way I can be Confirmed before then?

Many Thanks

Fr. Malloy answers:

Ashley,

A Catholic godparent promises to help raise the child in the Catholic faith.

From your account, the child would be baptized in another religious denomination, and so there is no way for a Catholic godparent to fit into this scenario.

Your sister would have to be a practicing Catholic before she can have her child baptized in the Catholic Church.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I am a cradle Episcopalian, have had Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation in the Episcopal Church. My boyfriend was raised Catholic. I am willing to convert as I have strong family ties to the Catholic Faith and have always been willing to do so if I found the right man. The glitch is his family is Catholic, my family is Episcopalian, I want to have a service where all can participate in Holy Communion, which from what I gather is we would have to get married in my home church with a Catholic priest present to bless the service? What steps do I need to take to begin this process between the two churches, and how do I begin to convert to Catholicism?

Thank you

Kelly

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kelly,

Your conversion should begin with a visit to a local Catholic priest. Ask his help. He will explain the necessary steps.

After your Catholic conversion you would be eligible to receive Holy Communion, but those of a different faith may not receive the Sacrament.

They can be present at the marriage and may approach the priest at Communion time to receive a blessing.

One can also have an Episcopal priest, together with a Catholic priest, serve at a wedding in a Catholic Church.

To be married in your home church would require the Catholic Bishop’s approval.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On April 3, we received these questions:

Hi Fathers

I am a Catholic who was born and who continues to live in the Archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland. In Ireland a number of Holydays of Obligation are now celebrated on a Sunday and Ascension Thursday is one such Holyday. I will be in France on Ascension Thursday 17th May and as the feast is still celebrated on the actual date in France, my question is whether I am obliged to attend Mass that day? It is an academic question as I will most definitely attend Mass in France that day.

Thanks

Colm

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Colm,

You are commended for you attendance at mass on Ascension Thursday in France

One should observe the holydays of the country in which they find themselves, if possible.

If you attend the obligation mass on a Sunday, you should not feel you have done wrong by missing it on the actual occurrence date as celebrated when you are elsewhere.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Father,

I am 64 year old and have been back in the Church now for 20 years after falling away after school. There has much trauma in my life but I have the Lord and a good therapist . I am on meds for anxiety, cholestoral and add. Recently I thought of a ring that had belonged to my father a mason ring . I had interests earlier on in the metaphysical and have denounced all of it and have gotten rid any material that might pertain to that. I have a dear friend who says that the ring could bring evil spirits. Father I have the most bizarre and disturbing dreams and am absolutely certain I am under attack. I am almost afraid to go to sleep but I know that My Lord has me under his protection. My brother ( non Catholic) wants the ring and I am happy to give it to him for the sentiment . I did tell about Freemasonry's agenda but he is a New Ager and it does not bother him. I recently brought holy water in the house and the dreams are becoming so eerie . If you could direct me to some prayers or give me some suggestions or pray for me until I can ride these out . They are really so vivid I feel,as if I have a whole other existence . It will pick sometimes where it leaves off. Mostly I am trying to get home and it is very dark and there is almost an Alice in Wonderland type of effect. I trust God that He will help me understand . I am trying to love and know Him more deeply. And I will go on but I am afraid . It is such a dreadful feeling and I am aware at time during the night I am dreaming but cannot wake up.

God Bless You All

Susan

Fr. Malloy answers:

Susan,

I would not worry about the ring, if it is a inheritance from your father.

That you reject free masonry is enough proof that you are on the right way, religiously speaking.

To give the ring to your brother as a souvenir of your father is, believe, a good decision.

“More things are wrought by payer than this world dreams of”.. Keep the Lord on your side, by serving Him as well as you can.

The mind can pay tricks with us. Dreams may come, but ignore them and try not to dwell on them.

Reliance on the Lord’s love and help can support you.

Holy Water is a sacramental and can help drive evil away. Here’s an opportunity to gain merit by reaffirming our faith in God’s support.

You are in my prayers,

Fr. John Malloy


Fathers:

 

I was baptized as an orthodox christian yet raised in the catholic church. I've never been a practicing orthodox, as all I've ever known is the catholic faith. I've only attended church at catholic parishes and attended catholic school from K-8th grade. While I know that orthodoxy and catholicism are similar, the orthodox faith is foreign to me and I've never considered myself anything other than a catholicchristian. My brother now wants me to be Godparent to his baby. I love my faith and want to share it with my nephew, however it seems from previous responses that I would not be able to do this because of my orthodox baptism. What can I do? Would I still be able to baptize this child? Going through RCIA seems odd to me as I've already learned, embraced, and practiced the Catholic faith. Please advise.

Many thanks-

Anna

Fr. Malloy answers:

Anna,

To be a godparent one should produce a baptism certificate. If possible get it from the church in which you were baptized.

Your baptism is certainly valid. But a Catholic godparent must have been confirmed in the Catholic Faith. Do you receive Holy Communion?

From what you write, RCIA is a solution to set you on the right Catholic track, which would make you eligible to be a godparent.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB.


Hello Father,

I am 65 years old and I will be receiving Confirmation and First Communion this Easter Vigil..My question is this:

Would a Priest be offended if I gave him an Amex gift card inside of a thank you card? I want to give him a token of my appreciation and I figured this way he can get whatever he might need or donate it if that is his wish.

Thank you for responding.

Carmen

Fr. Malloy answers:

Carmen,

God bless your generous heart. You can give whatever you wish and I am sure it will be appreciated.

An Amex gift card would be a thank card card at the same time.

My prayers for you as you celebrate Easter?a confirmed Catholic.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father:

I am a Roman Catholic got married in a catholic church in 1972 divorced in 1999 and my ex just passed away in 2012 may I now get married in church again and what do i need to do?

Bonnie

Fr. Malloy answers:

Bonnie,

No problem. You are single now and may freely proceed with marriage in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On March 29, we received these questions:

Dear Father, my husband and I just had a baby girl in July. She is almost 8 months old. My husband is Catholic and I am not, however I am converting. I haven't been baptized, but we would like to have our baby baptized before she turns a year. Even though I am not baptized can we still have her baptized? -Brittany

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Brittany,

What a blessing that you are looking into entering the Church! You did not mention if you are married in the Church. One of the forms usually done when there is a marriage between and Catholic and a non-Catholic is the promise by the Catholic person to raise any children in the practice of the Catholic Faith. Thus there is the expectation that your child is to be baptized.

Choose godparents who will be examples for your daughter.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Good Morning,

The following information is about a married couple. They want their marriage Blessed by the Church. They want to follow the Catholic Church rules. She wants to become Catholic. Her husband is Catholic. They’re married for over 20 years with an adult son and daughter.

A Justice of the Peach (JP) married them. The wife’s first marriage ended in divorce. The JP also married them. The divorce occurred during the 1970's. Eventually they lost contact with each other. She doesn't know if he is alive or deceased, or where he lived. She doesn't know his Personal Identifying Information for example social security number, driver’s license number, residence location.

Question No 1 - Can she become a Catholic? How does she carry out this?

Question No 2. – Is the current marriage valid in the "Eyes of the Church" so to speak?

Question No 3. – What do they need to do for their marriage to be accepted by the Church?

Question No 4. - Will they have to receive the Sacrament of Marriage in order for it to be Blessed by the Catholic Church?

Question No 5. Will she need to provide any information about her previous husband? She thinks he is deceased by now. But she doesn't know where his death occurred and she doesn’t know his social security number.

Question No 6. – About her previous marriage, will the Church ask for proof or evidence that this marriage ended e.g divorce document?

Question No 7 – Will the Church want to know the status of her previous husband? If so she does not know where his whereabouts or if he is alive or deceased.

Question No 8 - Will the Church make her get an annulment to the first marriage?

Please share your thoughts and advise us what to tell her.

Thank You,

Leonard.

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Leonard,

What situations arise among us human beings!

I shall give some thoughts, ask some questions, and attempt some response to the series of questions, some of which are related to each other.

First off, by any chance, was the first husband a Catholic? If so, the whole ting becomes quite simple. I’ll continue as if he was also not a Catholic. The Church does its best to hold on to its principles – marriage is a lifetime commitment. The Catholic Church makes rules for its own members. It acknowledges as true, valid marriages of other people according to law and custom. To declare a marriage not valid, some research has to be done.

So finding information regarding the husband is the first chore. The original marriage certificate [and license] will have the parents’ names. Also, I believe, the birth dates of bride and groom. With this information one could contact the Salvation Army’s search for lost persons department. (I did that many years ago, and contacted a long-lost cousin.)

If he turns up deceased, everything is simple from then on. Otherwise she has to try to find some of her old friends and relatives who could remember some things about those early times. The Church Tribunal will be most helpful for this.

Even without discovering about the first marriage, the couple could live as brother and sister (for any serious fall in this regard is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for). In this case the wife could surely enter the Church formally.

In all things we follow the advice of Blessed Pope John Paul II: Participate as much as and as fully as you can, the Church and God [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] loves you individually and together, no matter what.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father,

My fiance and I are both Catholic and engaged to wed in Aug 2012. He had been married before in a Catholic wedding ceremony and is now going through the annulment process. (I have never been married). We want to have a Catholic wedding as our religion and faith are a major part of our lives. Now that it is getting close to our wedding date and still have no answers regarding the annulment, we have concerns regarding our options. If the annulment is not "approved" before our date, can we still get married in the Catholic Church without it being a Catholic ceremony (have a minister perform the ceremony) or do we have to get married at a different church altogether. If we are not able to be married in the actual Catholic Church itself, is there a way to have our marriage be recognized/blessed Catholic once and if the annulment is finalized?

Thank you for your time!

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Lindsay,

I am sure that in the application for the annulment your fiancé filled out there was a statement to the effect that no wedding date can be set until the Decree of Freedom to marry came through. But it seems you did set a date, and now the process is not yet completed.

You won’t be able to have a Catholic priest do your wedding in a parish church, which is the normal setting for celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony. If you have been planning for a Catholic wedding ceremony, you will already have met with your parish priest a few times, filled out forms, obtained Baptism documents, done a formal marriage preparation program. These are all things which will be done afterward, if you go ahead and do a wedding ceremony in some way. It will become recognized when you go to the parish priest to have your marriage “blessed” or the term in church law –“convalidated.”

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father,

my question is that we are wanted to have my wife's maid of honor and my best man as godparents. The problem is that neither are catholic, both are active with the catholic church, but haven;y been confirmed. Now, my real question is, that because the husband of the maid of honor IS catholic is it possible for us to have both couples stand up as godparents?=

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Glen,

According to church law only one godparent is necessary, who must be a practicing Catholic and, if married, married in Church. A second baptized non-Catholic “godparent” is technically a “Christian witness.” Any others are simply family custom and cultural tradition.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

 


What does a non- catholic have to do to marry a catholic lady in the church in the Philippines?

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Ron and Toni,

All marriage preparation is similar everywhere. Among the forms to be filled out, there is one asking for a dispensation for a Catholic person to marry a non-Catholic person with the promise of the Catholic person to rasie any children in the practice of the Catholic Faith.

Usually there is a time frame for the preparation. Many years ago there was a lady in the parish for whom I had written a letter that she could get married. She came back from the Philippines still single. So her groom came here where the marriage was accomplished within the time limit.

So you have to inquire about the practices over there directly.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

 

When I was 20 years old, I was young and thought I was "in love." My now ex-husband and I had a child before our marriage in the church. I am a Catholic and he was a Lutheran. We did have to do pre-marriage classes in order to be married in the Church. Our marriage was in shambles from the day we said "I do." Immediately following the wedding, he gambled any money we did have to support us and our son, he started to do drugs and we got into several altercations of violence among other abuses. I left him before one year of marriage and legally divorced him 8 months later. Since that time he has not had any active role in our son's life and has seen him approximately 2 times in the last 3 years. I have now met a wonderful man who is the most wonderful man I have ever, or will ever know. He is a great father figure to my child and we would like to get married in the church. I do not have the conscience to not get an annulment from the church before getting planning our wedding. I understand that there has to be an investigation and that the Church may need to contact my ex-husband. I was wondering if this is always necessary? How long does the process usually take? My fear is that he will either not respond and delay the process and/or sabotage the process due to his innate ability for spiteful actions towards me in order to hurt myself and our son.

Please help if you are able. We would like to get on with our lives and enjoy this love between us all in the eyes of the Lord.

-Jennifer

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Jennifer,

What sad things sometimes we human beings go through!

From your short description of your situation, it seems to me that there should be good grounds for a “Declaration of Nullity” to be issued. There is a step-by-step legal process for this. Your local Diocesan Tribunal will help you all the way. Usually the process ends up to be a very healing experience.

Yes, the Tribunal will need to notify your “ex” that this process has begun. Only if he actively participates with the Tribunal can he obtain copies of your story and witness – at the end of the procedures. Often there is no participation, and the Tribunal continues its project anyway. Foreseeing how long it will take is hard to do. It depends on how quickly people respond to the Tribunal’s requests. It is not that the process itself is so long, but that some persons do not act quickly in their role.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Originally from San Francisco, I am a Catholic, widowed 4 yrs. ago at age 60. My wife was Catholic. I was certain that I would never again find a love as I had with her. But I have met a wonderful woman, a divorced Protestant. She was divorced 7 years ago. Unbaptized when she married in 1983. Her husband a baptized Protestant. She did all she could to keep the marriage together despite his chronic, multiple infidelities and substance abuse. He even facilitated drug abuse in his daughter – a daughter now saved by her Mom, and a wonderful, stable drug free young woman. We both believe in our very souls that Our Lord brought us together. Our love makes us each better persons and we feel closer to God because of it. At the time of her final turmoil with the divorce, she was baptized in a local Baptist church and is now a devout Christian. We would like to spend the rest of our lives together. I have continued to go to Mass without fail. She often accompanies me and I try to do a “doubleheader” once or twice a month, going to her church after Mass. She is interested in learning more about Catholicism. I cannot believe that the loving God in whom I believe would deny this lady who did everything in her power to sustain a marriage, a chance for a loving, happy and secure life with me. One she so richly deserves. In our love I feel, as Gibran says, not that God is in my heart but that I am in the heart of God. It is so difficult to understand the ‘technicalities’ of Canon Law in this regard – even more so to explain it to someone not of our faith. But I have no idea as to how likely it would be she could obtain an annulment.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Bob,

My heart goes out to you! I am so sorry that there is no easier way to obtain freedom to marry without an annulment from a first valid marriage.

If you find a priest willing to work with you (every priest should be willing), he can facilitate the case through the marriage tribunal. Proofs of infidelity would need to be produced, but I see no reason why the petition would not go ahead. Pray God’s will be done!

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On March 27, we received these questions:

Fathers:

I am an episcopalian married in the united churches. My husband and I divorced after 20 years of marriage and 3 children. This was due to incompatibility. My ex-husband is totally against the Catholic church. I have been married to a wonderful man now for 11 years and he is catholic. He too was divorced but his first wife has died. We were married in the Episcopal church. I have always wanted to convert to Catholicism but was told, my ex-husband would have to declare our marriage an "unmarriage" this I could never ask him as it was a marriage. I am facing a terminal illness and want to become a catholic to receive all the rites and be buried next to my current husband. Please help me! God Bless.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sandy,

You don't have to declare your marriage as an "un marriage." But you do need an official recognition by the Catholic Church to obtain a dissolution of your first marriage. Speak to the pastor of the Catholic Church in which you live. He would be able to help you.

Fr. John Malloy SDB


Hi Fathers,

I am Catholic (received the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation) and my husband is not (but was baptized by the Catholic Church as an infant). I would like to have my 3 month old daughter baptized. Both godparents (male and female) are Catholic.

Is this possible and what is the general process for baptizing my child?

Thank you in advance,

Frances

Fr. Malloy answers:

Frances,

Go to your parish priest and ask for baptism of your child. He'll show you what must be done.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers,

I was married to a Naval Officer in 1994 in a chapel by the Catholic Chaplain. This marriage led to a divorce finalized in 2010.

My current boyfriend, also a Catholic was married in 2000 in Civil Court in Nevada and divorced in 2009.

We are both baptized Catholic and practicing our faith. We would like to do it right this time by getting married in a Catholic Church.

I don't think that my boyfriend has any issues marrying in a Catholic Church since his first marriage seems to be null in the eyes of our church.

Would it be possible for me to get married in a Catholic Church if my wedding ceremony for first marriage was ordained by a Catholic Chaplain in a Military Chapel?

If so, what would be the process to get married in a Catholic Church ?

After an excruciating divorce battle, I am trying to avoid an annulment which I was told may need to occur in order for me to marry in a Catholic Church. Please advise.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

Arleen

Fr. Malloy answers:

Arleen,

You would need an annulment from your marriage by the Catholic Chaplain.

In case of refusal of one of the partners, a case can still go through the marriage tribunal.

You need to speak to the local pastor to initiate the process.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB

Arleen followed up:

Thank you for the information. Treasure Island closed down and I can not locate the Chaplain :-(

Fr. Malloy responded:

Arleen,

Treasure Island would be under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 415-614-5500.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was married at Holy Trinity Church in Washington D.C. in 1967. I was and am not catholic yet my ex-husband was and maybe still is. Our marriage was officiated by three members of the clergy - the priest at holy trinity, Monsignor Theodore McCarrick (now Cardinal McCarrick) and the Reverend from my church in Washington D.C. Rev. Marshall was graciously invited to read some prayers from the episcopal prayer book during the service.

Now, my ex-husband and I have been divorced since 2001. He remarried in 2004 in a Methodist church. My grown children have been asking me questions as to the validity of their fathers status in the catholic church and I do not have any answers for them. Their father attends the catholic church in his community and takes the sacrament regularly.

Thank-you for your assistance regarding their questions.

Julie

Fr. Malloy answers:

Julie,

Your marriage was a valid Catholic union and as such may not be changed without an annulment from the Catholic Church.

If your husband remarries without this permission, he may not receive Communion, unless he gets the marriage annulled (which would be almost impossible to do, in your case)

That he go to church is commendable. His reception of Communion is sacrilegious, as he is living in a illicit marriage.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On March 20, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

My Lutheran cousin has invited me to his wedding at a Masonic Center. As far as I know neither of the families has ties to the Masons and they just picked the spot because it was pretty. Is it okay for a Catholic to attend the wedding?

Karen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kare,

Yes. It is OK for a Catholic to attend the wedding.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I'm in bit of a predicament. I was baptized and confirmed, but never received my first Eucharist or confession. The church that did my confirmation never asked for proof of first Eucharist and I was encouraged by my Catholic parents and grandmother to go ahead and just get confirmed because I was old enough. Now that I understand the situation, and how wrong it is, I would like to solve it. I would like to become an EM and they ask for proof of first Eucharist. My question is: did my Confirmation count as both? What should I do to resolve the issue? I don't want to go to hell. I just don't want to carry around this secret anymore.

Sincerely,

Confused

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jenna,

In times past confirmation was conferred before First Communion.

You don't have to worry about the formality of a First Communion date.

There's no sin on your part, so have no fear!

I don't remember the date of my First Communion, but if I am receiving it now, there was a first.

If you have never received Communion go to confession and tell the priest the situation and your desire to be "full time." He will explain your next step, if necessary.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was born to Jewish parents, and my husband, who is Roman Catholic, and I were married 25 years ago by a rabbi and a priest in a non-denominatinal chapel in New York. As only one officiant had to sign the marriage license, it was signed by the rabbi. All I have regarding the priest is his name, Father Pascal.

I am now going through RCIA to convert to Catholicism, and was told that I must have a certificate from the church stating that we were married in the eyes of the church. I have tried to locate this priest, yet as he was not my husbands parish priest, but was found by the rabbi, I have been unable to locate him, and therefore unable to obtain the certificate.

Can you tell me what this means for my conversion? Both my husband and myself are so upset.

Thank you so much in advance for your guidance.

Fr. Malloy answers:

I am sorry about the lack of evidence you have concerning a priest who took part in the wedding.

There is doubt if Fr. Pascal is (was) a Catholic priest. If there is any way you can get his full name it would certainly help. With a name you can cheek the local diocese which has a list of all priests who have served there.

IF your husband did not have permission for a mixed marriage, the union world be invalid for him. But it can be validated.

If both of you have not been married before, you could arrange for a private marriage (yourselves, a priest and two witnesses).

Also if you have difficulty with the local priest, call the diocesan chancery office and speak to the marriage tribunal-ever ready to help you.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I want my brother and my sister to baptize my children, is this possible or do the god patents have to be married and not related by blood?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Selene,

Your brother and sister can be godparents of a relative. The condition is that they are practicing Catholics.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Father,

I am in a situation and it feels I have sinned so badly. I was raised a Christain but during my teen years stopped practicing my religion. I had my first son when I was 17 and at the time my ex husband joined the military. They told him the only way he could support his son is if we were married. My parents had to sign papers in order for me to get married, which they didnt want to do. We signed papers in a court house. My ex husband does not believe in god and we never attended any services. Our marriage ended when my ex husband became abusive, it was a nasty situation that I am so happy to be out of. I met another man who I love dearly and he is catholic. He was not practicing his religion at the time we got together. We have been together for three years, married in a civil ceremony and have a son together. We started going to Mass on Sundays and I love the power of the lord and I dislike myself for turning my back on him all these years. I want to make things right.. Where do you suggest I start?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Chandra,

It’s never too late to make up—unless you die!

Since you are going to Mass, check with the pastor. Joining an RCIA group (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) would help settle your Catholic status.

You would need to have your first marriage annulled.

If that is done, it is easy to have your present union rectified with the Church. (A private ceremony with yourselves, the priest and two witnesses would be all that is needed.)

Then have your children baptized.

Continue going to Sunday Mass, sold give you the strength to follow through.

My prayers for you and the family. God is with you!.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I have a question about "communion" in other churches. I know that the versions of communion in non-Catholic churches is not the Sacrament, and attendance at their services and receipt of their communion cannot be a substitute for mass attendance and participation in the Eucharist. However, if a Catholic attends a Protestant service with a Protestant friend or relative (not instead of Mass but in addition to it), is it inconsistent with Church teachings to participate in their form of communion?

Thanks,

Dan

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dan,

Attending the service would be allowed, but any form of communion other than the Catholic, would not be allowed.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I'm hoping you can shed some light on a situation we're currently faced with. My husband is Catholic and I'm Jewish. Given the mixed religions we were married outside of the church. My husband has been asked to be the godfather to our niece (he's been baptized, had his communion, confirmed, etc). Can you help me understand what needs to be done in order for him to do so? I completely respect his religion but given it's not mine I'm curious if he can cover any requirements alone or if I need to be involved in whatever is required for him to be eligible to be a godfather. I've heard we have to have our rings blessed by the church. Can only he have his rings blessed if this is the case? I really would appreciate your insight.

Thank you for your time.

Jessica

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jessica,

I admire your concern in this situation.

There is only one way your husband would be allowed be godfather of your niece. It would require that your marriage be acknowledged by the Catholic Church. As a Catholic, he entered an union not accepted by the Church.

It could be accepted, if you were willing to be married again by the Catholic Church.

It can be a very private ceremony: yourselves, a priest and two witnesses.

Your rings would both be blessed, if you wish, but it is not part of the ceremony.

You would not have to change your religion.

Rev John Malloy, SDB


Father,

I have for some time taken communion with my wife when I attended Catholic mass with her. I grew up as a protestant. I was told years ago by someone that I could take communion at the Catholic mass if I otherwise would not have access to it. Since I only attended church with my wife, I was never in a position to take communion at a protestant church. Therefore, through the years, I took communion because I thought it was permitted under the circumstances. I have now reaffirmed my vows with my former protestant church but would like to still attend mass with my wife. I very much enjoy the services. When I approach, it is my understanding that I should fold my arms to receive a blessing.

My question is: what is the priest going to think of me? Will he assume that I have joined another church? Will he simply assume there is no particular reason for my not taking communion and leave it at that? I have attended this church for years and am a bit uncomfortable that I took communion for years I now I am suddenly receiving the blessing instead of communion. Will the priest understand? Ironically I am much more of an active Christian than ever yet I am embarrassed about the situation. Do you have any advice?

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Alexander,

Generally we suffer the disunity of Christians by realizing that Communion at a worship service [e.g. the Mass] is a profession of Faith in that community. Thus, we normally do not receive communion at other churches. You refer to an exception about lack of access where you are. I think the directive that one might take communion would be that it would be quite difficult to get to one’s own church, not just that I went to one and not the other.

Be that as it may, what is past is exactly that – past. When one is not receiving communion, crossing your arms is an often used gesture. Staying at one’s place is another. What the priest may or may not think is unknown. If he knows you well, perhaps he will ask you about it. Perhaps not. There are many reasons one may not be receiving. The priest will not worry about it.

Finally, a background question, which should really be first.. Did you get married in a Catholic wedding ceremony in a Catholic parish church?

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

I am a 65 year old Protestant. My first husband and I were married for 14 years. He became sexually involved with my best friend and moved out, leaving me with our three young children to raise by myself. He asked me for a divorce. I did not want a divorce but had no choice in the matter. He married her and they are still married.

I have now been remarried for 14 years. He is a Protestant and does not want to join the Catholic Church or get an annulment from his first marriage.

I want to join the Catholic Church and am willing to apply for an annulment but I have read that even if my annulment is granted, I will not be able to join the Church because the Church does not recognize my 14 year old marriage. To join and take communion either my husband would have to get an annulment or I would have to leave him. I can't believe the church would ask me to leave my wonderful husband in order to join the Church.

My ex-husband and his wife joined the Catholic Church 10 years ago. They were never asked about prior marriages, were active in the church and took communion with no questions asked.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am having problems understanding what I need to do to become a Catholic. I have been praying the Holy Rosary for a year and have asked my ex-husband to forgive me for whatever I did or did not do to cause him to leave me.

Sincerely, Patty HB=

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Patty,

We human beings can certainly get into complex situations. Sometimes they can be unraveled, sometimes not.

You have made some assertions which I am not so clear about. Your former husband and his wife joined the Church and were never asked about prior marriages. That is certainly something that should have been asked and resolved. If not, it is a situation which contradicts the Church’s understanding of authentic marriage.

If instead it was resolved, then you should have been notified also.

To the present! By any chance was your current husband’s wife a Catholic and not married in the Church or had been married before? Certain circumstances could be ascertained without your husband being involved.

On the other hand, in circumstances such as yours and a variety of others, we should follow the advice of Pope John Paul II, namely do the best you can, participate as much as possible, believe in God’s love for us notwithstanding everything. Through the ages, sometimes couples have promised to live as brother and sister, and thus are admitted to the Sacraments.

If the Church [i.e. us, the people] does not uphold its principles, then what depths we could fall into!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I met my 1st husband very young at age 13 we had a baby not long after we met and were together for awhile we got married when we were 18. We were both baptized catholic but neither of us were practicing our faith or going to church at all. I had an affair after marriage and now we are divorced. I am with the man I had an affair with we have 2 children and want to get married in the catholic church he is a catholic but I have left the catholic church through baptism of a Christian church. Will I need an anulment through the church and will a priest even marry us due to our affair. Oh and we have been just living as brother and sister we made a vow not to be sexually involved until marriage.

Fr. Harold answers:

To give a proper response, there is at least one background question to ask: Did you and your first husband get married in the Catholic Church? If yes, there are a series of things that would have to be done. If not, it becomes fairly simple. For a Catholic, marriage outside the Church is invalid. You will need your Baptism certificate, the certificate of marriage and the final dissolution. With the help of your parish priest, present these to the diocesan Tribunal. A Freedom to Marry decree should ensue.

Now the current situation. Was your husband ever married before? If not, it is simple. Just go through the ordinary marriage preparation at your parish.

What a marvelous commitment to one another! It shows your deep love of God in Jesus.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On March 18, we received these questions:

Hello Father,

If my ex wife did not annul her previous marriage before our catholic marriage, does our marriage valid? Can I annul it?

Val

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Val,

Without an annulment, the Catholic marriage would be invalid. Check with your local pastor for your next step.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

Please bear with me as I need to give some background before addressing my question. It's 5AM and I have been crying over this since 2 yesterday afternoon.

First, let me tell you that I am not, nor have I ever been a Catholic, so if this site is reserved solely for those of the Catholic Faith, I apologize for taking up your time. I was raised by a Protestant Mother and a Baptist Father - Since my Father's Father was a minister, mostly I spent time in Baptist Churches as a child. Unfortunately, although I believe very strongly, I have not been as much in tune to "organized" religion as I certainly know now I should have been while raising my children. I married young, had 2 children and was physically and mentally abused by my ex-husband. 25+ years ago I remarried a wonderful man - he was raised Catholic, but also did not attend Mass regularly. My children were raised with my Protestant religion, but certainly not with the consistency they deserved to have.

Now, for the problem causing my heavy heart. My older daughter converted to Catholicism while going to college as she prepared to marry her high school (very Catholic) sweetheart 6 years ago and they have been happily married since. My younger daughter, who has been Baptized in her own church (Protestant), is now engaged to a wonderful young man (also Protestant). Her fiance` has been divorced, although he did not take the marriage or the divorce lightly and has looked to his own Church for Spiritual guidance). Their entire lives my daughters planned their wedding days and what it would like. But, now my older daughter (although she has known for several months that the engagement was imminent) has told her sister that she doesn't know if she can take part in her sister's wedding because of the fiance`s previous marriage. Needless to say, this is ripping our family apart. I want to respect my older daughters right to her religion, but think that if she knew this was going to be an issue when she was shown the ring by the fiance` months ago, she should have sought her Priests guidance at that time and maybe taken the time to talk to us before she dropped a bomb like that on her sister. She knew that none of us were aware that it would be a problem........if we had known her position before, we probably would have saved her the discomfort of asking her.

And, of course, since I was married before I met my current husband, her current position makes me feel even worse........like in her eyes I have been living in sin for 25 years. I believe that the God I worship is a loving God and that ALL people should be made to feel like they WANT to be closer to God. I feel that our current situation is driving a wedge in my family that I am not sure can ever be removed, and certainly making me SURE that I do not want to belong to a religion or group of people that have interpreted God's word to mean that we should deny any person the right to become closer to Heaven through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

So, is it the Catholic Churches position that a sibling who is a practicing Catholic not participate in a wedding of 2 NON Catholics?

Respectfully,

B

Fr. Malloy answers:

Brenda,

I am so sorry for your unnecessary grief over this family situation.

A sibling who is a practicing Catholic may participate in a wedding of 2 NON Catholics.

If it were a Catholic seeking a marriage out of the Church it would be a different matter.

Your older daughter is not in a position to judge the younger daughter’s choice. Leave that to God.

Sad to say many Catholics, who should know better, are not as devout as non Catholics.

It is important to follow your conscience and pray that God show you the way.

Pray that your children love God and follow His will no matter what situation they find themselves in.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I would like to convert to Catholicism but I have several complicated situations going on. I have never been baptized, never been confirmed and never received communion. My fiance was raised Catholic but has since strayed from the Church. We are currently living together and have a two and half year old son that we want to raise Catholic. I don't know where to start since so many things in our life are against the Church. I know I must take the RCIA classes and become baptized before we can get married in the Catholic Church. Do we have to be married before our son can get baptized?

Can we attend a local parish, get our son baptized, I would start the RCIA, get baptized then get married? I know this will be a long process, will we be accepted as a family living together while we take the necessary time for me to become Catholic and to normalize our union? Will the congregation celebrate our decision to come to God, even though we are a bit late?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Amanda,

Yes, your decision to normalize your union would be celebrated by the Church.

As a non Catholic you could be married to at Catholic partner before your conversion. That the Catholic return to the faith would be required.

You could have a private wedding (yourselves, the pastor and two witnesses), even before you take part in the RCIA and enter fully into the Catholic Church.

With prayers for you and the family,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On March 18, we received these questions:

Hello, Fathers.

My husband and I have been married for close to twenty years. We married in a Christian church even though we were both raised Catholic and have been baptised, confirmed and celebrated first Holy Communion as children. Neither one of us were married before. At the time neither of us practiced Catholicism. I'd been struggling with the absence of my religion and recently joined my local parish. My husband has no interest in returning to church at this time, but has no problem with my return. Is our union considered valid in the eyes of the church?

It is my hope that my coming back to church is an answer to someone's prayer, somewhere.

CF.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Christina,

Your marriage is not considered valid in the Catholic Church, since as baptized Catholics you would be bound to church laws.

It can easily be rectified by a simple ceremony (Pastor, yourselves and two witnesses)

Speak to your local Catholic pastor and he can help you.

As long as your husband agrees to the union, you can be helped.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello. My fiance is in the US Navy and we are engaged. He gets out of bootcamp in April, and we were wondering if we can have a courthouse wedding so that the government recognizes we are married and we can get put on the housing registers, and then have a Catholic ceremony in January. I am Catholic and attend church regularly, but my fiance is not baptized Catholic. Is it even a possibility to have a courthouse wedding first?

Thank you so much,

Jessica

Fr. Malloy responds:

Jessica,

It is possible, but speak to your parish priest. One condition would be that you have no sexual relations before your Catholic wedding.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am a practicing Catholic and widowed. I was married in the Catholic church. My fiance is also Catholic and divorced. I realize that we cannot have a church ceremony unless he receives an anullment which is really not practical in terms of time. Is it possible for us to be married by a priest in a location other than the church? I understand that the marriage would not be recognized by the church. or is our only alternative a justice of the peace? thank you for your time.

Margaret

Fr. Malloy answers:

Margaret,

I’m sorry to say that it is not possible for you to contract a valid Catholic marriage unless your fiancé gets an annulment or his former wife dies.

My prayers for your perseverance in the faith.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On March 15, we received these questions:

Hello Father,

I was unable to find a situation on line to answer my annulment question.

My friend is a baptized Christian and after years of attending Mass, would like to convert and marry a baptized, practicing Catholic. The man who has asked her to marry him is a widower. My friend is divorced from a man that was abusive to her and there is documentation and witnesses to prove this situation. My friend's ex spouse is Jewish so my friend married him in a Jewish ceremony with a Rabi. Prior to marrying my friend, the ex-spouse was married to a Jewish woman in a Jewish ceremony with a Rabi and then legally divorced.

Does my friend need an annulment from the Catholic church to be able to marry in the Catholic Church?

She is too embarrassed to speak with many about the circumstances of her abuse and has heard the annulment process can be very intense. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. She is a Maryland resident and he is a Virginia resident.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dear Friend,

I am not sure if I understand all the circumstances of this case.

Your friend’s marriage was legal, and, since she was not a Catholic, the union needs an annulment.

You can arrange for your friend to visit the local Bishop’s office. Ask for the marriage tribunal. Explain the situation and ask for help.

If Your friend becomes Catholic, there are ways in which the marriage can be nullified. Ask about the Pauline /Petrine privilege.

With prayers,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hi just had a questiom iam not married and I have a 14 year old son I would like to get baptised I heard the catholic church won't do it if youe not married is this true ? I was raised catholic please advice on what I can do

Fr. Malloy responds:

Cristina,

If you practice the faith and are free to marry, (whether or not you do) your son could be baptized.

If you are living with the boy's father or another man, you would not beable to have your son baptized, until you settle your status.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I have several questions about my Catholic status.

My history: I was baptized, made my first communion and was confirmed in the Catholic church. However, when I went off to college I did not attend church regularly. When I met my husband, a Baptist, a few years after I graduated college, we asked the local Catholic church if we could marry there and their response was that we would have to fly a priest from my home parish to perform the ceremony. Well, I had not been to my home church in over 9 years so we found it an unfortunate stumbling block. We were married in a Methodist church and attended services at several different Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches for years afterwards. Now, some 15 years later, we have not been attending any church regularly but have a 2 year old toddler and I would like to bring faith back into my life and have him baptized.

I am not sure now after these many years whether my husband is interested in converting to Catholicism as his parents and siblings are very devout in their Baptist faith. Looking back, I should have done whatever possible so that we could be married in the Catholic church back when we first married. In any event, while I have not yet discussed the conversion issue with him, I have mentioned to him that we need to bring the faith back into our lives and raise our child as a Christian and he is certainly agreeable.

So, my questions are as follows:

1. Can I as my child's mother be the sole Catholic and have my child baptized?

2. Does my husband need to convert to Catholicism for us to have our child baptized?

3. Do we need to have our marriage blessed by the church prior to seeking the baptism?

4. Do I need to participate in the RCIA program to reinstate my faith?

5. Or, is it a matter of attending confession and becoming a regular participating Catholic?

This has been bothering me for some time now and I feel I need to get my life in order. Any assistance you might offer in response would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Vanessa

Fr. Malloy answers:

Vanessa,

So sorry to hear of your experience when you wanted to be married in the Catholic Church. The priest. It appears to me, has acted un priestly and unfairly

What’s past cannot be changed, but there is change for the better now.

Let me answer your questions first:

1. Can I as my child's mother be the sole Catholic and have my child baptized? YES

2. Does my husband need to convert to Catholicism for us to have our child baptized? NO

3. Do we need to have our marriage blessed by the church prior to seeking the baptism? Not necessary. But you must have your marriage blessed by the Church. It can be a simple private ceremony between yourselves, the priest and two witnesses.

4. Do I need to participate in the RCIA program to reinstate my faith? Not necessary, since you are a confirmed Catholic. (If your husband would agree to attend, it would strengthen your marriage.)

5. Or, is it a matter of attending confession and becoming a regular participating Catholic? It’s a matter of going to confession and attending Mass regularly. Your husband doesn’t have to convert for you to return to the church. It would be good if he did, but his family faith may prevent it.

My prayers go with you. Your baby will be blessed. You husband will respect you. Encourage him. Pray with him.

With God’s blessing,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My son is Catholic and he married a wonderful girl from Israel. They would like to baptize their new baby girl.

Is this possible since she is not Catholic. And could they raise the child with both religions. Thank you in advance.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Aleida,

It is possible to have the baby girl baptized in the Catholic faith.

The child should respect the faith of her mother, but cannot be both Christian and Jew.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello!

I am hoping you could help answer some questions for me. My fiance is catholic and I am a non-practicing Methodist. I was baptized by a non-denominational reverend. The Catholic church requires a Baptism record but I am not sure where to find this. Also, it was done in a home because several other members of our family were Baptized at the same time.

Where would I find a Baptism record?

I have my certificate of Baptism, does this count even though it was a non-denominational ceremony?

Thank you in advance for any help with my questions.

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Stacy,

You state that you have a Baptism certificate. That generally would be sufficient even though the Church does ask for a newly-issued one. Most Christian communities maintain Baptism records. So perhaps someone from your family would know if and where a permanent record is kept.

In the process of getting married in the Catholic Church there is a witness or sometimes two witnesses for both the bride and the groom. This witness testifies regarding any previous marriages and the fact of Baptism in any Christian community.

You should be fine.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I got married while pregnant and later got a divorce. Now my ex is going to get remarried in the catholic church does he need to get our marriage annulled first? Thank you

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Allison,

I am sorry about your experience. I and my brother are proof that a divorced mother can raise her children well. So many good wishes!

To respond to your question a few facts have to be known. I shall take that into account in these remarks. When you got married, were either of you Catholic? And did you get married in a Catholic Church?

If one of you is Catholic, and you were not married in the Church, then the essentials for a true and valid marriage in the Sacrament of the Church were not present. So civil law would take its course, and later the dissolution. The Church would also state its declaration of invalidity and thus issue a Freedom to Marry decree.

If neither of you were Catholic, then the Church would consider your marriage valid, unless it is proven not to be. That is a process directed by the local diocesan Tribunal. Both persons would be contacted according to the procedures of church law.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

My husband and I were married in the Catholic church and are curious about infant baptism. We have selected Godparents who are Catholic (and had attended our church until they moved) but their new church home is Christian- not specifically Catholic so we have been told they cannot be the Godparents. If we were to baptize our baby in a Christian faith vs. our church- what would that mean for him moving forward as far as Confirmation etc.

Thank you for your help!

Tiffany=

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Tiffany,

According to Church Law, official godparents are to be Confirmed and living in harmony with the Faith. Thus, if married, it must be in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Technically only one godparent is needed. Most times it is a godmother and a godfather. A baptized person, not of the Catholic faith would be a “Christian witness,” while the other one would be the godparent.

Baptizing a child in a Christian community other than a Catholic Church, would be somewhat lacking loyalty, but the actual baptism could be valid if the authentic form is used. [I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.]

Later on, if you are indeed practicing Catholics, in preparing for Holy Communion and the other Sacraments, you would approach your parish priest with Baptism document in hand. The parish priest will advise you on how to make the official profession of Catholic faith of your child and how that would be entered into the Sacrament register.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi Father,

I was born and raised Catholic but fell away from the Church in my twenties. My wife was raised Baptist and we were married in her Baptist church 15 years ago. Now she is expressing an interest in the Catholic Church.

My question is this: Can my wife and I be "remarried" into the Catholic Church and also can I then receive Communion again. I am sadly thinking that I have been excommunicated for life because I married in a church of a different denomination when I was too spiritually immature to realize what I was giving up.

Regards,

Richard

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Richard,

First of all, you are not excommunicated! Yes, you are out of sync with the Sacraments, but that can be taken care of fairly simply, especially as your wife is showing an interest in the Church.

Now in beginning to come into harmony with the Church, there a few things to take care of. Were either of you previously married before you married each other? If not, it is much easier. If either of you had been married before, then you need to consult your own parish priest and through him the diocesan tribunal to see if any previous marriage had been valid, or not.

If neither of you had been married before, then you would approach your own parish priest saying you want to have your marriage “blessed” in the Church. [Technical term in church law is: convalidation.] You can go ahead with this even if your wife decides not to enter the Church, though it would be wonderful if she did.

The very first wedding that I officiated at more than forty years ago was like that. About ten years later, as the eldest child was preparing for First Communion, her mother entered the Church. They have been wonderful Catholics ever since. I did the funeral of the groom last year – 42 years of marriage!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


A friend of mine, a former Catholic, is getting married outside the Church. She sent me a wedding invitation. As a practicing Catholic do I need permission to attend her wedding if I choose to go?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Sr. Dominic,

You do not need permissions, but take no personal part in the service

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On February 10, we received these questions:

I am Catholic, but the man I am dating is not. He was previously married, but they were not married in a church - it was a civil ceremony. If he and I wanted to be married in the Catholic Church, would he need an annulment?

Thank you for your time!

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Andrea,

The short answer is “Yes.” But let me put it into context.

The Church has a deep regard for marriage. It recognizes marriages done according to law and custom as true and valid – with a permanent bond. The Church, however, has certain regulations for its own members; namely, the couple, two witnesses, and the officiating deacon or priest. Civil marriages or ceremonies done in other churches or venues do not have a deacon or priest. Thus that marriage is not valid for the Sacrament.

So if your fiancé’s wife happened to be Catholic, then it would be declared not valid for the above reason. If both of them were not Catholic, then circumstances of that marriage would have to be investigated to determine if there was something missing or incorrect which would have rendered that marriage not valid. This involves a formal application and process with the Diocesan Tribunal [church court].

See your local parish priest for help in how to go about this.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I am catholic my 9 year old daughter is on her way to do her first communion. As a sponsor she wants to ask my aunt and uncle that are christians. Will it be ok to ask them to accompany my daughter as sponsers for her fist communion?

Fr. Malloy responds:

Dear Parent,

There is no requirement for a special sponsor for First Communion. So special invited persons are welcome to be present. Perhaps it will show how important Eucharist is for Catholics. Maybe it sparks some questions about the Church which you can answer with kindness, simplicity and love. Then leave everything into the Lord’s embrace.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

My fiancée and I are catholic and we are planning on getting married on a catholic church in NY. We are not citizens but are residents, now the priest was telling us that he wasn't sure if he could married us because our legal status??? Now does God made the rules if You can get married or not based on your legal status?

Now, I am not too concern about that because we are getting the license through the town and not from the church but this priest is asking us to provide a certificate of baptismal, which we both have and a first communion. Now we both made our first communion back in our countries many years ago and we can't get a certificate of this to prove him that. Is this a really requisition in order to get married? I am going crazy because my wedding is in April and with such a less time to continue with our pre-Cana preparation... I don't know what to do?

It almost makes me feel that there is some sort of racism in this case because me and my fiancée are Latinos.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. God bless=

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Evelyn,

Yes, for a Church Sacramental marriage there is required a Baptism certificate, if at all possible a newly-issued one. Technically Canon [Church] Law does not require a First Communion certificate, or a Confirmation certificate, though the Church would hope that in a Catholic’s life one would frequently go to Communion and also be confirmed. But this is not demanded by law.

Immigrants with or without documents are not barred from getting married either in the State or in the Church. The current action by your parish priest seems a bit awkward. So in wondering about that, I am led to think he does not know you. If you have not been participating at Sunday Eucharist and said hello to him after Mass each Sunday, then you are just two people off the street, and the priest is inquiring about you.

I may be totally interpreting wrongly, but the solution of stopping to greet the priest after Sunday Mass will certainly bridge many difficulties.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

I really hope you can help me. I am a catholic and have a two month old baby. I believe in baptism at an early age. My only problem is selecting godparents. I have a cousin (male) that i feel would be an amazing example and in my death would raise my child in the proper path. His isnt married. My son's father wants his cousin (also male). I agree they both would be excellent. Can two men baptise a male child?

They are in no way in a relationship together or living with a girlfriend (they are just a cousin of mine and a cousin of my childs father - not a couple). Just both people I would feel in my absense could (either one) adopt my child.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Patricia,

Only one godparent is necessary. If two, one is male the other should be female.

You can have one man as godparent the other as a witness.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 22-28, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I intend on wedding my fiance of 2 yrs in the spring/summer of next year, but am very confused as to what steps I need to take in order to do so. I was not raised with any particular religion, growing up I attended various religious services with different family members. However, my fiance was raised Catholic. In 2005 I was baptized in a Baptist church, and in 2006 married the woman I was with at the time. I was unable to have the marriage annulled when we decided to divorce. My current fiance and her family are practicing Catholics, and would like for us to be eventually married in a Catholic Church. I love my fiance very much and considering I never experience a strong religious upbringing I made the decision to learn more about and eventually join her in the Catholic faith. We have a child together and also live together. which from what I have read thus far during my search is a big no-no. I have been scouring the internet to find out if we even can be married in a catholic church, or even if I am able to convert to Catholicism. we attended church in our local parish before recently moving to another state where we have recently begun attending service at the closest church to us St. Patrick's Church in Waterbury, CT. I've not had much luck in finding answers pertaining to our current situation and have all but given up hope of a big church wedding for us. I then stumbled up you're website and was hoping you could provide an answer to my dilemma.

sincerely yours

Sean

Fr. Malloy answers:

Sean,

Join St. Patrick’s RCIA program. It is a course open for Catholics and non-Catholics who would like to know more about the Catholic faith.

Without obligation, your questions can all be answered there.

One can always convert to Catholicism, no matter the background.

A big church wedding can be celebrated, if you settle the first marriage situation.

Your first marriage will present some problems:

Was your first wife Catholic? Were you married in the Church?

The local priest would be happy to discuss this with you

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father -

My wife and I are Catholic and we are married civilly.

My mother-in-law recently passed away and my wife wanted to take communion at her mass - emotionally distressed we took communion.

I believe we did something wrong but I do not know to what degree. I have a couple of questions: is what we did a mortal sin or can civilly married couples take communion? ...and if we cannot participate in communion, what are the ramifications of our actions?

Father, I believe we are good people and our intentions were not to hurt anyone especially our God Jesus Christ. We pray for guidance.

Respectfully,

John

Fr. Malloy responds:

John,

The important thing for you is good intentions. But they must be line with the Catholic Church’s doctrine.

Catholics civilly married cannot receive the Eucharist. To do so knowing is illegal for them and is seriously sinful.

If you and your spouse are free to marry, why not settle the matter and receive the Sacraments lawfully?

You can have a very simple exchange of vows which would rectify your marriage status. It can be very private ceremony, with just two witnesses and the priest. Then you could go toe Confession and receive Communion legally.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I was baptized catholic when i was a baby, but nothing other than that. I am recently going through a divorce. I want to get my 6 year old son baptized and starting going myself again. My soon to be ex was baptized christian and wont let me baptize our son till he is old enough to choose for himself. This doesnt sit right with me and bothers me. I dont know what to do

Kimberly

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kimberly,

Seven years is recognized as the "age of reason"

Your son can be instructed in the faith and at seven he could have the choice.

Do continue going to Mass and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

Taking your son to Mass and instructing him in the Faith will nourish his desire to receive Communion (and he cannot do this without baptism).

If you receive full custody of the child there is no problem. You will have the right do as you wish.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I was married in a courthouse and divorced in a courthouse, I grew up very religious baptized and did my first communion,I regularly go to mass,however, I have not received the sacrament of communion since I met my ex husband and had a daughter before we Where married by a judge. I have now met a man who I wish to marry and I would like to know how and if it is possible to have a catholic marriage, and If I could ever receive communion again.

-Gema

Fr. Malloy answers:

Gema,

Yes, you could have a Catholic marriage and receive Holy Communion.

As a Catholic your marriages were not valid, though legal.

Fulfilling the marriage course, with the submission of your divorcee papers, would be necessary to receive permission to marry in the Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers:

Hello, my name is Veronica. I have a dilemma that I would like help with. I have been going round and round with this issue that has caused me much problems with my in-laws. Here is the situation. My husband and I want my bestfriend to baptize our son and my bestfriend wants us to baptize her son. We have been planning this baptism since we were both expecting. We have been told by several family members that this not allowed, however, our priest in our parish did not see a problem with it. I am wanting another opinion. The family says that by baptizing this way our commitment becomes null because we our handing over the commitment that we agreed to follow. Please clarify if this is possible. The baptism was supposed to be in 2 weeks.

Thanks!

Veronica=

Fr. Malloy responds:

Veronica,

I presume you are talking about mutual godparents.

If you are both practicing Catholics and confirmed, there is no problem.

As long as the priest understands the status of both godparents, follow his advice.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers-

My husband and I were not married in the Catholic church even though we are both practicing Catholics.

My children were both baptised in the Catholic church, and my oldest child participated in her First Reconciliation last year. This year she studying to receive First Communion and Confirmation. I have been told that she may not be eligible for these sacraments, as our marriage did not occur within the church.

Is this true? If it is, what do we need to do to resolve this issue?

Best Regards-

Dianne

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dianne,

If you and your partner are practising Catholics, you should get your marriage blest in the Church. It could be a simple, private ceremony of exchange of vows before two witnesses with the priest officiating.

Your children are eligible for the sacraments, if they are old enough to understand the implications.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am protestant and married at the age of 18 in my church to a man who does not believe in God. At the time I was not following my faith and got pregnant for my oldest son out of wedlock. We have since divorced. During the marriage he went to college I had the understanding that he would attend for four years and get a job, he started school in 2003 and is still attending. Every time he is ready to graduate he changes majors. During the married he neglected my needs as well as our three children. One of our son's was born with a host of heath problems, we almost lost his precious life more then once. On several occasions I needed to call an ambulance and was told I couldn't because he had to go to class and could not take care of the other two children. When I would disobey and take our son to the hospital I wouldn't be spoken to sometimes for weeks. When I found out that I was pregnant with our twins born in 2007, he tried to make me have an abortion but I refused. I have fallen in love with a man of Catholic faith, he and his family would like us to get married in the catholic church. I am not opposed to that, I would also have no problems converting. He has never been married. My question is do I need to get an annulment from the catholic church to marry him. If so does my ex-husband have to be involved in the investigation? If so I don't think he would be willing, he is an active participant in an atheist group called "secular student alliance" (I've included the link for more information) http://www.secularstudents.org/ the group as well as my ex-husband hold no respect for Christians or the sanctity of human life. The activities my children's father participate in, frightens me for their spiritual well being. Because of these reasons, and the fact that he couldn't bother to show up for a court date, or fill out the paper work to appear by phone, because he had a student council meeting(the court date was for medical insurance for our children, both of our boys have chronic health problems, one of them needs surgery and they can not be without health insurance) . I fear that he would not participate at all in the proceedings of the annulment. My fiancee and I would really like to get married in the catholic church, have more children, celebrate our love and sanctity of our marriage, with the blessings of the church.

Thank you Father for taking the time to help us,

Kristina

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kristina,

You certainly have grounds for divorce. You do not need an annulment.

Attending the marriage instruction of the local priest, and with your divorce papers, you can Obtain permission to marry in the Catholic Church.

There is no obligation for you to convert, but with a Catholic husband it would strengthen your bond and your children could share in the benefits of religion.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello, I was wondering me and my husband want to get married by the catholic church. As though I am catholic. He was previously married in a baptized church and is a baptized his ex wife committed adultery and well she did not want to be with him anymore and so they divorced. Does he need to get his marrige annulled first before marrying in a catholic church? Please help!

Thank you, juanita

Fr. Malloy answers:

Juanita,

Is your fiancé Catholic?. If so his marriage was not valid in the eyes of the Church. He was, however legally married and needs to produce divorce papers.

You both need to take marriage instructions in the Catholic parish.

Your local Catholic priest can help you in the process.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

Many years ago I was married through the justice of the peace. After my daughter was born we (my ex wife and I) decided to have her baptized. Her mother was never baptized nor did she lay claim to any religion at the time. We attended RCIA classes in Fort Bliss, Texas (El Paso, Texas) as directed by the Father on Fort Bliss. The stipulation that was given to us was that my ex wife had to be baptized and receive her sacraments by attending RCIA. After she received the sacraments and our daughter was baptized we were asked if we get our marriage blessed through the Catholic Church and agreed to it. The Military Chaplain performed a ceremony and prayed over us, but there wasn't an exchange of rings or vows if I remember correctly. That marriage came to am end for several reasons and I jumped into marriage#2 seeking companionship, but never took many things into consideration as she was six years younger, enjoyed drinking, going out to party, and left the person she was with for me. I am not proud of what I mentioned last nor any of the rest. It was a troubled relationship for almost two years and she got pregnant because we weren't being careful at the end of two years so I felt the right thing to do was marry her and I did. We were married through the embassy in Korea(justice of the peace). Seeking to get married through the church I started to inquire on annulments for the blessing that was given to us by the Chaplain in my 1st marriage. The search didn't go too far a that marriage fell apart before it really started for many serious issues. After we separated, but before I was divorced, I was asked to baptized my niece. The church asked to go to the church I was baptized to get my baptism certificate listing all the sacraments that I had received. As I looked at it they were listed in order, but has no annotation for the marriage sacrament. After my niece was baptized I looked into why the marriage from previous was not listed. I researched with the Military Catholic Dioceses, the civilian Catholic Diocese, and the Chapel on Fort Bliss. Nothing was registered or recorded anywhere as if it didn't happen. I finally met a beautiful woman who captured my heart entirely and whom I truly love. I messed this up at first worth several mistakes I made with lying to her as I had not yet started the divorce process with my 2nd, which was over by many different situations that occurred in it. I deployed for ten months and after I returned, she deployed a few weeks later for 12 months. I met the beautiful woman I love at the end of my ex wife's deployment. I messed up as I mentioned by telling her that I was divorced and it became the source of many issues. Almost two years later I came completely clean and honest with her about bantu things that I never disclosed to her. I felt and continue to feel lower than dirt for doing so and almost at the point where I feel ashamed when I am around her at times even though I try to hide my feelings. Despite the issues that continued to haunt us we married back on the 2nd of December last year. I had told my wife Caroline that I had never been married through the church based on the research I had done and documentation that I had in possession. We had my daughter over for the holidays and invited her mother to spend new years with us since she would be picking her up from where we live. She started talking to my wife and mentioned that we had been married through the church and signed paper work. That caused huge issues between my wife and I as we had one day planned to make this marriage right through the eyes of God as this is my third marriage and Caroline's second marriage. I based what I had told her about us never bring married through the church on what I found not to be registered. How can I overcome this and where do I fall into if there is nothing annotated in my listings of sacraments received? I know I need to continue to be honest and let my Caroline know everything. I am and feel like a fool for everything I did to this beautiful wife of mine. I honestly feel awful inside and almost to the point that I'm feeling incomplete in many ways. I love her and know she is the one for me. I really need help and sound advice. I have started to see a counselor to help me with clearing up things inside me and helping me focus on what is twirly important. My heart belongs to her and I just want to be the husband she loves, fell in love, and deserves to have. What can I do father? Please advise.

Respectfully,

Raul

Fr. Malloy responds:

Raul,

If you were a baptized Catholic at your first marriage, and was married out of the Church, that wedding was invalid for you.

Was the military chaplain that married you, at Fort Bliss, a Catholic priest? Can you get papers to prove you were married there?

If you exchanged no vows, the wedding was invalid.

Your second marriage was null civilly because you had not received a divorce from your first wife.

Take any papers you can obtain to your local Catholic priest and tell him you would like to regularize your present union. He can show you the process.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

My daughter's father is a practicing Catholic and a Mexican citizen with LPR status. He currently takes our daughter to a catholic church where we live in southern CA. I am a citizen of the U.S. and was baptized and raised in the Lutheran faith. My family church is in IL. My concern is ... I don't know if our daughter has been baptized. She will be six years old soon and not knowing is a constant concern.

My relationship is not good with the father. He is controlling, deceptive and manipulative. For our daughter ... This saddens me very much.

I suspect that she has been, but I want to make sure. I hope she is. This is very important to me. Unfotunately asking him is not an option. I have many times.

He took her to Acapulco Mexico (at ten months old) for a big family celebration. He has photos of her in a beauitful dress. He claims that she was only "blessed" ... Not baptized.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Mother of a beautiful little girl...

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jerilyn,

You, or someone for you, can write to the Diocese of Acapulco and ask them to send you the addresses of the churches of the area.

The local Catholic priest might also help you. Check if your daughter is listed in their re cords..

If there is no record to be had, the presumption would be that the baby was not baptized.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I am deeply concerned that the church will not allow myself and my fiance to be the Godparents to my bestfriends child. Both parents are Catholic but we are not. We want to attend the classes necessary to do so. I guess my question is...Will the Catholic church allow two Christians to be the Godparents of a child from Catholic parents? Is it solely up to the local pastor to allow this baptism to take place with Christian godparents?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Krystal,

Church law requires that godparents be practicing Catholics. They must be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith.

Any local priest can explain these requirements.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 22-28, we received these questions:

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me? My boyfriend and I planned on getting married in about a year or so, but recently we found out that I am pregnant. We would like to speed up the process, but due to scheduling conflicts and the short time frame, we won't be able to do the usual 4 month counseling before we get married. We talked about getting married at the court house, but my concern is that I would like our baby to be baptized in my church. I am a practicing Catholic, he is Methodist (nonpracticing). Will where I get married affect whether the baby can be baptized in the Catholic church? Also, if I do get married at the court house, is there any way of getting it recognized by my church? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Ann Marie

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Ann Marie,

A number of things come to my mind while reading your letter. Let us see how to put a context about it and your relationship to the father of your child. And so on.

First off, in respect to getting married in the Church, if I were your pastor, I would recommend that you think about that six months to a year after the child has been born. This will give time to figure out if you really want to be parents together for your child. You could enter marriage with a truly free heart.

Sometimes a couple enters a civil union that is then “convalidated” or “blessed” in the Church afterward. Not the ordinary way, nevertheless civil responsibility is established.

Regarding Baptism: You state that you are a practicing Catholic. I assume at least you are participating at Sunday Mass, praying every day, etc. If you stop to say hello to the priest each Sunday, he will rejoice with you on the progress of your pregnancy and look forward to baptizing the new person upon arrival.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

My fiancé was previously married by a justice of the peace and has since been divorced. Do we need to do anything before getting married in the church?

Fr. Harold responds:

Dear Emily,

If your fiancé is himself Catholic, or his first wife, then the formalities for you are quite simple. But whichever way it is, you always need his or her Baptism certificate, the marriage certificate, and the final divorce decree. These, when presented to the local Diocesan Tribunal, will result in a “Freedom to Marry” decree, because the previous marriage did not follow the regulations for a baptized Catholic.

If, however, neither of them is Catholic, then at first sight the Church has to consider the marriage valid. It would then have to be looked into to see if there was something before or at the beginning of the marriage which caused it to be not valid.

That is a process that the Diocesan Tribunal will guide him through.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


What can we do about the Godparents for our granddaughter? They are both alcoholics and now we have found out they are also abusing drugs. The wife is having an adulterous affair and they also have left the church and are not raising their 2 beautiful girls Catholic either. I would like to send them a certified letter removing them from being our daughters Godparents. He is my husbands brother and she is the sister in law. The entire family are in disgrace over the goings on and we all want to change them but them refuse to listen to us. They have been telling their own children that our family are devils and not good people. Is there any way to remove them from being Godparents and have someone of reputable character replace them. We are so sick over this situation. Everyone in the family has tried to help them but they feel we are the intruders and they are perfectly happy drinking and doing drugs.

Both my husband and I feel they should be told they are no longer wanted as Godparents and that we are replacing them with someone else. Is that an appropriate thing to do?

Fr. Harold answers:

A Baptism record is an historical document. You can’t change that. What you can do, however is choose a person who loves your granddaughter and who gives good example in practice of the Faith. Ask her to take on the wonderful responsibility of being a Sponsor [godparent]. Then when it is time for confirmation, this person can be the Confirmation sponsor when the relationship becomes technically formalized.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a practicing Catholic although I am not registered with any particular parish. I am a part of a moving catholic choir who sings at different parishes and I have found it difficult to consider any one of these my parish. I had a civil marriage last year with the intention of Blessing my marriage this year in my Catholic Faith. My husband is not Catholic but is open to learning about my faith and willing to have us get married in the Catholic faith. He has been married and divorced twice to non-Catholics in civil ceremonies. We want to re-marry or marry for the first time in the Catholic Church on the anniversary of our civil marriage but I realize that there is so much involved in having our marriage Blessed in the Catholic Church. Not belonging to a particular parish makes it difficult for me to find the necessary information as to what is needed to have a Catholic Marriage in our situation. Since he never was married as a Catholic or to a Catholic or in a Catholic ceremony are his first marriages valid and need annullment or in our case, will we be marrying for the first time in the Catholic Church? And what do I need to do to proceed with the planning for a Catholic Marriage sometime this year?

Thank you for your help.

Christianna

Fr. Malloy answers:

Christiana,

Your first effort should be to go the pastor of the parish you live in. You could be registered there even if you go to various other Catholic churches to sing.

The marriages of your fiancé would require annulment. If he becomes a Catholic annulment could be simplified.

At any rate, you have to contact your parish of residence, where the pastor can guide you..

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I live in a small rural parish. Due to the fact we do not have an established choir, we have been using appropriate liturgical dvds from OCP during our liturgy. A comment was made that it is not acceptable to use cds's during Sunday liturgy. Is this correct. Thank you

DeEtta

Fr. Malloy answers:

DeEtta,

IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED THAT CD’S BE USED IN PLACE OF LITURGICAL MUSIC AT MASS.

Personally I would think it better to have some music rather than none.

If some members of the small congregation could sing along, so much the better.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

Am Josemaria by name and from Nigeria. Am undergoing marriage course and catechism class presently. I want to get married but i have not Baptism in the catholic and also my wife has not Baptism too, she is not a member of roman catholic, Father i understood that do ask question before one can be Baptism. Can you please help me with the topic so that i can be studying at my own spear time.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

Josemaria

Fr. Malloy responds:

Josemaria,

If you are preparing to become a Catholic, studying the catechism and taking a marriage course you will find the answers to any questions you may have regarding baptism and marriage. Ask your priest for help.

To become a Catholic you must be baptized and as an adult profess the Catholic faith. Further questions will be no problem.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I am not a Catholic, but, I am a Christian. I plan on marrying someone in the Philippines. They told me they would like me to get married in their Catholic church. They said if I got Baptized in their Catholic church, I could get married in the church. Is this true?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Bruce,

You don’t have to be baptized Catholic to marry in the Catholic Church. The local priest can give you permission.

Don’t become a Catholic until you are ready and know the faith.

Fr. John Malloy, DDB


Dear Father Malloy: This is the scrupulous one that has asked many questions in the past. Hope you do not mind another: When going to confession ,if a priest references the actions of other penitents as not being reflective on their past confessions, be breaking the seal of confession, by revealing their tendencies? This was said I believe in response to my tendency to constantly questioning the past. Also on another occasion possibly saying (Not sure of this) that there were those that were racially prejudice without much concern about it. Raise these questions after reading an article on a situation where people believed that a priest broke the seal of confession . These remarks were made , I believe, in reference to people in church at the time for confession and a novena.

Send regards, John

Fr. Malloy answers:

John,

Don’t try to name a person from a story told by the priest.

As long as the priest mentions no names, don’t be concerned. He has not broken the seal of confession.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 23-25, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I am a life-long practicing Catholic (received all sacraments of initiation, attend mass weekly, cantor, help with CCD classes, etc), and my boyfriend and I have been discussing getting married. He is a non-practicing methodist, but he was baptized and confirmed at his family parish in NJ. He is very open to us being married in my church where 3 generations of women have been married, and he has also been very open to our children being raised Catholic (to be honest, his mother has converted to Catholicism within the past 3 years). It would not be an issue for him to get his baptismal certificate from the church where he was baptized, but my qustion is this: is it an issue that he is no longer registered at this church or any other church in the area? I have made it clear that once we were married, I really want to attend church TOGETHER, and he has often mentioned that he would consider RCIA classes (which I would be thrilled about, but I want him to decide that rather than force the issue) after we married. Is it necessary for him to be registered at a church as well as provide his baptismal certificate? If that's true, I would encourage him to do so before we become engaged. Any guidance on this would be most appreciated. Thank you!

Pace e Bene,

Ashley

Fr. Malloy answers:

Ashley,

You are on the right track and so is your boyfriend.

His baptism is probably valid and the document would have to be provided if he converts.

It would be great if he would take the RCIA, although it is not required for that to happen for you to be married in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

I have been previously married but my first marriage was simple in a court house. However, I am catholic and If i remarry I want a catholic wedding in my attending church. Is this possible due to my previous marriage? Does this fall under free to marry?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mimi,

It is possible for you to marry in the Catholic Church, since your first marriage was invalid.

You would need to present your divorce decree and fulfil the conditions of the local parish to obtain the permission for that to take place.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I am a cradle Catholic but married in a Methodist church because my husband had been married before (brief, six months, young kind of thing) and had not yet received annulment or conversion. He has since chosen annulment, conversion, and very active Catholic life. He is even Grand Knight this year at our council. We have been married 19 years. For some reason, probably as I go deeper into my faith, it recently occurred to me that we never had our marriage blessed in the Catholic church. It has never bothered me in that we had a religious ceremony and I know our marriage is blessed by God. But recently I started thinking in terms of rules and communion. I could easily ask my Priests because I know them all fairly well, but I'm afraid they will say I should not be receiving communion..and I don't want to stop receiving communion. I look forward to that gift every week. Anyway, one of my resolutions this year is to resolve this. My husband and I can easily renew our vows or whatever in the Catholic church, but would the Priest say we should not have been receiving communion all this time??

Thank you,

Karen

Fr. Malloy responds:

Karen,

Good resolution; Resolve this!!

Sorry, Karen, but both you and your husband should not receive the Eucharist before your marriage is blest by the Church.

Let go of the past and face your present need now.

Explain to your priest that you would like a simple ceremony of validating your union. It can be done very privately with just two witnesses. (Make a good confession). The sooner it is done, the sooner you can return to reception of Holy Communion.

You are in my prayers.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Blessings to you Fathers!.........2 yrs ago I joined the Catholic church through the RCIA program. It was the best thing I ever did! I received all the sacraments at the Easter vigil Saturday night. My children and grandchildren all followed last year and are now all Catholic. We buried my 4 month old grand daughter the week before I became Catholic. It was such a beautiful ceremony but I had a really hard time getting through it considering the grief I was in over losing my precious grandbaby.I almost did not go through with it from being in such agony ! I went to my first confession at the time and wasn't sure what to say or do. I confessed my mortal sin and did my best to read off my act of contrition card. Considering my frame of mind at the time with my grief and agony over her death do you think my confession was forgiven? That was such a tragedy in our lives that no one could think .I truly believe my Catholic faith got me through the worse time of my life! I think GOD was preparing me for this life changing event. What do you think and is my first confession any good? I go to mass faithfully and receive communion every time. Thank you for your time.......Terri

Fr. Malloy answers:

Terri,

I see no reason why your confession was not a good one. Don’t worry about what’s past.

Do take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation from time to time. Meantime, receive the Lord with love and confidence.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father-

My sons and I are going through the RCIA program. I had been divorced and I remarried my Catholic husband in a civil ceremony about 3 years ago. I have applied for an annulment. My new husband and I would like to add to our family. Is it inadvisable to become pregnant during this process? I am receiving conflicting advice. We are older, and my heart sinks when I think that if the annulment process takes years, we may not be able to receive this blessing.

Thank you for your time and God Bless.

 

Fr. Malloy answers:

Keene,

If you, or he, were first married in the Catholic Church, you do need an annulment. An annulment is not need if neither you nor he, were not married in the Catholic Church.

Trust in God’s love and strengthen your faith.

Completing the RCIA will be a blessing for the whole family.

Your local pastor can explain the time it might take to secure an annulment.

Meantime, even if you are together, you should not live as husband and wife until the case is resolved..

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My family and I are practicing Catholics, I am a convert. Recently I was approached by a fellow Catholic convert friend who had not spoken to me since deciding to marry a non-Catholic outside of the church.

The more I began to talk with the friend again I realized the marriage was full of abuse which started short after the wedding. Thus far not physical, but the spouse has done things like isolate, sold entertainment devices, vehicles, squandered money, destroyed communication devices, rosaries and other sacramentals, hacked accounts, been unfaithful, and threaten my friend with retribution and or manipulation of the system if he tried to leave.

Obviously my friend is afraid not only of making the potentially lifesaving choice to leave, but of the social stigma associated with the male appearing week in such circumstances.

My friend told me that he had sought guidance from a mission priest in their small town one Sunday when he was permitted to attend Mass. He told me that he didn't tell the priest of the abuse just of his wife being unfaithful and that he is Catholic but not his wife and they had only a civil ceremony.

The priest told him that he did have grounds for a divorce and annulment but that a marriage tribunal would not even review the circumstances because there was no Sacrament. The priest stated that IF my friend got a civil divorce he would not be permitted to marry again in the church. In my friend's damaged state of mind he is afraid that he will not be able to move on in the future, and have the chance for a prosperous union with the woman God truly meant for him, and thus has convinced himself there is no hope, and he must stay in this terrible situation.

I have told my friend that his safety is the most pressing concern but that I was sure that there was something that could be done. My friend is checking in with me regularly now and I am continuing to encourage him to hope as well as to leave this situation. I have offered tips from articles concerning battered men, a helpline number, and my family has also offered their assistance. We know he has to make the choice, and we are praying but perhaps the father's might be able to give some advise that would help my friend to hope more.

Thank you,

A Concerned Friend

Fr. Malloy answers:

The priest you spoke to gave you good advice.

No one can be expected to live the life you describe. Your friend should stand up, like a man, and take action.

I don’t believe anyone would think your friend weak. But it wouldn’t change the need even if they did.

Incidentally, I observed the same circumstances in the marriage of a nephew, who secured a divorce and decree of nullity of his marriage and no social stigma resulted.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi Fathers,

My fiancee and I are getting married and June, we are wondering is it possible to get married by civil and by church at the same ceremony? We want to get married by civil and by church but we want to do everything at the same ceremony and same time. Is it possible to sign both of the papers and get everything done at once?

Thank you

Cynthia

Fr. Malloy responds:

Cynthia,

Your church marriage is also recognized civilly. There is no reason to have two ceremonies.

If your are Catholic, a civil marriage is invalid for you as it would be for him as a Catholic.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My name is Alice, I just recently whet back to Church after 30 years and as of last week I just started to attend RCIA. I was baptise in a Catholic Church and did my communion. I am not to sure whether or not I did my confirmation as I was told that back in the 60's this was done the same time of the baptism. I am still researching this but I am having problems as the churches I have called do not have my baptismal papers. My problem is this I have been married 3 times all by the Justice of the Peace, all of them were Catholics as well but neither of them attended mass. Each of them were abusers and cheated on me as well. Two of them remarried, one of them was recently released from prison for molesting a 5 year old boy. I was only 15 when I married my first huband. Since I was young I really did not know what it meant to be Catholic as it was not instilled into me growing up, we only attended Sunday Mass but that is all I remember. I married my 4th husband, he is not Catholic and I believe he was baptised in a Baptist Church. His father was a baptist ministor and my husband knows the bible very well. My question is do I have to get an annulment to all three marriages before I can receive the Eucharist.

Thank you...

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Alice,

What rejoicing when someone re-enters the community of Church!

Yes, your previous marriages will have to be sorted out, for which you need the marriage certificates and divorce decrees. But the main thing is your own Baptism certificate. Do you have any relatives still living who might remember first that you were baptized and second where.

Do you remember the church where you received First Communion? There the parish should have looked at a Baptism certificate and put it in the record. In our country when I was young, Confirmation was administered in the 7th or 8th grade. In some places that is still the practice, though some places have Confirmation later during high school. If you do not remember that, then it is possible you were not confirmed. Again it is possible that some family member could remember that. If it is ascertained that you were not Confirmed, your presence at the RCIA will lead to that.

In the meantime, with the documentation above being presented to the Diocesan Tribunal [Church court], it should end up with a Decree of Freedom to Marry. Armed with that, you can have a Church wedding with your current spouse.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On January 23-25, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I first have to say thank you, for reaching out to us online, it really makes me feel more connected with the Church, by moving along with technology.

I just recently became engaged to my fiance, my best friend. We have been dating for about five years and have only grown closer since. My fiance was not brought up with much of a religion. I was raised Catholic, but have not been the best Catholic over the past few years. My father became very sick a few years ago, and I guess instead of reaching for God, I pushed him away. I do however, believe, and would like to become a more involved member of the Church.

Since being less active in the Church, and moving on with my relationship with my fiance (Peter), I have a few concerns.

I would eventually like to be married in the Catholic Church and raise our children Catholic, but I am concerned for Peter. I know many practicing Catholics have said that unless you are baptized and a member of the Church, you cannot be saved. This terrifies me, for Peter. He is the most kind hearted, honest, and admirable person I have ever met, and I look to him for guidance a lot of the time. He has his differences with Catholicism, but I just cannot believe that he cannot be saved.

Could you please explain this more to me, or help me as to what I should do? I have tried to get him to understand my views and he did give an honest try in Church, but I do not think he will convert.

Thank you for your time,

Kelly=

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kelly,

No one can say that a person cannot be saved.

You do your best to be a good example of Catholic practice and pray that Peter be brought to the true faith. Conversion is a gift of God. Pray for that gift.

One who strives to know and love God and practices the Ten Commandments (as far as possible) will have baptism of desire.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I am Catholic and never before married. My boyfriend is not Catholic and has been married previously and divorced. We would like some clarification regarding the validity of his previous marriage in the Catholic Church. His ex-wife is Catholic. They were not married in the Catholic church, but in a civil ceremony. I understand that since their marriage was not performed in the Catholic Church and she is Catholic, the marriage is invalid for her.

Is this correct? Does that make the marriage invalid for him?

Thank you for your time.

Sara

Fr. Malloy answers:

Sara,

Validation is not needed. Your local pastor can handle this case.

You need to present the civil divorce papers and go through the marriage preparation course

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Oh Father

Please give me some clarity on this issue:-

I have been divorced and have met a gentlemen who is much younger than I am - we have met with this parents and mine and everyone has accepted our love, he is a christian and I was not - I have accepted the Lord and we now want to do what is right and get married - he has never been married (we have been living together as a couple for the last four months now) - Father please let me know if what I am about to do is right in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ - he wants to get baptized and I would like to do it as well - I come from a hindu family - if I go ahead and get baptized does this mean that I cannot join my family in the occasional prayer in the hindu faith? - I have committed to Jesus - however I have children and a grandchild that follow the hindu faith - that I am a part of - please advise

Thank you Lord for this opportunity and thank you father that you will respond

Molly

Fr. Malloy responds:

Molly,

Approach your local Catholic Church and ask to join the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). The course is open to Catholic and non-Catholics and will explain the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. No obligation.

If you become a Catholic, you can still attend some of your former practices, as long as they don’t take the place of Mass on Sunday .

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Good morning Father,

I found your link earlier this morning, and was hoping to get some clarification on a few questions.

I have recently become engaged, and my fiancé and I have been discussing the possibility of being married in the church. There are a few things that may be obstacles: first, my fiancé is baptized Catholic but not confirmed. Second, we are both divorced. Third, I am not a Catholic. I know about having marriages annulled through the church before we could marry, but do both have to be annulled or just one? Also, can you please explain the question of "form of marriage"? We were both married in court, but not in the church. Does this change the process of nullification? And finally, if either of us annulled our previous marriage, would that change the legitimacy of baptism for either of our children?

I apologize for the rather sporadic nature of this email, but these have been stressful questions to have in my mind. I look forward to any response you can give me, and thank you in advance for your time.

Blessings, Father.

Sincerely,

Rachel

Fr. Malloy answers:

Rachel,

Presuming the marriages were both out of the Catholic Church, it would not be necessary (or possible) to annul them through the Church.

The legitimacy of baptism does not depend on the condition of the parents, per se. The parents would have to promise to raise the children as Catholic.

The form of marriage would follow the requirements of the Church: proper instruction and promise of raising the children in the Catholic faith. The civil divorce papers would have to presented to obtain permission to marry in the Church.

Any local Catholic priest can help you.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was married to my second husband Sept 2007 in a civil marriage. My formal anullment from my first marriage was granted around Jan 2010. My second husband has refused to have our marriage convalidated, despite numerous promises and dates set up to do it. I'm in a womans shelter now due to domestic

Violence and working on my divorce and custody papers of our 3 yr old son. He even told me "you're not a catholic" and "i don't deserve to take the Eucharist."

My question is when am i allowed to take the Eucharist? Do i have to be divorced and get another anullment before partaking of the eucharist? Or may i partake now while going through the divorce process? Thank you and God Bless.

Jamaille

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jamaille,

You don’t have to get a divorce to receive the Eucharist. You have to be in the state of grace.

Your second marriage was civil. As a Catholic that marriage is invalid and an annulment is not needed (or possible).

You do have to go to Confession if you have serious sins to confess.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Father my wife is a Methodist and previously divorced in a situation that was not good for her. We married outside of the Church because of her previous marriage. W were told that was the only way to get married.

We have been married for 14 years and have two wonderful children baptized Catholic and attending Catholic school.

My wife has been drawn to the Catholic faith and would like to convert to Catholicism.

We were told that she would need to nullify her first marriage with the Catholic Church before she can become Catholic. The petition is painful and I will not allow her to go through the pain of contacting someone that she divorced because of abuse in 1991. I would like to remarry my wife in the Catholic Church.

She is a very loving person and a great partner and mother to our children. I do not see the benefit of cutting open deep wounds and jeopardizing her well being by having a Priest reach out to an abuser she was married too as a very young woman in 1991

Please Advise. Can she become Catholic without the nullification of her 1991 marriage?

Any issues with the sacraments?

Jim

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jim,

Don’t deny the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith works miracles.

If your wife’s first marriage was in a Catholic Church, she needs to file papers to annul that union.

If her first husband is not willing to cooperate, she has other opportunities to receive the annulment.

Speak to your pastor.

Any pain she encounters will be more than offset with as peaceful conscience and the grace of God.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


We recently found out that my child’s godparents do not believe the same Catholic beliefs as we do. We feel that in our absence this couple would not respect our wishes and make sure our child was raised in the Catholic faith. What can we do? Can we appoint new godparents?

Thank you

Christy

Fr. Malloy responds:

Christy,

The simplest thing you can do would be to appoint new godparents.

As to the church record, you would have to speak to the parish priest. He may put an annotation in the baptism record.

It is important that there be sponsors wiling help in the Catholic upbringing of the children

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi father,

We need some help here

Me and my fiance would love to get married which we will very soon.

He is not an orthodox christian he believes in Hinduism which i respect just as much as he respects my religion.

Now i would love to get married in an Romanian Orthodox church but i not sure if it is aloud within the church as my fiance is not a orthodox christian?

My fiance is happy to get married in a church is just a case of if we are aloud to do this.

Please help us

Thanks in advance

Fr. Malloy answers:

If you are Catholic, your marriage would have to be in the Catholic Church to be valid. If you are a member of an Orthodox Church, you would have to check with the local priest to obtain permission.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I have been baptized as a Catholic when I was a baby. As the years progressed, I have lived a life as a Catholic. However, under some circumstances, I was not able not able to partake in my fist communion as well as confirmation. Furthermore, my relationship with God growing up was not intact. My mother was a strong believer, but growing up as a teenager, I had so many question and was always very skeptical. I had times when I questioned God, and to me, religion was just "another subject." It wasn't till I was sixteen that my world changed. Through my mother's prayers and my own eagerness to know more about this glorious Being who loves me and who sent His Son for the good of mankind, I have changed. I am almost eighteen now, and I believe God saved me. I receive his Son, my Savior Jesus Christ, and I love Him. My relationship with Him is something I never expected I would have.

My Step-Father is a Mormon, and we have Mormon missionaries coming to our house often.They would talk about their unfailing faith in Jesus, and I would always commend them for that. They also want my mom and I to be baptized. I have no answer as of now because I have questions still consuming my mind. I believe that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life" and that "no one comes to the father but through him." In the case of Baptism, i feel as if i am born again to the light of Jesus and I want to cleanse my sins. i respect their religion, but my heart is not set to be baptized as a Mormon. They baptize children at the age of eight as well as adulthood because they say that you should be baptize at a time when you discern right from wrong and have accepted Jesus. I bring this up because I feel this deep need to be baptize from my sins and restore my soul in God's hands. I was baptized when i was a baby, but it cleansed me only of original sin. I sinned again as i grew older and i was so far away from him in spirit. i feel so tainted and corrupted. Is there anyway, for me as a Catholic to receive this restoration? Is it possible for me to be baptize again as a Catholic?

Sincerely,

Kim

Fr. Malloy responds:

Kim,

Your faith in God is strong, but it does need to be directed.

You cannot be baptized a second time. But you can be forgiven from your sins and have your soul cleansed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

Speak to the pastor of your local Catholic Church and ask to join the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) This is a course which is open to Catholics and non Catholics who wish to know more about the Catholic faith. Following that you could receive first communion and confirmation.

The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. The Apostles spread it throughout the world. It was not founded on a man as was the Mormons.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Greetings

My name is Charles. I was brought up attending Presbyterian church. My parents died when I was just 14 years old. Since that time, I rarely attended church. I find myself now drawn to the Catholic Church and am looking into taking RCIA classes.

My question for you is: I am not sure if I was ever baptized. Since my parents are deceased, I cannot ask them. I have asked my older sister who is 12 years older than me and she said she is almost certain that I was not.

My older brother (6 yrs older) said that he did get baptized in our church but that it was as an older teenager. He also didn't think I would have been baptized either.

Since I cannot be sure, should I go ahead and seek to be baptized now?

Thank you and God bless!

Charles

Fr. Malloy responds:

Charles,

Consider yourself not baptized. Following the RCIA you can receive baptism, first Communion and Confirmation at the same time—the concluding ceremony).

May God’s grace be with you,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 20, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I am a catholic and I was never confirmed. Do I need to have my first marriage annulled in order to be confirmed?

Thank you,

Emily

Fr. Harold Danielson Answers:

Dear Emily,

Depending on the circumstances, there could be more than one response to your query. First of all, the Church is desirous that all its members receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. That will mean harmony with all the Sacraments. If you have been married, then divorced and you currently are not married again, then nothing would prevent you from being confirmed.

If, instead, you are married again, you should begin the investigation through the Church Tribunal, to discover whether the first marriage was indeed valid. If not, then you could celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage and then prepare for Confirmation.

To return to the first paragraph above, whatever the current circumstances you should begin the process with the Tribunal, so that should the situation change you would know if you could get married in Church.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


My sister’s daughter is just this month going to Catholic elementary school (currently 6th grade). Does she still have to continue to go to Religious Education classes once a week? I say “yes,” but where would I find information/documentation to back this up (or throw it out)?

Thank you.

Rhonda

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Rhonda,

The ordinary practice among our American Catholic people is that students in a Catholic school are not expected to go to other classes in the Parish School of Religion or CCD [Confraternity of Christian Doctrine] or whatever term is used. However, sometimes a young person finds he/she can be a helper with younger children and participates in that way. Or sometimes the way it is organized calls for intense participation and a student will enjoy and be challenged beyond the class in the Catholic school.

When preparation for Confirmation comes around, most parishes expect the candidates for Confirmation come to the parish, it is not a school based process.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

 


Hi,

My boyfriend & I recently got engaged. We want to get married in the Church I grew up in. I have made all my sacraments. He was baptized Catholic but didn't make any of the other sacraments. We will raise our children Catholic. Will any of this cause an issue when we make an appointment with the parish priest?

Thanks,

Katie

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Katie,

It’s wonderful that you want to get married in the Church. That is fulfilling Jesus’ saying, “You are light in the world.”

It will be another wonderful thing for your fiancé to complete his initiations Sacraments: Confirmation and Eucharist. But technically this does not have to be done before getting married. It can be a project afterward.

The whole thing about getting married in the Churchy is that it arises from practice of the Faith. It is realy an invitation to the full practice of the Faith. Besides many things of a truly Christian life, this begins with Sunday Mass, frequent Communion, Reconciliation [confession] ever so often, then follow up with so many things for one’s own good and the benefit of others. Without these, one would have to go back to ask oneself: why get married in the Church if I do not plan to do the basics?

On the other hand the Church wants to be so encouraging with persons on their way to that very revered and sacred Sacrament of Marriage. No time like the present to take action and decisions.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

I was baptized around 3-4yrs old I never made first communion at 7yrs (we moved) I sent away for records from the church and they sent me back a record that says I was baptized then Confirmed around 4-5yrs old. I don’t ever recall taking the sacrament of the “host” or making a first s communion . But the churches I have attended since say this is not correct. How can this be when I have this document that says otherwise???? I would like to take the sacrament of confession and get the sacrament of first communion on record. Instead everyone says I must start from the beginning again. I have been a Catholic all my life and I attend church , but cannot get anyone to help me with this problem. It has prevented me from getting married in the church and fulfilling my sacraments as a member of my faith. I am so despondent over this I just want to give up. I am 62yrs old and suffer from Lupus and High Blood pressure and diabetes . I really want to get this corrected so I am at peace.

God Bless You

Candice

 

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Candice,

Go to confession to your local priest. Ask absolution and the right to receive Holy Communion.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Father,

I was baptised Catholic and attended parochial school. I married 47 years ago to a non-Catholic in the Catholic church. She took Catholic classes and agreed to raise our children Catholic. She remained a non-Catholic during the course of the entire marriage. Starting in 1984 she left me(separated) three different times during the course of the marriage but came back to the marriage with me each time. Finally, with her fourth separation from me in January 2002 she divorced me in December 2005.

Was I ex-communicated from the Catholic church because of her divorce from me after four separations from me? I am now divorced(she filed for the divorce and divorced me) and remain single. If I'm not ex-communicated from the Catholic church by her divorce from me, can I still receive all the sacraments of the Catholic church? Thank you, Father.

Tom

Fr. Malloy answers:

Tom.

You are guilty of no sin in this matter. You may go to confession and receive the Eucharist freely.

Ex-communications are not imposed in this and similar cases.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB.


Can I ask my father to be the godfather of my daughter? He is catholic as are we, and he has been baptized, etc.

I know he is my dad but he's the best I know and I would love for it.

Shannon

Fr. Malloy answers:

Shannon,

There is no prohibition against having your father be godfather of yourchild.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I was wondering if its possible, or if the church allows us to choose two sets of Godparents to baptize our baby?

Brittney

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Brittney,

Technically in Church law, a person needs just one sponsor, though two are most common: a godmother and a godfather. However, there are customs in various parts of the world where children have lots of godmothers and godfathers. These are family practices, beyond what is required. Generally, the Baptism record has space only for the first two, whose names will be written in the record.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a husband who was raised Catholic and my wife is a "Born Again" Christian. My wife does not agree with a lot of the Catholic teachings/stances on things but I believe it is primarily because she has not been educated on the reasoning behind them and I am not the best knowledge source for her. At this point, she is adament about not ever wanting to convert to Catholisicm. I have 2 questions;

1) is there a good resource for me to read to possibly educate myself about the differences between our religions? I've read "Born Again Catholic" a while and found that helpful but wanted to ask.

2) We are expecting a child in May and want to get it baptised. We are planning on a Christian baptism outside of the Catholic church. It is my understanding that this is fine as there is only one baptism. Is this correct? Also, I've grown up having Godparents. Are these done with Christian baptisms compared to Catholic Baptisms?

Thanks!

Patrick

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Patrick,

You bring up several things in your letter. I shall try to sort them out a bit and respond to your questions.

Jesus and His Church never force anything on anyone. God encourages and calls but respects free will and conscience. So, your wife is certainly free to not enter the Catholic Church.

For a resource for yourself in grounding your own faith, get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Or: United States Catechism for Adults. These are excellent sources also for your wife to page through as she comes across them as you are catching up.

The way you presented your situation, leads me to a question: Have you been married in the Church, and thus are in the Sacrament of Matrimony? The Church holds marriage very sacred wherever it occurs according to law and custom. However, it does have a few basic rules for its own members. That is, as disciples according to Jesus are to be Light in the World, and thus are to be observed by all, and as the Church understands that marriage of baptized persons in a true Sacrament (sign of God’s presence among us), so it requires some things to be sure that the external circumstances are such that it is possible for two persons to be truly, validly married. Basically, these are: presence of the bride and groom, two witnesses, and the priest or deacon who officiates. Without these things a Catholic person is not validly married. The Church hopes that anyone in this condition seek the “blessing” of the Church. Otherwise they are “out of synch” with the Church and are in a situation of non-practice of the Faith.

I believe that most Christian faith communities have sponsors or godparents for Baptisms, infant or adult. The Church acknowledges the validity of Baptisms as long as the complete formula (I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) is used. However, if later on person wishes the other Sacraments in the Catholic Church, they must be instructed and make a profession of Faith in the Church.

The latest General Council of the Church (that is, the Second Vatican Council held 1962 to 1965) emphasized the common beliefs of Christians. Then the scholars of the various church communities dialog about things to see what they believe in common. There has been a lot of communication among all groups in the past decades.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father

I pray I write this coherently and esay to understand. I am a practising Catholic who loves mass and dreams of having children and bring them up Catholic. I am now engaged to Ryan and planning our wedding. There are a few obstacles. The First is Ryan is not Catholic and has not been baptised before. Obviously he respects my faith and supports my wishes, that if we do bare children that they are raised as Catholics. He understands how important it is to go to the pre-marrige courses and speak to my Priest about the sacrment of marriage and of the Catholic Faith. The Second obstacle is that I now live in Portugal (I am half Portuguese half English), Father William lives in Epsom in England and I wish for him to marry us in Epsom. The Priest of my home town in Portugal (Father Rosa) does not speak English so I'm panicing because how can Ryan go to the pre-marriage course if he does not speak Portuguese. The Thrid obstacle is that because I have two nationalities Portuguese and British I've been told I have to get married twice, So I've been trying to find out if you can marry the same person twice in two different countries in a Roman Cathoic Church??? Sorry for all the questions. Thank you for your time, I pray you have a lovely week.

God Bless

Sophie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sophie,

Ask Fr. Rosa to advise you,

That Ryan is not Catholic would not of itself hinder marriage in the Church.

You can’t get married twice, but you can have a church ceremony and then a civil ceremony, if the second country demand its.

Is it possible for you to go to Epsom with Ryan, (living as “brother-sister”), and have Fr. William prepare you?

Fr. Rosa can probably help you.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

My fiancé has been divorced for 25 years and is currently seeking an annulment in the catholic church. I am widowed and a devout Protestant. The annulment process started about 12 months ago, he has been told it will be at least another 6 - 12 months. We are in our early 70's and want to get married now. If we do that can we be remarried later in the catholic church?

Judy

Fr. Malloy answers:

Judy,

It is better wait for the annulment to be finalized. Marriage before that would be sinful for your fiancé.

However, it would not be impossible for marriage in the Catholic Church, after a civil marriage.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello father

I am writing with question of marrying the love of my life. so far every holy sacrament i have received has been in a catholic church. only problem is that my fiance was raised Lutheran and wishes to do the ceremony at the church she grew up at. I was wondering what the requirements are for a catholic to marry a Lutheran in a Lutheran church. Another problem we have father is i am currently deployed to afghanistan and i am not able to be home for meetings with the church or meet requirments. please help me father i can not stand to see her on 4 weeks a year. I greatly appreciate the response and your time.

God bless , Jordan

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jordan,

Instructions are necessary. See your Catholic Chaplain for help.

You can marry a Lutheran in a Lutheran church, if you receive permission from the Bishop,

If permission where granted, you would still need a Catholic priest present.

To do so without permission would invalidate the marriage for the Catholic partner.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was married to a non-Catholic in a Catholic ceremony as I am a lifelong baptized Catholic.

However after 8 months of marriage to a Brazilian born woman (here illegally before the marriage and subsequently granted U.S. residency after our marriage) it became unmistaklably apparent that the major reason for her decision to marry me was to attain her U.S. residency and she demonstrated great evidence of questionable marriage intentions and committment to the marriage openly mocking and denying the Catholic Church. I brought civil lawsuit for annulment and this was granted in civil court with strong language by the judge to my former "wife" concerning what she had done - calling what she had done clearly a case of fraud upon which he ordered the "marriage" to be annuled. It was done so over 3 years ago.

My question is - what must I do to obtain a Roman Catholic annulment? To what degree or to what extent is the civil ruling that the marriage is annuled of significance or value to the Roman Catholic Church? Could it possibly be that the civil annulment I have been granted automatically annuls my Roman Catholic marriage without the process of Roman Catholic annulment necessary for church recognition of my annuled marriage status? There is no apparent literature available that I could locate dealing with those like myself who have been granted a civil annulment concerning that annulment's impact upon one's marriage status as viewed by the Catholic Church. Please clarify.......................

Sincerely,

Dennis

Fr. Malloy responds:

Dennis,

Since you were married= in the Catholic Church, you will need a Catholic annulment.

The case is fairly simple. Check your diocesan chancery office and ask to speak to the Marriage Tribunal.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi I have been asked to be a godparent to my best freinds children but I have never been baptised or anything I have attended a church now and again please help as I dont want to let her down what can I do?

Thanks,

Jane

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jane,

There are requirements for Catholic godparents

Prime is that the person must be baptised, confirmed and practicing Catholic.

Your best friend needs instruction the Catholic faith and should never have asked this favour of you.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On January 15-20, we received these questions:

Hi Father,

My name is Lucy and I actually had a question about my wedding. First let me explain my situation, well my husband is in the army and is currently over seas and we got married by the justice of the peace and havnt told anyone about our marriage, we had to go through counciling to see if we should be married which was provided by the army due to so many divorces. We both agree we dont want to tell anyone we hot married by justice of peace, because of feelings getting hurt. Also my husband isnt catholic and wants to convert from being a christian, but I am catholic. We planned on him taking the classes when he returns in april, and we were wondering how would we be able to get married through the eyes of God and if its possible since we are married by justice of peace? Another question is how would the ceramony take place a would it be a normal catholic wedding or something different? He is stationed in Texas and I live in Ohio, would he be able to take those classes in texas that has a catholic church? We are having the wedding in columbus, ohio. I have gotten so many different answers thought you might help me in answering my questions. Thank you and God bless,

Lucy

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lucy,

It could be a normal Catholic wedding. You are not bound tell anyone, other than the priest, of your civil marriage. Present to him your marriage license and he can obtain necessary forms to document a Catholic wedding.

Your fiancé’ would not have to be a convert, but it would be much better if he could pursue his conversion, wherever he is.

The local Catholic chaplain could help him. Taking the classes in April would be advisable.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Our son is getting married to a girl in the Catholic church. During their first meeting with the priest he wanted record of my sons baptism. We are Methodist . It has been 28 years ago and I cannot find record of that event. I did find his confirmation record. Would that be okay?

Thank you,

Teresa

Fr. Malloy answers:

Teresa,

If there are living witnesses to his baptism they can testify to the fact.

Confirmation papers would be helpful.

However, one who is not baptized may also be married in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello, i am catholic and was married in the catholic church. i have been divorced ofr 1 year now and I am currently engaged, however my question is, Do I need to get my first marriage annulled if we want to get married in the lutheran church. My fiancee is lutheran. Thanks!

Becky

Fr. Malloy answers:

Becky,

Accepting your divorce. the Lutheran Church would not need an annulment.

Regretfully however, you would no longer be a practicing Catholic and may not receive the sacraments,

Fr. John Malloy


Hey father, thank you for taking the time to read this.

I am very confused about my situation. I was born into a Italian roman catholic family. Everyone was baptized on my fathers side roman catholic besides me, mostly in Italy. My father brought me to a priest as an infant who gave his blessings (sign of the cross) and did not baptize me for some reason. I feel stripped of my birth right. My father did take me to mass every Sunday though and left me to fend for myself when i was 11. My mother decided to have me baptized at the age of eight (born again) and i was forced to attend born again school. The whole time though, my italian roman catholic grandmother taught me rosary prayers in Latin and Italian. I am not ignorant of the catholic church's teachings, and recently choose to return to the catholic church as an adult. But like i said, i do not feel like a convert because i don't have a piece of paper to show anyone. Its in my heritage, and in my blood and in my faith. But to everyone it seems at my local perish, says i am a convert that needs to attend a program. It makes me contemplate even saying my rosary prayers in Latin my grandmother taught me each day or even wearing one. I feel like a outsider inside my own perish when all my ancestors,aunts,uncles,cousins, are roman catholic. I do not plan on starting any program on what i was taught but my grandma. Is there a point of me even calling myself a roman catholic,although i practice, because i have not been "confirmed" in the eyes of men or have a paper to show for it? Jesus did not give the thief on the cross next to him a certificate. I doubt god will ask for my papers when i pass away. I apologize if any of this offends you father, but this is how i feel upon my return. Unwelcomed, yet a desire to because of my heritage and faith.

 

Fr. Malloy answers:

Chris,

You are Catholic through and through. It’s the heart that matters. But you can regularize your status as a Catholic

Parishes programs (RCIA) each year invite would be converts and Catholics, who would like to know more about the Church. to attend classes to strengthen their faith. Joining that program would solve your problems and help your faith and devotion as Catholic.

God bless your good will,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My fiancé and I have been planning to get married on August 11 in a Catholic church. However, I am pregnant and due to have our child in May. What is the church's stance on us getting married legally under a justice of the peace before the birth of our son? And how would that change the wedding ceremony (if at all) in May? We want to do the right thing for our baby and have him come into this world with married parents, but it is especially important to me to have a real Catholic wedding. I really need some advice and guidance! Thank you for your time.

Dani

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dani,

Don 't make the mistake of a civil marriage.

It is more important that your child enter the world with parents in good grace with God than married by a Justice of the Peace.

It won't make it right for your child to be brought into the world with a marriage not blest by God.

In due time your child will understand the situation and be the stronger Catholic, if he is well instructed.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have read extensively Q & A on your website and find no case quite like my own. Therefore I seek your prayerful guidance.

I was married to a man 43 years ago. I was 18 unbaptized and he was 23 years old (likely unbaptized) and he was seeking a deferred way out of an A-1 status in the draft to avoid the Vietnam war.

He was raised 7tth Day Adventist while I was raised Presbyterian. He courted me and after several months told me that he loved me but within 2 months after our wedding he told me that he had lied to me about his reasons for marrying me. He only wanted out of the draft.

I believed that our vows were for life and decided to stay with him. Long story, but he was mentally unstable, suffering from schizophrenia, was unfaithful with numerous women, and proved to have pathological tendencies.

At the time I was young and naive and stayed for 6 years, 2 children, and almost died from the physical abuse that I received from his bare hands. I have no record of the violence because at the time of the incidents (1974) the police did not take domestic violence seriously as they do today. I found a safe way to leave him and save myself and our children from a man who was arrested in 1979 for pedophilia.

I believed with all of my soul that I was baptized as an infant but most recently learned that I am not. The Holy Spirit has led me to seeking our Lord in the Catholic Church. I wish to receive the sacraments. I have attended Mass weekly with my current husband, previously baptized from another denomination, for over one year.

I am in RCIA at this time. I have filed paperwork with the Diocese for my annulment. My current husband has also filed for an annulment from his marriage over 40 years ago. My current husband and I had a civil ceremony 29 years ago and seek to have our marriage blessed in the Church if our annulments should be granted. I did not meet my current husband until 3 years after my civil divorce and 8 years after his civil divorce.

My concern regarding my annulment process is that I have learned through my children that as of 4 years ago that my former husband illegally left the US to parts unknown due to a variety of crimes that he has committed.. I have no way of contacting him regarding the annulment process.

Due to his seemingly clinical paranoia and not knowing where he resides, I suspect that I may never be able to locate him. If his location were discovered, his paranoia would not allow contact with the church due to his unfounded fears of being discovered by the US government for the illegal crimes that he has committed in the past. And due to our past history, he has no trust in me, nor any desire to help me in any way.

Would you be able to shed some light on what is my recourse with the Church regarding their and my inability to not be able to locate my former husband? I understand that not only my children do not know or want to know where my former husband lives, for the protection of my grandchildren from a documented pedophile, and that my children have told me that my former husband has severed all communication, trust, and ties with his immediate family.

Please understand that personally I have not had contact with my former husband's immediate family for 40 years. I fear the thought of establishing any communication with his immediate family due to the mental illness that they also seem to suffer.

Your insight and your guidance and your prayers are most welcome. I feel at a great loss of hope that I will never be baptized nor granted an annullment in the Church which I find the only true Church of our Lord.

God bless you,

I thank for your help and wisdom,

June

Fr. Malloy answers:

June,

You do find yourself in a difficult situation. You have my prayers for a successful outcome.

Since you are in RCIA, your local priest is in the best position to advise you and direct your appeal to the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal.

You certainly have baptism of desire, but my prayer is that the case be resolved by the Marriage Tribunal.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a baptized non catholic and my boyfriend is a catholic. My boyfriend has never been married but I was. I have started the annulment process but have an unfortunate situation. I got divorced 22 years ago and have no idea where my ex- spouse lives or his phone number. I could probably search the internet to find information to present to the tribunal but I am certain he will not be cooperative and will not contribute any information about our marriage or divorce. So, my first question is does he have to be notified? If so, can he choose not to participate? I understand that it can take a very long time for an annulment to be granted but my boyfriend and I wish to get married in a non catholic church and hope to have our marriage blessed in the catholic church when the annulment has been granted. Will there be another process to have the marriage blessed if we get married in a non catholic church? Also I do not have any documentation that I was baptized just my word and witnesses, will I have to have a proof of baptism?

Thank you so much for you help and advice

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Veronica,

A civil marriage, or marriage in a con-Catholic church, will be null for your Catholic spouse. It’s better to wait to be married until your case is resolved.

Making the efforts to reach your first spouse is important, but lack of cooperation my not hurt the annulment process, provided you have other documentations, or witnesses, to testify on your behalf.

The local Catholic priest can help you.

You can still be married in a Catholic church even if you are not baptized (but free to marry).

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


I have spoken with my Chruch and the wheels are in motion to have my baby baptized. They asked that I meet with them this Sunday after Mass. Should I bring my record of baptisim? Will the priest ask for that? I don't know if I have any record of my confirmation or first Communion but I did complete both. Should I try to locate that paper work? What sort of paper work will the Godparents be required to show that they are Catholic? Lastly, my husband and I were not married in the Catholic church, will that be a problem?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dana,

Yes, it will be a problem if you are not married in the Catholic Church.

It would be good to straighten out your marriage status.

If documentation is in order, you can have a very private ceremony with two witness?

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


My ex catholic wife was married to a nonpracticing Jewish fellow in an outdoor nondenominationsl ceremony many years ago. It was not officiated by a rabbi nor do I think it was Christian per se.

She purportedly never filed the “paperwork” after getting the marriage license and believed that the civil portion was never completed and therefore “technically” didn’t need a divorce.

We met many years later and she became pregnant, I felt the need to be married although neither of us had any plans along those line otherwise.

She said that we didn’t have to get married.

We had a civil marriage but later after our daughter was born we wanted her to get her baptized and we wanted to get the marriage in the church.

The local priest who was wonderful, and he agreed and we had a small ceremony in the church. He understood that her first marriage was not completed in a civil sense, but I wonder now after further reading why he didn’t require her to get an annulment from a Catholic point of view???????

17 years later we were divorced.

I have remarried a Methodist and have an 8 year old.

We married in the Episcopal church.

My presumption was I am going to hell and could never receive sacraments again due to the divorce.

I always wanted to continue in the church.

Was the blessing of the first marriage valid?????

Do I need an annulment since in hind sight it would seem that she was still married to her Jewish spouse by virtue of natural law regardless of the failure to complete the civil paperwork?

If my new wife becomes Catholic can we be a Catholic family and all of us receive all the sacraments?

Is there any hope?? Help!

Ken

Fr. Malloy answers:

Ken,

"Was the blessing of the first marriage valid???" Yes, it was.

The first marriage to a Catholic is valid and needs an annulment.

If your new wife becomes Catholic, and after an annulment), the whole family can join the Church (with proper instruction) and receive all the Sacraments.

Meantime, go to Mass, even if you cannot receive Communion and seek the advice of the local priest..

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers,

I have a question I am hoping you can answer. I was raised with no specific religion and was never baptized. I am an adult now (30)and over many years have thought about becoming Catholic. It became more important to me as I have gotten older and decided to sign up for the RCIA program in September of 2011. When I signed up I was living with my boyfriend who is a fully Confirmed Catholic, although I had already wanted to become Catholic before ever meeting him. He has actually been attending the RCIA classes with me and we both enjoy them. We have also been attending Mass regularly. We recently got engaged (happened after signing up for RCIA) and have decided to be married in October of 2012. The plan was that I will have been Baptized, received my First Communion and Confirmation at Easter Vigil this year so by the time of the wedding we would both be Confirmed Catholics. It is very important for both of us to be married in the Catholic Church. This is the first marriage for both of us. There has now been some discussion that because I am living with my boyfriend, I may not be able to receive Confirmation, unless we are willing to marry before the Easter Vigil ceremony. Essentially we will need to be married now and then I will be Baptized, receive first Communion and Confirmation. The problem we have with this, is that we have already planned our wedding for October and want the full ceremony with all our family. We don't want to feel rushed and I want to be able to receive Communion on my wedding day. My question is...is there anything we can do? Can we live separately now and go forward with the Sacraments as planned. I get Baptized and Confirmed and not live together until our wedding in October? Do I postpone all my Sacraments and continue with the wedding and take RCIA again next year after we are already married? Do we have any options? It is very important for us to start the marriage right and we really don't want to be married now and then have another "ceremony" in October for the rest of the family. If we were to do that, can the Church even marry us twice?

Thank you so much for your guidance.

- E

Fr. Malloy responds:

E.D.,

You have the solution:

Avoid any sexual relations and live apart until your wedding. Meantime complete the RCIA and receive the Sacraments.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On January 15-17, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I am Catholic and at this time in the anullment process. I have met a jewish man that is so dear and the love of my life. He was married in the Catholic Church, but didn't agree to raise his kids Catholic. His ex wife had gone away from the church and is in a non-dominational church now. My question is...Does he need a anullment in the Catholic Church when we get married? I would appreciate a quick response. Thank you so much and God bless you.

Lisa

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Your pastor can help you.

Your fiancé’ should present his wedding papers to the priest, together with the civil divorce. . The Diocesan Office should be appraised of the situation and will guide you.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I have a very important question about my son. He was baptized in the Catholic Church in 1978 as an infant. He was never confirmed and is not a practicing Catholic now. He is planning to marry later this year. His fiance is not Catholic and they are not planning on a Catholic wedding. They don't know who they will have perform the ceremony.

I am a traditional practicing Catholic. Am I even allowed to attend this wedding??? I really need an answer to this question. Also, is it a sin if we do attend??? My son knows that we do not condone his choice. He just wants us to be there.

I have given you all the information I have at this point. Hopefully, it'senough.

Thank you in advance for any help in this matter.

Linda

Fr. Malloy answers:

Linda,

I grieve with you. It’s so sad to have a Catholic withdraw from the Church.

Meantime it is not wrong for you attend his wedding. Being there does not mean you approve of it.

You are a good mother who loves her son and wishes him happiness in spite of his mistakes.

I will pray for you and your son.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I have a bit of a theological conundrum with respect to marriage. My wife and I are both practicing Catholics now. My wife was baptized in a diocesan parish while I was baptized by a Jesuit friend of the family while he was back from his missionary work in South America. I have been unable to locate the certificate and tend to think he never filed it as he was a bit of a "liberation theologist." I never went to church and only started going in my 20's. However, I attended the same "independent" chapel my wife did which had priests that were ordained by the Society of Saint Pope Pius X. We were married by an SSPX priest and had our children baptized, until very recently, in this chapel. Within the last few years we realized that the SSPX were illicit and we are now prisoners at a diocesan church in full union with Rome. We also had one of our children baptized in our new parish. I think you see the issue(s) here. The first is the validity of our marriage in the eyes of the church (something we did not think was an issue until recently as we were aware that an SSPX Mass was "valid" so we had assumed that the fact that an SSPX priest can call Christ to the alter meant that he could perform all the sacraments? In the eyes of the "state" it is valid, hence we do not have some issues, but my understanding now is that SSPX priest do not have "faculties" (something we had no idea of at the time) and are illicit. Can the Church validate the marriage as it may have been defective in "form"? Can the Church, through its mercy, provide the faculties in an instance of mistake? My second questions is that it seems like our 4th child slipped through the cracks on the baptism but how about, God willing, the 5th? Would the Church prevent the baptism? Of note also is will the fact that a baptismal certificate for myself be difficult (if not impossible) to find be an impediment? I would note also that we cannot track down the Jesuit in question. Needless to say, all of our children are raised in the Church in accordance with its teachings.

Does Can. 1116 §1 on "grave inconvenience" help?

Does Can. 144 §1 ("In common error, whether of fact or of law, and in positive and probable doubt, whether of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance for both the external and the internal forum.") help?

Respectfully,

Mark

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mark,

To answer the last question first: The Church will not prevent the baptism of your fourth child.

For peace of mind and to clarify any possible issues in your case. present these statements to the Diocesan Tribunal (Bishop’s office). The case can be cleared quite easily.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi Father,

I was married for eleven years and most of them were happy. Unfortunately, I am now in the middle of a bad divorce. I am beginning to seek an annulment, but we were married by a friend from high school who became a Catholic priest and is now deceased. I have gone to retrieve a copy of the certificate, but the parish where it was to have been registered has no record. They are contacting the last two parishes he was stationed to see if it is regestered elsewhere. I am curious to know if there is no record found, does it mean my marriage was not technically legal or valid and thus null? I hope you have an answer as I am waiting to see what my local parish comes up with.

Thanks

j

Fr. Malloy answers:

J,

If you were married by a Catholic priest in a Catholic church, your marriage was valid. An annulment will be needed for a second marriage.

Witnesses to your marriage may be called to ascertain the validly of your Catholic wedding.

The local Marriage Tribunal of the diocese would be the office to decide the case.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Blessings to you Fathers!......Here goes.......My husband and I got married in 1986. We had a son together before that..After years of his alcoholism we got divorced in 1993 Our first marriage to each other was in a Baptist church.I was married at the age of 17 to another man and we got divorced in 1979..it was in a small nondenominational church. My husband that I married in 1986 and I got remarried in 1999 after he got help and went into rehab. I am so happy for him that he is now sober FOR 13 years!!I am so ashamed of myself for leaving him at a time he needed me but I couldn't take the stress anymore. When I was 17 I did not realize how sacred marriage was and I did not have GOD in my life at the time. My husband is a cradle Catholic and went to all Catholic schools and colleges. I went to RCIA classes 2 years ago and am now a full Catholic. It was the best thing I ever did in my life besides having my children.I want to make my marriage right in the eyes of GOD and the church. When I remarried my husband it was an outside ceremony with a minister.We had a meeting with my Priest before I became Catholic and he is and was aware of my other marriage and didn't seem concerened. Is there a way for me to make my marriage right in the eyes of GOD and the church? My faith is very important to me and I attend mass regularly and always receive communion. I am worried that me and my husband are committing adultery because of my one other marriage at 17 and because we got divorced and remarried in a civil ceremony. Can we get remarried in the Catholic church to make it valid? I wish I would have known years ago what I know now. I am trying hard to do whats right with GOD.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Tocorenti,

Your marriage should have been rectified at the time you completed RCIA and received the Sacraments.

You need your divorce paper from your first marriage, and a ruling regarding your freedom to marry. The Diocesan Marriage Tribunal should be contacted to straighten this out.

Then, in accord with Church law, a simple exchange of vows before a priest and two witnesses can satisfy your present status..

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

We have a somewhat complicated situation and would like some guidance please.

I am not catholic. I was baptized in water in a Pentecostal church when I was young. I have been married 2 times, the first when I was a minor, at the JP. The second was years later, the day before I went into labor with our baby. It was also at the JP.

My question to you, is now that I have found the one god intended me for, who isn't abusive and loves me and my daughter, can we marry in the catholic church? He is catholic and has done first communion and confirmation.

Thank you,

Amanda

Fr. Malloy answers:

Amanda,

You can marry in the Catholic Church. If your fiancé is free to marry.

You would need to supply a civil divorce document.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 12-15, we received these questions:

 Dear Father,

My name is Meagan I am Baptist I have taken some classes for RCIA but I did not complet my class but my fiancée is Catholic I am expecting and due anytime in order to have my daughter baptized as Catholic would there be any problem being that I am not Catholic?

Fr. Harold danielson answers:

Dear Meagan,

I hope you are preparing for Marriage in the Church, but that should happen after your child is born. In one of the pre-marriage forms to complete, there is a question: Is any circumstance forcing you to get married? With the child already here, then the parents are choosing to establish the family with full freedom.

One of the papers the Catholic person (father of the child) signs is the promise to raise the child in the practice of the Catholic Faith. So the child could be baptized whether or not you enter the Church. This reminds me of the very first wedding I officiated at. The bride was not Catholic; but I baptized the first child, and I became godfather to the second child.

If later on you decide to enter the Church, you may do that, or not. My Catholic grandmother married my non-Catholic grandfather. He never participated in any church, so you yourself are quite free.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi Fathers,

I'm stuck at a crossroads with getting my 1 year old daughter baptized. I am Catholic and have completed all my Sacraments through marriage. My dilemma is with choosing Godparents. We want my brother and his wife to be Godparents. My brother has completed Sacraments through Confirmation yet his wife is not Catholic and their marriage was not validated by the Catholic Church. There is no one close to us that is Catholic so I don't know what to do. If I baptize her in a non Catholic Church will that affect her later on with completing Sacraments? I really don't know what to do. I understand all the reasoning but what if I cannot find anyone that fits the requirements for Godparents? Any advice?

Thank you,

Susannah

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Susannah,

The formal expectations of godparents is practice of the faith, in harmony with all the Sacraments of the Church. Sometimes these expectations are a stimulus [invitation by the Lord] to get one’s personal circumstances in order. We have a candidate in our adult Christian Initiation group who has not had Communion and Confirmation. His nephew asked him to be his Confirmation sponsor. So he got busy in doing that himself so that he can serve as sponsor to his nephew.

In the meantime, if your brother is not working at this, then your parish priest may introduce you to some candidates for you. Of course, this implies that you yourself practice your faith. That means especially Sunday Mass, Communion frequently, Confession at least a couple of times a year. These are some of the external ways with which disciples of Christ become Light in the world, as Jesus proclaims.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


A grandmother wants to have her grandchild baptized but the mother does not attend church. If the grandmother is not the legal guardian can the 2 year old be baptized?

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Lynn,

The criterion for baptizing is “founded hope of practice of the Faith.” And the ones directly in charge of that are the parents. The role of grandparents is good example and prayer.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I am roman catholic and my soon to be husband is greek orthodox. We are getting married by a pastor at the location of our wedding because a catholic priest or a greek orthodox priest will not marry us outside the church. My question is to the Fathers is if we get married like this, I know it makes us legally binding but not in the eyes of our churches. Would we be able to have a spiritual wedding in a greek orthodox church after we are already legally married and will this be recognized by both religions (catholic and orthodox)?

Thanks,

Melinda=

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Melinda,

We human beings can be caught up in dilemmas, can’t we?

Jesus proclaims about his disciples: “You are light for the world!” Thus disciples are in full view, to be observed. Thus for the Sacrament of Marriage the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches want marriages to take place in the parish church. For some extraordinary reason, the Bishop may give permission for a wedding outside the parish church. This is very rare, and probably when the bride or groom was not baptized.

If persons are married in an outdoors venue within civil law, the desire of the Church is certainly that they get their marriage “blessed” [or technically, convalidated] in the Church. The Catholic person must petition the permission or sometimes “dispensation” to be married to a non-Catholic, like my grandmother and my mother did [both my grandfather and my father were not Catholic].

The Bishop could also give permission to be married in a non-Catholic church, such as Orthodox. When that happens the marriage is also recorded in the records of the Catholic parish.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father...

My son and his fiancée...both catholic raised want her uncle who was once a priest and is now a married layman to marry them in a Protestant church....Will this be considered valid in the eyes of the church?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lucile,

The marriage would not be considered valid in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers, my husband and I were married 33 years ago in the Catholic Church. He is Lutheran. We agreed before hand that we would not have children, although we didn’t make a big deal of it and took our vows as directed by the priest. I am sure he did not want any at the time, but I was pretty sure he would change his mind after realizing we had a good sound marriage. I didn’t care one way or the other, and I really did not give it a lot of thought. I just didn’t care…at the time. I took birth control pills until I was no longer fertile to ensure I did not get pregnant. I know this was the wrong way to avoid becoming pregnant and have confessed this.

Now I have truly come to regret that decision. For many reasons. I’m fearful now that my marriage may not be “valid”. What do I do???

I am actively attending mass and receiving sacraments of Eucharist and Penance regularly.

We are still married.

Help.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Not to have children would be reason to invalidate a marriage in the Church. Your hope that this would change lessens your guilt, although it does not remove it completely.

You have received absolution in good faith. Thank God for that.

Accept the validity of your marriage as long as the confessor has absolved you,

At this time I would suggest that you strengthen your Catholic practice and as penance make more effort to support anti abortion movements

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My friend is greek orthodox and was married civilly and later divorced. He talked to his priest who said that since they weren't married in the church, he does not need an anullment. I am Roman Catholic and have never been married. He wants to date, however, I view the purpose of dating as a period of discerning marriage. In talking to a friend she said that he would still have to get an anullment from his first marriage before being free to marry again. Is this the case, and if so how is it handled, since the greek orthodox church handles divorces differently than the Roman Catholic Church.

Thank you,

Suzanne

Fr. Malloy answers:

Suzanne,

Your friend should speak to an orthodox priest for advice in this matter.

This Church will probably determine that an annulment in the Orthodox Church is not relevant since the ceremony was not performed n the Church.

Presenting a civil divorce record to a Catholic priest would clear the way for instruction in the Catholic parish.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My daughter had planned to get married in the Catholic church but she is living with her fiancé and the priest says they are not serious about being catholic. Also, they are being required an additional weekend in natural family planning. If she decides not to go through with a catholic wedding, should I support her in another faith?

Kathleen

Fr. Malloy answers:

You should not support her in another faith.

You will still love your daughter, but should grieve over her sin if she does indeed marry out of the church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I am working with a family who went through RCIA three years ago. Their 7 year old, who was baptized Lutheran, now is ready to receive First Communion, he has attended Religious Education for the last three years. Does he need to make a formal Profession of Faith at Easter?

Thank you.

Debbie

Fr. Malloy answers:

Debbie,

The validity of the baptism can be determined by your local priest.

A formal profession of faith would be good, but the local pastor may not require it.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello. Me and my boyfriend are both Christians, we are not married and do not go to church other than for weddings, christenings an funerals this is not to say we don't believe. We have a 4month old baby boy and would really like to get him christened. Is the reverend at our local church likely to frown upon us being unmarried? I want Lewie to be christened into the same faith as us but don't really have any other reasons for wanting him christened. Is this acceptable?

Fr. Malloy answers:

Hayley,

The welfare of the child and your own spiritual life would be best served by a marriage in the Church.

Just to get a child baptized for the name of Catholic, is not acceptable.

For your sake and your child's sake and your eternal salvation, you need to right the wrongs you have committed.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Is there any chance that a women can baptise a baby in the catholic faith I am wanting to know as one of my family members has had his baby baptised and is telling me that he had a female priest I have told him there is no female priests in our church can you please tell me if this poor child is baptised in our church if a women performed the baptism.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kerrie,

The baptism would not be valid in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers

My son was baptized in the Maronite church and my sister Inlaw and brother were he's godparents my sister Inlaw has now changed her religion and is no longer a Christian is it possible to change her name on the certificate?

Janine

Fr. Malloy answers:

Janine,

The name cannot be changed on the certificate. However, you may ask some other practicing Christian to act as godmother.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 10, we received these questions:

Fathers:

I am a Filipino Catholic living here in Tokyo Japan.My husband is non-Catholic but we got married in a Catholic Church in the Philippines.We have a daughter,baptized in a church in Manila, and a son turning one on March. we want our son to be baptized in a Catholic Church in Hawaii.Is it possible?because i`ve been reading some of the rules of churches and it requires that u are a parisioner of the church u want to be baptize.And the thing is, we dont have a Catholic God parent to attend and witness the ceremony since my family are all in the Philippines and my husband`s family are all non-Catholic.Please give me some suggestions of what is the best thing i should do.We`re planning to do it on March on his 1st birthday.

Thank You and GOD SPEED.

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Julie,

Congratulations for your family! At a Baptism, the parents [and godparents] are reminded that children are to be brought up in the practice of the Faith. If we do not plan to practice the Faith ourselves, then there is no purpose in baptizing a child.

You asked for ideas – great! First off, you are currently living in Tokyo. I suppose that is a work related thing. You should be attending a Catholic parish there. You should attend the Baptism preparation class there. Then get the parish priest to write a letter of reference for you to present to the parish church in Hawaii. This letter would be asking the Hawaii parish to do a pastoral favor for the Tokyo parish in doing the Baptism.

As for godparents, it is possible to have a proxy, that is, a stand-in, at the Baptismal ceremony, as long as the godparents know that they are in fact the godparents. The godparents should attend a Baptism preparation class in their own parish and send you the notice of attendance which you can also present to the parish of Baptism.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi fathers my name is Sabino I was born into the catholic faith and my fiancee is not catholic she is converting. She was told that we have to be married in the catholic church before she converts is that true????

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Sabino,

There is no need for your fiancée to become Catholic before getting married in the Catholic Church. My grandmother married my grandfather, a non-Catholic [probably not even baptized] - in the Church. My mother married my father who was not a Catholic – in the Church.

If she wants to enter the Church, she may do so before or after being married.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Father

My wife and I (both cradle catholics and previously married in the church then divorced, she in 92 and I in 83) were married in a civil ceremony in 1993 and were blessed with 3 children

We have assembled all documents and had extensive counsel on our situation. We have been told that we will certainly would appear to qualify for annulment of our marriages individually after disclosure of circumstances.

We have no money however and are told we need close to $500 a piece to proceed.

We have been hit hard by the economic downturn, I lost my job as a radio station general manager in 2008 and have never fully recovered. We lost our house, and have been unable to do little more than stay above water. We have been helped by family and friends,,,We struggle to put food on the table and it would be near impossible to come up with money for this. We are struggling to keep our vehicle and just are filled with fear over losing our rental house too. We have children to feed and medical bills to pay. We would be open to any investigation of our lives as to the legitimacy of our difficulty

We attend Mass regularly, pray the rosary daily, raise our children in the faith diligently and are so disappointed we have been halted in our process because the church wants money to grant our annullment. Is there any path for us? Since our confession of invalid marriage in 2009 we have both been without Holy Communion and have grave concerns about it.

We go to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Clovis, CA and have considered appealing to the bishop.. We have a new bishop. Bishop Ochoa. Our parish priest does not seem to sense the level of poverty we have fallen to and how desparately we need to be married in the Church to rebuild our lives. We need to come back to Jesus in Holy Communion

Can you suggest anything? Is it possible for the poor to get annulments? Is there help through Gods church for us?

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Tim,

Yes, the Tribunal has costs. But usually they are very accommodating when difficulties are presented. Your letter is very well done. If there is still a wall, your idea of contacting the Bishop directly is right on target.

I had the occasion a couple of months ago to meet Bishop Ochoa again after many years. He is a wonderful shepherd! Make an appointment and go in to see him. It will be a joyful experience.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I am Roman Catholic and was married in the Church had no children. the marriage ended in divorce and I immediately received an annulment., Years later I have fallen in love with a Catholic man who was married to a non Catholic in an Episcopalian ceremony, had two children and is now divorced. he has been divorced for 8 years. He returned to the Catholic Church and we attend mass together and are discussing marriage. Before the relationship goes any further I want to see if and what would be necessary to marry in the Church. Thank you.

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Patty,

From the circumstances you described in your short note, it seems to me that there should be no big deal for you to get married in the Church. You will have to gather some documents but it should be easy.

For you: you need the “Decree of Freedom to marry”, the result of your own annulment process.

For him: A Catholic married in the Episcopal Church without the permission of the Bishop is null. Documents needed: his Baptism certificate (newly issued), the marriage certificate, the final divorce decree. With these three documents presented to the Tribunal, the result will be a Decree of Nullity and thus freedom to marry.

Then go to your parish priest and begin the process.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

 


Father, I have question about annulments.

I have been married twice the first one - In a non denominational church - I was not baptized at the time of the marriage - She was 19 at the time of marriage I was 26 - She was unfaithful (13 times that she admitted to) - We are divorced and she is remarried - She is willing to participate in the process - it has not been annulled - Marriage was 4 years.

My second marriage was in Beirut Lebanon two years after my first divorce. There are two children from this marriage - It was in a Greek Orthodox church - I was not practicing any type of religion at the time - I knew at the time when I was in the country for the first time to meet face to face, that it did not seem right but I ignored that feeling. Kind of swept up in the romance of it all.

I was being seen for depression at the time from the first divorce - The entire ceremony was in Arabic (I did not understand anything)- my family disagreed and none were present

We paid many officials off to get the paperwork through the country (not uncommon) She eventually was unfaithful twice. She lied to her family about how we met (on the internet) and said we met in France before I even met her face to face. So I was already living a lie I knew nothing about.

I tried to get her to go to marriage counseling but, was told she would not go. - it has not been annulled - Marriage was eight years

I am now going through RCIA and have found great personal strength in the Church. I attend mass every week and I am growing in my personalrelationship with God. I can't wait for Easter.

I want to get married in the Catholic Church and my question; is the second marriage valid because the first one has not been annulled andfor the reasons listed above? If so, what backs this up in the Church or do I have to have both annulled? I just want to be right with God.

Shawn

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Shawn,

What complexities we human beings can get ourselves in!

Some basics: The Catholic Church recognizes marriage done according to law and custom, while making some simple rules for its own members. These are: bride & groom, two witnesses and official representative of the Church, the deacon or priest, usually in the parish church of the bride or groom.

So unless your first wife was herself a Catholic, that marriage would have been considered at first sight as lawful and valid – unless it is proven not to be. The process of a Church Tribunal [court] is to look into a situation [marriage] to see if there was anything before or at the time of the marriage ceremony which by itself would make the marriage not valid. There is an application form, documents and a full blown questionnaire, testimony of witnesses, etc. for this.

Check with your Tribunal, but probably the same as above for your second marriage. Besides the untruths described, there will be family witnesses.

You are in the RCIA now. Technically you could enter the Church without reference of getting married again. But once you begin to think of another marriage, the above kicks in.

There is one other thing, which might clear things, or on the other hand keep them complicated. Have you ever been baptized in any Christian Church? Perhaps the path of “privilege of the Faith” could apply here. Check with the Tribunal regarding this.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

I have struggled with sexual relations with my wife for many years. We have been married for 20 years and have seven children together and over the years my wife has lost her desire for sex. She still enjoys sexual relations when we engage in them, and can still reach a climax. However, she doesn’t have the desire for sexual relations and is fine with skipping it for long periods of time. She has sought medical attention for this issue and it has been suggested that her lack of desire is physiological. And although her lack of desire for sexual relations may be physiological, it causes me significant moral struggles. I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I have told myself that her condition is either going to lead me to sainthood or lead me to eternal damnation. I don’t want my desire to be with her sexually and my pain from not feeling fully loved by her to overshadow my desire to follow Christ.

I desire to be with her sexually and when we are, I desire to please her sexually. Even if I do not reach a climax, I desire to make sure she does. However, I feel less loved because she is not concerned about pleasing me – and I am not referring to a physical sexual act; I am referring to her not wanting to provide me with the experience of the overall act of sexual relations with her.

As I mentioned, I struggle significantly with this issue from a moral perspective. Christ gave of Himself entirely for others; for me. I feel I should be able to put my feelings and desires aside, but I really labor over this issue and feel very sad and depressed about it. Is this a cross I should strive to carry, by giving of myself entirely and putting my own desire to be whole with my wife aside? I have failed a few times this past year resorting to masturbation and although I have confessed those failures, I have feel unworthy to even pray after those failures.

I find myself resenting my wife’s lack of concern for my need for completeness with her and even experience some resentment toward her because I feel she lacks concern for my moral struggle. I try to fight those feelings of resentment by praying and keeping my mind occupied with other things, but it sometimes seems as though I am merely suppressing those feelings and the resentment exists within me, driving me to sinful self-centeredness. I do realize this is my own struggle and my wife is not the cause of my failures. But I want to fully understand and experience the union of marriage; and even more important, I want that union to be a way to Christ.

Can you offer any advice?

Thanks in advance

Fr. Harold answers:

I am sure your situation is not unique. Through the centuries couples have found themselves in similar circumstances. What a gift and example to be parents of several children!

The tone of your letter says that you and your family are practicing Catholics. The source of our Christian life is found in the Eucharist. Everything leads to Eucharist and everything flows from Eucharist. With that, striving to be of one heart and one mind in Jesus is a fruit of discipleship.

You need to be one with the Lord in all things in your life. There are many things in family life that thrive on unity of life and spirit. As a couple more and more works at fulfilling the two Great Commandments [love God with all your mind, heart, soul, strength; love one another as Jesus loves us], then the bond of unity gets stronger throughout our life. Coming from that standpoint a couple realizes that their mutual giving in physical intercourse is truly a gift from our Creator. From that point of view, the physical expression of love and care for each other is truly a prayerful act giving praise and glory to God. Catholics, of all people, are the ones who enjoy pleasurable sensations more completely than others who don't have our underlying philosophy and faith.

Failures of human weakness are precisely that - weakness. As such they are not a direct confrontation against God our Creator. One puts these failures into the merciful care of God our Father and starts over again. And again. And again. And so on. They keep us aware of our littleness before the Father to whom "childlike" we turn in our needs. This is discipleship.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On January 8, we received these questions:

Hi my name is Tamia and I'm converting to catholic. I'm currently in RCIA classes. My husband is catholic. We want to get remarried in the catholic church. We were married by courthouse been married for 7 years. I need to get an annulment. My ex husband refuses to fill out form. I was able to speak with his ex wife. She was born catholic. She married ex husband first in a non catholic church. She wasn't practicing at the time of their marriage.they had 1 child. As well I had 1 child with my ex husband. I'm wondering is there anyting else that I need to do. I. Filled and turn in paperwork.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Tamia,

You are on the right road, but it will take some time to get an annulment from your first marriage>

You will need papers to show your ex-husband’s unwillingness to sign any papers.

Hopefully you will have a good priest to guide you.

With a special prayer for you and your family,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers,

I am a 54 year old life-long catholic. I have concluded that it is highly probable that I may have never been baptized. However, I made my first communion and confirmation in the U.S armed forces in 1976. I realize that the military archdiocese should have confirmed/verified my baptism. However, they did not.

In an effort to determine whether I had been baptized, I called and wrote twice to the archdiocese of the parish where I would have been baptized. I have not received any response from them. I spoke with one of my parish’s catholic priests about this matter and he said that the parish would contact my “baptism” parish and inquire about my “baptism”. To my knowledge that has not occurred.

However, during my discussion with my parish priest he said he would “conditionally baptized” me. However, I am concerned about the form he used. First, no conditional statement was made by the priest. Secondly, words resembling “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” were not even remotely said. Thirdly, no water was used. Lastly, he prayed over me in tongues (sounded like pure gibberish to me). I do not believe that the “conditional baptism” performed by my parish priest is valid. What do you think?

Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do about this situation. Please know that it is critical for me to ensure my baptism. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Juan

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Juan,

You certainly have baptism—at least baptism of desire.

I understand your concern and I myself would want to confirm the actual event.

Ask your parish secretary to give you a baptism certificate.

If you don’t receive this, call the Vicar General of the Diocesan office and ask his help.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 7, we received these questions:

Dear father , I have been baptize and have done my communion but not my confirmation. Can I still baptized a child ???

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Arasel,

You can have your baby baptized.

It would be fairly simple to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initial of Adults) would deepen your understanding of the faith and benefit your child.

This program is held in most parishes. Check with your priest.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


To Whom It May Concern:

My husband and I are expecting our first child in August and have been arguing over how we are going to raise the baby. My husband is a non-practicing Catholic and I am a semi practicing-Methodist. We both want our child to be baptized but are not sure which direction to go in. He refuses to go Methodist and I would consider going Catholic if I knew more about the church. My husband has no interest to go back to church and I have been going to mine off and on now.

Can a Methodist mother baptize her child in a Catholic church?

I would prefer to stay Methodist but out of respect for my husband, I am trying to find some answers.

Any advice you would have would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Jaimie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jaimie,

if your husband in not practicing his faith and you are Methodist, unfortunately, you cannot have the baby baptized Catholic.

I suggest you speak to the local Catholic pastor. He can offer you a solution.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My mom is Catholic and 73. She doesn't like to go out in San Francisco. If my mom won't go to mass, can I bring her home a Eucharist to strengthen her spiritually?

Mark

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mark,

If your mother is home-bound, a Eucharist Minister may bring her Communion at home.

You can bring her Communion if you are Eucharistic Minister.

If you not a Minster of the Eucharist, check with your pastor as to how you may be inducted (a simple process).

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hi, My fiance divorced his wife in 1998 do to abandonment and adultery. They were married thru church and she remarried then divorced again. My fiance and I plan to marry but now the ex wife is saying they are still married thru church. My fiance married her thru the church because he thought it was the right thing to do. He did not know and neither did I the meaning or reason people got married thru church. After research I now know the meaning and would like to marry in a Catholic Church for the right reasons. My question is Does he have to get the marriage nulled after she committed adultary and abandoned him and her children?. She did remarried after he divorced and this was never a problem until the ex found out we will be getting married.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dear friend,

If the marriage was in the Catholic Church, it would have to be annulled.

You have a case that should be easy to resolve, even if the other party will not cooperate.

Unfortunately it will take some time.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


On January 5, we received these questions:

Fathers:

I was married before via a justice of the peace. I am catholic (baptized and received my first communion and confirmation). My husband is the same but he was married by a catholic priest in his first marriage. However his first wife did not disclose an earlier marriage at the time they were married. Subsequently, he disclosed to the priest that married them that she did not disclose an earlier marriage. This marriage was not in the catholic church just a civil marriage I believe.

The priest that married my husband in his first marriage told him that his marriage was null because he did not know this information about her first marriage.

Would he have grounds for an annulment because of this??

I really want to get married in the catholic church.

What should I do?

Colleen

Fr. Malloy answers:

Colleen,

Your fiancé does not need an annulment, because his first marriage was null.

Your previous marriage by a justice of the peace must be reviewed by the priest, who can easily arrange for your freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hi,

I am attending RCIA classes to become Catholic. My husband has to go through the anullment process before I can become Catholic. As I am told this might take a couple years. We have a 5 month old daughter do we have to wait to have her batism? My husbans is not Catholic either.

Thank you,

Stacy

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Stacy,

Civil marriages are recognized by the Church if both are non Catholic Annulment must take place before a marriage in the Church could be performed.

If you complete your RCIA, the time could be shortened in favour of the faith.

Pray for patience and leave the rest in God’s hands.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I have a question about getting married in a Catholic Church. I am a practicing Catholic and engaged to a non-Catholic. He is currently attending Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults classes because he did not practice any type of religion before and wishes to become part of the Catholic faith. He is from Europe and was unfortunately forced into an arranged marriage. He was very unhappy and divorced her. He was obviously never married in a Catholic church since neither of them practiced the religion. So my question is, once he finishes the Rite of Christian Initiation classes, will we be able to marry into the Catholic Church? Will he need an annulment first?

Thank you.

Amanda

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Amanda,

When your fiancé becomes a Catholic he may seek a special privilege which allows converts to be released from previous marriages. A declaration one way or the other must be had before he can remarry in the Church. Your pastor can help you clarify the situation

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


I have what seems to me to be a complex situation. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and have recently decided to get married. We were both raised Catholic and we have both been married before. His was in the Catholic Church. Mine was in a Methodist Church. I know that he must get an annulment if we want to have a Church wedding. Where it gets tricky for me is that after my divorce, my ex spouse died. Would I also need to get an annulment?

Thank you so much for any light you could shed on the subject!

Brandi

Fr. Malloy answers:

Brandi,

If your spouse died, you are free to marry again; no annulment is needed.

Your spouse to be must obtain an annulment from his previous marriage (asyou know).

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On January 2, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers.

When my parents married, my father was Anglican and my mother, Catholic. They were married in the Anglican Church in 1951.

When I was born, at the urging of my grandmother, my parents allowed me to be baptized in the Catholic Church. They now can’t even remember which Parish it was. Soon after I was baptized, my grandmother died and my mother never attended church again. I was never taken to the Catholic church at all and grew up without any religious training.

I’m not thrilled with the idea of being counted in the membership numbers of a church I’ve never attended, especially when I’m not even religious. I would certainly have appreciated being old enough to give consent to such a ritual. But in any case, I just attended a Memorial Mass for an Uncle and it was the first time I’d ever been to a Catholic service in my life and it got me thinking.

I’m just curious as to what the Catholic Church would consider my status to be. I’m pretty much an atheist, as is my mother, although I’m somewhat opened-minded about it.

When I was a child, if any asked, I said that I was Catholic, for lack of anything else to answer. But am I? Again, I’m just being curious.

Best Regards,

Leslie S.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Leslie,

You were baptized Catholic and so you are, unless you have rejected the teachings of the Church.

If you want to learn more about the faith you can refer to the Catholic Church in your area.

Catholic Parishes have RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) programs. THE PROGRAM IS OPEN for Catholics and non Catholics who wish to know more about the faith.If you wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation , your baptism may be renewed conditionally, if documentation is not available and there is no one to attest to the fact.

My prayer for you and your search.

Rev. John Malloy


Hi im rocio im 26 yrs old I was never batized my family are catholic and some are christians I was diagnosed with cancer in july 2011 and I had surgery done but it was not a success yet moths has passed and I would like to be batized and my 7yr old daughter too I dont know how much of life I have left but I would like to be saved and my daughter to be baptized a soon as possible.

Fr. Harold danielson answers:

Dear Rocio,

What a wonderful desire you express! You sent your message to Sts. Peter & Paul Church in North Beach, San Francisco. What you need to do is contact the parish priest in the area you live. Realizing your health situation, he can expedite instructions and preparation for entry into the Church. Speak to him about your daughter also. For you being part of the Catholic community of faith during your journey to new life will be a marvelous blessing. For your daughter the possibility of continued practice of the faith will be a top concern.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On December 31, we received these questions:

Our Children were baptized in a UCC Church, but we have decided to raise them Catholic. Can our children receive the rest of the Sacraments from the Catholic church from this point on or do they have to be baptized again in the Catholic church?

Thank you,

Kristin

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Kristin,

There is only one Baptism. So the children are not to be re-baptized. What you should do is speak to your parish priest. He might invite you to a celebration of the rest of the Catholic rites [ceremonies] of Baptism . Or perhaps will make a notation on the occasion of First Communion that this preparation accounted for a Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church. Parishes all over have a variety of options for accomplishing this.

Remember all of this implies authentic practice of the Faith of the family. Without this Sacraments do not carry much meaning.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

My name is Erin and I just recently got engaged,we are in a long distance relationship because he is air force, we are both catholic never been married before and have made first holy communion and conformation and we both would like to be married in the catholic church and start our marriage off right in the eyes of god, I was wondering since he lives in Mississippi and I live in Utah would it be possible for us to get married in one of our churches? Or even be married in the church at all since at the moment we live in different states? Or should we just legally get married then get married in his church? Please help me because no one seems to know the answer and we really want our marriage to be recognized my the church. Thank you and god bless

-Erin

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Erin,

Yes, preparation for marriage when the bride and groom live in different States is a challenge. My brother and now sister-in-law did it. So it is not impossible.

You state that your fiancé is in the Air Force. Does he have a Catholic chaplain at his base, or is there a priest that goes there for Sunday Mass, or is there a nearby parish? [3 questions!]

My suggestion: you do travel to see each other sometimes, do you not? Pick which place you will do the technicalities for marriage preparation [his place or yours]. Then make appointments on those occasions when you are together. This is what my brother did. He lived in So. California and his bride-to-be was in Connecticut. He went there and the wedding was there.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a non-denominational Christian and my boyfriend is Catholic. I have attended Catholic masses with him and he has come to non-denominational services as well. I really love Jesus and love to worship him, but I always find myself very confused during mass. I do not think it is the service or Catholicism, I just think that I am confused and not getting all I can out of the service. I would really love some advice on how to become more educated on Catholicism, or how to get more out of mass. Thank you so much for your time and advice.

Best Regards,

Arielle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Arielle,

It is simple enough to join the Catholic Church. There is a program called RCIA and almost all the parishes have it. Approach your nearest Catholic Church and ask what you must do.

It's a simple program with meetings usually weekly until Easter time. The program is for Catholics (who want to know more about their faith) and for those interested in joining the Church.

God is ready to show you the way. I pray you find peace in your faith.

With God's blessing,

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

If a Catholic couple get married by a Justice of the Peace and later divorce, does their marriage have to be annulled by the Catholic Church?

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers:

The marriage of Catholics by a justice of the peace is not valid, so an annulment in not needed.

The local parish can handle this case if the couple, or either of them, want reconciliation with the Church and/or a second marriage..

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I question many rules/protocols/procedures of the Catholic Church and if those rules/edicts/commands are truly and incredibly what Jesus meant and if the current rules do not in fact condemn people and actually put them further away from Jesus, God and living a Holy life.

I was a cradle Catholic, married to a nominal cradle Catholic who was extremely abusive, physically, emotionally, financially and a catholic in name only. I was FORCED to get divorced to survive. So in the Catholic church, especially many years ago, you are a pariah. One is hardly in the position trying to survive and work and heal from abuse to feel like to receive the Eucharist, when one needs it the most as sustenance, one must get an annulment first.

Basically, as I understand it, there is no other sin considered by the Catholic Church, be it murder, rape, torture that cannot be confessed and forgiven, other than divorce, which the Church apparently considers worse than those................even mass murder. A murderer, rapist, torturer, pedophile, who was/is Catholic could sincerely repent, go to confession and then immediately receive communion.

I, on the other hand, devoted wife and mother, abused, forced to get divorced to survive, am considered in a separate category and must get annulment to receive communion? I do not believe this is what Christ meant.

Further, does the Catholic Church really believe that EVERY other human being on the face of this planet that ever lived and does now live that is Muslim, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu or other religion is going to become Catholic by going to RCIA, and if married by choice or forced marriage, they will, not having their marriages recognized by the Catholic Church, get married in a Catholic church to THEN AND ONLY THEN, receive the Eucharist, body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus, (which I believe is the real presence. This is untenable that Christ came to save humanity, died for our sins to redeem us, all of us, not just people fortunate enough to be born Catholic or exposed to Catholicism, ALL of us. So do you mean to tell the world and all of teaming humanity, that even if missionaries, Protestant or Catholic tell them about Jesus and they convert to Christianity that they could not receive communion?

I believe the Catholic Church is the church handed down by Christ from the early fathers...............however Jesus could not have meant that MOST of humanity is excluded from his "do this in remembrance of me" and that conversion by other non-Catholic humanity is basically impossible.

So, I am remarried, canceled my annulment, I painfully and painstakingly wrote up years ago after paying my money and talking with a tribunal lawyer, who told me that rather than eliciting my abusive, attorney/judge ex-husbands version and then comparing them and asking us questions..................the tribunal lawyer told me they would mail my ex a copy of everything I wrote. Imagine sending it to him so the abusive liar could have it to go over and make up appropriate lies in reply. He said well, that's the way it is done. I canceled it.

In summation, I do not believe I am worse than a Catholic repentant serial killer etc. who sincerely confesses and then can take communion and will not abide the catholic Church assigning me to that category. I take communion and do not believe Jesus would disqualify me. I am sincere, have become a therapist and have helped many people and deeply religious and take my Christian faith VERY seriously, am pro-life, lived celibate at a great cost to myself for years in between marriages. I am a voracious reader, Hans Kung, Scott Hahn, church history etc., etc., etc.

I would like your comments.

Thank you,

Denise

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Denise,

My computer crashed at Christmas. I have since acquired a new one, but have not been able yet to retrieve the files from the hard disc. What a loss if I cannot get it at the end!

We human beings sometimes are caught in complex, uncomfortable situations. Sometimes we call out to God how unjust things seem to be. Read some of the Psalms in the Bible, you will see some very common human reactions to multiple things. Yet in the end giving everything to God and allowing Him to be our salvation.

Let me attempt to approach some of the things you put into your letter, pouring yourself out with a certain amount of emotion for situations in the past and some enduring till now.

First off, I couldn’t catch whether, after your divorce, you continued to go to Sunday Mass and receive the Sacraments of Communion and Reconciliation. I find that sometimes people have misinterpreted the practice of the Church. My mother divorced my father when I was only two years old and my brother even younger. We always went to Mass. She went to Confession and Communion as often as that was customary in the 1940’s. It makes me sad to think that some people have not had these Sacraments available to them through not knowing or understanding the practice of the Church. But that is for you a thing of the past right now.

It distresses me a lot how your experience with the Tribunal ended up so negatively. The ordinary experience is that the whole process is a very healing one. I checked with our Tribunal in San Francisco for certain procedures. Just giving the Petitioner’s personal narrative to the Respondent is simply out of order. Certainly the respondent has to be notified that the Tribunal is looking into the marriage, but in the most general of terms. Only if the respondent has been actively involved with the on-going process may he, at the end, request copies of the complete file. My experience is that most of the time they do not participate, and only very rarely does one appeal to the higher court. I am so sorry that your experience was so distressing.

Your commentary about all the other people on the earth does not take into account the clear statements of the Second Vatican Council in its statements about non-Catholic Christians, and members of other religions and of no religion. Three of the Decrees of the Council approach the topics you present. They are: Unitatis Redintegration on relations to other Christians; Nostra Aetate relationship to non-Christians; Dignitatis Humanae on religious freedom. Unfortunately, I am sure, that many, many people have neither read nor been in any way acquainted with these and so many other things about the Second Vatican Council. But a summary of these three documents would certainly respond to your critique of what you think the Church says.

Jesus proposes: “You [disciples] are the light of the world.” Essentially then disciples are to be observed and all peoples should see such goodness and virtue in them as to give glory and praise to God. Thus, too, the visible Church (all of us) has to hold on to its principles. We can’t just throw something out because some of us want to.

Now and again distinctions are made between the “external forum” [observable things] and the “internal forum” [not observable things]. You may well be acting in the “internal forum” which is between you and God. Somewhere along the way you may feel the invitation to be integrated into the “external forum.” That might mean contacting the Tribunal once more.

What a joy to know that someone does extensive reading! Try those documents of the Council. On the spiritual life side get one of the books by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, or Peter Van Breemen. There is so much out there. Do you have a Catholic Bookstore in your area? It is always wonderful just to see some of the things available to us.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On October 22, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I completed paperwork for an annulment just recently. I have begun RCIA classes and was so enthusiastic. I was christened in the United Methodist Church as a baby. I was Baptized by immersion in a Christian megachurch in 1992. I am not so concerned about receiving an annulment for my first marriage. It will probably be annulled. However, I remarried in the year 2004 to my current husband. He was "dunked" as a Baptist as a teenager. However, he has renounced anything other than he believes Jesus died for our sins. He has certainly lived the life of a pagan so much so, I do not consider him a believer. I have chosen to stay with him, but I have made it clear that if he wishes to leave, he may. I, however want desperately to become Catholic.

My husband was married to a pentecostal lady when he was 20 or so. When they chose to divorce around 1990, his lawyer informed him that his first wife was married and never got a divorce before marrying him. However, there is still a divorce decree in the courts, due to their children. My husband will let me become Catholic but refuses to be involved. He will not provide any documentation for his past marriage and divorce. He will not put in for annulment. Yet, he has not left me, even though he has had a couple of affairs.

The Archdiocese called me and said that I was living in sin, even though he and I were married in a Baptist Church in 2004. These were the words of one of the secretaries putting together my file for the annulment. She was saying that I could not become part of the Catholic church unless I can come up with documentation for my husband's past marriage. She also said, that, if I divorced my husband, then i could take part in the sacraments.

So, how am I to take this? Am I doomed to hell if I honor my marriage according the apostle Paul? (Stay with an unbeliever if he/she wants to stay married, or let them go if they wish to leave?)

I am forlorn.

My RCIA friend is going to talk with the Father and Deacon of the parish, but I feel so downtrodden. I am so ready to go to confession but my lifetime of sins...but cannot because I am not Catholic.

Sandy

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Sandy,

Praise the Holy Spirit for your determination to enter the Church!

Let me take the last line from your letter first. In the Lord’s Prayer, which we recite frequently, Jesus tells us to say ”forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” [various words: debts, sins, ..]. God is readily accessible to everyone according to the dispositions of our hearts. Yes, we Catholics rejoice in the affirmation of the Sacrament Reconciliation and the human and divine assurance for our state of soul and unity in the community. And we share in the common prayers, for example at the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Eucharist: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”

Now regarding marriages and attitudes. Marriages and divorces are public acts and have public documents. Even if someone doesn’t want to personally participate, anybody can obtain the documents with due diligence.

From what you state in your letter, your husband’s first wife had previously been married. Technically that would make his marriage invalid, which would leave him “free” to marry you. Tracking down that document will require some investigation.

Given certain circumstances the Tribunal may act on its own. So provide the documents. Then perhaps they can exercise a “sanation at the root” i.e. a healing at the root, given invalidity of previous marriages and thus actual freedom for the current reality.

Jesus proclaims that his disciples are Light in the World. We are observable to all. Thus it is that the community of believers, the Church, must uphold principles of doctrine. Along with that Jesus again states, “Do not judge and you shall not be judged.” So we must be circumscript in our statements. In the meantime do the best we can under the circumstances.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father:

If we believe that God is everywhere why does the church not want to perform marriages outside of the church itself say in a park setting?

My daughter is Catholic and has had all the sacraments however her fiancé and his family do not belong to a church nor do they really believe in God.

She loves him and would like to have a priest perform a ceremony at a nice outside venue but was told by our parish priest this is not possible.

Thank you for your help.

Concerned Mother

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Concerned Mother,

Jesus proclaims that disciples are Light in the World. So we are observable to all to give praise to God.

The ordinary desire of the Church is to celebrate the Sacraments in one’s local parish church, including the Sacrament of Marriage. The Bishop of the place has authority to allow a different venue than the parish church. This is very rarely done, but appeal to the Bishop is always possible. The regular pastor cannot do it by himself.

You are very correct: God is everywhere. However, in this world the observable unity of the Church under the pastoral authority of the Bishop is very important for authentic witness to the society around us. Bishops are very aware of this and so very rarely make exceptions to the ordinary public celebrations of Sacraments.

Whatever the final venue may end up to be, there is a whole process to be completed in preparation to be married. Your daughter and her fiancé need to begin this right away. Marriage is so important and sacred for the upbuilding of the community of Church that it must be carefully and attentively prepared.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Good afternoon,

I am a divorced catholic now living with my boyfriend who is also catholic and divorced.

I married in 2000 in a civil ceremony as my ex-husband was to have his civil marriage annulled in order for us to marry in the church. In 2002 we married in the catholic church, however in 2010 we were divorced civilly.

I understand that should I remarry without having my first marriage annulled I am not able to receive communion. Am I also ineligible to receive communion at this time since I am currently living with my boyfriend?

I have a hard time seeing the need to annul my first marriage as even though it ended, I was always willing to make it work as I value the sacrament of matrimony and teachings of the church. It’s hard for me to accept that I need to have the church find a reason to “invalidate” it so that I can remarry in the church and have the right to receive communion.

Thank you for your insight.

Natalie

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Natalie,

Jesus proclaims that his disciples are Light in the World. Disciples are to be observed, and as people see good in them they can give glory and praise to God.

So the Church does everything it can to uphold its principles. We do not change our principles to accede to human whims. Thus it is, that the Church, following Jesus, sees that authentic marriage is a Sacrament of God’s presence among us for the lifetime of the couple.

The Church holds marriage most sacred. And faith filled people show the world that this is possible in this life – with God’s help. Without God’s help many don’t make it – about 50% nowadays.

Thus it is that at first sight the Church acknowledges the validity of marriages. Should a marriage end before death, the Church would look to see if anything made that relationship basically incomplete or wrong from the beginning. Otherwise it would hold it to be valid and the persons are not free to marry anyone else.

This is why the Church has Tribunals [courts] which look at marriages to see if everything was there so that it was the real thing, or not.

If the discovery is that everything was present, then the marriage was valid, and new relationships are flawed, outside the realm of the community of Church and so not able to participate in the Sacraments. The Church, especially through Pope John Paul II, always encourages people in these situations to participate as much as possible, but without Reconciliation and Communion.

This last is your current situation. The Church does not “invalidate or annul” anything. These words imply that the original state was authentic and the Church by decree disintegrates it. NO! What the Tribunal does is find out if there was something at the beginning which was present [or missing], that by itself caused there not to be a true marriage from the start.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On October 18, we received these questions:

Blessed Father..

I am thrilled to inform you that I have recently been committed to marrying the love of my life. My fiancee and I have also found a venue we would love to get married in! Since it is an outdoor venue we understand that the Catholic Church would unfortunately not marry us. Although, our spirituality is important to both of us and we would certainly like the catholic church to recognize our marriage. Would it be possible to hold a private wedding in our Catholic Church a week or so after we are married by a justice of the peace? The church ceremony would be a small event with our immediate family and friends. The other ceremony (at our outdoor venue) would be in front of our whole wedding party.

We appreciate you taking the time to help us.

May the lord bless you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.

Peace be with you.

Heather

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Heather,

Are both of you Catholic? One of the informational statements on the pre-nuptial inquiry form to prepare for a wedding in the Church is this question: How would describe your practice of the Faith? And it puts into parentheses “attendance at Mass, Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist.”

Starting from this will determine what steps you take to help you in sealing your relationship in marriage. If you start out by circumventing the ordinary expectations of the Church, what does that say about the status of your communion with the Church in front of your friends in a wedding celebration away from the Church?

Be that as it may, when you arrange to have a wedding in the parish church, no matter how small, you will have to do all the documentation, forms, marriage prep program, etc. for any wedding in the Church. Whether this Sacramental wedding precedes the outdoor venue or happens afterward is up to you. This has happened to me a few times. When a couple, before the Sacrament celebration, brings me the marriage license, I find out it is actually a marriage certificate. I simply state, “O all the civil stuff has been done already!” And we continue the preparation for the Church ceremony.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I am a catholic priest for 17 years. while working in a parish, i fell in love with a widow and we got married in front of the tabernacle. now though we are living separately. we would like to live together as husband and wife and do not want to leave Christianity. Is it Possible. Or do we have to join the Eastern Church

Asvin

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Asvin,

I am not a canon lawyer. The situation you describe is a very human one. It sets up a position that is outside of Church law, the Eastern Churches as well. Some of the Eastern Rites do have a married priesthood. But I believe the marriage had to have happened before priestly ordination. As a priest, getting married is outside of the Latin Rite law and also the Eastern Rites law.

The Church can upon sincere request relieve a priest from active ministry to get married as a lay man. There are a few Church communities which admit married priests in their congregations. These are separated from the universal Catholic Church.

Through the centuries of Church History, there have been examples of husbands and wives consecrating their lives to Christ have separated, become priests or nuns and even become Saints.

So you have choices to make in the light of the Greatest Commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength; and your neighbor – in the form Jesus calls his own new commandment: Love one another as I love you. If you give yourself to the Lord with this kind of love, you will be able to love everyone with Jesus’ love. Your sacrifice will certainly be blessed by God.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

My husband and I are both Catholic, we each made all of our sacraments. We recently had a baby and really want to get him baptized. I honestly can't believe how hard this is. The church that my family and I go to won't let us baptize him there because we don't live in the same town as the church. So I called the church in my town, which I have also been too and picked up a parishioner registration form. Knowing that if we wanted to baptize our baby there we would have to become parishioners of that church. Anyway, on the form it asked if my husband and I were married in a catholic church. We were actually married on the beach. I have been reading that we will not be able to baptize him because of this reason. I'm so frustrated, why is this so hard? Shouldn't churches want to baptize your child?My parents were not married in the church and my godfather is Jewish and when I was baptized there was no problem. I also have four sisters that were baptized. Seems like there are always new rules that some parishes follow and others don't.

Its very disheartening .

Rachel

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Rachel,

Even with the differences you describe, nevertheless both parishes are following the customs (and laws) of the Church.

It is understandable that a parish community desires that parishioners be registered in the parish, whether or not their home is within the parish boundaries.

And yes, the parish would like to know that parents are in the Sacrament of Marriage. Then they will be able to encourage couples to have their marriages convalidated [technical term, commonly stated “blessed”] in the Church.

There is a rationale for this, since the Canon [church] Law states that for a licit Baptism, there should be a real hope that the child will be reared in the practice of the faith. Thus parishes want to be instruments of conscious choices in this practice of the faith, even sometimes by postponing Sacrament celebrations till some of these choices have been made. Otherwise children are being put in an awkward situation, where their parents promise in the Baptism liturgy to bring their children up in the Faith when they themselves are not doing it.

On occasion this stems from parents not being married according to the regulations of the Church: that is, making their marriage vows before the official representative of the Church [a deacon or a priest] and two witnesses in a designated sacred place [most usually the parish church]. Without the deacon or priest, there is “lack of Form.” Every parish most willingly wants to help couples to enter the Sacrament of Marriage for the upbuilding of the parish community.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi Fathers. I have a very confusing situation. I am of the catholic faith. I am married to a man who is not catholic and whom was married prior to me and divorced. His ex wife was married once prior to him. We were not married in a church. This is my first marrage. My husband would like to convert to the catholic church and we would like to re marry in the catholic church. What needs to be done for us to accomplish this? Does his marrage have to be annulled if his ex wife was married prior to him? Thank you for your help. I am very confused at where to start.

Carrie

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

Dear Carrie,

You should begin a conversation with your own parish priest. He may put you into contact with your local diocesan Tribunal. You described your situation as “confusing.” So probably you will need someone who is well versed in church law.

I can give you a simple context here. First of all, the Church upholds marriage and holds it very sacred in the community of disciples of Jesus Christ. The Church then sees marriages done according to law and custom as true and valid, unless it is proved not to be. The Church does make rules for its own members, because it wants to lay a foundation for valid Sacramental marriage. That is, marriage between baptized persons is a Sacrament; so much so that if it is not a Sacrament, it is not yet a true marriage.

You wrote a couple of things describing your circumstances which an official from the Tribunal will ask about and ask you for documents. At first sight, there does not seem to be much difficulty. When everything is clarified, you should be able to get married in the Sacrament, whether or not your husband joins the Church. Being initiated into the Catholic Church, of course, enhances your situation by leaps and bounds.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

I have been in a 10 yr relationship and have 3 children. I was never baptized (for some reason baptism stopped at my siblings and I, I am not sure why) . I only went to church with my grandmother sometimes when I was growing up. All I know is is my family and his including him have been baptized catholics. I would like to get married by church and baptise my children. But don't know how this effects us. Any information would be appreciative.

Thank You,

Jessica

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jessica,

It’s a simple process, but does take a commitment.

Check with the Catholic Church nearest to you and ask if they have an RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) ) or how you can take baptism classes . You would be directed to one who can pave the way for you and will be delighted to meet you. A Church wedding could follow.

My blessing and prayers for a successful search.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On October 02, we received these questions:

Fathers,

Hello, my name is Claudia, and am interested in baptizing my 9 year old son. I was baptized myself, but have not been involved in the catholic church since my mother converted to another religion. What are the steps I need to do for myself and my son?

Thank you,

Claudia

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Claudia,

It seems that the Holy Spirit is nudging you to re-integrate the practice of the Catholic Faith in your and your son’s life. How wonderful are the Lord’s inspirations when there is an open heart!

All parishes have a religious education program for school age children. Most often there are not large groups of un-baptized pupils. So an un-baptized student simply participates in the class for preparing for Reconciliation and First Communion. Then at an appropriate moment the child is baptized and then continues as part of the class for the other Sacraments.

Most parishes also have a Christian Initiation group: adults looking into being fully incorporated into the Catholic Church. There are a variety of personal situations in every group of people. Some are baptized Catholics, but never did any of the other Sacraments, some are baptized in some Christian church, some never baptized. You should ask about this for yourself. Then your son and you might do one or other Sacrament at the same time.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers:

My son is a practicing Catholic Attended Catholic grammar school, high school, and college. He has been dating a girl who is Greek Orthodox. They have been together for seven years. I believe that marriage is being spoken about. I would like to know if my son should marry in the Greek church will he have to convert? Can they be married in the eyes of both religions? What will happen once children arrive? Any information will be helpful. The girl has told him they could marry in the Greek church but they would raise children Catholic. Does not make sense to me.

Debi

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Debi,

How fortunate you are! Your son a practicing Catholic – keep on giving praise to God!

He should be in communication with his parish priest. Together they can see what the best thing to do might be. Here I can only give you a few comments to give a context surrounding such a situation.

The bishop of the place can give permission for a couple to be married in a different church, if that enhances peace and harmony. Most times in a mixed marriage, the Bishop first gives permission to marry a non-Catholic person. Usually that would happen in the Catholic church. But circumstances may be such that [for a variety of reasons] the marriage ceremony could happen in the other church. I usually state some things from my own family: my grandmother married my grandfather, who was not Catholic, in the Catholic church. That was about 1910. My mother married my father who was not Catholic, in the Catholic church. That was 1937. So it is common enough in our country.

Another thing is possible [again depending on many things]. The Catholic pastor may invite the Orthodox priest to participate in the wedding in the Catholic church; or the Catholic pastor might participate at the wedding in the Orthodox church. And still record the marriage in the Catholic marriage register.

One of the things is that the Catholic person makes a commitment to practice the Catholic Faith and to rear children in the practice of the Catholic Faith. My very first wedding [over 42 years ago] the bride was not Catholic. Much later she became Catholic herself, especially since her children were baptized in the Catholic Church. But that is a totally free choice.

All of these things are part of the conversation of your son with his parish priest.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am writing this question in hopes of getting some information on baptisms. In May of this year, my ex-husband and his wife welcomed a baby girl. At that point, my son decided to run away to his father's house to live. Now that the baby is 4 months old, my son announced that I should not attend my home church on the weekend of October 15, 16 because the new baby was being baptized.

This troubles me because my home church where my children are members and have been baptized, confirmed, and taken communion is a Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. My ex and his wife are non-practicing Catholics and don't attend any church. They were not married in a Catholic church either. They claim that my church is the only church they know where they can baptize their child. There is a Catholic church in our city as well as two other Lutheran churches. My ex-husband has been to my church at best 5 times in the last 10 years. His wife has never attended my church.

I feel that this is just another in a long list of things that they have done to me to flaunt their relationship that started as an affair while my ex-husband and I were still together. I do not begrudge anyone who wants to have their child baptized, but I just feel that they are only doing this to me to continue their assault on me.

Any help, suggestions, or contact people that you can provide me with would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Karen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Karen,

When and where you go to church is your business not your son’s.

Your ex husband and his wife have not entered a valid marriage.

Their baby would not be allowed baptism in the Catholic Church since they are considered not married. How could they promise to raise the child as Catholic? The Lutheran baptism would be valid.

Ignore the slights of your ex and wife. Keep giving fidelity to your religious beliefs and practices. Example is more powerful than words.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

My first marriage was in the Catholic church as I am and always have been a practicing Catholic. I was married to a non practicing Mormon. After 7 yrs of mental anguish and dealing with his alcohol abuse, I divorced him. We had two children, both baptized in the church. I remarried 5 years later in a civil ceremony and had another child who is baptized in the Church. My second husband is Catholic and we are registered participating parishioners in our Catholic church although I do not receive communion. I very much want my first marriage annulled and second marriage blessed in church, however, I have not pursued it because first husband is very hostile and manipulative. He has never supported his children, financially or otherwise, and is very confrontational. My second husband had raised and supported them like they were his own. What is your suggestion on the best way to approach annulment as to avoid a confrontation.

Thank you. Denise

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Denise,

Pursue your request for an annulment. When one party is hostile there are ways to circumvent the uncooperative party and find support elsewhere to continue the process.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I have just started RCIA classes and have been told I may need an annulment. Here is my background.

My ex was married once before we were together. They were divorced but there was not an annulment because they were not Catholic.

We were together for 12 years and had two children but we were never married. When we split, my attorney stated that our marriage was considered common law and if I wanted to receive child support we had to have a divorce. The civil divorce was granted.

I am also not baptized.

While I be required to get an annulment?

Thanks

Michelle

Wondering

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

I see no reason why you need an annulment, since you were never married.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On September 30, we received these questions:

I am undergoing chemotherapy, and consequently have lost all my hair. I am wearing various headscarves and hats to cover up.

I was wondering if it is improper to wear the hijab as a Catholic. I have seen so many lovely hijabs, and like the modesty of them. I only wonder because of course the hijab is a Moslem head covering, and I don’t want to break any “rules” by making use of them. Thank you.

Alisha

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Alisha,

There is no rule that says you cannot use a hijab.

Of you are questioned, give your reason without apology.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I hope that you can help with some questions regarding Baptism for our 10-month-old daughter.

My husband and I are members of your Parish and we have been struggling with the requirements for Godparents. We have chosen my brother, a practicing Catholic, to be her Godfather. However, our choice for Godmother is member of the Episcopal church. I see from one of your responses on the website that she would not qualify as Godmother, but as a Christian Witness. My questions are as follows:

1) What does "Christian witness" signify in terms of her relationship with my daughter (ie, does this give her special standing in terms of her bond with my daughter in the eyes of the Church)?

2) Would the Christian Witness require any documentation in order to qualify for this role?

3) Would a Christian Witness participate in the Baptism ceremony?

4) Would we still choose a Godmother in addition to a Christian Witness?

5) If the Godparent is from out of town, is a certificate of attendance at a Baptism preparation class be sufficient or must the individual also provide proof of Baptism?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Alessandra

Fr. Malloy answers:

Alessandra,

Sponsors:

When infants are solemnly baptized, persons assist at the ceremony to make profession of the faith in the child's name. This practice comes from antiquity and is witnessed to by Tertullian, St. Basil, St. Augustine, and others. Such persons are designated sponsors,. The English term is godfather and godmother..

These sponsors, in default of the child's parents, are obliged to instruct it concerning faith and morals. One sponsor is sufficient and not more than two are allowed. In the latter case, one should be male and the other female. The object of these restrictions is the fact that the sponsor contracts a spiritual relationship to the child and its parents which would be an impediment to marriage. Sponsors must themselves be baptized persons having the use of reason and they must have been designated as sponsors by the priest or parents. During the baptism they must physically touch the child either personally or by proxy. They are required, moreover, to have the intention of really assuming the obligations of godparents. It is desirable that they should have been confirmed, but this is not absolutely necessary. Certain persons are prohibited from acting as sponsors. They are: members of religious orders, married persons in respect to each other, or parents to their children, and in general those who are objectionable on such grounds as infidelity, heresy, excommunication, or who are members of condemned secret societies, or public sinners (Sabetti, no. 663). Sponsors are also used in the solemn baptism of adults. They are never necessary in private baptism.

1)What does "Christian witness" signify in terms of her relationship with my daughter (ie, does this give her special standing in terms of her bond with my daughter in the eyes of the church?

Answer: No special bonding, other than that the witness should be a good Christian ready to support the moral life of the child.

2)Would the Christian Witness require any documentation in order to qualify for this role?

Answer: No documentation is necessary

3) Would a Christian Witness participate in the Baptism ceremony?

Answer: Yes, as a presence near the child.

4) Would we still choose a Godmother in addition to a Christian Witness?

Answer: A Godfather or Godmother may be by proxy.

5) If the Godparent is from out of town, is a certificate of attendance at a Baptism preparation class be sufficient or must the individual also provide proof of Baptism?

Answer: That depends on what the local parish requires.

Rev. John Malloy SDB


Hello,

I am currently engaged to be married, I wish to marry in a catholic church but have not yet been baptized, my fiancé was baptized as a child but not in the roman catholic church. My fathers family are all roman Catholics. I have 2 sons with my fiancé who I wish to also be baptized along with myself, is this possible? And would this then allow for us to marry in the catholic church?

Thanks for your help.

Kirsty

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kristy,

No reason you cannot marry in the Catholic Church, if you fulfil the conditions: Be baptised Catholic, straighten out your marital situation: You could be married in the Catholic Church. You and your fiancée must promise to raise the children as Catholic.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On September 26, we received these questions:

 

Dear Fathers,

I am a practicing Catholic and very involved in the Church. My fiance and I just got engaged but he is unbaptized and does not have a religion. His family is originally Lutheran but his mom converted to a Jehovah witness. He does not believe in her faith or does he agree with it. He has always said that he wants the children to be involved in the church with me because he believes that having a a structured religion will lead the children to be moral individuals. If you didn't know better, you would think he was Catholic. I believe that he doesn't want to get baptized because he doesn't want to cause problems with his mom. But he has told her that he wanted to get married in the Church with me and that all of the children will be baptized Catholic. We actually established this in the beginning of our relationship and it still stands. My question is, will my wedding be valid in the eyes of the church even though he's not baptized?

God Bless,

Renee

Fr. Malloy answers:

Renee,

Since you have not been married before, and neither has he, you are free to marry in the Church.

One does not have to be Catholic to b married in the Church as long as the partner is a practicing Catholic and promises to raise the children as Catholic, without opposition from the non Catholic..

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Hi Fathers,

I am looking to get married in a Catholic Church. My fiance is Catholic and I was baptized in an Eastern Orthodox church BUT had my communion and confirmation in a Catholic church. When we went to meet the priest about getting married he said that I couldn't get married in catholic church if I was baptized in an Orthodox church... Is this true? Or is that probably just specific to this Catholic church?

Thanks!

Emily

Fr. Malloy answers:

Emily,

If your fiancée promises to be a practicing Catholic and raise children as Catholic, and as long as you are in agreement there is no reason you cannot be marred in the Church.

Your baptism was valid but you should make a profession Catholic faith to validate your position in the Roman Catholic.

Rev. John Malloy SDB


Hello,

I have a question about marriage. I am CathoIic. I was married in a wedding chapel by a minister in Las Vegas, Nevada. We eloped. Ten years later, we divorced. We had no children from this marriage. I am currently seeing someone new now, and we have been discussing marriage. My new boyfriend has never been married, and does not have any children. He is Luthern.

If we were to marry, can I get married in a Cathlic Church? or can I get married in his Luthern Church instead?

Will I need to get my first marriage annulled before I can marry in either church?

Thank you for your help!

Blessings and Peace to you,

Tina

Fr. Malloy answers:

Tina,

As a Catholic your marriage was never valid. It would be easy to regularize your status.

As a Catholic you may validly marry only in the Catholic Church.

Your spouse would have to promise to allow you to raise the children as Catholic.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On September 20, we received these questions:

Hello Fathers,

I am just starting my RCIA classes. I was raised in a Catholic family but my parents never made me do my first communion or my confirmation, so now that I am older I am making the decision to come back to my Catholic faith and do it the right way, I guess you can say. I have a 16 mth old son and I would love to get him baptized in the Catholic church, but his dad is, however, not Catholic. We are not married but we have a very strong, loving relationship. His dad is very supportive of the baptism but with his dad not being Catholic would this pose a problem for his baptism? or would he have to convert? I had also heard that since we are not married the church would not allow it. We have discussed marriage but neither one of us is really excited about the idea quite yet. He has been divorced twice but never was married in the Cathoic church, so if marriage was to pop up again, would it be possible to be married in the Catholic church? I have never been married so of course I can't be divorced. Any light you can shed on these issues would be wonderful.

Thank you,

Monica

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Monica,

Your boy friend would need an annulment from his previous marriages, before you can marry him in the Church.

If the father is not catholic. It would not prohibit the baptism of the baby, provided that he accepts the Catholic upbringing of the child.

However, it would be difficult to get permission for the baby’s baptism because of your living condition.

The fact that you are living together with a twice divorced man, does not bode well of the success of a third marriage.

Rev. John Malloy SDB.


Dear Father,

My fiance and I are getting married in less than a month and have trouble finding a church (since it is a destination wedding). I am Catholic and would like to marry in a church. I know that most churches require six month reservations before the wedding date. Do you think it would be possible for us to have a church wedding? Any advice?

Thank you Father and have a great day!

Best Regards,

Maria

Fr. Malloy answers:

Maria,

It's not so much a six month's reservation as it is a six month's marriage preparation.

The only way to get a church wedding would be to convince the priest that you are properly prepared for a Catholic Sacrament.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

I was baptized and confirmed Catholic and was considered a practicing Catholic in good standing up until the point I married a divorced non-Catholic man four years ago in a civil ceremony overseas. My husband, although a non-Catholic, married his first wife in the Catholic church and raised 3 Catholic children. His first wife was the one who filed for divorce and we believe she has now become a Baptist. It does not seem right to seek to have his first marriage annulled when he has three children (now adults) from his first marriage. Will I never be considered a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church? We are having our first child soon, will I be able to have him baptized as long as the godparents are Catholics in good standing (i.e. my mother)? Although my husband has no interest in becoming a Catholic, he supports me raising our child in the Catholic church.

Mary

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mary,

The only way you can be in good standing with the Catholic Church is for you to be separated from your husband or for him to seek an annulment from his first marriage.

It would be up to a Catholic pastor to allow you to baptize your child.

Fr. John Malloy


I was married many years ago in the Catholic Church and was raised baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. I divorced my husband who is now deceased. I remarried, but outside the Catholic Church. Can I receive communion since my past husband is deceased?

Thank you

Fr. Malloy answers:

Donna,

That your first husband died would have made you eligible to receive Communion.

But unfortunately, you cannot receive Communion now unless your second marriage is blessed by the Church.

Rev. John Malloy SDB


On September 5, we received these questions:

Good afternoon Father, when I was divorced my priest suggested I should seek an annulment as he knew the sad situation of my marriage.

This I did and after 2 very long years received an annulment through the Diocese of Westminster. My ex husband remarried and sadly his 2nd wife died 12 yrs ago. The situation now is that my ex husband, the father of my 2 grown up children, is very ill. My question is when he dies, will I be a widow?

Kind regards and God+Bless.

Susanna

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Susanna,

You are the widow of the first husband when he dies.

If you are now remarried, there is no way you can be called a widow.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

10 years ago I was Greek Orthodox and my girlfriend was Jewish. In order for us to get married in a Greek Orthodox Church she had to get baptized. She did and so we got married . 5 years later I converted to Catholicism. I am still a practicing Catholic. My wife considers herself Jewish not Greek Orthodox. Is my marriage valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church

Fr. Malloy answers:

Spyros,

If the Orthodox Church is accepted by the Catholic Church, the marriage is valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

If not, you should seek a validation.

Consult your pastor for details.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Father,

I’m 38yrs old and have been married twice. The first marriage was performed by a judge in 1993 and we were divorced a year later. The second was performed by a pasture but the denomination I’m not sure of. We were married for 14yrs and it didn’t work. Now I’m dating a woman who is amazing and Catholic. It’s been brought up that if we were to ever get married that I may have to get one or both of my previous marriages annulled. She doesn’t wish to keep dating if the end result can’t be marriage and I completely understand and agree with that wholeheartedly. Is it even possible for me to get an annulment or do I even require one? I want this to work badly and will do whatever it takes. Thank you.

Brian

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Brian,

What a wonderful attitude! Understanding the position of the loved one!

The Church upholds marriage wherever it happens according to law and custom. But it does make rules for its own members. So, at first sight, your first marriage would be considered true and valid, unless it is proved not to be. This is the work of the Church Tribunal – it looks into marriages to see if there was some component before or at the time of marriage which by itself made the marriage invalid. If this is proven, then the Tribunal would issue a “Freedom to Marry” decree.

If you yourself have never been baptized and if you desired to enter the Church, then under the direction of the Tribunal, you would approach it differently.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Good Afternoon,

My Fiance and I are getting married in a Garden setting next summer. I am a Catholic, I was baptized and had my confirmation at a Catholic Church here in Michigan. My Fiance was baptized Presbyterian. We were wondering if we could get our marriage blessed by a Catholic Priest after we get married in the Garden. I want to raise out children to be Catholic and so I would love if our marriage would be recognized in the church, even if we don't get married in one.

Any advice?

Thank you,

Angela

Fr. Malloy answers:

Angela,

For your marriage to be valid you will have to be marred in a Catholic church, unless the Bishop’s allows otherwise.

I have seen this exception: the ceremony took place very privately in the Church and there followed a blessing in the garden with the music, bridesmaids and grooms taking part.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

A close friend of mine is planning to get married next month. He is Protestant, as is his fiancé. They are planning to get married in a Protestant church. He was married before, to a different Protestant girl, in a Protestant church. He and his first wife obtained a civil divorce, but not an annulment (since neither is Catholic). They were very immature when they married, and spent a considerable portion of their marriage living apart (he was in the military, and she grew lonely and homesick away from her family). My friend's current fiancé has never been married.

My question is, is it morally permissible for me as a Catholic to attend the wedding and/or reception? I care deeply for my friend, and I want to be a part of his life.

Thank you and God bless,

Louise

Fr. Malloy answers:

Louise,

It IS morally permissible for you as a Catholic to attend the wedding and reception of your friend. You are not accepting his faith. Civilly he has a right be married again.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

Can 2 nonCatholics be married in the church's hall, but not in the church itself? I know that the church does not permit 2 nonCatholics to marry in the church, but nonCatholics events can take place in the church's hall.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Pat,

Some parishes rent out their hall and may be available for such a union.

But it would be up to the pastor rather or not to allow a non-Catholic ceremony.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On August 28, we received these questions:

Hello fathers,

I just had a son and am not married. I am in a loving relationship with the father and it is as is we are married , and we plan to marry, but are not yet. My question is , can i still baptize my son ? And when the time comes can we marry in a church? If yes, we always dreamed to marry outside ... Would that type of ceremony be recognized by the church ?

Thank you.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jia,

You can marry in the church but cannot have your son baptized there until you do.

Why delay the wedding? If it is because of money, know that a simple ceremony costs very little.

Most churches do not allow garden weddings, as the bishops ordinarily refuse to give approval.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I was so pleased to find this website! I have been prayerfully considering conversion to the Catholic Church. I was raised Southern Baptist and Baptized at 7 yrs old in the Baptist Church. My ex husband had been married before in a Missionary Baptist church and also in an outdoor ceremony by a pastor of the Missionary Baptist church. Both ceremonies were to the same woman which he later had a son with. He was baptized in the same church prior to his marriage. They divorced.

Then we married in a Nondenominational Church that was also a wedding chapel. My ex became extremely abusive, physically and mentally. I never physically caught him in the act of an affair but I believe there were a few due the phone calls and etc. I fled the home with our 1 yr old daughter and went to a domestic violence shelter. I filed for divorce. But during the proceedings I requested Christian Marriage Counseling. Then I returned to live with him 7 months more. The abuse started again. I moved out and continued the divorce. Then my daughter told me at the age of 3 about something her dad did to her (sexual abuse) Which I reported to Child Protective Services. He was never brought up on criminal charges even though he quickly obtained a Criminal Law Attorney. However according to the supervisor of Child Protective services, they filed against him with The Department of Justice.

He has since remarried. I don't know if they married in a church or not because he would not tell me. I do know based on court records that the woman he married had been married prior and had a child. She had divorced her former spouse for domestic violence also. My ex and his current spouse currently are getting a divorce from one another.

I told you all this in order to ask if my marriage is valid in the Catholic Church especially since he had been married prior. What would I need to do if I ever wanted to marry again...in the Catholic Church to a member of the Roman Catholic Church? also ask that you do not publish my email because of the issues regarding my daughter and her dad's violence against me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email.

Lynn

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Lynn,

So the Holy Spirit is nudging you toward the Catholic Church! The important word in your letter is “prayerfully.” Keep on doing that and the Holy Spirit will truly be with you.

Most parishes have a Christian Initiation process with the community of the parish to introduce people to the knowledge of and practice of the Faith.

Schedule a talk with the pastor, present your situation to him. Perhaps he might refer you directly to the Diocesan Tribunal.

The Catholic Church does its best to uphold certain principles regarding marriage. The Church holds marriages as true and valid which are done according to law and custom. It holds fast to regulations for its own members.

So, for example, the marriage of your husband, if neither bride nor groom was Catholic, the Church regards that as true and valid unless it is proved not to be. On the face of it, without proof otherwise, his first marriage would be valid. Thus his marriage to you did not exist because of a previous bond. That frees you to be married if that is what the Spirit is leading you to.

The Tribunal will need a certain amount of documentation before they issue a “Decree of Freedom to Marry.” But it should not be difficult.

In the meantime introduce your daughter to Jesus. Teach her what the community of Church is. Enroll her in catechism class and you give good example with your life.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On August 24, we received these questions:

Hello, I am from Colorado and I have a marriage/conversion question. My husband and myself were married in a non-denominational church over a year and a half ago, neither of us are Catholic, but I am currently considering converting to the Catholic faith. Does my husband have to convert with me? And if we both did would we have to get remarried in the Catholic church? Any help is appreciated!

Ryann

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ryann,

Your husband would not have to convert for you get your marriage blest in i the Catholic Church, after your baptism.

A simple ceremony could take place at the same time.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Good morning,

My husband is Catholic and I would like to convert. I would have done so sooner, except he is military and gone very often. We have a small child with no one to watch him in order for me to take the 6 month classes. Therefore, I have put conversion on hold (although I really don't want to). Is there any way for me to convert without physically attending the 6 month classes? I am concerned that my child and myself are missing important guidance as time goes by without converting.

Thank you,

Jamie

Fr. Malloy answers:

Jamie,

Speak to the one in charge of the classes and see if there is way to do it on your own time (with their help).

If the result is negative, check with another parish nearby.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


My sister choose me and my husband to baptize both her sons, one who now is 7 and the other is 1. I just had my son and would love my sister to baptize him, my mother told me she couldn't since I already baptized her sons. Is this true?

Sandra

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Sandra,

I think you mean being godparents. It is quite frequent that aunts and uncles be godparents for each other’s children.

The important thing for godparents is to be good examples in practice of the Faith for their godchildren. Children are very observant. They learn quickly what is truly important by the example of their parents and godparents.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I am a divorced woman who is in a relationship with the father of my 5 and 2 year old children. He was baptized catholic. He wants to get the kids baptized in the catholic church, but I don't think we are allowed considering our very un-catholic arrangement. Are we required to be married? Are the kids too old now? Do I need to be catholic? Are we even able to get married since I am divorced? I was married in the catholic church to a catholic man. So many questions! Please help.

Thank you for your time,

Kim

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Kim,

First of all, regarding your children. The older one is attending school and therefore is “of catechetical age.” This one should be enrolled in a religious education class. Not many parishes have a group of unbaptized students to have their own preparation according to the Order of Christian Initiation of Children. So what happens is that an unbaptized student prepares for Reconciliation and First Communion with the regular class and then at the appropriate moment is baptized and joins the rest for the other Sacraments.

The younger one upon the promises of being reared in the practice of the Faith could be baptized as is.

Promises of “practice of the Faith” are best fulfilled when the parents are doing it themselves, at least as much as possible according to circumstances. And this is where the Church wants most to help.

The process begins when you approach the pastor of your Catholic parish to describe your situation and see what can be done. The Church has to uphold its principles. When human situations get in the way, the Church through its Tribunal tries to see if anything is possible. This means in the first place looking at your former marriage to see if there was anything present before or at the time of the marriage which by itself made that marriage invalid. Sometimes it is very simple; other times it becomes complex. In the end if a “Freedom to Marry Decree” is issued, then you could then be married in the Church.

Then also you could discern if you are called by the Lord to enter the Church yourself. This is distinct from your marriage, and the promise of practice of the Faith for your children.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Fathers!

A few questions, please. My husband is catholic. He was baptized, had his first communion and confirmation with the church. We were married in 97, at a methodist church. We had 2 children together. We attended catholic services on and off. He always took part in the Eucharist, of course I did not. We divorced in 05 and then remarried each other before a judge in 2009. Our children, now 10 and 13, were never baptized.

My husband is currently in the military and deployed to Afghanistan. I am starting RCIA classes. I have wanted to become catholic and join the church for a long time. We would also like to get our children baptized.

Do we need to have our marriage blessed in order for our kids to be baptized?

Will it take two years for our children to attend classes to get baptized? (This is what I was told)

Should my husband continue to take the Eucharist, since he was not married in the church?

I can not provide proof of my own baptismal, but was indeed baptized. What will be done regarding this issue? Why would my word not be acceptable?

Thank you for your time and response.

Pamela

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Pamela,

I wish you the best in beginning the RCIA in your parish. The parish priest will be interested in your marriage history. There are a few things to get in order as you enter the Church. Being in harmony with all the Sacraments is very important. That includes Matrimony.

Do you have missalettes in your parish? Usually there is a statement from our Bishops about the dispositions needed for receiving Communion somewhere in the book. Often it is the inside front cover.

Both of your children are in school. That makes them of “catechetical age.” This means they are to be instructed in the Faith and its practice according to their age and understanding. In most parishes as children prepare for First Reconciliation and First Communion, there is usually a two school year program. Often there are not enough unbaptized students to make a group themselves for the Order of Christian Initiation of Children. Thus they join the groups preparing for Reconciliation and Communion. Then at the proper time they are baptized and then join the rest. This all varies from place to place, but the principles are the same.

In the RCIA candidates are helped to document whether they were baptized or not. The Church recognizes Baptism received in other Christian communities. Very often the churches keep records. Even if not, and you have relatives or friends who witnessed the Baptism, a sworn affidavit would be sufficient. Otherwise you could be conditionally Baptized. In other words, the deacon or priest prefaces the ritual with “If you have not yet been baptized, I now baptize you ….” And the parish where this takes place keeps the record.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I have been asked to stand as Godmother to my new nephew and am very proud to do so. The father of the child has not been baptised and does not practise any religion, however he promises to raise the child Catholic. He has asked his brother, who is also not been baptised but raised Protestant to be the Godfather, will this be allowed? Any guidance is appreciated.

Kat

Fr. Malloy responds:

Kat,

Sponsors or godparents are to be selected by the parents according to the requirements found in Canons 873 and 874 which states that there is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.

The father’s brother cannot be godfather.

He could be in at the baptism ceremony, as long as there is a designated godmother.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


On August 22, we received these questions:

Hello,

I would like to ask if I have been seperated from my wife for more than 5 years and there is no way we would get back together, am I able to get baptized? I started going to church every Sunday, but I want to do things right.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

There is no reason why you cannot be baptized as long as you take proper instructions.

Check with your local priest.

Rev. John Malloy, SDB


Good morning from Pennsylvania. I have a question about marriage. I was married 10 years ago in a courthouse. A year and half later i filed for divorce because he was mentally abusive, physcially and was possibly cheating on me. Im now engaged to another Catholic and we are getting married in October of 2013. I would like to get married in a catholic church. What do i have to do to make that happen. I also have a child and would like to have him christened the same time. It's very important to me to be married in the Catholic church.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kim,

If you were a Catholic at the time of your first civil marriage, the Church does not recognize it as valid.

With the proper dispositions you could be married validly in the Church.

You need to approach your pastor and go through the local instructions for marriage.

Presuming you are returning to your Catholic religious practices, you should get your child baptized as soon as possible.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On August 21, we received these questions:

Hello,

I am Catholic, but married in Greek Orthodox Church. My husband is Greek Orthodox and this is his second marriage. He had his first marriage annulled through Greek Orthodox Church. My question is whether or not that is acceptable to Catholic faith and my status as a practicing Catholic.

I was married before, but have an annulment from Catholic Church.

Thanks for your help.

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mary,

Since you, as a Catholic, was married in the Greek Orthodox Church, the union is not valid.

The only way for you to be a practicing Catholic would be to renew your vows before a Catholic priest or deacon.

It could be a very private and simple ceremony.

Meanwhile, you can still go to Mass, but may not receive the Eucharist.

Rev. John Malloy SDB


My husband's previous marriage that took place 22 years ago was performed in a Baptist church. He was Catholic and his former wife was Baptist. A priest and minister both performed the ceremony. In the eyes of the church, was he married through the Catholic Church, whereby needing an annulment??

Allyson

Fr. Malloy answers:

Allyson,

If the priest and the minister both performed the ceremony, we would need to determine if the priest had permission of his bishop to perform the ceremony. The marriage for the Catholic would be invalid if permission was lacking.

I suggest you check the marriage certificate, from the civil register or from the parish in which the ceremony took place, for data to present to your local parish.

With those documents the priest could determine whether or not an annulment is needed.

Rev. John Malloy, S.D.B


Dear Father,

I am Catholic and am currently engaged. My fiance is not Catholic and is in the process of an annulment but we have found out that it will take a very long time.

If we were to get married in his church, the Lutheran Church, before the annulment was complete, would we be able to have it blessed in a Catholic Church after the annulment was done, and would our marriage be recognized by the Catholic Church?

Thank you,

Monica

Fr. Harold Danielson answers answers:

Dear Monica,

Yes, the process of a formal Tribunal case may take some time. This is not the fault of the Tribunal, but the process demands some response either positive or negative from some people. If they do not respond after a first inquiry, the Tribunal must send a second and even a third. Only after that can they go ahead to next steps. This is what takes most of the time.

A date for marriage in the Catholic Church can only be reserved after the decree from the Tribunal is received. And, of course, once can not assume that every request to a Tribunal automatically results in a Decree of Nullity.

This being understood, one of the pastoral ministries of parishes is “convalidating” marriages which happened outside of the Church – whether in civil court, some wedding chapel, or a Christian church. The whole process of preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage is done – documents, forms, witnesses, etc.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi Father,

My fiance and I are getting married next year, but we come from two different religions. I practice Catholicism and my fiance comes from a Christian family (Presbyterian - mother; Baptist - father). My fiance hasn't attended a Christian mass in recent years, instead he occasionally attends Catholic mass. My fiance and I are thinking about having two ceremonies, a Catholic in a Catholic church and a Christian at the reception. We decided to do ceremonies to please my fiance's mom because she is devout Christian. Will having two ceremonies be an issue?

Best,

Rose

Fr. Harold responds:

Dear Rose,

I suppose if the second ceremony is billed as a “renewal of vows,”there would not be anything wrong.

However, there are other options. Let me present a couple.

In preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage [wedding], why not invite future mother-in-law’s minister to participate in the wedding in the Catholic church. There are a variety of things the minister could do in the ceremony. In this way there is just one wedding ceremony. And what a witness for the Church when there are many guests from other Christian communities!

Or, if there are misgivings on the part of your future mother-in-law’s minister or community, you could ask the Catholic bishop to allow you to celebrate the wedding in the non-Catholic church, with, or even without, the presence of the priest. The Bishop gives his OK, the ceremony is done, and a record is kept in the Catholic parish marriage register.

If, perchance in the previous paragraph [with the Bishop’s OK,etc.], the other church community feels awkward with the presence of the priest, you could invite your pastor to give a blessing over you at the reception. The solemn blessing at the end of a wedding Mass is a wonderful example of Catholic prayers to the praise and glory of God and upbuilding the community.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

I have met a lady online on a Catholic website who interests me. She and I are Catholic and she indicated that she has had a previous civil wedding and then a civil anullment (which I am not exactly sure what that means). She told me that she and her former "husband" were Catholic at the time. She indicated that her Parish Priest and a Catholic lawyer, both told her that since it was a civil marriage and civil anullment, that she does NOT have to seek a Catholic anullment in order to be married in the Catholic Church. My understanding is that the Catholic Church does "recognize" a civil marriage, and that she would have to seek a Catholic anullment in order to be married in the Catholic Church. She and I want to do the right thing, but we are confused based upon seemingly opposite answers. Please advise. Thanks for your time.

Don

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Donald,

Very often the term “annulment” is not used properly, nor is its meaning very clear.

Sometimes, civilly, a divorce is termed an annulment. This seems to be the case of your lady friend.

The Church has regulations for its own members, essentially that there be the couple, two witnesses and the deacon or priest. Without the official representative of the Church [deacon or priest] there is no true marriage.

To get married in the Church after an “attempted” marriage [term in Church law], one must present Baptism certificate, marriage certificate and final divorce decree to the local diocesan Tribunal. The Tribunal examines the documents, and evaluates the situation in front of the Canon [Church] law. Then a “Freedom to Marry” decree is issued.

It is really just a simple thing. So keep praying. Participate at Mass. Go to Reconciliation regularly. As you grow in relationship with God, so grow in relationship with your proposed spouse. Be sure that the Holy Spirit is in the mix as you grow together.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


My wife & I are both Catholics. I was a widower. She was divorced and has two grown kids from that marriage. Her cousin, a Catholic priest, married us & he had my two minor children from my deceased wife & me sign the county marriage certificate as witnesses. The priest insisted that no one else be present. She never got an annulment because she told him that her ex might be abusive to her older kids if he had to go through the paperwork. We have been together fir 8 yrs. She now wants a divorce. I certainly don't want that, but she is a free spirit and may go through with it. First of all, is our marriage valid. Second, if she does leave, how can u ever remarry?

cordovac1

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear cordovac1,

You describe a fairly complex situation. One should seek clarification from the officials of your local diocesan Tribunal.

However, let me put some context around it. Was your wife’s first marriage in the Church? If not, just a presentation to the Tribunal with Baptism certificate, marriage certificate and final divorce decree would be sufficient for a declaration of invalidity of that marriage and a “Freedom to Marry” decree. In this case the former spouse would not even have to be notified.

If yes, besides presenting the same documents, one would have to petition and follow through a more complete process to determine if there was something missing before and at the moment of marriage which itself invalidated the marriage. In Church law this is a “formal” case.

Your letter states that this was not done. [The children are grown now, so nothing would prevent this at this time.] I presume that the very private ceremony with the priest without anyone else present would be a solution in the “internal forum” [Church law term]. Was this marriage filed in the county clerk’s office?

If your wife does go through with divorce proceedings, your own recourse is to go to the Tribunal with all this background to see if they can unravel it. Who knows that a decree of “Freedom to Marry” may be issued to you.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On August 16, we received these questions:

My previous marriage was in a non-denominational chapel, got divorce, my new fiancee is Catholic like I am. First, was my previous marriage consider for an annulment and second how long will it take to my fiancee to get an annulment (he was married in Catholic church.)

Thanks for your help and answer.

Melanie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Melanie,

Your first marriage was not recognized by the Church, since you are Catholic. However, it is easy to obtain a marriage in the church by getting the proper dispensation. Your pastor can easily obtain that for you as you enter a valid Catholic marriage.

Your fiancée must obtain an annulment from his first marriage. That could take a year or so, depending on the cause of the break up.

Check with your local pastor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


My 22 year old unwed daughter has a child whom we would like to baptize. Our priest will not do it and we are having a hard time finding a priest who will baptize him. Is it unethical for this to occur. It is making me angry, that my grandson is being treated as such.

Mary Jo

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mary Jo,

Is there is a guarantee that the child will be raised Catholic?

Is there a man in picture whom she is living with? If so a prime requirement of baptism of a child is missing.

If she is living on her own with the child and agrees to be a faithful Catholic there wood be no reason to deny baptism.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My Fiance and I have been a couple for almost 4 years. He is enlisted in the army and will be stationed in Germany for the next 3 years. We want to get married and move together to Germany, but will not have the time to do the 6 month classes. We are both confirmed catholics and our question is, do you think it will be possible for us to be married in a catholic church within 1 months time? Thank You

-Alyssa-=

Fr. Malloy answers:

Alyssa,

It would be difficult to obtain clearance for Catholic marriage in just one month. But you can speak to your local pastor. who has the authority.

An alternative would be to approach the Catholic Chaplain at the German base. He has authority to perform the wedding. (You should not be living sexually together, if not married.)

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Alyssa followed up:

Thank You Father. We will look into that. Is it okay to be married and do a catholic wedding later or is that a bad thing?

Fr. Malloy responded:

Alyssa,

You would enter an invalid marriage, if you married civilly. Not a good thing.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On August 14, we received these questions:

I was born and raised as Catholic same with my fiance. I was married before in Reno, Nevada. The marriage did not work therefore I filed for divorce. I was nevern been married in the catholic church. My fiance's first marriage was in Reno, Nevada too and then followed by a catholic wedding in Germany. His marriage did not work as well so he did file for divorce here in California. My question is since he was married in catholic church in Germany, how he can proceed with the annulment so that we can both get married in the catholic church?

Sincerely,

Lynn

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Lynn,

From your short paragraph it seems that your personal case could be cleared up fairly easily. With the help of your local diocesan Tribunal you need to present a few documents for a decree of “Freedom to Marry.” These documents: your Baptism certificate, your civil marriage certificate, and the final divorce decree.

For your proposed spouse, it becomes a bit more complicated. Again with the help of your local diocesan Tribunal, he would have to present a formal case. The objective of that would be to determine if that marriage in the Catholic Church was indeed a valid marriage, or not. The Tribunal would be looking for some element before or at the beginning of that marriage which fact rendered that marriage invalid to start with.

The Church has such a high regard for the Sacrament of Marriage that it does not dismiss it easily. So there is a specific process to follow. The persons at the Tribunal will help at every step.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

I hope you can help me out. God willing I'll be getting married soon but I'll be getting married in Egypt. The problem is they say the the Egyptian court requires a notarized certificate of religion. I was Baptized in Ecuador South American where I was born and have no way of getting a birth certificate. I don't have ID which is required and to top it all off years ago they sent all marriages, births, deaths etc to Quito and many where lost. It seems mine was one of them because I don't exist now in my country. All my recorders where in Ecuador and I have no way to retrieve them. What can I do to get a certificate of religion as they call it? I hope you can help me out I'm at a total loss.

Thank you in advance, respectfully,

Silvia

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Silvia,

It sounds like you need a person on the ground over there to accompany you through a complex situation. Do you live in Cairo? Or at least if you are not too far away from Cairo, I know a good friend who finds ways to do things. She is a Salesian Sister (contact information attacehd).

Do you have any relatives still in Ecuador? Were any of them present for your Baptism? Two of them could testify of their presence at any parish [or at the diocesan Tribunal]. Then a document could be issued attesting your Baptism. This would fulfill the requirements for a Catholic Church marriage.

The Catholic Church certainly has a Bishop’s office and Tribunal over there in Egypt. Contact with them is advised.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I have a daughter who will b turning a year and I have waited to baptize because I chose my sisters who are in very good standing with the church and who just got confirmed I. May. I wasn't aware that since they are both girls they can't both baptize. Is there any way around this? I don't want to favor one over the other and they are both going to be very influential in her catholic up bringing.

Demon Rock

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear demon rock,

Yes, according to Church practice, one godparent is necessary; if there are two godparents [sponsors], one is a man, the other a woman. In your family you want your daughter’s aunts to be both involved. Here is a possible way: Ask your sisters who wants to be the Confirmation sponsor, then the other be the Baptism sponsor. Church practice is that a person may choose a Confirmation sponsor different from the Baptism sponsor if the candidate so wishes. That way both participate at both celebrations, but they share sponsor responsibilities for different Sacraments.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I have a few questions. First I want to know what the requirements are to get married in a catholic church. I and not catholic but plan on converting. I have never been baptized but was raised Christian. However when I met my fiancé 5 years ago I started going to a catholic church because him and his family are catholic. I would really enjoy getting married in a catholic church but am not sure if I can?

Thank you

Ashley

Fr. Harold responds:

Dear Ashley,

First off, you do not have to join the Church in order to get married in the Church. I usually give examples from my own family. My Catholic grandmother married my non-Catholic grandfather in the Church in the early 1900’s. My Catholic mother married my non-Catholic father in the Church.

Now if the Holy Spirit is calling you to enter the Catholic Church and you are responding, that is great! Most parishes have an adult Christian Initiation program. Ask questions and join that group, remembering that you are totally free to go ahead or not. Either way, you may go ahead with wedding plans.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I was married almost 5 years ago. I was pregnant at the time and it was important to us to be married before the baby was born. I was raised Catholic but had stopped regularly going to church at that time. My husband was baptized Baptist. We were married in an Episcopal church.

Since then I have come back to the Catholic church and had our daughter baptized. My mother asked if I had thought about getting my marriage validated in the Catholic church. I wanted to know if the church recognizes my marriage or not and what I would need to do if it does not.

Thank you

Jennifer

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Jennifer,

Your mother is right on line. Yes, your marriage is invalid in the Church.

You should not receive the Eucharist until your status is corrected..You can get the marriage validated by going to your pastor, who can lead you through the simple process.

As long as your husband agrees you can have a very simple, private ceremony with two witnesses.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I need some advice. My girlfriend (who is a Presbyterian) and I (a practicing Catholic) have been dating for over 3 years now. I believe marriage is on the way, but there is one speed bump- religion. After reading some of your answers, I realize that Catholics and non-Catholics may be married in the Church with proper classes, a dispensation, and her consent to the children's Catholic upbringing. She doesn't mind being married in a mass, but the part where we tend to butt heads, though, is her reasonable insistence on compromise and given canon law, there really is no room for compromise in the case of the children. Thus, my question is can children be raised Catholic, yet still attend her church and Sunday school, essentially allowing full exposure to both which would allow for a more informed confirmation (should the child choose to be Catholic)? Or is there some other way of approaching this? I've looked around for an answer and have heard horror stories and success stories, alike, but would like your opinion on what to do. Thank you.

-David

Fr. Malloy responds:

David,

Sorry, David, compromise is not possible. The partner does not have to be Catholic, but must agree to having the children raised Catholic.

The children may not attend her church and Sunday school. It would not be wrong for them to occasionally attend the other church (Provided they went to Mass).

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On August 12, we received these questions:

Fathers:

My sister is a catholic but her son’s father isn’t, he is a Christian. Well, my sister wants to baptize my nephew and the father is okay with it. But the situation arises because he wants to represent himself as the father the day of the ceremony. Is there a reason why he couldn’t stand up with my sister, godparents and son during the ceremony? The local rectory claims he couldn’t stand up with them while they perform the sacrament.

Denise

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Denise,

If the parish allows the baptism, I see no reason why the father can not stand up at the ceremony.

You can always check with another priest or another parish,

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


My nephew quite recently was married by a Greek Orthodox priest. He did not get a dispensation. What then is the state of his marriage if, in fact, he is married?

Many thanks,

Dick

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dick,

If he was married in a faith not accepted by the Catholic Church, the union was invalid. He is, of course, civilly married.

If the Greek Orthodox church is accepted as valid by the Catholic Church, the union is valid.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Dick followed up:

Fr. Malloy -

Many thanks for your answer. Since the Orthodox Church is in schism, then it is invalid in some regard, hence the marriage is invalid. Am I correct?

Dick

Fr. Malloy responded:

Dick,

Yes. Since the Orthodox Church is in schism, the marriage is invalid.

He should check with the local Catholic pastor, if he wants to validate the marriage.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi,

I had a question regarding wether or not I can marry my boyfriend in a cathloic or Christian church. I am a catholic and so is he. He was in a previous marriage for 8 years in which took place in a catholic church and later got a divorce due to his wifes infidelity. I have never been married and I come from a very religious family who would accept nothing else then being married in a Christian/ cathloic church. Is there anyway this could be a possibility if my boyfriends first marriage was never annulled?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Fr. Malloy responds:

Your boy friend's first marriage would have to be invalidated before you can marry in the Catholic Church.

A dispensation can be sought through your local pastor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Good Day,

My 25 year old consertive jewish daughter, (of 2 jewish parents), has asked what we think about her being baptised in a Catholic Church. The young man she is dating is a practicing Catholic of 2 Catholic parents. My major concern, of many, is the result to her "jewish religion".

What doe's this mean to the future of her Jewish religion?

I believe she is contimplating this to please her boyfriend and his parents.With that said, I believe she may be being pressured, as they are talking marriage lately, and I know his parents, (and most likely him too), wanta Catholic marriage ceremony. Followed, most likey, by raising their children Catholic.

As a jewish mother and father, with NO interfaith first marriages in either of our families. We are concerned.

Doe's a catholic baptism negate her being a jew?

Will she have to accept Jesus?

I am not very happy about this, but, I DO understand. If we had raised her in a Reformed or Orthodox jewish life, she would probably not even be contimplating this. However, raised as a Consertive Jew, the line's have been a little "grey" in her upbringing, due to our notkeeping our Jewish faith ever constant in our home.

She has always called herself a jew, and still doe's, but she has asked our opinion on a "late in life baptism." I'm trying to be open minded but, with my Consertive Jewish upbringing, this is a bit of a blow. A little Catholic wisdom and information would be of great help to us parents, as we are not educated in situations like this.

My real "question's" are the one's itlicized. However, my greatest question is:the question that has me up at 4am today is:

Will my daughter no longer be a Jew, once baptised in the Catholic church?

With greatest respect for all religions,

Martie

Fr. Malloy responds:

Martie,

Will my daughter no longer be a Jew, once baptized in the Catholic church?

She will always be a Jew. Jesus was always a Jew.

Catholic baptism will make her a Catholic Jew.

A Catholic Church marriage would make for greater unity of the marriage. For the Catholic partner this would be required.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On August 8, we received these questions:

Good day father,

I am a mother of three beautiful children. My youngest, was baptized a year ago in a catholic church. The God-father could not attend, thus was not present. The god-mother was able to attend. However, since then, there has been a large falling out between our families, and the god-parents (who are a married couple). they are not practicing Catholics, nor have their children baptized. We realized we made an error in asking them to represent our child, as they do not show interest in teaching her her belief, nor in being a large part of her life. they have hurt me personally, and there is a large void on aspects with my child, and myself. I understand that they are the 'witnesses/sponsors' for her baptism, and have read numerous times, that that cannot be altered. The woman who we truly want to be her god-mother, has been present in her life since she was in utero, and was even present at her birth. She deeply wants to be a part of our little one's life as a God-mother, as do we.

How can we go about this? Is there anything that we change religiously, or spiritually, to make her our little one's respected Godparent? Any advice would be appreciate. Thank you in advance,

Melanie

Fr. Danielson answers:

Dear Melanie,

Oh, situations within families and friends! The Gospels forewarn us of this. By the time the Gospels were written down, these things had already been happening.

Yes, what is already written and recorded in a Baptism record cannot be changed. However, if you have a special friend who is having a wonderful relationship of goodness and example in your little one’s life, encourage that. Then when Confirmation time comes, your daughter [with you supporting] could have her for the Confirmation sponsor. That will seal the relationship with a Sacrament.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB

Melanie follows up:

Thank you father, for your response. We are aware of the confirmation, and do plan on having our good friend present as her godmother then. However, since my daughter is only one, we would like to know if there is anything in the interim... Our good friend has a strong belief as the life of a godparent, and we would really like them to be bonded religiously, going forward. A blessing perhaps? Anything at all? I thank you again,

Melanie

Fr. Danielson answers:

Dear Melanie,

Here is something you might do. Remember the lighted candle that you received at the Baptism for your daughter? Every year on the anniversary of Baptism, light the candle just for a minute or two. It will very quickly be a special candle for her.

Have your friend there to share the moment of lighting. Say a short prayer together. You will observe them growing closer each year. Her presence at First Communion will be special. Then as Confirmation sponsor!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I have been married to my husband civily for a year now. We have a beautiful son whom we baptized at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church in NY. We are regular church goers.

My question is can we be "Married" in the Catholic Church? I have heard different opinions on the subject. My concern is that we can't since I have been married before, but also civily, never in the church. (I helped out a friend of my family recieve citizenship). Or can our marriage be only blessed by the church?

Thank you for your time,

Marta & David

Fr. Danielson responds:

Dear Marta and David,

To be fully integrated in the Catholic Church one must be in harmony with all the Sacraments. Currently you are out of “synch” because you have not been married in the Church. The Catholic community has such a reverence for marriage that between baptized persons it is a Sacrament, that is, a sign of God’s presence in your own lives and in the whole life of all the disciples of Jesus, the Church.

Jesus proclaims that his disciples are to be “light for the world.” See Chapter 5 in the Gospel of Matthew. This means that disciples are observable to all. So the Church has some regulations for its own members to be able to say that, at least externally, all the elements are present for there to be the Sacrament for a couple.

These regulations are essentially that there be present the couple, two witnesses and the deacon or priest who officiates. Most of the time marriages are celebrated in the parish church of the bride or the groom. The Bishop may give permission for a celebration not in the parish church on an individual basis for good cause.

For your situation, Marta, you need to have your Baptism certificate, a copy of your first marriage certificate, and the final dissolution decree. These are presented to your diocesan Tribunal. A declaration would be made that it was invalid, and thus a “Free to Marry” decree would follow.

Then following the diocesan policy in your parish, you can prepare for the Sacrament. The celebration could be as small or as big as you want.

So speak to your parish priest. He will be most happy to help you to become fully “practicing” Catholics in harmony with all the Sacraments, particularly Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On August 2, we received these questions:

Fathers,

I am hoping to get some clarification about my marriage and its validity in the church. I was married last year outside of the church by an ex-military chaplain who worked within the Catholic and Lutheran Faith. My husband was married twice before. Neither marriage was in the Catholic Church (one was Methodist and the other a civil service). I have heard conflicting stories about the validity of my marriage. I have heard that because my husband was not married in the Catholic Church prior that his previous marriages are not considered valid in the Catholic Church so we are able to go ahead and get our marriage blessed by the church without the annulment process. Then I was told that because we were married by a previous Catholic Chaplain that are marriage would be considered blessed already by the church. I want to make sure that we considered valid in the Catholic Church. I also understand that because we were not married in a church we are not permitted to receive communion. Is that correct as well? Any guidance you can give me in this situation is greatly appreciated. Our marriage occurred very quickly due to military orders and the Priest at the church I had attend for 20+ years refused to talk to any couple trying to get married shorter than six months due to military orders.

Thank you and God Bless

Julie

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Julie,

Let’s see of I can pick out the important details of the situation you have presented. Our very existence as human beings is quite complex as also the situations we are in.

First, I must make the assumption that your husband is Catholic. This is not clear from your letter. On that assumption neither of the first two marriages were done following the Catholic regulations for a Sacramental marriage. This would be officially recognized by the Church Tribunal upon presentation of the relevant documents which would result in a “Freedom to Marry” decree.

These things would have to have been completed before a Catholic priest or deacon could officiate at a marriage. I do not know if the Military Archbishop’s Office will delegate any chaplain to officiate at the wedding where one spouse is Catholic [or both]. But that would have to be clear before any ceremony. The Military Archbishop’s Office keeps these Sacramental records for all Sacraments done within its [worldwide] jurisdiction.

From your description, I am not sure if that happened or not. You know that all Catholic disciples of Jesus are called to be in harmony with all the Sacraments. If somehow we are out of “sync” in one area, we need to strive to get into harmony with all.

Yes, that could technically put an obstacle in the way for full participation in the Eucharist.

It is unfortunate that the Clergy you talked to couldn’t take into account special circumstances in your case. Of course, my input in the paragraphs above would have to be dealt with first. But any other time you could seek help further up, directly from the Bishop. This is quite within the realm of possibility and reality.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Good day father,

I am a mother of three beautiful children. My youngest, was baptized a year ago in a catholic church. The God-father could not attend, thus was not present. The god-mother was able to attend. However, since then, there has been a large falling out between our families, and the god-parents (who are a married couple). they are not practicing Catholics, nor have their children baptized. We realized we made an error in asking them to represent our child, as they do not show interest in teaching her her belief, nor in being a large part of her life. they have hurt me personally, and there is a large void on aspects with my child, and myself. I understand that they are the 'witnesses/sponsors' for her baptism, and have read numerous times, that that cannot be altered. The woman who we truly want to be her god-mother, has been present in her life since she was in utero, and was even present at her birth. She deeply wants to be a part of our little one's life as a God-mother, as do we.

How can we go about this? Is there anything that we change religiously, or spiritually, to make her our little one's respected Godparent? Any advice would be appreciate. Thank you in advance,

Melanie

Fr. Danielson answers:

Dear Melanie,

Oh, situations within families and friends! The Gospels forewarn us of this. By the time the Gospels were written down, these things had already been happening.

Yes, what is already written and recorded in a Baptism record cannot be changed. However, if you have a special friend who is having a wonderful relationship of goodness and example in your little one’s life, encourage that. Then when Confirmation time comes, your daughter [with you supporting] could have her for the Confirmation sponsor. That will seal the relationship with a Sacrament.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On July 30, we received these questions:

Fathers,

Is it a fact that a cremated Catholic does NOT have to be buried in a Catholic cemetery? I have heard mixed opinions on this.

Thanks for responding.

Tom

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Tom,

There is a place in Catholic cemeteries for cremated remains. Catholics should be buried there.

For a proportionate reason other arrangements can be made, if the deceased had requested it.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I was wondering if it is a requirement of the Catholic church to provide a birth certificate in order to have an infant baptized and if so would it be possible to find out where that it written via Catholic Church law.

Thanks,

Doug

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Doug,

THE CHILD'S PRESENCE IS PROOF OF BIRTH.

The Catholic Church would not require a birth certificate other than to make sure the record is true.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On July 28, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

After 20 years away from the church, I am trying to become a good catholic and am scheduled to have my special needs son baptized in 2 weeks. I had an abortion 20 year ago as a young girl, can I still get my son baptized. My husband is Lutheran, although he is thinking of converting. If I go to confession, will that help?

Heidi

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Heidi

Going to confession is certainly required. Your sin of abortion can be forgiven and your son baptized.

You should attend Mass faithfully, but you cannot receive Communion until your marriage is blest in the Church. It can be a simple ceremony, very private, if you wish.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Greetings from Medford, Oregon!!

First, thank you for this opportunity to ask a serious question. Wouldn't you know this link is in my hometown of San Francisco!!!I have posed the following two questions on FaceBook. The response was disappointing because there were no serious comments.

Although I am not Catholic by denomination, there has always been a priest to answer my important questions. Unfortunately, the two Jesuit priests that I knew here in the Rogue Valley have both died. And, they always had wonderfully awful jokes to share. The community misses then very much.

So, below are my questions. Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Susan

If a person asks God for forgiveness, does the penance(if they are Catholic), and is able/capable of remedying the damage that they caused but chooses not to, is there forgiveness? The person is, in fact, perpetuating the wrong again and again by choice.

perpetuating the wrong again and again by choice., then what?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Susan,

(1) In perpetuating the wrong again and again by choice, the guilty person would still be guilty. Forgiveness of sin depends on reparation when possible.

(2) Perpetuating the wrong again and again by choice perpetuates the sin.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a practicing catholic who is engaged to a non-catholic who was never baptized in any church. I have completed the annulment process and am cleared by the church to remarry. My Fiancé on the other hand did not have her annulment granted. We started the process over a year and a half ago and have two different parish priests working on my fiancés case. We have completed the extra paperwork that the arch diocese has sent and returned.

Our wedding date we have picked is 9 months away and we still are not allowed to reserve the date of March 17th, 2012 as it’s an important date for me due to my Irish ancestry. I am involved in the Knights of Columbus and I have two daughters that will be making their First Communion and Conformation respectively next year. My fiancé has expressed that she would like to be baptized in the church and would later convert once we get married, we have even expressed this to the tribunal board in the arch diocese.

The question I would like to know is even without an annulment of my fiancés previous marriage, can we still have the planned marriage in the church for my sake or do I have to give up my involvement in the church for myself and my children. Is there another options?

Thank You and God Bless.

Jonathan

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Jonathan,

Certainly an either/or is premature.

Blessed Pope John Paul II on various occasions encouraged people who were not fully in harmony with all the Sacraments to nonetheless participate as far as possible in the Church community.

I wonder if in your relations with your diocesan Tribunal it was considered that your fiancée wished to enter the Church. When this happens before you have some wedding ceremony, then it is possible that a “Privilege of the Faith” decree could be issued and thus a “Freedom to Marry” statement. The Church Baptism would precede the Marriage Sacrament. Perhaps approaching it this way would clear things somewhat.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On July 24, we received these questions:

Father,

I have just recently being asked to be a sponsor for my cousins child.

I was baptized Catholic, made my Confirmation, but got married Methodist. Could I still be considered as a sponsor since I was not married Catholic?

Thanks, Amy

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Amy,

Your marriage outside the Catholic Church would make you ineligible to be a Catholic godparent.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

 


Fathers,

In the year 1991 we got married through a christian church and we were told that we were living outside of the Catholic Church we did not know this and we immediately asked for help. Three months before we got married my husband had his first marriage annulled, and In the year 2007 my husband and I were married through the Catholic Church. The priest who married us told us that we did not need a new marriage certificate as we were married already before and they have our marriage certificate in city hall. He never gave us any papers of marriage just that we got married through the Catholic Church. Reason for me writing you, is that this same priest was taken out on being a priest this year for being unlawful to the church. what should I do? I feel that it is wrong and that we should have a valid marriage certificate that shows that we were married through the catholic church. Am I wrong? Please help clear this matter up. I really need to know so that I can start to fix what this priest did, that is if he did anything wrong.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lydia,

If you and present husband had your civil marriage certificate, you should have been asked to produce it at the time of your Catholic ceremony. Your marriage is certainly valid, but I suggest you contact the church and ask them check the records.

It was up to the priest to enter the information in the Church register.

Ask for a Catholic marriage certificate'

Your present pastor should be able to clear up the situation if the church record is missing.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

 


My son will be Baptized this month and we would like for my brother to be the Godfather. He has been through all the sacraments but because he does not belong to a parish the church refuses to allow him to be the Godfather.

Is there anyway to solve this issue? I don't want my brother to be the christian witness.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Adam,

One of the conditions for being a godparent is to be a practicing Catholic.

Your brother can be a godparent if he attends mass, even if he is not enrolled in a particular Catholic parish.

I suggest you ask the priest what your brother can do to show he is a practicing Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On July 16, we received these questions:

Fathers,

My question is, if one parent is catholic and the other one is of no faith at all and you were not married in any church can you still baptize your newborn child? The father is a practicing catholic,

Thank you,

Melissa

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Melissa,

If one parent is a practicing Catholic, the child can be baptized. Certain promises must be made, however, to raise the child as Catholic and to see to the child's understanding of the Catholic faith, as far as possible.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

If a child is baptized but the father is not, during the baptismal does the father indirectly become baptized?

Jessai

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Jessai,

The Baptism of an infant is always an invitation to family members. It shows God’s love for all of us and his active presence in our lives. No one is “indirectly” baptized. However, being a parent of a baptized child keeps one close to God. By the example of those around him, perhaps in time the Holy Spirit may move him to inquire about entry into the community of Church. Let us give praise to God and sing Alleluia!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

My fiancé and I have plans to get married in a non-denominational chapel. During our engagement we have found a local Catholic Church that we would like to become members of and convert to Catholicism.

We are just entering the RCIA process and I would like to know if it is required that our previous marriages be annulled before we can convert. We are not necessarily interested in having our marriage recognized by the church, however I don’t know if that is necessary for part of the conversion.

Thank you for your help,

Annette

Fr. Danielson answers:

Dear Annette,

The question that you ask me over the internet is exactly what you should be asking your RCIA director and your pastor. The Church holds to its principles while knowing our weaknesses as human beings. It is expected that, on entering the Church, a person should be in harmony with all the Sacraments. So marriage is very important.

So do have a conversation with your pastor, and know that in all circumstances Jesus loves you absolutely and always. Keep following Him.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

My husband and I are expecting our 4th child in September. My husband is military and as such we move a great deal. We do not have a church that regularly attend where we would want out child baptized. We live in monterey but would like to have our child baptized in your church in San Francisco. Our 2 older children were baptized at St. Louis Bertrand in Louisville, Ky and our 3rd child was born in italy and baptized in the Vatican before we moved back to the States in 2009. If possible could we attend classes at the military base church (if they offer them) and still have our 4th child baptized in your church? Also, in order to have Godparents at the vatican we needed to have letters from our Godparent's parish stating they were in good standing with the church and practicing Catholics, is this something you require as well?

Thank you so much for your time and God Bless,

Catherine

Fr. Danielson answers:

Dear Catherine,

What an interesting, complex story! Certainly you can have conversations with your military chaplain to see about your readiness for baptizing your # 4 (!). If they have a formal class, as parishes everywhere have, wonderful; if not, a talk with him suffices. Godparents should attend a class wherever they live.

Attached to this e-mail is the parish Baptism registration form. Please complete it and send it to me.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On July 10, we received these questions:

Fathers:

First, thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question.

I have a question that has been weighing on my mind, is my marriage valid in the eyes of the Church, and if not, what to do to make it valid.

My husband and I have been married for 19 yrs come October of this year. We have never been married before. We have two beautiful teenagers. We were both Protestants, he baptized, I was not. We were married by the Justice of the Peace in Ct, my husband was a submariner in the Navy at the time. In 2008, I participated in the RCIA program, was baptised Catholic, Easter of 2009, I'm finally Home !! But my husband and children did not convert and does not show any interest in converting...at least right now, this is fine, I'm sure with a lot of prayer, things will change, I just have to be patient, as my daughter goes to Mass with me sometimes, and she is questioning about baptism, and my son is dating a Catholic girl and goes to Mass with her and her family at times. My husband, well, I have him reminding me, yes me, to say Grace at dinner. :) Baby steps, I'll take them. I've talked to my husband about our marriage, that it may not be valid in the eyes of the Church, if he would do this for me and he is willing to take the necessary step, as long as it does not involve converting, or taking long classes or such.

But is my marriage valid in the eyes of the Church? If not, what do I...we ...need to do ? I've called my Parish to talk to someone about it, but my call has not been returned, I'm thinking now,I should directly call our Parish Priest and set an appointment to talk with him. I would just like your opinion, Thank you.

Tracey

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Tracey,

Your marriage is certainly valid, but it should have been blest at the time of your baptism.

Ask your pastor if you can renew your vows privately. You just need two witnesses. Your marriage would then be entered in the parish register.

Continue supporting your family with your prayers and good example and the Lord will bless you and them.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father, long story short. Back in late 1964 I married a non-catholic lady outside of the church. If I recall it was a civil wedding. We were later divorced. I again was married outside of the church in 1988, that ended in divorce in 2006. I have not been to church on any regular basis since this started in 1964 and have not been to confession since my 1st marriage. I have been told by people that as far as the Church is concerned - I do not exist. No confessions and needless to say no communion at a Mass.

At this time in my life I don't drive anymore but I would still like to be able to go to church and if possible attend confession and receive communion.

What is my next step? Can I go to confession???

Thank you,

Emmett

Fr. Malloy answers:

Emmett,

Welcome home!

Certainly you can go to confession and ask for forgiveness from your two invalid marriages and all your past serious sins (as far as you can remember them).

You can receive Communion, after a good confession, and should regularly go to Mass (as far as possible) on Sunday (or Saturday evening).

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On July 3, we received these questions:

Good Evening Father,

I am going to have by two granddaughters baptized and i would like my sister to be the godmother. They gave us paperwork that says that in accepting the responisibility, according to the teacing of the catholic church an individual must;

be a practicing catholic in good standing - which she is
be a registered member of the parish - which she is
have completed the sacraments of initiation - which she did
be at least 16 years of age- which she is

if married be in a valid marriage according to the rites of the catholic church - she is currently separated but was married in an episcopalian church, but currently a practising catholic.

Will they allow her to be godmother because of her marriage?

Thank you,

Diana

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Diana,

The fact that she had an invalid marriage would not effect her being the godmother, especially now that she is a practicing Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am a catholic mother of an eleven months old son. I came to America 3 years ago and married a man. He is not a catholic and we didn’t get a Catholic Matrimony. I really want my son to be baptize. I don’t know if it is possible and also we don’t have anybody who are catholic around this area to be his godfather. Is there a way to have my son baptize? Do I need proof of my baptism and confirmation?

Thank you for your help

Anya

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Anya,

As for godparents, the local priest can always supply them when needed.

It would be good to see if your marriage can be convalidated. A catholic ceremony to follow can be very private and simple.

It would be good also to have a copy of your baptism and confirmation certificates..

Records are always kept and can be obtained by writing to the church or diocese where the ceremonies took place. Speak to a local priest for further information as to the baptism of your son.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I would like to know if it is possible to not notify my girlfriend's ex-husband relating to dissolution or annulment of a previous marriage in a non-catholic church.

I am Catholic and she is not nor has she ever been baptized.

Her concern involves a possible life threatening situation by her ex-husband's accusations and previous actions (being arrested, etc).

Is it possible to do this (Not notify him for personal safety reasons) during the process conducted by the Catholic Church so that we can be married in the Catholic Church?

PM

Fr. Malloy answers:

PM:

If your girlfriend and her husband were validly married, a dissolution of that marriage would have to be determined by the Bishop's tribunal.and ordinary requires statement from her husband.

Check with the Marriage Tribunal of your diocese.

If your girlfriend wishes to become Catholic a special privilege could be evocated for the dissolution that first marriage.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi father, I am currently pregnant and am planning on baptising my child in a catholic church here in California. However, my partner is married in Mexico and never got a divorce. Are we still able to baptism our child in a catholic church??

Fr. Malloy answers:

Gina,

I hope you will look into the possibility of marrying in the Catholic Church.

As to the baptism, the local priest should be contacted. He will explain what your should do..

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 28, we received these questions:

Fathers,

My granddaughter will be baptised Catholic.

My son would like his sister to be godmother, however we are greek orthodox.

I realize the catholic church will only recognize a sponsor who practices the catholic faith. But, can his sister stand in as well and participate in the ceremony?

Shiatsu

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Shiatsu,

No reason why his sister could not stand in at the baptism. Hopefully she can be a good influence on his faith.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My husband of 7 years and I just met with our priest in preparation for the baptism of our second child. We were completely caught off guard to learn that our marriage of 7 years is not valid as we did not get married in a Catholic Church. Father explained the Con-validation ceremony to us and left it up to us to decide how we would like to proceed. My question has to do with our children. How does the Church view our children if technically we are "living in sin"? Are they considered illegitimate? Father never said he wouldn't baptize our child and they did in fact baptize our first. We were told it was an oversight that no one discussed this situation with us the first time around. My biggest concern right now is how the Church views our children.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kristin

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kristin,

The Church views your children as legitimate in view of your lack of knowledge of your marital condition.

Hopefully your present marriage can be validated, See if you have grounds for pursing this.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I recently baptized a friends child and I would like to know if I can remove myself from the baptism certificate and no longer be part of the whole process?

I have found that the practices of the parents are not congruent to that of the catholic church and therefore, I cannot in clear conscience support this family on any level.

Please advise

Mercy

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mercy,

There is no point in asking to change a church record.

What has happened to the family, as far as the faith is concerned, should be a motive of prayer for your godchild. "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."

Meantime you can express your disappointment with the family practice.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 25, we received these questions:

Well, here is my problem. We are expecting a new baby in a few months and my husband and I, both being Catholic, would like our child baptized. The problem is none of the candidates we would want as Godparents are confirmed. They are practicing Catholics though. We really don't have any close friends or relatives that are confirmed and we don't feel comfortable asking people we are not especially close with and who our child will barely know. Is it a true baptism if neither Godparent is confirmed?

Nikki

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Nikki,

The baptism is certainly valid, even if godparents were not confirmed.

That at least one of the sponsors be confirmed (the other may serve as witness) is a basic requirement. According to the Code of Canon Law (874), "a sponsor for a Catholic confirmation must be a confirmed Catholic."

Your two friends can always be witnesses, and the parish can supply (pro forma) the godfather or godmother who fulfill the law, even if they have no dealings with the child.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 15, we received these questions:

I wish to be more involved with my church. I am a widower and would like to become a Eucharistic minister, I talked to my priest about it, he told me that the church needs lay people and would have someone contact me. That was months ago. I visit many elderly people and would like to give them communion. How should I proceed to do this. Should I try another Catholic Church?

Charlie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Charlie,

Do not give up. The Church can use you!

I suggest you go back to the priest and tell the him you are still waiting for the contact promised.,

Repeat your desire to bring Communion to the sick. It would be a wonderful service to the parish and much needed.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


I was wondering my fiancee is in the military and we wanted to get married as soon as he gets back. Is it possible for the priest to make an exception and let us get married right away instead of getting the church in advance, and waiting?

Thank you,

Tamra

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Tamra,

If you can have the marriage classes ahead of time (you and your fiancée, either privately or together), it would be possible.

But that would depend on the priest doing the ceremony. Find a friendly priest and explain the circumstances.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 13, we received these questions:

I am engaged to a divorced non-Catholic who doesn't want to get married in the Catholic church. With (if granted) an annulment of her past marriage is it possible for our marriage to be recognized by the Catholic church even if we aren't married inside an actual church. Also, she is hoping to have a particular person officiate the wedding, which is neither a priest or deacon. Would this be a barrier in recognition?

Thank you for your time.

John

Fr. John Malloy answers:

John,

If her first marriage is annulled, you can be married in the Catholic Church.

However the marriage would not be recognized by the Catholic Church if you were civilly married, or married out of the Church.

Fr. John I. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now and want to get married. However he is joining the Navy and will be leaving for boot camp soon and right after that he will have to go to his training school, possibly up to two years. Would it be okay if we got married in court so I could live with him instead of not being able to see him for possibly two years. But when he is done with school and when we have the chance, we would love to have our wedding in my Catholic church. Would this be acceptable?

Thank you. - Jessica

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jessica,

It might be possible to have a quiet ceremony in the Catholic Church, but it would not be acceptable to have a civil marriage before that.

Speak to your local priest.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am a mother of a one year old boy who just recently moved to the states weeks ago, I am still looking for the right church to attend. I would like to have my baby boy baptized, however, I have no way to prove that I am baptized myself cuz i did it 33 years ago in my home country and my mother (now very old) don't remember which church it was and we cannot find any record of it anywhere. Can I still have my baby baptized ??? Please help !!!

Thank you for your help

Michelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

Find a Catholic Church and speak to the pastor.

Select two practicing Catholics as Godparents to assure the priest that the child will be raised Catholic.

Attend the baptism classes.

You should have no problem to have the child baptized.

Have your mother write a letter stating that you were baptized Catholic, if the priest requires it.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Father,

My husband is Catholic and I’m not, nor have I ever been Baptized. I would like to be baptized and joint the church. My question is this.. I was married before, does the church recognize that marriage even though I was never baptized or married in a religious ceremony?

Trista

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Trista,

Your first marriage was valid in the eyes of Church and State.

Being baptized would make it easier for you to marry in the Church, but your first marriage would have to be examined as to grounds for annulment.

A local priest can help you with this.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 6, we received these questions:

DEAR FATHER JOHN,

DID JESUS AND SAINTS PETER AND PAUL SPEAK LATIN? I'VE HAD ONE PERSON TELL ME YES. THE OTHER NO. WHICH IS IT?

THANKS.

ROSE

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Rose,

It is generally agreed that Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic,[ perhaps along with some Hebew and Greek The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum, where Jesus lived, were primarily Aramaic-speaking communities, although Greek was widely spoken in the major cities of the Mediterranean Basin. Jesus may have also known enough Hebrew to discuss the Hebrew Bible, and he may have known Koine Greek.

St.Paul, as well educated as he was, probably conversant in the same dialects (languages) as Jesus.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers:

Two of our fallen away Catholic grandchildren are getting married in the Fall. My granddaughter Sarah no longer believes in what the CC teaches and has no religion, is marrying a non-practicing Jew who was raised Methodist. They will be married in an Episcopal Church because they are both music majors and this church has a pipe organ. Another reason for marrying in this church is that Sarah’s boyfriend works in this church as a singer.

My grandson Ryan no longer believes in what the CC teaches and is marrying a girl who no longer practices her former Protestant religion. They will be married in a garden wedding with a package deal that consists of someone hired to marry them, (not a priest).

My husband and I are both practicing Catholics and have been invited to both weddings. According to what the CC teaches, are we allowed to attend these weddings? By being there will that in itself be giving consent to their actions?

Thank you.

Gloria

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Gloria,

You may attend the wedding ceremonies. Presence does not imply consent.

Do let them know of your unhappiness of the unions.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


When a person is married in the Catholic Church do you need a Marriage License issued by a Country Registrar? If so, is a Catholic Marriage legal if there was NO marriage license issued through the County Resistrar?

Thank you for your time.

Charlotte

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Charlotte,

You can not be married in the Church without a civil license.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello,

I am sorry to bother you guys, but...

I am in a bit of a pickle so I thought I would try to write to the few experts I know of to write to, to try to find a proper answer to my question. Please think on it and write me back with what you think should be our course of action.

Thank you.

Eagerly and anxiously awaiting your response,

Kate

Here’s the question, as I worded it on some forums...looking for help:

My husband and I converted (went throught RCIA and converted Easter of 2010.)

When we married in 1996, the wedding was outdoors and done by a Lutheran pastor, and my husband was NOT baptized at that time. (Three things wrong there.)

I was baptized Lutheran (born and raised Lutheran.)

After RCIA, when we came into the Catholic Church Easter of 2010, my husband got baptized, and we both received first communion and confirmation.

We've been going to Mass faithfully ever since and confession regularly...doing everything right! So I thought...

But now I read about convalidation ceremony. Were we supposed to get our marriage convalidated after coming into the Church and after my husband got baptized?...so that we would not be considered "living in sin" and fornicating?

Are we still considered to be living in sin and fornicating...since we never did this convalidation ceremaony? Because that means we've been going up for the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin constantly??!?!?...though I suppose that our ignorance about what we were doing made it not a mortal sin, going up for communion like this. But now that we know...

The priest never told us??!?!?! Like after RCIA was over. Never told us to do this next. Or what we should do next. So I had no idea.?!?

Sometimes I think I know more about The Faith than our priest does...especially when it comes to these conversion issues.

Now that my husband is baptized, and we both went through RCIA and converted and both got our first communion and our confirmation, is everything all fine now? OR do we need to have this convalidation ceremony? And, if so, are we living in sin until we do?

And here’s a very important secondary question:

At the convalidation ceremony, I read that you need to have two witnesses who actually HAVE their marriage all done exactly as it was supposed to be done...absolutely correct process. I'm not sure I KNOW anybody like this! Everybody seems to be someone who is a Catholic but married a Protestant w/o dispensation...but then just comes to Church and up for the Eucharist like no big deal!

Or someone who DID finally have their Protestant hub convert years later, but then they never convalidated.

Or...

So...DO we HAVE to have this CERTAIN TYPE OF WITNESS at the ceremony???

Or will some other type of witness do? I want to make sure I am doing everything right. Once and for all.

And there is no sense asking the priest...or the priest we had before him either.

PLEASE HELP!!!

Kate

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Kate,

I suggest you call the Chancery Office and speak to the marriage tribunal. The would willingly handle your case.

As for marriage witnesses: they don't have to be a couple and any one of age can serve.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 30, we received these questions:

Father I was wondering if you could answer something for me...

When I had my son baptized his actual godmother (my cousin) wasn’t able to come up from Florida to Philly so my sister stood in as a proxy for her.

Over the last 4 years me and my cousin have gotten into a lot of very huge fights and ended with us no longer talking.

My son starts school in September and when we went to tour the school we went into the 3rd grade classroom. They were preparing to make there first holy communion and it got me thinking, is there any way I can change my sons godmother to my sister? the one who was actually there when he was baptized. He should have his godparents there when he makes his sacraments that is something that is very important to me and to his father. and no matter how much I tried I can not mend things between his godmother and myself...

Is there anything I can do?

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this

Vickiey

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Vickiey,

Sorry, you can't change godparents, after the original sacrament.

Let your sister serve as acting godmother and encourage her to carry out the duties.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My husband and I are practicing catholic and would like to get married in the catholic church however we were both previously married.

My husband first marriage was performed in the catholic church and my first marriage was performed in the Lutheran church.

Do I need to have my first marriage annulled by the Catholic church?

Our marriage was performed 20 years ago by a Presbyterian minster at a private club.

As a cancer survivor I feel that receiving the sacrament of communion is very important and that is why we are hoping to get married in the Catholic church.

Sincerely,

Mary

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Mary,

I presume that both of you were validly baptized in the Catholic Church.

As a Catholic married out of the Church, your union was not accepted as valid by the Church.

Your local priest can help you set the matter right.

Your partner needs an annulment as you know.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 26, we received these questions:

Can a person of the catholic faith, be buried in consecrataed ground if (a) he was cremated (b) no funeral, memorial in a protestant chapel?

Old Bat

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Old Bat,

Answer: Yes, in all cases.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Good Morning!

I am wondering...

I was married in 2004 in a Catholic Church, the marriage legally ended November, 2010. I am now planning on getting married again. We are both Catholic and would like to be married in a Catholic church. I know when I was married previously, my ex was not Catholic and that did not matter because I was. So... I was wondering, since my fiance is Catholic will I still need the annullment?

Thank you so much for your time!

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Stephanie,

You were married in the Catholic Church. This is considered a valid, true marriage, unless it is proven otherwise. So while seeking to get married in the Church, you need to look to see if there is some reason for it to be declared invalid. If this takes place through application to your local Diocesan Tribunal, then you would receive a “Freedom to Marry” decree.

Thus you should consult with your parish priest to fill out an application asking the Tribunal to start the process.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Fathers,

I am a cradle Catholic. I've been dating my boyfriend for about 4 and a half years now. We are talking about getting engaged. I would like to get married in the Catholic Church and raise our children Catholic. He's never been baptized in any faith. Can we still get married in the Catholic Church without him being baptized? I've tried researching the answer, but it's all so confusing. Help!

Thank you!

God Bless,

Lindsey

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Lindsey,

You can get married in the Catholic Church, after you have taken the instructions and your boyfriend promises no objections to your raising the children Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have a question regarding music used during Mass. I was under the impression that the Church frowned on the use of "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Am I correct on this? Have the Bishops made a statement on this?

Thank for your help.

Kim

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kim,

The songs, hymns, and antiphons of the Mass reflect a wide range of musical forms and styles and are drawn from a variety of publishers. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their 2007 document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship were chosen with the criteria offered by the ritual and spiritual dimensions as well as cultural context of the music, which were examined and selections were made based on liturgical, pastoral, and musical (aesthetical) judgments. The accurate articulation of the faith and the appropriateness of the music for the Sacred Liturgy guided the selection process.

With this criteria I would suggest the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is not appropriate for church liturgy.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 16, we received this questions:

Father....thank you so much for this opportunity !!

First, let me give you a little bit of my background so you see that ( humbly) I feel I have a better than average grasp of the teachings of the Catholic church. I am a former nun, I am still a very devout Catholic, frequently attend Mass during the week , spend an hour of adoration each week and have taught RCIA !!.

Now, the background on my situation. My niece ( who is also my godchild ) is seeking to have her second child baptized. She is a holyday only Catholic and her husband is a Japanese Buddhist. They had their first child baptized soon after returning to the states....held at her Mom's parish and no questions at all about her practice of the faith. Her child's godparents are both lapsed Catholics. She had no problem getting the parish to baptize her firstborn. . Now she has moved to my state and wants her second child baptized at my parish. This is going to be difficult without fibbing a little because my priest is very strict. I would be asking him about this situation but I don't want to run the risk of sabotaging the potential baptism .

Here is my real question.... why is it not better to baptize a child and put them in the state of grace as opposed to leaving them in original sin just because they may not be raised Catholic ? Is the Church really saying that if you baptize them and they ( the child ) don't practice the faith in their adult life, they are somehow held responsible ? I understand that we all want the child experiencing the fullness of the baptismal graces and to be completely a part of her new faith community . Short of that, isn't baptism better than no baptism ?

This question is one that none of my nun friends ( ex or active ) can answer .

Could you also do a little more clarification on the difference between valid and licit.

Pray for my niece and for me that I guide her in the right direction.

Thank you !

Judy

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Judy,

I will certainly pray for you and your niece.

One should not be baptized if there is no hope of a Catholic upbringing.

Not being baptized does not mean lack of salvation. It's personal intention and fulfillment of God's law that saves us. (But I am sure your know that.)

Baptism of desire also saves.

Your first grand-niece is validly baptized, even if the priest's part was illicit--i.e against the practice and directions of the diocese.

Yes, baptism is better than no baptism but it is not a sacrament that one can claim without adherence to the faith. If there was assurance that the child would be raised Catholic there would be no problem, but the example of your niece's practice renders baptism inadvisable at this time. There will be no fullness of the faith without practice. Responsibility will not be on the child, but on the mother.

P.S

"Valid but illicit, also known as valid but illegal, as it pertains to Roman Catholicism, refers to the unauthorized but valid celebration of the sacraments. In the Catholic Church several kinds of people have authority to celebrate the sacraments. However, to be lawful or licit, that authority must be exercised in accordance with the guidance of the church and the rules of canon law."

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Judy then had a follow-up:

Thank you so much for your very quick response and for your time. At the risk of belaboring a point, I'd like to ask again if it I am really having trouble understanding why we wouldn't baptize even if it is not the perfect situation with "fullness of faith ".

Thanks again for your time...this is a wonderful outreach that you have !!! Judy

Fr. Malloy responded:

Judy,

"I have another former nun friend who baptized her grandchild because the parents were lapsed and were not intending to have the child baptized. The child was not in danger of death.. Even though it is not licit... "

Answer: it was illicit, even though the baptism may be valid.

"Is It not better to have original sin removed and grace bestowed on the baby as opposed to doing nothing?"

Answer: The effects of original sin are not removed, and grace is lacking if the will is not committed to the articles of faith. The commitment is on the parent(s), until the child is old enough to act with his/her own free will. In our baptisms the presumption is always that the child will be raised Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 14, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I am 37 and divorced with an annulment from my first husband. I am a cradle Catholic who has had some things in life that have brought me devoutly back to my faith. My current husband just made 40 we have a blended family. He too is a cradle Catholic and baptized. His first marriage was to an Episcopalian woman. She said he turned Episcopalian to marry her.

We are currently seeking an annulment on lack of form, but now I wonder if him "turning" Episcopalian means his marriage was then valid to her in the eyes of the Catholic church? He also received no permission or anything from the Catholic church to marry this woman. Please respond. I so deeply want my current marriage blessed in the Sacrament of the Church.

May the peace of the Lord be with you

Thank you

Nicole

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Nicole.

Your fiancée's previous marriage, after he changed his faith to Episcopalian, does need thebishop's office to grant the freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.

Initiate the process through your local pastor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers

I am Roman Catholic and my fiance is Assyrian and a member of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East. He is also a deacon in his church.

We wish to have two ceremonies. Is it possible to have a Roman Catholic ceremony in a Roman Catholic church, followed immediately by the Assyrian ceremony , but also in the Roman Catholic church? Would the Roman Catholic church allow this? Our faiths are extremely similar. I have researched things a bit and found out that members of the Holy Apostolic Catholice Assyrian Church of the East are one of the few that are permitted to accept communion in the Roman Catholic Church. I'm hopeful that this may extend to the marriage ceremonies!

Sincerely,

Dagmara

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Dagmara,

My first response is to wonder why you think that two wedding ceremonies would be needed for your circumstances.

Your fiancé is a deacon in the Assyrian Church. His marriage in his church is paramount. You can easily contact the Bishop of your diocese for permission to get married in this Christian church community. This upholds the essential unity of Christian marriage. Thus there is just one wedding celebration. All your own catholic relatives and friends are to be invited to the one celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage; the same for his family and friends.

Often Catholic priests collaborate in the one ceremony. But this is not necessary, the Assyrian priest may be the only one. This is totally acceptable.

So contact your Bishop’s office without delay. And prepare for the wonderful event of entering the Sacrament of Marriage following the invitation of Jesus.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers:

I have a question concerning marriage in the Cathloic Church. My fiancee is Catholic and I am not cathloic at this time. A short history of our circumstances follows:

I have been married twice before and divorced. The first marriage was in a church but not by either of us being baptized as adults. I was as a child but have no idea if she was or not. The marriage was performed in a Christian church by an ordained minister. My then spouse has left the area and I have no idea were or if she is alive as this was 30 years ago. Considering our age it is highly possible that she (71) is not.

My second marriage was not in church but a civil service by a magistrate of the court. I have no idea if my second wife was baptized prior to our marriage but was some years after. The divorce was due to un-reconcilable differences (loss of love and/or respect for each other).

I am a Christian with no particular denomination at this time. I have been baptized both as a child and as an adult.

My fiancee is Cathloic. She is widowed from her one and only marriage. Also, the marriage may have not been valid either in the eyes of the law or the church since her "husband" was still married to his previous wife who is still alive also.

She has been baptized in the Cathloic Church.

We are 63 and 64 and very much in love. We both feel that our coming together is a gift of God and desire to be seen by God and all as this gift. Also, it is very important that my fiancee be able to participate in the Eucharist.

Two questions:

Can our marriage be recognized by the church with or without my conversion to Catholicism?

Can we be married in the Cathloic Church?

Can my soon to be wife then take the

Thank you for your response.

Gregory

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Gregory,

Your Two questions (which are three):

Can our marriage be recognized by the church with or without my conversion to Catholicism?

Your conversion to Catholicism may make the annulments easier. Speak to your priest.

Can we be married in the Catholic Church?

Only if and when the Church rules on your first marriages. You do need annulments.

Can my soon to be wife then take the (sacraments)?

Yes. Her marriage was dissolved by the death of her husband, and so she is free to marry again. However she may not partake of the Eucharist until her new marriage status is clarified by the Church Tribunal.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

On May 12, we received these question:

Hi Fathers,

I live here in San Francisco, I am catholic but my husband was never baptized as a child.. I tried to talk to my my parish (St. Philips),but they will only baptize him if he enrolls in a 7month program once a week and completes confirmation and first holy communion. He would rather not complete all that because of his own reasons. He wants to be baptized. Can I go to another parish and just have him baptized. I feel the church is making it to difficult. Can’t he just be baptized. He believes in the father, the son and the holy spirit, We are having a son in July and I would love to have them both baptized together. Is this at all possible? Thank you for your time

Lynda

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lydia,

Babies are baptized, with the presumption that they will be raised as Catholics and learn the tenets of faith as they grow up. When one is in danger of death, baptism may be immediate for he/she who desires it.

Adult non Catholics do not have this preparation and it is expected that they know the faith before they receive baptism.

The Second Vatican Council recommended that the Church renew its way of receiving Adult Candidates. A revised rite called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was approved by Pope Paul VI in 1972 and has become the norm for the Church. RCIA stresses formation in doctrine, liturgy, Church life, and service and involves the larger Church community in welcoming, instructing, helping and praying for Candidates.

If an RCIA schedule is too difficult, because of time restrictions, arrangements can be made for private instruction.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi,

My questions are.

I was raised Catholic and due to personal complications with our towns priest I ended up baptised at a Methodist church. My soon to be husband was raised with a father from the south with religious values and mother who was raised all around the world. No exact religion was paracticed, but mainly Christian. He was never baptised. We just had a baby and we would like to get her and him baptised. Would this be possible and how would we go about in doing so?

Tai

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Tai,

You present an interesting situation. My first response is to consult with your own parish priest. He will be able to direct you what to do right there in your own home locality. I can only make some general observations here.

Did you receive your First Communion in the Catholic Church? And Confirmation? These are first indications of your practice of and [at least informally] your initiation into the community of Faith of the Catholic Church. Along with that are you planning to celebrate your marriage as a Sacrament in the Catholic Church?

Without these external, observable things, the Church would not have a “grounded hope” [technical term in church law] that the child would be raised in the practice of the faith to licitly [lawfully] baptize in the Catholic community of Faith.

Regarding your “husband to be.” He is an adult. Thus he would be expected to follow the formation process of adult Christian initiation in your local Catholic parish community. This would usually culminate in the initiation Sacraments [Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist] at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. This is an introduction to the lifelong journey of practicing the Christian faith within the framework of the Catholic community of Faith.

I hope this gives you some basic background information for your conversation with your local parish priest.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I was baptized as an infant and raised in the Catholic Church. At the time I was married, I was not a practicing Catholic (nor my spouse) and were not married in the church. Having now returned to the church, am I required to obtain an annulment before I could marry?

Nicole

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Nicole,

Since you were a Catholic at your first marriage, and the marriage was out of the Church, it is an invalid marriage and will be declared as such as you prepare for a new union.

The priest you call on for marriage preparation can easily help you get things straightened out.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers:

I'm very grateful for this page. I've read a lot of your responses and I feel that I can come here and find guidance for my own situation.

First, I was baptized and raised Catholic, but I've never been confirmed. My husband and I got married at City Hall last June in a civil ceremony, and now we are planning our second ceremony for next June. My husband is...eh, he claimed he believed in Shinto Buddhism when we met 6 years ago, and as far as I know, he was never baptized. Well, this time around, I want to have Catholic ceremony. My husband and I have talked about this, and he's all for it, though he said that he wouldn't convert to Catholicism. I explained to him my desire to have our children (when we get around to having them) baptized and raised in the Catholic faith, and he said that he had no problem with that. Even with his agnostic-like attitude, I have hope for my man; before his deployment to Iraq last September, he told me he'd pop into church service once in awhile. And at an airport on the way to Iraq, he spoke with a chaplain who told him that God would find him where ever he was. This, I believe wholeheartedly.

I've started to attend Mass at a nearby church in my neighborhood where I hope we can have a wedding ceremony, but honestly I don't know where to begin. As I mentioned before, I've yet to be confirmed. And my husband is currently deployed to Iraq. He may also be going to Officer Candidate School a month after he returns. I could really use your guidance on this one. Getting married in a Catholic ceremony is important to me, and I want for us to do this properly.

Thank you so much and God bless.

Miggs

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Miggs,

May God bless your good intentions!

However, you do have to do some work to do to straighten the difficult situation you are in.

It is not necessary that your fiancée become a Catholic to make your union acceptable to the Church.

But your present union is not acceptable to the Church, though it can be rectified.

You should speak to your local priest who can show you the way. Your fiancée could get help and instruction from the Catholic chaplain.

The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program of the local parish is an ideal and easy way get you on the right path.

Bite the bullet and take the time and you can enter a happy sacramental marriage.

With God's blessing.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 3, we received these question:

Me and my husband are married , but not by church. We want our son to baptised in a catholic church. I have all my scaraments. Now being the fact that my husband and I are not married in church and he has only been bapisted ..... Can we still have my son in bapisted in church ????????

Michelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

Speak to your priest. It is possible to have your son baptized but you must promise to raise him Catholic (including Church on Sunday.)

If you and your husband were not previously married and are now free to have your union blessed by the Church (a very simple process) why not rectify your Catholic status?

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a Catholic, married to a wonderful man who converted a few years after our Catholic wedding. His sister, who is not Catholic, had a baby almost a year ago. She and her husband are talking about having their child baptised by a Catholic priest, but neither of them is Catholic, or are converting. I don't think the child will be taken to Catholic mass or brought up Catholic. I don't think any priest would perform the baptism under these circumstances. The mother is Christian and did attend a church prior to the baby's birth. The father may or may not have been baptised Catholic, but was raised Episcopalian, and does not practice any faith.

Thank you, A. F.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Amy,

You ask "Is this baptism something any priest would perform?"

No priest in good standing would perform this baptism.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 30, we received these questions:

Dear Father,

I'm Catholic married to a Jewish man, Civil Marriage...My former husband has passed away and we were married in Catholic Church. Now I'd like to have my marriage blessed. I feel at this time I would not have to go through the annulment process since the death of my former husband, but what about my Jewish husband whose ex-wife is still alive??? Thank you for your answer.

EO

Fr. John Malloy answers:

EO,

You would have to check your husband's former marriage to see if an annulment is possible.

Approach your parish priest and ask for his help. He can guide you in the necessary procedure.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Greetings,

If after going to Confession, a penitent later remembers a sin from the past that he doesn't remember confessing, must the penitent abstain from receiving the Eucharist until returning to Confession and confessing it, even if there are no more opportunities for Confession before Easter?

Thank you.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ila,

You may go to Communion if you don't remember confessing the sin, provided you have sorrow for the sin.

Speak to the confessor the next time you go to Confession.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi,

 

My boyfriend was raised in Scotland. He was first baptized in the Protestant church. After his parents' divorce, his mother married a Roman Catholic. His stepfather insisted that he be baptized in the R.C. Church. He was baptized at the age of 9, however he was baptized under his stepfather's surname and not his own legal surname. His stepfather never legally adopted him. My boyfriend says that he was forced to be baptized in the R.C. church. My question is, is he a Protestant or a Roman Catholic?

Norrie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Normie,

Once one is baptized he/she can not be baptized again. I presume the Protestant baptism was legal and accepted by the Catholic Church.(civilly and ecclesiastically).

At the age of nine it is presumed he had enough intelligence to make a free choice. His reluctance to be accepted as a Catholic, would indicate he is still Protestant, validly baptized in that faith.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

I am a Catholic and my fiancé is a Lutheran. We are getting married at her church by her pastor next year. We are going to pre-marriage preparation with her pastor since he will be marrying us. My question is why the Catholic Church does not recognize the preparation we will be attending at the Lutheran church? My priest said we have to do Catholic preparation too. Seems like it's going to get very repetitive and become counter productive because of the amount of time spent answering the same questions. I was wondering if we could receive the blessing of the Church after the wedding?

Thanks

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Brian,

Since you will be marrying out of the Catholic Church, a Catholic preparation course would not change the situation. You will have given up your faith and accepted to be married out of the Catholic Church.

You could not receive the blessing of the Catholic Church, after a Protestant marriage, unless you wanted to make your marriage sacramental by following the law of the Catholic Church.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 15, we received these questions:

Hello Father,

I was married for fifteen years and had four children. I was baptized Methodist. My boyfriend of eight years asked me to marry him and he is Greek Orthodox. Does my marraige need to be annulled before we can marry in the Greek church?

Thank you,

Michelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

You would have to speak to the priest of the Greek Orthodox Church to find out their requirements.

This church is not in agreement with Rome.

If the church was in agreement with the Roman Catholic faith an annulment would be necessary.

I believe it would also be required by the Greek Orthodox.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello! I went through the RCIA process 12 years ago while married to my first husband who was Catholic. I received the rites of Baptism, Communion, & Confirmation. During that process our marriage was blessed by the church. One year later my husband and I divorced following the death of our infant child. My husband did not want to have more children after this loss, but I did. I continued as a practicing Catholic until I met my current husband who is not Catholic. We have been married 9 years and have a five year old daughter. We have been attending a Methodist church. We recently decided to send our daughter to Catholic school in the fall because of the quality religious & academic education it would provide. I would like my daughter to be baptised Catholic and receive the sacraments with her classmates as they learn about the faith. (she is not baptised) I am feeling a strong call to return to the church. My husband does not have an issue with raising our daughter Catholic. I know I would need an annulment. Do I start with the Diocese tribunal office or go to the priest at the parish of the school? We haven't been going to any Catholic Church at all, but I am feeling a call to return.

Thank you for any information and/or thoughts.

Cara

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dear Cara,

Welcome home! I'm happy to hear of your desire to return to the Catholic Church.Yes, you need an annulment. That your husband wanted no more children should be a help in the process,

I suggest you go to your local Catholic pastor and explain your problem. The school enrollment should be helpful

You have my prayers for a happy solution.

With God's blessing,

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am very much bothered and awfully sad that my 3 granddaughters (they will be 6, 8 and 10 years old this year) have not been baptized. My daughter was baptized and so was my son-in-law. However, they are not practising Catholics and was not married through Catholic rites but by a Protestant pastor in one of New York's public park. I am a devoted Catholic, a Eucharistic Guardian, daily mass goer; in short, a serious practising Catholic. So, you can imagine how this condition pains me so much. I have been praying that my granddaughters will be baptized. They live in California and this summer, my daughter and the 3 girls will come to New York for 3 weeks as her husband will be in training in the military service. In my last conversation with my daughter I told her that I want the girls to be baptized while they are here in New York. She said Ok. I want to take this golden chance and have the baptism done because I know that when they go back to California, she and her husband won't take the extra step to have the girls baptized. I kind of know the requirements for baptism, especially the baptismal preparation; but due to the circumstances I mentioned above, is there any chance that the Church will give this case special consideration so that my granddaughters can be baptized while they are visiting here? I will appreciate very much your reply on this. Thank you.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Edwina,

I feel your pain and pray for a happy solution.

It will not be easy to have the children baptized in New York, but it is possible. It really depends on your parish priest. With your involvement in the Church, you probably are on good terms with your pastor, which makes the baptisms possible.

Entrust the solution to Mary Help of Christians and approach your priest with prayerful confidence.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 3, we received these questions:

Dear Pastor:

I would like to know if a child at the age of 8, can be the godfather of a newborn. He has been baptised and is now doing his first communion on May 21st. He is the uncle of the child, yes at age 8, and they do not want anyone else to be the godfather. Is this possible??

Please let me know

Mrs. B

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dear Mrs. B,

Sorry, but it is not possible for an 8 year old to be a godparent.

Church law insists that a godparent be at least 16 years old (for maturity's sake), fully initiated (having received Confirmation and Eucharist), be someone other than the legal parents and one who leads a lifein harmony with the Church.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

I am new to the cathloic faith, and i was married before. My ex husband was also married ut for only one week would that be a problem for me to get married in the cathloic church.

Sabrina

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sabrina,

Marriage in the Catholic Church would be a problem, but apparently easily solved.

Your first marriage would have to be annulled.Your ex-husband's marriage would also have to be annulled.

Your conversion to the Catholic faith has some implications that will make it easier to marry in the Church.

Take your marriage licenses to a local priest and ask for his help.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

My husband and I are both Catholic (we have both received the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation). This past July we were married in a civil ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco. Next year we plan to have a church wedding. Is it a problem that we are already legally married? Are there any obstacles that might prevent us from being married in the Catholic church? Please let me know.

Thank you,

Erin

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Erin,

I am happy that you are having a Catholic wedding.

Know that you cannot receive the sacraments until this straightened out.

I am presuming that neither of you were previously married. As Catholics married civilly, you must present your license to your priest who can obtain a dispensation and give you proper instruction.

May God bless you both.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 29, we received this question:

Hello Father, I will receive the sacraments during Easter services. My girlfriend is Catholic and wants a sacramental marriage in Church. I was married for 26 years and have been divorced for 5. I left because my wife was having mental health problems and endangering my then 12 year old daughter. She filed for divorce for support and custody of my daughter. At first we had joint custody then after a couple of calls to the police about my daughter accusing her of abuse the court gave me full custody and order her to couseling. My marriage was in my ex-wife's parents house and a pastor who was a friend of mine did the ceremony. I did not attend his church just knew him because we were both on the board of directors of a non profit organization.

 

Finally to the question, once I am baptized can we have a sacramental marriage. Is my marriage null as it was not a religious ceremony? Neither my ex-wife or I were baptized. How do I get clearance from the church?

Glenn

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Glenn,

You can have a sacramental marriage, but must first be freed from your first marriage,

Take your divorce papers to the priest and ask him to obtain a dispensaton.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Father,

My husband and I have been married now for just over five years and have three beautiful children together. The trouble we are having deals with NFP versus sterilization. You see, all three of our pregnancies have resulted in C-sections due to medical complications beyond our control. Each new pregnancy after the first pregnancy has brought on its own complications some so severe that I was unable to walk for the last trimester of my last pregnancy. All of the complications we have been through have left devastating issues in our family and married life even though the children and I are physically healthy and well. In the midst of our last pregnancy we were so overwhelmed with all of the complications the pregnancy brought on that I asked him if he would consider getting a vasectomy after our third baby reached a certain age and we were certain we did not want to go through this again. He agreed to entertain the idea and I in turn agreed not to have a tubal litigation during my last C-section surgery. Well, here we are a year after our third baby was born and I bring up the idea of the vasectomy because I am going to be weaning the baby and thus our NFP will soon expire and I will be left to rely on another NFP method. The thing is is that I am terrified to be pregnant again, to feel the pain and complications the pregnancies bring me and to have to go under the knife again. My husband has decided that he is holding true to the Roman Catholic belief in only using NFP to avoid pregnancy, and is refusing to get a vasectomy. He says he would rather abstain from sex our entire marriage. I tried to tell him sex is very important in a healthy marriage, but he is still putting his foot down. I know we can't avoid having sex forever, and I also know the NFP failed us twice because my body is never regular. I don't know what to do...and I am looking for guidance on this issue. Would God damn my husband or I to Hell because we have a medical necessity in which continuing to get pregnant is not smart for our family and we chose to have one of us get sterilized? I am afraid I will be the one undergoing the procedure to preserve my family. I don't want the risk of maternal or fetal death because of what will be a fifth abdominal surgery over the past five years...and I don't want another debilitating pregnancy. I have prayed and prayed over this issue with no resolve. I look forward to any insight and suggestions that you can provide.

Thank you, Elisha

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dear Elisha,

God bless you for your grave concern over this matter. Your concern in of itself is a great blessing as so many married Catholics disregard the care of their soul and their spouse’s soul in the realm of married life.

The short answer to your question - Would it be intrinsically evil for either you or your husband to be artificially sterilized? – is yes. I’ve included two articles from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that address this issue. They are:

2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:159

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160

Perhaps your unasked question is: why would God give you the gift of fertility coupled with such painful consequences if He wanted you and your husband to continue to be open to life? Or, more generally, why a loving and good God allows any human suffering? The mystery of human suffering is indeed a mystery but we do know that each of us is called to carry our cross and follow Him. It would seem God is calling you and your husband into deeper union with Him through this great suffering.

On a spiritual level, I would recommend uniting your suffering with the cross and surrendering your fertility to God’s care. Suffering for its own sake is useless but suffering united with Christ is redemptive and may be the saving grace for you, your husband and your children.

On a medical level, I would recommend contacting the Pope Paul VI Institute - http://www.popepaulvi.com - for up to date instructions on natural family planning options.

Finally, please know you are not alone. There are many couples who, like you, fear pregnancy because of health issues for the mother and/or to the child, as in the case of genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. I believe you will find both consolation and wisdom in their stories. I don’t have a reference for you at this time, but I will research the matter and send you links in the next few days.

The burden of your situation is heavy but the Church in her wisdom carries the burden of preventing grave harm to your soul through her teaching on married love. Pope John Paul II gave us a great gift is his seminal work Theology of the Body. Christopher West offers many insights into this work. They can be found at http://www.christopherwest.com.

Please know I am praying for you and your husband. I welcome any further questions or thoughts you have on this or any topics.

May God bless you and keep you in His tender care,

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 26, we received this question:

Hello Father

Are there any rules that state that a 9 year old cannot receive Communion with a 7 year old?

Thanks

Cindy

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Cindy,

A 9 year old can receive Communion with any one at any time when the Sacrament is being offered.

Of course the usual conditions apply: baptism in the Church, proper instruction and freedom from serious sin.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 24, we received this question:

Fathers:

my fiance and i are going to be married in september and is being performed by a nondenominational officiant, my fiance who is catholic has concerns that maybe it is not considered or will be recongnized by the catholic faith. also the ceremnoy will be taking place outside. and i know that is not traditionally done. i am christian but i do go to catholic church with them so i'm not sure where i stand i also have been baptized. so if you could please write me back that would be great thank you for your time and concideration

Melconley

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Melconley,

While your proposed marriage is civil, it is in no way Catholic. It will not be recognized by the Church as valid, since your fiancée is a Catholic and therefore bound by the marriage laws of the Catholic Church.

You personally are not responsible for the situation, unless you insisted on the wedding taking place outside the Church and its marriage laws.

Do remember that you are always welcome to attend Catholic services.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 9, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

Both my husband & I were raised Roman Catholic and received all of the Sacraments of the Church. We both were previously married in the Catholic Church, but each were divorced (due to alcoholism as well as adultery of our prior spouses). Years ago, we married in a Nuptial Mass performed by a former Roman Catholic Priest who is currently a Bishop in the “Old Catholic Church”. During our Pre Cana preparation, the Bishop stated that both of our prior marriages were annulled due to the aforementioned reasons. Our Nuptial Mass was performed exactly in the manner of our previous marriages. Our question to you is are we still in good standing in the Church? This is very important to us. Thank you.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kimberly,

I am sorry tell you that "Old Catholic Church" is not in union with our Roman Catholic Church. Your current marriage would not be recognized and you are not free to receive Communion in the Catholic Church. Your previous marriages would have to annulled first.

Your local Catholic priest can help you pursue the possibilities of being put in "good standing."

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have a friend who after attending Ash Wednesday Mass, will clean off the ashes right after Mass. Is this permissible? I usually wait until I bathe before I remove the ashes. I have always thought that you do not remove the ashes until they wear off or when a person bathes. I would appreciate your reply. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dan

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Dan,

There is no time specified as to when the ashes should be removed from the forehead. It has been customary, though not required, to wear them all day. It is always a sign of faith to see them proudly displayed.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Father,

My boyfriend and I are going to be engaged soon and I would like to be married in the Catholic Church. My boyfriend was married before but was married in a United Church of Christ church. He was not given permission to be married there by the Catholic Church and did not go through the Catholic Church's process. Will he need to attain an annulment with the Catholic church? Is his marriage recognized by the Catholic Church? He has talked to my priest and he told him to get some paperwork together (baptismal records, marriage license, civil annulment papers) and then come in and see him. I'm just starting to get anxious and was hoping you could answer this question because he won't be able to get in to talk to my priest until next week.

Thank you so much!!!

Barb

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Barbara,

The priest gave all information necessary. Have your boyfriend get the requested papers together and call for an interview. You need this so the priest can get the approval of the bishop. No problem.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

My question is concerning on my fiance was previously married in a Catholic Church. Was never baptized or converted over to Catholic. He id divorced. I am Greek Orthodox and looking to be married in a Greek Orthodox Church, He is going to get baptized and convert over to Greek Orthodox before we decide to marry. Does he need to get an annulment to be married or baptized in the Greek Orthodox church?

Thank-you

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dear Angelika...

He may well need an annulment, but the Orthodox priest would need to advise you.

Greek Orthodox conditions for a valid marriage are not the same as the Catholic Church.

He should get his divorce papers together and speak to the Greek Orthodox priest who can handle your marriage preparation.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB.


On March 3, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers........ we know that the revised Mass texts have been approved... to be in use on the 1st Sunday of Advent of this year..... as we learn the music of the new texts.... may we use it at Mass. ( the same for prayers)

We feel that to teach the new rite( before Mass) and use the current rite during Mass, will be very confusing... what do you advise?

Thanks...

Lois

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Lois,

The change is not that radical. Some wording has been altered, such as "The Lord be with you. And with your spirit." Some of the language of the new Missal has been criticized, but my advice is to follow the Mass as offered. It won't take long to get accustomed to the changes.

Personally, I believe the best course would be to wait till the texts are in your hand.

Also it is not a new rite but a new missal putting the text closer to the Latin text. I don't see it as very confusing.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Lois followed up:

Father... perhaps I didn’t explain properly.......... are we allowed to sing the revised text “ before” the Advent date.

Actually, we really like the change and are anxious to use it at Mass.

Lois

Fr. Malloy responded to the followup:

Lois,

My recommendation would be wait till the specifed date. But if your pastor agrees, I see no problem in singing the revised text.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On February 20, we received these questions:

Hi father.

I have a question. I was married in 2002 in las vegas.after 8 yrs the marriage broke down.i got a divorce.can i get married in a catholic church with another woman.will it be recognized by god.my new fiancee is a catholic and we would like to get married in a catholic church.do i need any proof to give the church ?

thanks

regards steve

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Steve,

If you are Catholic, your marriage in Las Vegas is not valid, so you can marry in the Catholic Church.

You need to speak to the local Catholic pastor. Bring your original wedding certificate to the priest and explain your situation and your desire to marry in the Catholic Church. The priest will explain what you must do to complete the wedding course requirements.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father:

I have just read an article that said Communion outside of Mass includes the Liturgy of the Word. I am not sure but it seems to imply that showing up at church just at communion time (during the week ) and receiving is not right since you have not been present earlier for the Liturgy of the word.

I can recall having gone to confession in one church and then stopping by at another that had Mass going on. The Mass was at the point of communion being distributed or shortly before. Would it be considered wrong to receive under those circumstances?

Send regards,

John

Fr. John Malloy answers:

John,

You certainly would be allowed to receive Communion even if you arrived late for the first part of the liturgy. One is not required to come to Mass on weekdays, but can receive Communion daily where it is possible.

This would apply even on Sunday, if you had made an effort to be present and were prevented through no fault of your own..

What is lawful is not always the best. As far as possible, Mass should be heard in its entirety.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi!

My wife is 23 years old and is going through the RCIA program at our local parish to be confirmed. She received the sacraments of Baptism and First Communion when she was 7 years old. However, it has recently come to light that her baptism might have been under some unusual circumstances. Although her parents regularly attended church (they don't anymore), they "catechized" her from home, not sending her through any sort of church-sponsored faith formation or education program. The problem, she is finding out, is that she might have been taught some bad information as a child about the church, including that Hell and Satan didn't really exist. Although she now believes in line with what the church really teaches, she didn't come into this belief until her adult life. However, the baptism was performed in a Catholic Church by a deacon when she was 7, and she has what we presume to be a valid baptismal certificate. Her question is whether her baptism was valid and/or licit, given that she was technically at the "age of reason" when she was baptized, if her parents made her believe things about the church that weren't true. Does an improper catechesis invalidate a baptism? If so, should she be baptized "again" when she is confirmed at the Easter Vigil?

Thanks!

Mike

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mike,

If she was baptized in the Catholic Church by a deacon, it was certainly a valid baptism. She could not be re-bapized.

Hopefully her faith formation, through the RCIA, can remove any errors she might have picked up earlier.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On February 7, we received these questions:

Dear Fr.

I wrote you some time ago concerning my situation in regards to annulment. Now, however, I have a new problem. I am being told by the diocese in Sacramento Ca. that I cannot be initiated into the church without annulment-period.

I am very distressed as I am being continually told different things, depending on who I speak to. I am worried that I may never be initiated into the church or may never know what is actually correct. I am starting to wonder if it just something to do with ME as a person that is making everyone I talk to back pedal on whether or not I can be initiated into the church. This has been an almost 5 year journey for me going from place to place seeking a straight answer only to have the rules change at every turn.

Meanwhile I have had numerous interviews with various members of clergy and sisters, all wanting to hear every detail of my life, every graphic detail-some which are very painful and after all that I'm always told- "no we've considered it but no we cannot admit you into the church." I am starting to wonder if after meeting me, does the church feel that I am not "good enough". I don't know what to do now. I don't know who I can appeal to. I have been through the chain of command up to the bishop and it seems to just be one dead end after another.

Any advice would be very appreciated at this point. I need to know honestly, if I should just give up on the idea of conversion and walk away or if I should keep fighting for my conversion and how I should go about doing this.

Thank You and God Bless,

Stacey

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Stacey,

Don't concern yourself with what any one says except the Bishop.

An annulment is necessary. Ask the Bishop (or those who speak for him) how you can pursue an annulment.

There are special privileges granted for conversions to the Church.

At any rate, don't give up your quest. God loves you no matter what.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

Are there any rules that need to be followed when a Catholic man and a non-Catholic woman are having their child baptized? The man did not obtain a traditional annulment for his first marriage to a Catholic woman (they were married in a Catholic church). The man did receive what he refers to as a "Internal Forum Annulment" and the priest even performed a "wedding ceremony" (exchange rings, kiss the bride) in the presence of the young daughter from this man's first, non-annulled, Catholic marriage. The woman from the first marriage claims she has been told by the local Archdiocese that they do not recognize the second marriage. The man also had a civil ceremony for the second marriage. Should the baptism ceremony for the child from the second marriage be discrete if the young child from the first marriage is present? Would it be inappropriate to have the baptism at the church where the young child from the first marriage is about to take their First Communion? Would it be inappropriate to do the baptism on the same day as the First Communion ceremony for the young child from the first marriage? Should the baptism be performed at a church other than the church the young child attends with their classmates (Catholic school)?

Thanks,

K

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear K,

You present some things which turn out to be somewhat complex and have to be worked out with your own parish priest. However, I shall attempt to put things into context.

For a licit (lawful) Baptism of a child in the Catholic Church, there should be a real hope that the child will be reared in the “practice of the Faith.” That is why there is an expectation that parents and godparents attend Baptism preparation classes in order to give the parish community a “hope” that this will happen. Everybody usually states that this is what they have in mind. So the Church receives the child into the community of Church through Baptism. Since disciples of Jesus are supposed to be “light” in the world (Chapter 5 in the Gospel of Matthew), the community and the world watch to see how the parents fulfill their promises.

Much too frequently the opposite happens. The community does not see them again till “First Communion.” Then they disappear again. Maybe there is Confirmation – with the same results. And so on.

How this is “practice of the Faith” remains a mystery for the pastoral ministers [priests and lay people] and the universal Church.

Where parents do not have a relationship to the parish community and do not plan to have any, then Baptism in the kitchen sink is just as valid as in a church ceremony and as far as the family is concerned a more logical thing to do.

The Catholic Church understands that the most important thing it does in this world is celebrate Eucharist. It is from this liturgical act that everything else flows. Unless this is an integral part of the Catholic person’s life, then who is fooling whom?

These are the things about which any dialog regarding Baptism and First Communion and mutual knowledge and formal nullity of marriage issues should be based upon. So consulting with your own parish priest has to be the first step.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father:

Have a question concerning cremation. My brother who was homosexual died nearly two years ago. His partner died about a year ago. They both were cremated with no mass or service afterwards. My brother requested that his ashes be spread over the ocean and his partners mother requested that her sons be done likewise. Presently my brother who is younger then me but closer to the younger brother, is in Hawaii with both of the urns of ashes and in the process of disposing of them.

My problem, in my ever scrupulous mind, is that I feel, that perhaps, it was morally wrong of me to not have suggested or tried to have my brother buried, or his ashes placed in consecrated ground in their entirety and not spread apart on the ocean. It was my brothers wishes that his ashes be treated this way. Fortunately he was visited by a priest before his death. I do not know if he was conscious at the time.

Would appreciate your thoughts .

Send regards,

John

Fr. John Malloy answers:

John,

That your brother was visited by a priest should be a consolation to you.

The bible tells us"Let the dead bury the dead." Your brother was of age and is responsible for his choices. You are not morally responsible for his actions.

What you can do is pray for him and ask God to have mercy on his soul.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On January 30, 2011, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I am agonizing over this situation:

I have been a practicing Catholic all my life. My son was married in the United Church but chose not to obtain the appropriate dispensation before his marriage. He is not a practicing Catholic. My granddaughter, his child, is due in a few months. I know he will come to me and ask me for my blessing when he baptizes his daughter in the United Church. What can I say and can I attend her baptism in the United Church.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Paula,

I sympathize with you and promise my prayers for your granddaughter and your family.

Unfortunately the rejection of his Catholic faith is all too common in our world today.

You can't stop loving him and praying for his peace with God.

You may be present at the event, as long as you take no part in the ceremony.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Is it true that a Catholic priest may leave the church, marry and then return to the church as a (married) priest with the same status, responsibilities, etc.??

MJ

Fr. John Malloy answers:

MJ,

It is NOT true that a Catholic priest may leave the Church, marry, and then return to the Church with the same status...

There are examples of non-Catholic "ministers who have been married--enter the Church with their wives, and can be ordained as Catholic priests, after proper instruction and ordination. The present situation of the Anglican Church 'priests" is an example.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have a question regarding marriage. My fiance and I are wanting to get married but I want to get married thru the church do to the fact that it is sacrate and very special. Well in do so my fiance is baptized thru the catholic church, she also completed her comfirmation, and her first communion. As for me I was only baptized thru the catholic church but in Mexico. I have never done my first communion nor my confirmation. Also we currently have a new born son that was born in december. My questions are do I have to do my first communion and confirmation before we consider getting married thru the church? And also what else would we have to do in order to get married thru the catholic church? Thank you for your time and god bless.

Sincerely,

Francisco Padilla

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Francisco,

Since neither of you were married before it is easy for you to be married in the Catholic Church and the sooner the better.

Present your baptism certificates to your local pastor and prepare for the initial interviews as he suggests.

In the meantime arrange for your personal instruction so that you might receive fist communion and confirmation.

God bless your good intentions.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a practicing Catholic who is married to an atheist man. We were not married in the Catholic church due to his beliefs. I am currently expecting and would like to Baptize my daughter when the time comes. Would this be possible? It sounds as if we would need to undergo some sort of sacrament of marriage in the Catholic church, but if this is not an option, is there no other way to allow my daughter to be raised Catholic?

Thank you,

Andrea Pingitore

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Andrea,

One does not have to be Catholic to be married in the Church to a Catholic person. My grandmother married my non-catholic, not baptized grandfather in the Church. My mother married my non-Catholic father in the Church. So I do not understand that your husband, father of the child on the way, would expect you to disregard your practice of your Faith by making you marry him without the blessings of your Church.

And on that note, for good reasons, your Bishop could have made exception for you to get married in a place or circumstance other than a parish church, if you had requested it. Perhaps that would have led to dialogue and discernment with regard to your marriage commitment and promises.

Nevertheless, it is not infrequent that a Catholic person may be in a similar situation as you are.

For the Baptism of a child, there are a couple of things to consider. It would not be normal practice to baptize a baby without the consent of both parents. Is your husband expressing any thoughts in this regard? Another thing would be the real possibility of bringing up the child in the practice of the Faith. Church law states that without that hope, it is not lawful to baptize. Oh, any Baptism, done with water and the correct formula, would be valid [even done by a layperson in the kitchen sink]. I exaggerate, of course, but it is true.

Prior to a formal Church Baptism, the parents and godparents are expected to attend a Baptism preparation class, usually in their own parish. And the specific qualification of godparents is that they be baptized and confirmed Catholics, and, if married, to be married in the Church.

Blessings and peace in this new year! Love the little one growing within you; God our Father and Creator does!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello,

My question is, if my husband and I were not married in a Catholic Church, but were raised Catholic, can we baptize our daughter in the Catholic Church?

Mariah

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mariah,

You can have your daughter baptized.

Hopefuly you will follow Catholic practices as to Mass especially, and

confession and comunion when your daughter reaces the proper age.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On January 5, 2010, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

In our Parish the the custom is to baptize the infant by immersion. Our former pastors always held the infant during the immersion and recited the words of Baptism. Our new Pastor however allows the infant's father to immerse the child while the Pastor recites the words. I think it is beautiful and meaningful to have the father assist in this way, but shouldn't the Pastor also touch the infant as he recites the words. I am just curious because he says "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" yet he is not touching the infant nor even the water as he speaks.

Thank you for considering this question and May God Bless You

Kathleen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kathleen,

The one who baptizes by sprinkling does not ordinarily touch the child (or the water). The pastor would not have to touch the child to baptize him or her by immersion, much as it might add to the signifance of the ceremony.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

My ex-wife and I were both Baptized and Confirmed in the Catholic Church. My civil divorce was finalized 10 years ago and I am in the process of annulment in the Catholic Church. I have since remarried, and once again, my current wife and I were both Baptized and Confirmed in the Catholic Church. As stated previously, I am in the process of annulment as my wife and I want our marriage to be blessed by the Catholic Church. My current wife and I are practicing Catholics. She has been asked to be the godmother for her nephew. With my annulment proceeding, is there anything preventing her from being recognized as the godmother for her nephew? I believe this falls under a similar questions asked previously, but would appreciate your response. I have attached the previous question/response:

Hello Father,

I have a question about Baptism and Being a Godparent: My question is I was recently asked to be Godmother to my cousins little boy I am a practicing Catholic who was Baptized and Confirmed. Five years ago I got married thru the courthouse by a judge and court witnesses and 10 months later got divorced. My question is can I still be the Godmother in the Catholic Church?

Peace and Love

Michelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

You are now a practicing Catholic with conditions fulfilled for being a Godparent.

Yes, you may be Godmother.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Thanks,

Joseph

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Joseph,

Until your wife is married in the Catholic Church she may not be godmother.

Your intentions are good and you are on your way to get married in the Catholic Church, but the condition for being a godparent in this case requires the sacrament of matrimony.

The example you cited concerns a woman no longer married. As a Catholic, the marriage was invalid from the start even though civilly recognized. she has now given up an invalid union.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On December 26, 2010, we received these questions:

Dear Father:

My Fiance and I recently got engaged, I am catholic and he is not, though I do believe he was baptized in another christian religion but never practiced it. We are both single and have never been married before. It has always been a life long dream of mine to get married in the catholic church but he is not sure if it is something he wants to do. Is it possible to get in married in the church without my fiance converting to Catholicism? Is is possible to get married by a priest not in a church, such as outside in a garden? If my fiance was to convert, what actions would he need to perform and how long would it take? Also, I understand that we would need to complete the formal preparation for the Sacramental Marriage, we are planning to get married in Oct/Nov of 2011, when would be a good time to begin the classes? Finally, we live in the Bay Area but would like to get married in St Helena at St Helena Catholic Church, is it possible to take the Sacramental Marriage classes here and get married in another church?

Thank you for your time and help.

Sincerely,

Alexandra & Ryan

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Alexandra,

My first response in answer to your query is: my grandmother married my grandfather, who was not a Catholic [not baptized]; my mother married my father, who was not Catholic. Both were married in the Church.

If, after some time, the non-Catholic wants to enter the Church, that person may do so, only on his own free choice in response to the Holy Spirit in his life.

The ordinary place for the marriage of a Catholic person is in a parish church. Sometimes, for extraordinary reasons, the local Bishop may allow a Catholic to marry in a different venue. My experience is that permission is routinely not given.

You should begin the marriage preparation as soon as possible. Contact your local Catholic parish right away. Yes, the preparation could all be made there and the parish would send the necessary documentation and permissions to the parish in St. Helena when they indicate it would be all right with them.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

I was told that you could get married in a courthouse and it is still considered a marriage. My fiance is Catholic and I am not. I have been looking at RCIA but am still unsure about it all. My family are devout Mormons and would not attend if we had a catholic wedding or married by a Catholic priest. I know his parents got married by a judge then married in the church years later. I heard you can get married by a judge and if you have your marriage blessed then it is recognized. Is this true?

Ashley

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ashley,

Marriage in a courthouse is civilly recognized, but a Catholic who does so enters a union not accepted by the Church. Such a union can be dissolved by the Bishop's tribunal.

A marriage may be blessed by the Church if the proper dispensations are obtained though the Bishop's office.

RCIA could help you understand the position of the Church. It is an inquiry course and participants are not required to receive baptism.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers

I was previously married to a baptized man (he is a Baptist) but was unbaptized myself. I got divorced but was baptized before the divorce was final (I was not baptized in the Catholic faith). Now I am in RCIA and will receive first communion and confirmation. Does this mean that I will have to get an annulment if I ever wish to remarry. Did my later baptism make my marriage a sacramental even if I was awaiting a civil divorce? Was the fact that my husband was baptized make our marriage valid at the time? I am not planning on marrying, however, I may want to consider a vocation in the future.

This is confusing, I have been given different answers to my questions from different people in the church.

Another issue I have surrounding annulment is, what happens if my ex-does not want to participate? What happens if I can’t find witnesses? I am cut off from all the people that I knew and now no one is willing to communicate with me. I know that without witnesses an annulment can’t take place. What recourse do I have if I come up empty in terms of my ex’s cooperation and the lack of witnesses?

Thank you in advance!

Stacey

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Stacey,

As a convert Catholic you may seek a special dispensation from the previous bond. (In favor of the Faith-Petrine Privilege), Let me answer your questions:

Now I am in RCIA and will receive first communion and confirmation. Does this mean that I will have to get an annulment if I ever wish to remarry?

Yes. An annulment is required because the marriage was valid even if not sacramental.

Did my later baptism make my marriage a sacramental even if I was awaiting a civil divorce?

Probably not because you broke up (filed for divorce) before your baptism.

Was the fact that my husband was baptized making our marriage valid at the time?

Baptized or not the marriage would be civilly valid.

What recourse do I have if I come up empty in terms of my ex’s cooperation and the lack of witnesses?

Have the local ecclesiastic court (Bishop’s office) seek the Petrine Privilege. (At least one of the parties was not baptized at the time of marriage).

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On December 12, 2010, we received these questions:

Dear Father;

I have found my best-friend and soul made after all these years and we are ready to get married; I am a Catholic from Iran (attending St. Mary's Assyrian Chaldean Church in Campbell) and would love to marry in a Catholic church (Saints Peter and Paul Church in specific). He became a nondenominational christian in his adult hood. Does he need to become a Catholic in order for us to be wed in a Catholic church? If so, what is the process?

Furthermore, I would like him to become Catholic in order for us to raise our children Catholic. Thank you for your time in advance.

Sincerely,

Rashel

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Rashel,

Thanks and praise to God! It is wonderful to meet a person and quickly understand one another to the point of wishing to celebrate love and life together for our earthly journey!

Here are some practical things in response to your inquiry. It happens frequently enough in our country that persons of different religious backgrounds wish to get married. Acknowledging the authority of the Bishop as Shepherd, permission to marry a non-Catholic has to be asked for and granted. The non-Catholic spouse does not have to enter the Church. That remains a personal free choice in response to the gift of the Holy Spirit. This also means that the Catholic spouse fully lives the practice of Faith as an example. If later the non-Catholic enters the Church, then: “Praise to God!”

I am assuming from your letter that you yourself are single, never been married. Is your intended spouse also single, never been married, and thus free to marry? Then you should approach your parish priest together to begin the formal preparation for Sacramental Marriage.

You live in the South Bay Area, you can do all the preparation in your home parish then come to SS. Peter & Paul to celebrate the wedding. The parish priest will send a letter of jurisdiction and the full documentation for this. You should at least once come to San Francisco to set a date, make a deposit and meet the priest. Perhaps, your own priest would come to officiate.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


In late November 2010, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I recently got engaged and am hoping to me married in the Catholic Church next year. My fiance and I attend mass every Sunday together since we've been together. Unfortunately, I was married once when I was 24 years old and was quickly divorced. I never had an annulment however, I was not married Catholic the first time. Would it matter now if I never had the annulment done. And if so, is there any way around it if you do not want to contact the ex-husband?

Thank you so much for your time and your advice.

Sincerely,

Katie

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Katie,

Visit your parish. You need a copy of your divorce paper. If you were Catholic at the time of your first marriage, the Church will consider it null and you will not need a formal annulment. If you were not a Catholic, you would need an annulment.

Your second marriage can go through the requirements of any Catholic marriage preparation.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I would like to know if my sister who was raised Catholic and received all of the Sacrements but married in a Methodist Church could be the Godmother of my child.

Sharon

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sharon,

"A Catholic who does not practice the faith by regularly attending Mass or who is in an invalid marriage disqualifies himself or herself from being a godparent. Parents need to find good practicing Catholics for godparents. Sadly, this task can be very difficult in today's world. The best place is to look for relatives, even grandparents, who have a blood relationship with the godchild and have kept the faith over the years. Good friends are also appropriate, but sometimes friendships wane, leaving the godchild without an active godparent. Godparents should be faithful individuals who are ready to accept the responsibility of being a part of a godchild's life for the rest of his life."

Saunders, Rev. William. "The Role of Godparents."

Fr. John Malloy


Hi,

My question is concerning my upcoming marriage to my fiancé, who is currently a soldier serving in Afghanistan. We had planned to marry next July after his deployment is over. He is normally stationed in Germany, which is where I will be moving after we marry. I recently found out that the housing wait there could be up to 8 months. This disturbed me because I did not want to be away from my soon to be husband for last long after we had just been married. My fiancé comes home for a two week leave in March and I have been considering moving the wedding up to then so we could apply for housing and hopefully have a house by the time he returns from deployment or soon after. We plan to marry in the Catholic Church, but have only met with my pastor once. My fiancé has never been baptized any religion, but since dating me, has shown interest into the Catholic Faith. My question is, is there any way we could be married in March, even though we have not gone through the proper marriage prep?

Thank You,

Mary

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mary,

I see not reason why you could not be married in March. Five months should give you ample preparation time. Your fiancé could speak to the Catholic military chaplain.

If your parish will not a allow a different preparation time, phone the Bishop's office and explain the situation.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


I am trying to find the exact place to help my daughter..

She and her husband were married in a civil ceremony 7 years ago. They were Episcopalians at the time.

This past Easter Vigil they were received into the Catholic church and received the Sacraments of Eucharist/Reconcilation/Confirmation. At that time their marriage was not convalidated. I asked my daughter ( as I too converted to Catholicism 2 years ago and am a Catechist) what was going on about their marriage being Sacramentally blessed. She told me they asked 3 separate times during their RCIA and each time they were told: "We'll get back to you"

Fast forward to now, 7 months later. The younger priest in the parish discovers they aren't married by a priest and tells them they are in mortal sin - have to stop taking communion and start marriage preparation and to 'stop having sex'. He tells her this in the middle of her Confession - which she had previously set up not connected in anyway to this bombshell being dropped on her in the Confessional.

Needless to say my poor girl and son-in-law are confused, hurt and angry about being told this.

My understanding is that according to Canon Law they ARE married in the eyes of the church and they ARE entitled to receive Communion. Now that this process has finally come to the priest's attention they have begun the marriage preparation process but my heart is breaking that for my daughter's first Advent and Christmas as a Catholic she is being told: "submit to the humility of not taking communion" until they have their Sacramental marriage??

This seems totally crazy to me.

One thing another priest friend mentioned is that perhaps the parish priest does NOT understand that neither party was Catholic when they married - and he is treating them as it they were Catholics married in a civil ceremony.

Can you please advise me as to the best course to help my daughter navigate this problem with her pastor and young priest???

thank you very much

Diane

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Diane,

I sympathize with your daughter and husband.

They are certainly married. The RCIA should have resolved this with a simple ceremony .

Call the Bishop's office and explain the situation.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On November 15, we received this question:

Hello,

I am trying to go through the steps to become a catholic through the R.C.I.A. program. My parents divorced when I was a child and I had always thought I was baptized-however my mother does not recall and she has just taken a trip to Puerto Rico and went to the church and they do not have a record. So to the best of my knowledge I was not baptized.

The problem is I was married from 1985 to 1991-it was not to a catholic and we were not married in a catholic church- I was married in Las Vegas and divorced in CA. My current husband since 1998 is a confirmed Catholic and was originally married in the catholic faith and has not had an annulment. He is my sponsor. The church is telling me that I need my 1st marriage annulled and since I wasn't married in the catholic church or baptized- why is this necessary- My priest says it is because I wasn't baptized- I don't understand- they also said it was going to cost $650- I also have no idea where my 1st husband is- I have not spoken to him since 1991. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Luz

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Luz,

Legal weddings between two non-Catholics are recognized by the Church.

Annulment is necessary if one of the party wants to marry in the Catholic Church.

If you were baptized and your partner a non-Catholic, annulment is not required since the Church does not recognize the marriage.

Your present husband apparently has not obtained an annulment and should not be your sponsor until he clears the problem.

As for the fee: there are hearings to hold and research and paper work. Imagine what lawyers would charge, if made civilly? However in case of needs, fees can always be modified.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello Fathers,

I'm a non-practicing catholic. I was born and raised in the Catholic church, and received my baptism and communion. However, I have not completed my confirmation. My sister has asked me to be a godparent to her three children. Although I'm extremely happy and excited, Since I have not practiced the Catholic faith in years .I occasionally go to a christian apostolic non-denominational church but am not a member of that church. My questions for you are:

1. Can i be a godparent even though I'm not a practicing catholic?

2. If not, what route would you suggest me taking, in order to become a godparent?

3.Is there a Class/Certificate i can obtain? Are they available online?

Thank you, your help is greatly appreciated,

Eileen

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Eileen,

What a compliment to you that your sister asks you to be godparent for her children!

Of course, this brings up several things, for which you have inquired about through the question section on our parish website.

First, I give you a technical response from the Code of Church Law. A sponsor for Baptism [a godparent] must be a baptized and confirmed practicing Catholic, and, if married, should be married in Church with the Sacrament of Marriage.

After this technical answer, I approach the context and reflect upon the situation of your self and your family. First of all for yourself. Perhaps this invitation is the Holy Spirit nudging you in respect to your own Faith and its practice. Jesus insists in the Gospel that the one who simply calls out, “Lord,” does not enter heaven, but the one who actually carries out the expectations of God during life’s journey.

Jesus invites us to be his friend and disciple, but says “You are my friends when you do what I ask you.” And then he proclaims his command to love one another as he loves us.

Jesus concludes his instructions to the Apostles in the last line of the Gospel of Matthew: “I am with you always till the end of time.”

So I am challenged by Jesus to make a decision: “Anyone who is not with Me, is against Me.” [Matthew Chap 12, verse 30]

When we make a decision for Jesus, then we take steps to become one with him in the community of his chosen disciples, the Church. This means for you to prepare for and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the seal of the Spirit, God’s faithfulness to us on our journey. Most parishes have introduction to the Faith programs in one way or another. You need to go to the local parish and find out in the area you live.

In reading in your letter that there are three children for you as godmother. I have to conclude that your sister is on her faith journey also, since each one was not baptized as they came along. So it is a renewal of faith for all of you. What a blessing and response to God ‘s grace!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On November 6, we received this question:

Hello Fathers,

I have a specific question about a past confession. A few months ago I made what I thought was a good confession about sins against purity and my struggles. Now that it has been a while since then, I have remembered more past sins of impurity that I did not think of at the time or mention when I made this confession. I am afaid I may have scandalized another by these sins. Is this something I need to bring up in my next confession, or were they forgiven when I said I was sorry for all my sins against purity?

I completely understand if this is something that can only be answered in the confessional. I am just really stressed about this and I wanted to see if you could give me some advice, because I tend to be intimidated by confessing these sins dealing with purity. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Mike

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Mike,

It's simple enough. Next time you go to confession, and have told your current failings, add an additional statement such as "for these sins and the sins of my past life and any sins I have forgotten to confess previously, and those that may have caused scandal, I ask pardon and forgiveness from God and from you, Father.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On November 6, we received this question:

Dear Fathers,

My husband and I want to officially convert to Catholicism. We have been together for over 5 years and have 2 sons, one age 3 and one 9 months. The reason I am questioning whether we will be allowed to convert is the fact that our first son was born out of wedlock and we were married in the Lutheran Church. Would this prevent us from being allowed to convert and have our children baptized as Catholics?

Thanks so much for your concern,

Ashley

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Ashley,

No. It would not prevent us from being allowed to convert and have your children baptized as Catholics.

I suggest you call a local Catholic Church and ask about the RCIA program (Christian Initiation of Adults).

May God guide you as you seek the truth.

Fr. John Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I got married in a catolic church in Mexico i never signed any forms or an of the requirement necessary. I wanted to get an annulment but i wanted to know if my marriage was valid in the first place or even if it is register at church. How can i know or get documents/marriage license when all the violents in Mexico is happening? Or how can I contact? Is there a way i can get a copy or information online or website?

Mina

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Minu,

Churches are still functioning in Mexico and it should be too difficult to get information as to the status of your marriage there.

You can always write to the Bishop of the diocese where the church is situated, if you get no response from the parish.

If you know the church and the diocese where the ceremony took place, you can try to find a website by checking the name on the internet.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On October 22, we received this question:

Father,

My husband and I want to baptize our daughter. I have a few questions:

1. Does my husband need to do his first communion in order to have our daughter baptized?

2. Do we need to have a godmother? And a godfather?

3. Do the godparents need to be catholic?

4. Do the godparents need to be baptized in a catholic church?

5. What is the godparents live outside California?

6. What preparation do the godparents need in order to be godparents?

7. What fees are involved with the baptism?

8. My husband and I were planning on having our wedding at St. Peter and Paul, but due to financial problems at the time, we decided to postpone this. We only got married at City Hall and we’ve been happily married for 7 years.

9. Anything else that I need to know?

Paulina

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Paulina,

I shall answer your questions in order, then add some other things.

1. No, technically he does not have to have received Communion in order to be a father of a baptized child.

2. A child need have only one godparent, either a man [godfather] or a woman [godmother]. If there are two, there should be a man and a woman.

3. Yes, godparents are to be Catholic. If one is baptized, but not Catholic, that one is technically a Christian witness.

4. Godparents are to be practicing Catholics, having been baptized, received Communion, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation. If married, should be married in the Catholic Church.

5. If godparents live in another State or a far away part of one’s own State, they should attend a Baptism preparation class, and send a certificate of attendance to you for presentation at your parish. If they cannot attend, a proxy may stand in for them, but their name will appear on the child’s Baptism record and certificate.

6. As in #5 above, godparents should attend a Baptism class, possibly with the parents, who also need to attend a preparation class.

7. Some parishes have an established fee, many simply accept a donation from the family, if they give one.

8. You touch on a very important thing. The technical thing in Church Law is that a child have the real possibility of growing in the practice of the Faith. In fact, this is why there are Baptism preparation classes – in order to build up a hope that this indeed will be true for a child. In the ceremony parents promise to bring their child up in the practice of the Faith – two times in the ceremony. The Church only finds out the real intentions of the parents with what happens afterward.

So, continuing from here, we approach #9: other things.

It seems that it would be quite difficult to promise to bring a child up in the practice of Faith when the parents are not practicing the Faith. In that case a child would essentially be in a worse position than not being baptized.

So the parents should be examining their life in this regard. One very important thing is participation at Sunday Eucharist. The Church believes that Eucharist is the single most important thing it does in the world. In fact everything of Christian life leads to and flows from the Eucharist [Mass]. Without that nothing else really makes sense.

Whether because of circumstances we can receive Communion or not, makes no difference. The expectation of Sunday Mass still holds. [Note: the best place to nurse infants is the front row.]

I wrote “circumstances” in the previous paragraph. This is particularly yours at the moment. Baptized persons are only truly married when they celebrate their Sacrament in the Church. Without that, there is simply no marriage yet. I’m sure parishes take into account when a couple cannot give a full fee to the parish. Couples should marry in the Sacrament without any fanfare, then 10 or more years later celebrate with a big party with family and friends.

For couples who find themselves in situations such as yours, they should approach their parish priest and begin the process of gathering documents, filling out forms, etc. in order to get married in the Church.

Without this in the real planned future, a parish could legitimately ask, “How can you promise to bring your child up in the practice of Faith, if you yourself do not plan to do it?”

This brings us back to question #1: The father’s plan to prepare for and receive Communion, is certainly within the realm of “practice of the Faith.”

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On October 17, we received these questions:

Hello Fathers:

I was baptized and raised a Catholic. Unfortunately I fell in love with and married a non-catholic man who was baptized as an infant in the United Church of Christ and was married and divorced twice. I continue to attend Sunday Mass and pray daily even though I cannot receive Holy Communion. His first wife would not grant him an annulment 31 years ago before we married. It is my understanding that the Catholic Church recognizes his first marriage but not his second marriage and after 31 years of marriage I find myself wondering two things:

1) If I outlive my husband, am I able to go to confession and receive communion once again?

2) If his first wife dies before my husband, would we then be free to marry in the Catholic Church or would there still be a problem because of his second wife?

Thanks for your assistance.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Sheila,

(1) If you outlive your husband, you may go to confession and back to the reception of the Eucharist.

(2) If his first wife dies before him, you would need to seek the church dispensation to determine the possible validity of the second marriage. This could be arranged. Speak to the local priest, if such a thing happened. He could shepherd you through the necessary process.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am having my 3rd child Baptised in January.

The form asks that one of the given name be one of a saint. For my other 2 children I gave their two first names (as on their birth certificate) And then added a third given name being the one of a saint e.g. Will Kirk Anthony. I wish my third childs 'saint' name to Mary (due the canonisation of Mary Mackillop...I am from Australia!).

My question is I have only just wondered if this is ok? That is that the Baptism certifcate has an extra name to the actual Birth certificate. Is this a problem?

Thanks for your help

Erica

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Erica,

It is a common practice in many places that a Baptismal name different from the given names on a birth certificate may appear on a Baptism certificate.

It is wonderful that you remember the first Australian canonized Saint in your family.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On October 7, we received these questions:

First Question

My wife was raised Baptist and I was raised Catholic. We were married in a Presbyterian church by a Baptist minister (who happened to be my wife's step father). When our daughter was born, we decided to have her baptized as a Catholic and raise her in the Catholic tradition. At that time, we were told by my mother that we needed to be re-married in a Catholic church in order to have our child baptized as a Catholic. We went through the process of getting re-married in the Catholic church (which did not go over well with my mother-in-law and her second husband the minister) and attended a baptism class before the actual baptism ceremony. Recently, my wife's friend (who works in the administrative office of our local church and attends church more religiously then us) told my wife that we were duped and that we didn't need to get re-married in order to baptize our children as Catholics? Did my Mom trick us into getting re-married for no reason at all, or can the child of a Catholic and a Baptist who were not married in a Catholic ceremony get baptized as a Catholic?

Second Question

I know a Catholic man who got married and divorced, but never got the marriage annulled.

Several year later, he got married to a Catholic woman (his second marriage, her first marriage) in a civil service ceremony at a courthouse? Does the church recognize their marriage as valid?Can their children be baptized as Catholics with obtaining an annulment of his first marriage and being re-married in a Catholic ceremony?

I look forward to your answers

Brian

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Brian,

First Question:

Your first wedding, though civilly legal, was not acknowledged by the CatholicChurch as valid, since you were a Catholic.

With such a union, most Catholic parishes would not allow baptism of the offspring. After all what example could a Catholic give to a child when he/she cannot receive the sacraments? Legally you might find it admissible to baptize a child in the circumstances you have given, but certainly it is not advisable. Your obligation is to uphold and practice Catholic teaching and witness to your child.

Second Question:

The Church does not recognize the first or second marriage. A valid Catholic ceremony would remedy the situation of the child's baptism.

Baptism and annulment do not go hand in hand. Eventual baptism would depend on the will of the child.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello,

My daughter is 17 and is due to have a baby boy any day. We are practising Roman Catholics and she very much wants the baby baptized in our church. Her boyfriend is Russian Orthodox. He wants the baby baptized in the Russian Orthodox church. We live in Vancouver BC Canada...not sure if that makes a difference.

Anyway I am wondering if they baby can be baptized in both. He is going to be raised Catholic, I am thinking her boyfriend and family want the Russian baptism as more of a tradition than anything else. What is the churches view in this matter?

Thanks so much for you time,

Michelle

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Michelle,

God loves little babies! Notwithstanding less than ideal circumstances, nevertheless God loves little babies! And so must we.

The important thing for the Church [that is, all of us disciples of Jesus] is that a baptized child have the opportunity to grow in the practice of the Faith. Without that hope, it is not licit [though valid] to baptize.

Regarding Catholic doctrine, there is only ONE Baptism. The Church recognizes valid Baptism in most Christian churches. Regarding the relationship between the Russian Orthodox and the Catholic Churches, you must consult with your own parish priest in your own diocese. Perhaps permission to Baptize in an Orthodox Church could be given. I do not know. What I do know is this: there are not to be two Baptisms, only one.

Go step by step in faith. Time will tell under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whether the parents are to be one family or not.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On October 3, we received this question:

Fathers:

My partner is catholic Iam not we are hoping to get married in a catholic church but have a few problems:

1. I have been married before in the church of england but am divorced .

2. I have never been baptised or christened. could you please give me some advise on these issues.

Many thanks

Martin

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Martin,

You will probably need an annulment from your first marriage.

There are certain issues that may make your marriage possible in the Church,

Your best bet is to speak to a local priest and he will explain the possibilities.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On September 23, we received this questions:

Dear Father,

My fiance and I are planning on marrying July next year. He was born and raised catholic. I on the other hand have no idea since I unfortuanately didnt grow up in the church. I was under the impression that I had been baptized, but it was brought to my attention that I wasn't. We have recently signed up and belong to a parish, have booked the church, started out marriage classes and we are both starting RCIA this weekend. My concern is when we signed up for everything I told our Deacon that I had been baptized since I was under the impression that I was. So my question is will this prevent us from marrying? I haven't told our Deacon yet...since I'm very upset about this and don't know what to do. Please help

God Bless

Jenny

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jenny,

Completion of your RCIA program will prepare you for baptism and conformation.

Let the deacon know that you were not baptized previously. At any rate a baptism certificate would be required before a church wedding, or lacking that, permission for a mixed marriage.

No problem and no reason to be embarrassed.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On September 20, we received this questions:

Fathers,

I am Catholic and my fiancee is Lutheran. His first wedding was performed in a Lutheran Church. I would like to know if a Catholic Priest would perside over dual ceremony in Colorado, USA Lutheran Church? He does not want to convert but I will raise our children as Catholics and attend Catholic schools or cathecisms.

Nadia

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Nadia,

With the bishop's permission it is possible to have a Catholic priest preside over a wedding in a Lutheran church.

If your fiancé was previously married, however, that marriage would require an annulment.The bishop's office would have to be consulted.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On September 10, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

I was brought up catholic and have received all of my sacraments up to being married in the catholic church. My husband was brought up Lutheran. Once we had our children and they were ready for school we decided to put them in a Lutheran school because we liked what they had to offer and figured it is still Christian. My two kids were baptized in the catholic church but they have both made their first holy communion in the Lutheran Church . So I guess at this point they are being brought up Luteran. My dilemma is: I have not attended the Catholic Church in some time and want to be a Godparent to my sisters baby along with my husband. Her church told me I was considered a fallen Catholic and therefore they would assign her Godparents. This is out of the question so I then thought over my absence from Church and decided this was Gods way of calling me back. I went and registered at another Church but now I am scared that they are still not going to allow me to baptize my nephew. I have been a registered member at the church that I went to occasionally and I am preparing to take the class. Can her church turn me down because the rest of my family practices at the Lutheran Church ???? Please help we are desperate and the baby is already 8 months old. We are of Mexican/Irish descent this is a priority.

Vanessa

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Vanessa,

Your letter brings up several things. Your first parish gave you a push [“God’s way of calling me back” –in your words].

You state that you have registered in a parish and are ready for the Baptism preparation class. This is a wonderful start. I doubt that there will be any further obstacles.

There is more than that in the long run.

Do you remember the form and the promise that you made and signed in order to get the OK to marry a non-Catholic in the Church? By that formality you promised to practice your Catholic Faith and to raise your children in the Catholic Faith. Sending your children to a Lutheran school, in itself, does not imply non-practice of the Catholic Faith. But not sending your children to the parish Catholic religious formation program and thus to prepare for the Catholic Sacraments would seem to indicate some confusion.

Certainly there can be confusion in your children, having made their Communion in the Lutheran Church. We Catholics believe that the reality of the Sacraments [except Baptism] is not the same between Catholics and Protestants. So, as you renew your own practice of the Faith, your children should also prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation in the Catholic Church. This is what is ahead of you.

What a wonderful blessing of your sister inviting you to be your nephew’s godmother!

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father,

I have a question about Baptism and Being a Godparent: My question is I was recently asked to be Godmother to my cousins little boy I am a practicing Catholic who was Baptized and Confirmed. Five years ago I got married thru the courthouse by a judge and court witnesses and 10 months later got divorced. My question is can I still be the Godmother in the Catholic Church?

Peace and Love

Michelle

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Michelle,

You are now a practicing Catholic with conditions fulfilled for being a Godparent.

Yes, you may be Godmother.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On August 20, we received these questions:

Fathers:

I am Roman Catholic and my husband is Greek Orthodox. We were married in the United church as we wanted to respect eachother's faith and equally upset our families as we couldn't choose. Now we have been blessed with twin girls and have been struggling on which baptism to proceed with and our families have not been taking either decision well, our religions are very similar and what we believe at the core is the same and we continue to struggle with the decision.

I have been thinking of proceeding with baptism in the Greek Orthodox church in order to have the children baptized and my husband and I have agreed to raise and have the girls go to Catholic school - as education is very important to us and we want them to have the best opportunities. If we were to baptize our girls in the orthodox church will the catholic church recognize these sacraments or would we have to proceedwith a Catholic baptism afterwards? A lot of this is to please our families, but at the core our children will attend catholic church and schools. We're very confused and unable to please our families and our beliefs are the same so we don't understand why everyone is so upset with us.

Karen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Karen,

Your marriage is not recognized by the Catholic Church. I believe It would also not be recognized by the Orthodox. This might make baptism in either church difficult.

You would have to see the local pastors of the church in which you would prefer the ceremony be performed.

Orthodox baptism is considered sacramental.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

My daughter and her fiance are both Catholics. They live in NYC but are planning to wed at the San Francisco Presidio in May 2011. Can they have a Catholic wedding at the Interfaith Chapel? The history of this beautiful mission church is rooted in Catholicism.

Thanks

Kelly

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kelly,

They would need permission from the Archbishop of San Fancisco. You can call the S.F. marriage tirbunal for informaton.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On July 20, we received this question:

As a devoted Catholic since childhood I have to ask this question regarding the schedule baptism of my grandson. My daughter-in-law has picked up, without my son knowledge, her brother and living-in companion girlfriend (they are non-devoted Catholics and living in sin together for at least 7 years) to be the godparents.

My son opposed this choicefor moral issues being himself very Catholic and this issue is beginning to create some family problems. My wife is completely upset also about our daughter- in- law’s choice for the same reason. My wife told me that she will talk to the parish about this issue and I told her that is better not to get involved. She will not attend the baptism ceremony.

Since the baby was born 3 months these individuals have come to visit the baby only once. My son asked his wife to change his mind but she refused. I see a lot of problems coming up. And we are praying….very hard. Yes…I’m from New York…your page was the first one to come up in the screen when I typed the question. So the question is..Will the Catholic Church, if knowing that the godparents are living in sin for years, will ok the baptism? God bless,

Juan

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Juan,

The Church should not knowingly allow the couple to be godparents.

I suggest that you encourage your wife to speak to the priest who will confer baptism, or to the pastor.

Ordinarily god parents are asked to attend a class and to profess their agreement with the teachings of the Church.

In any event the baptism would be valid.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On June 4, we received these questions:

My fiancé was baptized in St. Theresa in Paterson, New Jersey. The church now can't find any record of her baptism. So out parish now in Florida won't let us get married. What can we do to obtain her baptism if the church refuses to give it us?

Kelvin

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Kelvin,

If she still have godparents alive, have them testify to the baptism. If there are other witnesses to the baptism have them offer testimony. Take that to St. Theresa to prove they failed to register the baptism. They should give your fiancé a certificate.

If that doesn't work, call the Bishop's office, and ask for advice. If worst came to worst, conditional baptism could be offered.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 25, we received these questions:

Dear Fathers,

My husband and I wish to have our 3 year old son baptized in your church. We have been married for 14 years but have yet to be blessed in the catholic church. Both of us have been baptized as infants, have received our first communion during elementary/middle school and both of us have been confirmed. I was browsing through the FAQs questions on the 'baptism' page and came across a question from another person who asked a similar question with regard to her and her husband not married in the catholic church. The response was that the baptism was possible but unlikely since they would have to be married in the catholic church to proceed to have their child baptized. Please confirm that this is correct. I am asking since we have 3 other sons, all baptized in the catholic church and the catholic church they were all baptized at did not question my husband & my marriage. If my husband and I indeed have to be blessed by the catholic church prior to having our son baptized, how do we go about having this done? Does the church have any type of ceremony or blessing for couples who are already married, just not through the eyes of god? I also viewed the 'wedding' inquiry and realized there is a 6 month wait. Would this be the ceremony we would have to complete or as I mentioned before, is there another type of blessing for couples who had a civil marriage ceremony? Thank you fathers in advance.

Lyza

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Lyza,

Your inquiry brings several things to mind to be able to respond to you. I shall try to put things into context.

According to Canon [Church] Law, it is not licit to baptize a child unless there is “founded hope” that the child will be reared in the practice of the Faith. Parents and godparents are reminded in the ceremony of Baptism of this great responsibility of practice of the Faith. It is quite difficult, obviously, when parents are not practicing the Faith themselves.

The Catholic Church believes that the true marriage of baptized persons is a Sacrament. That is: Sacramental Marriage is a sign of God’s presence in the life of the couple – for the world. So much so, that unless it is a Sacrament, authentic marriage simply does not happen. As confirmed Catholics, both of you should know this. If not, it is spelled out right here. So, regarding your older children, the parish(es) where it had been done hoped that this step toward the Marriage Sacrament would take place within an appropriate time. Thus far, that has not happened. It would be dereliction of duty toward the community of disciples (the Church) to not present this to parents now for a fourth child while the parents are not completing their own Sacramental duties.

If there are difficulties with this, your local parish priest would help to overcome them. You have already waited three years to think about initiation into the Church for your youngest child. The preparation time for Sacramental Marriage is not so much longer. But it would show sincerity and determination regarding your own practice of faith, besides being a wonderful example for your older children as they understand why they are enrolled and attend religious education classes in the parish.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Father,

My fiancé and I live in Arizona, have been engaged for one year and are starting to plan our wedding. I am non-catholic raised in the bay area and he is Roman Catholic. We would like to get married in the Catholic church in San Francisco but are worried about how to complete the marriage preparation process since we live out of state. Can this process be fulfilled through another dioceses (Arizona) or does it have to happen at your location? How would we go about this process?

Thank You

Jennifer

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Jennifer,

Certainly you can prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage in your fiancé’s parish where you live. There they would help you with all the necessary documents, forms, formal marriage prep sessions, and dispensation. Then the parish would forward everything to the Bishop’s office for authentication. It would then be sent to me. Arriving in San Francisco you would have to go to City Hall for the marriage license.

On our end you need to call to set a date. Then we would need the deposit to hold it. Please give me your address so that I can send you our wedding guidelines – mostly a couple of practical things [like parking] beyond the ordinary things done everywhere.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hi Fathers,

I am a Jewish (non-practicing) woman who is divorced from a Catholic (also non-practicing) man...When we were married agreed to have our children raised in his religion...so my 1st daughter was baptised...Now we are divorced and he wants to baptise our son...I am against it...His reasoning is that he would not be able to get married in a Catholic Church! Well, he's 11, and I figure he has plenty of time....Can I stop him from Baptising him?

Thanks...Sue

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Sue,

There are several things your letter brings to mind. One thing is practice of Faith. It is only licit to baptize a person when there is “founded hope” that the person will be reared in the practice of the Faith. When that hope is unfounded, there is no rationale for baptizing anyone.

Also when a person is already going to school, then he should attend religious faith classes so that he himself prepares for the Sacraments of Initiation in the Church.

It seems you are the main custodial parent. No parish priest would baptize an older child who has not been attending classes and whose parent does not wish it.

Regarding getting married later on in a Catholic church: marriages between a baptized Catholic and an unbaptized person are a regular occurrence in the Church.

The main thing for you as a sincere mother is to form your son and daughter with authentic human values and virtues. Your daughter has been baptized. By now she is her own person! Has she had the opportunity to grow in her Faith? Would she be interested? She can herself seek out a nearby Catholic parish and make inquiries, as also her brother if he wants to.

Blessings and peace for your wonderful journey as mother of two children!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On May 18, we received this question:

Fathers:

My nephew is Catholic and his wife is Baptist. He would like to have their baby baptized in the Catholic church and his wife is OK with that as long as she doesn’t have to commit to raising the baby Catholic. She has no problem committing to raising the baby Christian or to attending Catholic services with the baby and her husband.

Does one have to commit to raising a baby Catholic to have it baptized in a Catholic church?

Sherry

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Sherry,

The one committing himelf to raise the baby as Catholic is the father.As long has he is willing to follow through, there is no raeason not to baptize the baby in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 15, we received these questions:

My boyfriend and I are both catholic, but he got marry in Mexico on the beach. Can he get married in a catholic church. He was divorced.

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Patricia,

There should be no great difficulty in preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage in the Church. You do need to do a little research, however.

To establish freedom to marry on the part of your proposed spouse a few things are necessary: his Baptism certificate, newly-issued; the marriage certificate of his civil marriage in Mexico; the final divorce decree. Presenting these three documents to your diocesan Tribunal will bring forth a “Freedom to marry” decree.

Of course, all this you should go over with your local parish priest as he guides you on the things to do for the practical and spiritual preparation for your marriage.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I have a son that is 7 years old and has never been baptized. I am Lutheran and my husband is Catholic. I plan on having him baptized in my church. My question is...the godparents I am choosing for him may not be able to be present for the baptism. Do they have to be? Can just my husband and I be with him?

Thank you

Jennifer

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Jennifer,

God parents are important examples of faith for a young person. As long as they accept and understand their roles [usually attending pre-Baptism classes], they may have a proxy ( “stand-in”) or two at the celebration.

Your letter left me questioning a few things. You mention that you have a Lutheran background and that you planned to have the Baptism in “my” church. Would that be your local Lutheran parish?

This brings up further questions. Your husband is Catholic. Were you married in the Catholic Church? If not, he is currently not within the ordinary framework Catholic Church life. If he is not interested in living as a practicing Catholic and you are looking forward to Baptism in the Lutheran communion, I wonder why you have asked a Catholic parish about godparents’ presence.

If, instead, you have been married in the Catholic Church and your husband is practicing his faith, then he took a promise before marriage that he would do his best to rear any children in the Catholic faith. For a school age child (technical church terms: “of the age of reason” of “of catechetical age”), this means participating in religious faith classes in the local Catholic parish. Thus the child himself is learning about Jesus and His Church, so that he knows, understands, and really wants to receive the Sacraments according to his level of maturity with the living example of his family supporting him. Then the local parish priest and his team would be involved in doing this groundwork and then receiving the child into the community of Church.

In your love and care for your son, you set the example of prayer and faith for him. I remember my mom teaching me to pray at a very young age. She took my brother and me to Church Sunday by Sunday all through our childhood and adolescent years.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On May 3, we received this question:

Father,

My boyfriend and I have seriously talked and discussed marriage. We are not engaged yet, but are planning on mid to late summer to set that into motion. I was raised Catholic and am currently looking for a parish to call my own; He does not claim any religious background and has never been baptized. Do we have any options for getting married in the catholic church? Please help!

Ellen

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Ellen,

By all means find a parish "to call your own." We need all the help we can get to do God's will, increase our love of God and share the grace of a good marriage.

You can get married in a Catholic Church, but there are some steps to take. As long as your boyfriend has no objections he must be instructed on the requirements, which the local priest can explain to him (and you).

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On May 1, we received these questions:

Hello,

We are organizing a baptism for my son and have asked my brother (catholic) to be the Godfather and my sister-in-law (noncatholic) to be an "honorary" Godparent. However, only recently did I become aware that she has not been christened. Can she still be an "honorary" Godparent?

Cara

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Cara,

Only one godparent is required. "Honorary" can be anyone.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Greetings Fathers:

My question is how does a person from the Greek Orthodox tradition enter into the Catholic Church? A friend is married to a former Greek Orthodox person. He is practicing as a Catholic but as far as I know has just simply been doing so since the couple's marriage in the Catholic Church without any formal path of entry into the Church. Is this OK? Apparently they were told so by a priest at the parish where they were married. I realize his baptism is valid but doesn't he have to be confirmed? ... or something?

Thank you.

Fr. Malloy answers:

If your friend is a member of an Orthodox Church in unon with Rome there is no need of a dispensation. His confirmation would be valid, if he were confirmed at the time of his Baptism, Otherwise he should be confirmed in the Catholic Church.

If, however, his Orthodox Church is not in union with Rome, he would need to make a profession of faith in the Catholic Church.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 27, we received this question:

Hello Father,

I am looking to Baptise my 9mo old daughter this July. Our Issue is that her Father and I are not married. We would like to one day but have not done so even though we have been engaged for some time.

I would like her God parents to be 2 women 1 of othem which is married by Civil Court and the other woman is single. Is this allowed? and where would this leave her husband? will he have to stand up in the ceremony also? if so I have no problem with this.

The 2 woman are my sister and my fiancees sister. It is very importmnat for us for them to be our child's God parents.

Thank you for your guidance

Martha

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Martha,

It would be better to straighten out your marriage before baptizing your children. Your local parish priest could help you.

The idea of a parent, sponsor or godparent is so that a baptized person have an example of faith in practice to model in life. Thus a Catholic parent or godparent is to have received Confirmation and, if married, to be married with the Sacrament. Two persons of the same sex are not allowed as godparents.

A Christian witness is one who follows and lives Christ though not in the Catholic community of faith. A non-practicing Catholic does not qualify on both counts.

The husband named would have no part in the ceremony, other than attendee.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 20, we received these questions:

Good Evening Father:

I am a cradle-cap Catholic, baptized, communion and confirmed and practicing Catholic individual. I married my husband in Oct. 1972, who was baptized at age 13 as Methodist, we were married in a Catholic Church with all the acceptances, etc. but at that time he nor I wanted to convert. We had both of our children baptized Catholic. My husband has always attended the Catholic Mass with me but not the Communion portion. He has now decided after almost 38 years of marriage, to convert to Catholic, the church is overwhelmed but neither I, his Mom and the church he was baptized in approx. 1965 can locate his Baptism Certificate or a copy because the church burned down, the Pastor has since passed away along with all of the Records. Today I called the Church we were married at in NY to see if they have something that stated he was Methodist when we came for our Marriage classes but they have nothing on his Baptism for info for the Marriage Certificate. Can the Priest in FL accept that {we have Parish signed Marriage License, etc} just not the Baptism Certificate? He is starting RCIA classes this Wednesday evening. I’ve exhausted everything! Thank you in advance.

Regards,

Joyce & Ron

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Joyce & Ron,

Congratulations on RCIA. Speak to your pastor about the possibility of conditional baptism.

I see no problem. You have a Catholic marriage license. If necessary one can be baptized conditionally.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


hello Father,

I have been married to my husband for 15 years. The situation is as follows: we have five children together. I was baptized Catholic at age 21 when our first daughter was baptized (we had her together prior to getting married). My husband was baptized Catholic as an infant in Mexico, where he is from. He had one previous marriage, also to a cradle Catholic (neither practicing in their adult lives) and they had a civil marriage outside the church. I had a marriage (very brief) to my high school sweetheart when I was 19 and I divorced him when I was 20 - I had emotional problems including depression, and quickly figured out I wasn't ready for marriage. He was not Catholic (actually I would say he was agnostic) and I wasn't Catholic at the time.

What do we need to do so that we can have our 15 year marriage blessed in the church? We are both now practicing Catholics and are having our 3 children baptized in May whom we didn't have baptized as infants. We've had a lot of problems throughout our young lives (he alchoholism and both of us survivors of sexual & physical abuse as children) -so we made impulsive, not well thought out decisions in our late teens and now regret them but we need to figure out what steps to take to make it all right. The person with whom we spoke at our local parish said my 1st marriage was valid (because it was between two non-Catholics). I was previously told by another parish that neither one of our prior marriages were valid. In the case that my first (very brief, impulsive) marriage was valid, what can be done? Does that mean my husband of 15 years and the father of our five children can never be my husband in the church's eyes?

Please advise me. Thank you.

Fr. Malloy answers:

Kellie,

It' s true that your first marriage was valid as you were both non-Catholics at the time. However this is a case where the Pauline Privilege might be invocked.

Conditions: The Catholic Church can dissolve a marriage bond, allowing the Catholic party to re-marry, if: Both persons were not baptized at the time of their wedding. The unbaptized person departs physically by divorce or desertion, or morally by making married life unbearable for the baptized person. The unbaptized person refuses to be baptized or to live peacefully with the baptized person.

Civil divorce has been granted by the state.

I suggest you approach the second priest and ask him to help you.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On April 15, we received these questions:

My granddaughter is five years old and has never been baptized. Both my daughter and her husband have bee raised Catholic. Only go to church on the Holidays. I live out of state and I am a Luthern. Is there anyway I can get my Granddaughter baptized when I am down there. My daughters biggest excuse is she just doesn't have anyone to be god parents and her husband will not take part. How can I help get this done? Thank you for your time I feel that she keeps getting older and older and don't know if it will ever be done. My other granddaughter who is now 20 never received . baptism and communion or confirmation , we have talked and she is going to go to classes at night. I don't want the same thing to happen to this Granddaughter, I am very upset over this.

Thank you.

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Albina,

It is wonderful that you have such love and care for your grandchildren. However, the first responsibility for their formation in the practice of the Faith lies with their parents. Grandparents support them with example and prayer.

In fact, Church [or Canon] Law states that a child may be licitly baptized when there is a “founded hope” that they will be reared in the practice of the faith. When there is lack of true hope for this to happen, then baptizing an infant puts a person at greater risk of growing up without any knowledge and love of God and the community of believing disciples.

Sometimes in the life of older family relatives, their life and prayers become a wholesome background for the next generations. In Church history we remember the prayers and sacrifices of St. Monica for her son who became St. Augustine. Augustine finally gave in to the Holy Spirit at the age of 33! So give thanks and praise to God for your older granddaughter who is responding at age 20. What glories the Lord works for those who love Him!

However, this is not automatic. It frequently happens that in this earthly life, there may be no response. I give the example of my oldest uncle [a lovely story, not enough space here] who at the end of his life during his first heart attack, simply stated with regard to religion, “I’m nothing!”

Keep your family in prayer. Love them where they are at. Give praise to God for each of them. Allow the Holy Spirit to act without any shackles you have in place. Then if there is response, it will be wholly and fully a response to Jesus, the Father and the Spirit, no strings attached.

Blessings and peace at Easter!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


I have taken communion, been to confession, i am bringing my 2 children up as catholics and although i lost my faith after my dad died when my girls were born i felt the need to go back to my faith and up until last week i have been attending mass altough not as often as i should and taking communion and going to confession. anyway father this is now the problem. i married 25 years ago a wonderful, caring man who i love, but it was in a registry office here in england. this was because again my upbringing and him being bsptised church of england. this has never bothered me as i thought that me being catholic i could still partake of my religion. anyway it turns out that after talking to my priest i cant. i have to get my baptismal certificate and a freedom to marry letter from my old church.when i phoned my aunt to aske her to get this from st. simons where i always attended with my gran this bombshell was dropped. i was baptised as i said before in hospital. i did attend church every week with gran. i did take holy communion but it was done at my grans home and my aunt couldnt tell me anything about my confirmation. (she lived in new zealand at the time).i feel my whole life was a lie and i dont kow how to put it right.everything i have beren taught, everything i have done within my faith is a lie.help me father. what can i do to make things right.

Polly

Fr. Malloy answers:

Dear Polly,

First of all, do not think your life a lie! You were doing what you could under the circumstances, especially when returning to the practice of faith upon the birth of your children.

Give thanks to God that your stable family life is a haven for you, your husband and your children.

Now, yes, there are some technical things to accomplish so that you may fully participate in the Sacramental life of the Church. The overriding concern of the Church is loving care with the ultimate vision of eternal life with Jesus within that reality of Father, Son and Spirit and all the angels and saints, our own loved ones besides our favorite models [Blessed Mother Mary, Joseph, Apostles, etc.].

So, down to earth: Yes, if at all possible, to get a Baptism certificate. Usually when a child is quickly baptized in a hospital emergency situation, the Baptism should be recorded in the local parish. Failing that, are there any witnesses to that who are still living? An affidavit from them would be grounds for creating a Baptism record. You said that you went to Communion while accompanying your grandmother to church. Did you not have a formal First Communion? Since we are supposed to be of the “age of reason,” that is a memory that we can easily recall – as is our Confirmation, usually done somewhat later. At First Communion [and Confirmation] a record book is kept at a parish which will also have a Baptism date recorded. [Note: my own mother received her First Communion at a Mass in her family living room. Just to say that different situations have existed for centuries all over the world.]

So if none of these methods produces an official record, then your local parish priest could [certainly after some personal instruction] simply baptize you “conditionally.” This means that, since the Church holds there to be only one Baptism, such a ceremony would include an introduction “If you have not been baptized,” I now baptize you ….

Then you could renew your wedding promises as a “convalidation” [technical term, sometimes rendered as “blessing”] of your marriage as a Sacrament in the Church. Communion is automatic. Then, since you do not remember your Confirmation, it can be safely assumed you have not been confirmed. Thus you could attend the adult Confirmation classes available in your diocese.

You husband does not have to become Catholic. My grandmother married my grandfather who never became Catholic. My mother married my father, not a Catholic. Both in the Catholic Church. If he should be moved, nudged by the Holy Spirit, then thanks be to God; if not, still thanks be to God.

Blessings and peace at Easter!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On April 5, we received this question:

Dear FATHER,

I belong to a Sacred Liturgy committee here in my church in Wisconsin. I have fallen in love with the Divine Mercy Adoration and Devotion. Since we have two parishes under one priest and neither parish encourages the devotion at this time I brought it up at the meeting last night. Neither parish have the beautiful icon of "Jesus I trust in you" displayed either.

I was met with these kind of statements. why do we need this devotion? Isn't receiving the Eucharist on Sundays enough? What's the big deal about indulgences? I'm not big into Indulgences", "We shouldn't be starting a 9 day novena on Good Friday to the Divine Mercy, we need to stay focused on the Good Friday service" and finally one person commented that Divine Mercy Sunday should not interfer with the first Sunday after Easter liturgy.

Please help! I wasn't prepared to refute the entire group but I still believe in my heart of hearts that jesus wants us to spread this devotion, otherwise why would Pope John Paul have institued the Divine Mercy Sunday?

Thanks for anything you can arm me with for the next encounter. God Bless!

Rose

Fr. Malloy answers:

Rose,

You share a problem which is widespread. Many parishes have faced this opposition. The devotion is not a liturgical practice. Many don't like extra devotions.

However many parishes have the recitation of the rosary on a daily basis. These groups may be targeted to accept the Divine Mercy form.

My experience is that this devotion was introduced in the parish by one leader who convinced a few of the devotees of the Blessed Mother to promote it. You might make in once a week, using the regular rosary on other days. Be the apostle and seek disciples!

I picked this up on the internet. It might simplify your efforts:

The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.

2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).

4. Conclude with (three times):

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

 

In 1933, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy,

Sister tells us:

"I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it.Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord's wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus."

 

Of another vision on Sept. 13, 1935, she writes:

"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment...."

The following day an inner voice taught her to say this prayer on ordinary rosary beads:

"First say one 'Our Father', 'Hail Mary', and 'I believe'. Then on the large beads say the following words:

'Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.'

On the smaller beads you are to say the following words:

'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.'

In conclusion you are to say these words three times:

'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world'.

Jesus said later to Sister Faustina:

"Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy...."

"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior."

Fr. John Malloy SDB


On March 22, we received these questions:

If you want your child baptized catholic, who can be the godparents if you don't know any catholics?

Heidi

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Heidi,

If you are not going to Mass why would you want your baby baptized in the Catholic Church?

However, if you find a parish that will baptize your child, the pastor himself can supply the God parent.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

Follow-up:

Thanks for getting back. Can the grandparents be godparents? I know it is not traditional, but i believe the new canon allows this.

Heidi

Fr. Malloy responds:

Yes, if they are practicing Catholics.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 15, we received these questions:

I am currently attending RCIA classes. My question is I have been married twice and divorced twice. Do I have to have the 2 previous marriages annuled before I can be confirmed? My first marriage was to an abusive man, I have been batized and unsure if he was. My second was to whom I still love and we are wanting to be remarried. My second husband is Catholic.

Stacy

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Stacy,

What a wonderful desire in responding to the Holy Spirit in wishing to be one in the Catholic Church!

Yes, thinking about previous marriages is important, especially when there is the wish to enter into a Sacramental marriage.

Some background information is needed in order to respond to your queries.

The Catholic Church recognizes and holds dear all marriages done according to law and custom. However, it does make rules for its own members who are only truly married when they accomplish all the conditions. So, in your situation, the first question is whether your first husband was Catholic or not. If he was Catholic and you were not married in Church, then that was automatically not valid. If neither of you had been baptized in the Catholic Church, then the marriage would be valid unless proven otherwise.

To prove a marriage not valid, a petition with supporting facts would have to be submitted to your local Diocesan Tribunal. Your parish priest can help you to start this process.

A divorced person could theoretically be admitted to the Sacraments, if there is no view toward another marriage. When that would be in view, no marriage could happen until previous marriage(s) were first proven not valid. So it is best to do that right at the start.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Hello Father,

I am currently in classes to be confirmed and baptized Catholic, however today I was informed that I will not be able to be baptized or confirmed Catholic because I am married and live with my husband (hence living in sin). Our marriage has not been blessed yet (we are attending classes) as I was informed that it cannot be blessed until I am Catholic, so I am confused as to now why I will not be able to be baptized, and got no real answers from the deacon in my parish. So what should I do??? I want to be Catholic and have been in classes for almost 9 months now and am going to mass and following all of the Catholic rules, and now my heart is broken because I feel like I am in some way being cast out, can you please help?

God Bless,

Joy

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Joy,

You describe some very real human feelings and also some questions or even misconceptions in your situation.

There is some implied information in your letter. So let me spell it out so that I can respond. First of all, some human omission: this situation of your marriage getting in the way of your Sacraments, should probably have been approached many months ago. However, the situation now is how to overcome that.

The general principle is that to receive Sacraments, one should be in sync with all the Sacraments. Thus the difficulty with Marriage.

I infer from your letter that your husband is Catholic and you yourself want to join the Church. Assuming that your wedding was not in the Catholic Church, then your husband was not fulfilling the requirements for a Catholic to get married. So his marriage is not valid, which means that you also are not in a valid marriage. Generally this should have been taken care of ages ago; that is, fulfilling the regulations for a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic [at that time] and having the marriage “convalidated” [technical term] in the Church.

You state that you are, in fact, now taking steps for this. Is there something preventing this from happening before Easter? [Very short time left, undeniably.] Permission for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic is routinely granted. In my own family history my grandmother married my non-Catholic grandfather in the Church; my mother married my non-Catholic father in the Church.

If, instead, a formal Catholic marriage ceremony has to be after Easter, you could simply promise to postpone intimate relations [the terminology is: “living as brother and sister”] so that you could receive the Initiation Sacraments and then celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage.

Has this been simply and clearly stated? Of course, all this is based on the assumption that your husband is Catholic. If he is not, then I do not see where any problem has arisen.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Greetings,

My husband is not baptized. Can a funeral Mass be celebrated for him? If not, what other options are there? Thank you.

Fr. John Malloy responds:

You could have a prayer service in the mortuary, even with the rosary.

You can have a mass offered for him in the church, but the body may not be present.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Follow up question and answer:

I read on some Diocese's website that catechumens can be afforded a funeral Mass. Do you agree with that?

Fr. Malloy responded:

Yes, I agree. It can be shown that catechumens have Catholic baptism of desire.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On March 1, we received these questions:

Hello,

We've got two Godparents for my 10 year old daughter who are a huge disappointment.Couldn't bother to even attend her 1st communion.

Is there a way to replace them with better, more involved and interested parties?

K

Fr. Harod Danielson responds:

Dear Katia,

Some months go there was a similar question. My response:

"It is not possible to remove a child's Godparent from a historical record [the Baptism register]. If the Godparent is not properly fulfilling his or her role, the best thing to do is to introduce a person into the child's life who will be a proper Christian role model. Then, when the time comes for the child to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, that person may be the Confirmation sponsor."

I think this is a timely response to your current dilemma. Of course, all of this assumes the consistent practice of the Faith in your family as the best example for your daughter.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


My baptism certificate from 1964 has been damaged (drink fell on it.) My main problem is that I was baptized in a hospital (emergency baptism) and the hospital didn’t keep records of baptisms and no church has a record of the baptism. Can I go to a priest and ask him to re-print one just from the one I have?

Fr. Harod Danielson responds:

Dear Marianne,

You can make a copy of your certificate yourself. Preserve the original as best you can.

Usually when a priest does an emergency Baptism in a hospital he will record it in the parish he lives at. If this had not been done, then you should take it to your own parish to have them make a record of it. For this opinion, please contact the diocesan Tribunal where you live and ask what and how this should be done. I do not know if I gave the best technical advice.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


What happens if your Childs Godparents are no longer around. Can you appoint another person as Godparent without going through another baptism? And if so how?

SJ

Fr. John Malloy responds:

SJ,

You can always ask someone, who is worthy, to take the place of deceased godparent(s).

However, Baptism once given can never be repeated--it lasts forever.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father.

I had my marriage annulled 9 years ago. I have recently met another Catholic that was married and more recently divorced for reasons that would not warrant an annulment in the eyes of the church.

I realize that if we were to marry, it would have to be a civil ceremony due to his status. (Not something I had planned on, but an unfortunate reality of the situation).

Does not being married in church remove me from the church? (I attend mass every Sunday, teach CCD and am an active part of the Church community). Also, if we were to have children, could they still be baptized and raised Catholic without an issue?

Any insight you can provide would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Nicole

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Nicole,

If you were to marry this man you would commit a mortal sin It would not excommunicate you, but it would prohibit your reception of the Eucharist.

Your example would make your CCD instruction suspect. I would not advise it.

You are still encouraged to attend Mass and, if you have children, to raise them Catholic.

May the Lord guide you!

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi father!!! is there any catholic priest can officiate marriage outside church? or is it true a retired priest can officiate marrieage outside church?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Archie,

A retired priest has the same privileges and prohibitions as a parish priest.

The practice in most of this country is for Catholics to be married in churches and usually need the Bishop's permission for the ceremony to be performed elsewhere.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

I am Catholic and my wife is Methodist. We are expecting the birth of our baby girl in a couple weeks. We have gone back and forth on which religion we should baptize our daughter through. Of course, my mother who is Catholic feels strongly she be baptized catholic. I understand this our decision and shouldn’t be influenced by another. Here is where we run into some issues.

We have chosen the godparents as her sister (Methodist) and my friend (Catholic). My understanding is, if we baptize our daughter in the Catholic Church, her sister could be a “witness” but would not be recognized as a godparent. I understand we do only need one godparent. I also understand that if we are baptizing a child in the Catholic Church we are going to raise her Catholic. I understand it might be a contradiction to have a Protestant Godparent for a Catholic, but she is a strong and practicing Christian. Would she be in fact, only considered a witness?

I guess in some ways I am answering my own question, but I feel a confirmation of what I believe I understand can help with our decision. I am also in need of some guidance in how to make my mother understand. I have explained to her in so many ways and she is still pretty consistent. Again, I understand this is our decision to make, but sometimes that is easier said than done. I wish she understood as much as she has her reasons to want her to be Catholic, my wife’s mother would have the same wants for her to be Methodist. I thought the most important thing would be baptizing her as a Christian and bringing her up with knowledge of her faith.

Shaun

Fr. Malloy answers:

Shaun,

Rules and regulations you seem to know thoroughly.

However, I don' think a Catholic parish would allow you a Catholic baptism. At least one parent would have to be a practicing Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On February 17, we received these questions:

Fathers:

My Husband and myself have been married for 14yrs and are expecting our 5th child in March. My Husband was Baptized Lutheran as was most of his family. He has since converted and we were married in the Catholic Church and all of our children were Baptized Catholic and attend Catholic school. I would like to ask my Brother to be this child's Godfather and have my 12yr old Daughter serve as a witness since she doesn't meet the age requirements to serve as a Godmother. She has been Baptized Catholic and received her first Holy Communion but has not been Confirmed yet. Is there a age requirement for a witness? I haven't been able to find any of that information. We feel she would be a better guide for our child than any adult that does not participate in the Catholic Faith.

Thank You

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Sheila,

Here's a brief outline, which you already seem to know.

Catholic. A non-Catholic godparent is acceptable only if you have a Catholic godparent as well.

Check whether or not the prospective godparent has received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist. According to the Code of Canon Law, the godparent must have received these sacraments of initiation, and must also be a practicing Catholic who lives the life of faith.

Check whether or not your prospective godparent is over the age of 16. According to the CCL, only those sixteen years of age or older are eligible as baptismal sponsors. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the pastor.

An honorary witness or two is allowed but you still need a valid godparent. Your brother may be "honorary" as well as your 12 year old. She could well be the Confirmation sponsor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


procedure for ukrainian catholic who wishes to marry a protestant or non baptized person in the latin catholic church?

please can give me an explanation

Janko

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Janko,

Your local Ukrainian Church has jurisdiction over marriage of its members.

To marry in the Latin rite locate the church you are considering and ask for permission (from your pastor) to receive the sacrament there. If you receive that permission speak to the Catholic priest and he would have to secure the permission of the bishop for you to marry a non- Catholic.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hi Fathers

My son and his wife asked me to be godmother to their daughter---and yes, I meet all the requirements---but I am uncomfortable with my own beliefs. In my day--grandparents NEVER were Godparents------it just was not heard of----and I don't feel right about this----what does the Church say about this?

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Janet,

Requirement for godparent is fairly simple: Church law insists that a godparent be at least 16 years old (for maturity's sake), fully initiated (having received Confirmation and Eucharist), be someone other than the legal parents and one who leads a life in harmony with the Church. There is no prohibition against grandparents filling this role

Tradition has seemed to shy away from grandparents in this role. But is may be because of age difference. At the present time grandparents usually have a rather long time to be a Christian witness and instructor for a grandchild.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Father,

I hope that you are able to give me an answer....

I have been married twice and unfortunatley I have divorced twice.

I am currently dating a man who is a non prcticing Catholic. I am a Nazarene who doesn't get to Church like I should, but I believe and love the Lord with all my heart.

I believe that marriage to this man is a strong possibility. If we were to marry could iz then convert to Catholicism? Would the marriage be recognized by the Church. If I were to convert prior to the marriage, what part do my divorces play.

Thank you very much for your help.

Judy

Fr. Malloy answers:

Judy

There is no reason why you could not convert to Catholicism..

However, before you could marry in the Catholic Church both of your marriages would have to be reviewed for possible declarations of nullity. You could not marry in the Catholic Church without a favorable acceptance of nullity.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB

On February 13, we received these questions:

I have a question. I am about to go overseas and will like to baptize my nephews before I leave. My sister is a single parent and we have been having trouble baptizing these two boys. One is four and the other one is almost three. Due to the rules of the church this has not happened. Now they are saying that the boys cannot be baptized due to the fact that my sister has to get a notarized letter from the father, since his name is on the birth certificate. The father is not in the picture and furthermore he has caused great harm to the children and to contact him will cause further harm. How can we get these children baptized, please advise, thank you.

Anna

Fr. John Malloy responds:

Anna,

I do not understand why you need a note from the father. More important is that children will be raised Catholic.

I suggest you seek another opinion from another parish, or the Chancery Office of the diocese.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers

My fiance and I are to be married in September. Despite my mother being Christian, I was baptized when I was little because my father was Catholic but was raised going to the Christian church. My fiance is a Catholic and we would like to be married in the Catholic church. Will the Catholic church marry us even though I haven't haven't had my first communion and confirmation?

Thank you

Jessica

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Jessica,

No reason why you could not be married in the Catholic Church. You might consider preparing for first communion and confirmation, which would straighten your union.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers:

My daughter-in-law, Linda, reports being raised as a Catholic. She advised my son Frank, that she wanted my daughter, Kim, to be the Godmother of their new son. Their first child, a daughter, was Christened and my daughter-in-law asked her sister and her husband to be the Godparents.

Now, my daughter-in-law announces that Kim can't be the Godmother because she is not a practicing Catholic. So, she advises Kim that the parish priest told her that ,"As long as there is a practicing Godparent, then Kim can be a Godparent as well. Now, that makes three people as acting Godparents and the male is Protestant.

You must understand that it would seem that Linda was sensitive to and wants to honor Catholicism.

However, Linda was married by a friend of her family, who is an Army Chaplain and the ceremony took place in a ballroom, of a hotel. Linda does not go to Mass and there is no outward evidence in her house that she is even Christian.

I was raised in a Catholic family and attended St. Mark's School for 8 years and another 4 years in Cardinal Cushing Central high school in the Boston area. As you know, I had religious catechism and bible classes daily and the nuns interwove Catholicism into any and all situations. However, I am not a 'practicing Catholic' nor are my two children. I guided them throughout their lives the very same way that I was guided by the loving sisters of Notre Dame. Not an excuse Father and I understand.

I'm seeking advice as to the proper way that I might be instrumental to my son and his wife to find a way for them to learn and understand the solid, unchanging rules of what makes a person "Catholic".

I am in no position to be advising anybody on these matters, nor would I try. So any suggestions that you may have for me will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Janice

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Janice,

Most parishes have a program called RCIA (Christian Initiation of Adults).

Its purpose is to instruct persons who are interested in converting to the Catholic faith or to help Catholics who are not practicing and would like to deepen their understanding of the faith. Check with the local parish.

Re God parents There are never three Godparents. After the God father and God mother is selected (or at least one of them) there may be "honorary God parents" who are Christian but not Catholic.

At least one of the God parents must be a practicing Catholic and able to support the god child in the knowledge and practice of the faith. The second God parent may be honorary.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On February 2, we received these questions:

Fathers,

Does the Catholic Church allow marriage between cousins, specifically first cousins once removed and if there is a general rule are exceptions made under circumstances? Thank you.

Mike

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Mick,

Church law does state that marriages can not take place between persons related in the third degree [uncle-niece, aunt-nephew] and generally also not in the fourth degree [first cousins].

However, the local Bishop may dispense the impediment between first cousins when petitioned with a good reason. Of course, the Church follows the civil law in these things. Some of the States in the USA do allow the marriage of first cousins. If a couple does not live in one of those States, the Bishop would not contravene State law.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Father,

Tax time is near, and I would ask if including my charitable donations as a deduction on the present tax filing, would be opposed to what I should be accomplishing by making charitable donations? In other words would the proper thing be for me to not claim these deductions, as a way of attempting to make up for the misdeeds of the past, rather then receive a deduction for them on my taxes?

Would be grateful for your advice.

John

Fr. Malloy responds:

John,

You make up for misdeeds by acts of charity.

I suggest you take your deductons and, if your wish to make up for the past, offer your deductions to some charitable orrganization, e.g. Haiti Relief. Salesian Missions, or the like.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Hello Father my question is, My sister in-Law and her husband baptized my oldest daughter, and now they have a child and they want my wife and I to baptize there son. My mother and grandmother have told me this is not allowed in the catholic church because I can not baptize there child when they already baptized mine. Something line returning me the gift. thank you very much.

Larry

Fr. Harold answers:

Dear Larry,

You have not used the exact language in asking your question. However, I think what you mean is that your in-laws are the sponsors [godparents] for your child. Now, they want you to be godparents to their child.

What a wonderful compliment to you! There is nothing in Church law to prevent this. In fact it strengthens the bond of your families with spiritual oneness in the Body of Christ, the Church, beyond the human relationship.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


On January 28, we received these questions:

Hi Father

I was batized Luthern but my father who is a catholic always took me to mass I stopped going to mass when I was a teeneager but now I am endaged to a catholic and we both go to mass for times a week the problem is she is pregenent and we are not married she feels uncomfortable sometimes in church like she dosent belong there. Is she aloud to go? and my next Q is I was told I dont need to be batized catholic because I was already batized lutheren is this true? and can still be batized catholic if I still want too? and what do I need to do to go about this?

thank you Father.

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Steven,

Your Lutheran baptism is probably valid and so would be accepted by the Catholic Church. However, you need to make a profession of Faith to be accepted as Catholic. That would usually take place after a series of instructions. The local Catholic church would be able to take care of that.

Your partner may well feel uncomfortable at mass, but that should not stop her from going. You need to straighten out your relationship and enter your parish RCIA course. Check it out with the pastor.

God's blessing on both of you!

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Father,

I did not go to confession for most of my teenage years, and the one time I did, I was honest but I know I overlooked some sins out of either embarrassment or nervousness. When I first returned to the sacrament of penance, I confessed to a priest that I had been guilty of impure actions, but without going into detail. I received absolution. I began going to a more traditional catholic parish for confession more regularly, and I was disturbed when I found out sins must be mentioned specifically and with a number as well. I mentioned that I confessed my sins generally in the past without name or number, and the priest said it SHOULD be valid.

Since then, my conscience has been heavy dwelling on sins that I committed in the past, and ones that did not come to mind when I first confessed. Am I obligated to confess these sins of impurity that recently came to mind, or were they pardoned when I first confessed my sins of impurity in general?

Basically, I want assurance that those sins are forgiven, but I am very nervous about confessing these sins of my past with the specifics. I do not know whether to try bringing it up again during confession or if I am merely overly worried. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you for your time! --Mark

Fr. Malloy answers:

Mark,

Let the dead bury the dead, i.e. don't dwell on the past. It is true that specifics should be told in confession. but if you confessed and the priest gave you absolution, that's his responsibility.. For sins not confessed tell the confessor that sins against chastity were glossed over when you confessed years ago and you would like to make a general confession to include them now..

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Father,

me and my fiance would like to get married in a church but he would like his parents to be here they are in mexico! so we was thinking about geting married at the justice of the peace and then later get married in church in mexico! can we do that or is that against the rules?

Marcela

Fr. Malloy answers:

Marcela,

I do not understand why you would want to be married by a Justice of the Peace prior to a Church wedding, unless there is a legal question to be resolved.

Civil ceremonies are sometimes allowed for legal reasons, but marriage rights are not granted before the Church ceremony.

Speak to your pastor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On January 21, we received these questions:

Dear Father

I was married in the catholic church and then divorced. My second marriage was a civil ceremony by a justice of the peace. I am since divorced and single.

If I ever want to get married in the church again I know I need an annulment for the

Catholic first marriage , but what about the second marriage , or was it not considered

valid by the catholic church.

God bless you for your help

Wilfred

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Wilfred,

Yes, you need an annulment for your first marriage, but not for the second. A statement of its invalidity can easily be arranged by the local pastor.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


I know the procedure at communion to be blessed (cross my arms). My question is, does it matter how many times I go up to be blessed? For ex: if i go to church 7 days a week, twice on Sunday, can i be blessed every time I go at Mass?

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Lori,

Yes, you may receive a blessing each time you are at Mass, if that is the practice in that parish community.

My question to you is: Are you yourself a Catholic? If you are, then why not receive Communion? If you need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation or to clear up a living situation, then there is no time like the present to do so. If, on the other hand, you are not a Catholic but you go to Mass and ask a blessing at Communion time, why not investigate entering the Church?

Certainly in your area there is an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, even if not in your particular parish. Make some inquiries to see if this is what the Lord is leading you to.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I am a devout Catholic currently going through the annulment process from my first husband (also a Catholic). I am engaged to be married to a Lutheran who has been married two previous times to non-Catholics. Even after reading much on the Catholic Church's position on the need for annulment, he is resistant and does not agree with going through the process as the marriages weren't to Catholics or in any way affiliated with the Catholic Church. To my disappointment, my marriage to him will ever be recognized by the Catholic Church without him going through the process. (Correct?) However, I would still like to raise any children we have as Catholics. So my question is, if we get married in the Lutheran Church and have children, will I be able to have them baptized Catholic provided our marriage would not be recognized by the Catholic Church.

Thanks.

Laura

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Laura,

Non-Catholic marriages are recognized as true marriages by the Church and annulments are necessary before the Church would allow a second marriage .

Are you sure your marriage to a Lutheran would be peaceful--considering two failed marriages, and a union which would put you out of the Catholic Church ?

It would be very difficult to have children baptized as Catholics if the parents are non practicing. Some arrangement might be made if there are relatives who could see to the religious development of the children.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Fathers,

Im a Catholic living here in the Phillipines. My sister in law just have thier second child. They are not married in Catholic but married only by judge. The problem is catholic wont allow to baptized their second child for the purpose of their not being married in catholic. I just want an explaination for this.

Thanks a lot

Tonet

Fr. Harold Danielson answers:

Dear Tonet,

Two times in the ceremony of Baptism parents are reminded of their responsibility of training their children in the “practice of the Faith.” It is very difficult to accomplish this when they themselves are not practicing their Faith. Parents are encouraged to do something about their situation and practice of the Faith by postponing the Baptism of a second child until they are actually beginning something positive.

If they do not want to do this, then baptizing a child is really putting that child in a worse condition outside of the Church. In fact, the Canon [Church] law states that it is not licit to baptize unless there is a “founded” hope that the child will be raised in the practice of the Faith.

We can infer that at the Baptism of the first child, there was an effort to impress this responsibility upon the parents. If nothing was done in the meantime, then the parish community tries in another way – postpone Baptism until steps are being taken by the parents to truly fulfill their responsibilities.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear Fathers:

I am a practicing Catholic, pray rosary, and attend Sunday mass. I have a 15 month old daughter with fiance and live together. We intend to get married in the catholic church in a year. Is it okay to receive Holy Communion even though we are not married yet? What would my penance be for confessing this action?

Eileen

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Eileen,

I suggest you join the RCIA in your parish. It would be the best preparation for your marriage in the church,

Until your marriage is rectified you may not receive Holy Communion.

The penance given in confession depends on the priest and would be certainly bearable.

Your praying the rosary and attending Mass are commendable but they do not make up for marriage out of the Church.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


Dear Fathers,

I was baptized but never received confirmation. Can I still marry in the church?

Francine

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Francine,

You may still marry in the Catholic Church, but you should ask about receiving the Sacrament in the near future.

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On December 28, we received these questions:

Dear Father Malloy:

Many thanks for your help in the past year. Scrupulous individuals such as myself never seem to run out of doubt and worry. Presently having a dilemma over the need to confess the number of times a sin was committed or as near to it daily, weekly, monthly etc. As I look back on relating sins I have stated in past confessions, that they were committed many or several times ,but not the number of times given. My question would be, is it necessary to go back over this in my next confession and tell my sins over with a number given for the amount of time of having committed them?

Father I would appreciate it that if after the holidays when time permits you would offer me your advice. Merry Christmas to you and good health in the New Year.

Regards, John

Fr. John Malloy answers:

John,

Don't worry about the past after you have confessed sin as "many times." I am sure the priest is satisfied with your statement, or he would ask for a clarification.

God is certainly more forgiving than we are. He knows our mind and heart better than we do. So let bygones be bygones and think about the "now" and how you can grow closer to the Lord by your prayers and sacrifices.

You may never be completely satisfied, but be assured you are on right path.

I will remember you in my Christmas masses. Please remember me in yours.

Wishing you the blessings of Christmas and the peace of a new year,

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


hello, I was reading your answers and had to ask you gentlemen one. I was baptized at seven months to two nice people. at eight years old I did my first communion. I am planning, after many years of procrastinating, that the time has come to do my confirmation. regarding my baptismal godparents, they are both catholic people but I just found out that they have only been married by law only and not by the church. I was upset that this was kept from me for 27 years. I was afraid that this would invalidate my baptism as wel as my first communion. I talked to a priest from the church where I plan to to my confirmation, he told me that everything was fine and that both my baptism and my first communion are valid. I just want a second opinion from another priest about my situation before I completely go towards my goal of confirmation

Fr. John Malloy answers:

Your priest was certainly correct in what he told you. The validity of Baptism and First Communion have nothing to do with the moral condition of God parents.

Go ahead with Confirmation and be sealed with the Holy Spirit!

Fr. John J. Malloy, SDB


On December 7, we received these questions:

Can you have Godparents removed as Godparents of a child?

Regards,

Kevin

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Kevin,

It is not possible to remove a child's Godparent. If the Godparent is not properly fulfilling his or her role,the best thing to do is to introduce a person into the child's life who will be a proper Christian role model. Then, when the time comes for the child to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, that person may be the Confirmation sponsor.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


i have been married twice outside the church. i have never been baptized. i divorced twice and then married for the 3rd time also outside the church. i am now thinking about joining the catholic church but i do not want to have to annull or divorce this man. Is there a way i can just re-marry in the church? if i confess to God in my own home, will that be good enough? if the first 2 marriages are out of state, how will they know? do they check every state? i just want to keep my husband and still be able to go to communion

Lori

Fr. Harold Danielson responds:

Dear Lori,

The faith of the Catholic Church regarding true marriage is the understanding that marriage is a lifetime spousal relationship (no divorce with re-marriage). The Church recognizes as true and valid marriages done according to law and custom, and it makes laws regarding its own members. The main thing is that there be the two spouses, two witnesses, and the official representative of the Church, the priest or deacon. The Church also makes decisions upon where a marriage is to take place and the jurisdiction of the officiant priest or deacon. It requires preparation of engaged couples for this commitment to each other.

Thus when persons wish to be married by the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Church, an investigation is conducted about the freedom to marry. The question is asked: had either person been married before? If the answer is “Yes”, then that circumstance has to be looked into. It becomes fairly simple if one of the spouses in a marriage was a baptized Catholic but the marriage was not before a priest or deacon. If both persons had no Baptismal connection to the Catholic Church, then a full inquiry is made into that previous marriage to see if, indeed, it was true and valid.

If the determination is that the marriage had not been true and valid, then a document of “Freedom to marry” would be issued. If not, technically, that marriage still would be in existence.

To find your way in all of this, you need to be in conversation with your own parish priest, even if you are not baptized. The inspiration by God of your interest in the Catholic Church is surely a wonderful thing. Responding to the Lord’s call, despite bewildering situations, will lead to peace of heart.

Blessings and peace!

Fr. Harold Danielson, SDB


Dear fathers,

I have never been a religious person. I am now in my mid 40's and all of a sudden just