• Our Blogger

    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Gerry on Ask a Priest
    Heather Morse on Ask a Priest
    Heather Morse on Ask a Priest
    Cliff on Ask a Priest
    Jeff C on Ask a Priest

Need to Be Thorough with Marriage Cases

QUESTION

In 1976 at the age of 18, I married a man in my local parish. It was a very bad situation and we only lived together 2 months and then divorced. Due to low self-esteem at the time, the following year I became pregnant and married another man in a civil ceremony. He was abusive and the marriage ended after 5 months and then divorce. A year or so after this, I met a wonderful guy (my current husband) and we married a few years later in his Lutheran church (he converted to Catholicism in 1999). Around our 5-year anniversary I petitioned for an annulment, and it was granted by the Archdiocese Tribunal. Not until recently did I hear that I should have brought up the second civil marriage to be looked at well. My assumption was that the first marriage was my impediment to having my marriage blessed in the Church. So in 1987, my husband and I had our marriage blessed. In 1998 my second (civil marriage) husband died. So, my question is this: Is my current and happy 40-year marriage valid since I didn’t know that the second marriage could pose an issue? It was blessed while my second husband was still alive. Do we need to have it blessed again?

RESPONSE

Did not the priest or DRE or RCIA team investigate the marriage situation and ask that his union with you be validated prior to your husband’s reception into the Catholic Church?

I take it that you are a Catholic and that the first marriage was in the Catholic Church.  This marriage was annulled.  I assume that the second marriage was not in the Church.  Given that the first bond was formally annulled and your third marriage was con-validated in the Church, I am at odds to understand how the priest and Tribunal would have missed the second marriage.  Are you sure there was no mention of it.  Given the data sheet and the essay or story you shared, it would logically come up.  The paperwork itself asks the question about prior unions.  Divorce or no divorce, the first union would have invalidated any subsequent attempt.  Further, Catholics are required to have their marriages witnessed by a priest or deacon.  Technically, the second marriage would not have required a formal annulment but there should have been a declaration of nullity because of lack or defect of canonical form.  This is accomplished by filling out a simple form, as well as providing copies of the marriage license, divorce decree and baptismal certificate.  I have to think the court was aware when you received the formal annulment and declared you free to con-validate your current marriage.  Here in the Archdiocese of Washington, such is spelled out: “Any subsequent marriage whatsoever on the part of either party to the marriage in question must be listed, without exception. There is no marriage that does not need to be addressed in some way by the Tribunal if a party’s present freedom to marry is to be established. Marriages prior to the one in question should be listed on the pre-nuptial questionnaire, if the Petitioner is preparing for marriage, and then adjudicated.” I am not a canon lawyer and you may want to quietly follow up with your own local Tribunal.  My best guess is that the matter was caught and you have forgotten it— given that you acted in good faith and everyone was professional— thus placing your marriage on good footing. 

Accidents Happen: Was That a Flying Host?

QUESTION

I have a question regarding proper treatment of the Host. I attended Easter vigil Mass this evening where a friend was being received into the Faith. My friend’s wife, who is not Catholic and goes to a non-denominational Christian church, was also there and I was cognizant during Mass of trying to make her not think anything incorrect about the Faith or of Mass in general. While receiving Holy Communion, I received in the hand and then placed the host in my mouth before turning to walk back to my pew. Given the crowd, once I got back and was edging into the pew past my friend’s wife, I said “that was a little confusing.” As I said that, I believe something small and white popped out of my mouth about three feet in front of me. I looked to see if any portion of Host was on the ground but I couldn’t see anything. I am heartsick that I mistreated the Host. I am planning on going to Confession about this. Did I commit a sin in my actions this evening?

RESPONSE

Please take note that the description of a church as “no-denominational” is false.  It is a deception to make inquirers think that the faith community in question is somehow neutral or balanced between Catholic and Protestant.  Such churches in truth are one of a great many varied Protestant churches that diverge or separate themselves from Catholicism.

We should all be diligent when taking Holy Communion but what you describe is not entirely under our control, as when someone coughs.  If the particle is so small as to be hard to see then it is likely the motion of something that caught your eye.  We should be careful about such matters but scrupulosity about the microscopic would only cause unnecessary anxiety.  We do what we can to honor and to venerate the sacrament.  Beyond that we must trust that the Lord can take care of himself.   

Sins are deliberate, not accidental.