(Closed) Married but not through church & intimate relations.

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I would ask your priest – as far as I know, it’s not that civil marriages aren’t real marriages, they aren’t sacramental. So intimacy in that marriage is not a sin.

 

Post # 4
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Of course you’re not doomed! I would talk to your priest about this, because I am not sure about how your husband not being Catholic (yet) impacts your circumstances. Regardless, what is the worst case scenario? You have to wait until May until starting TTC. That’s only 5 months from now. In the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing, although I know right now it probably feels like the world. If you do end up waiting, try to find the positives and celebrate what you do have instead of worrying about what isn’t here yet. Those five months might be a great opportunity to strengthen your marriage and commitment to one another. 

Post # 5
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I hate to be the dissenting voice, here, but I have read on this subject extensively because I was in a similar position and I’m pretty sure that I’m right (“right” meaning that I know the way canon law speaks on this subject). It is tough, but the spiritual rewards are amazing!

If you have decided to believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church, you will choose to live in abstinence until the time of your Catholic wedding. That means no sex. 

It doesn’t mean that you have been sinful, though. Here’s why: the Catholic Church believes, as you might remember and your husband is learning, that there are conditions for sin. One of them is basically that you believe and understand that what you’re doing is wrong. When you got married at the JOP and began your legal marriage, you weren’t called by God to have a Catholic marriage. You didn’t believe what you were doing was wrong, or you wouldn’t have done it. The sex you had was fine!

But now you are moving your marriage into a new realm, which is wonderful! And that new realm comes with new responsibilities and a new outlook on the world. It is a joyous thing. Often people look at Catholicism as rules, rules, rules, and don’t realize that there can be joy in preparing yourself for this new chapter of your life, that abstinence doesn’t have to be all sadness and deprivation but can be a great time to learn to be close and intimate without sex. 

I promise this is doable. My FI and I were seuxal in our relationship previously. I don’t even have an excuse – I was a practicing Catholic at the time. One day, I realized I had to stop, and he agreed. So even though we’ve made love before, we don’t and we won’t until marriage. You’d think it would be weird, but it’s not. It actually feels like a really special, new, expectant, and spiritual time. He still sleeps at my house more times a week than at his, and we cuddle, but that’s it. And sometimes I have to just scream, “I can’t wait to make love to you again!” but we end up smiling goofy smiles about it in anticipation. 

This is a blessing. I hope that you’ll receive it in that light. Wait to conceive your precious babies in your sacramental marriage – five months is not so long, no so long at all. 

Post # 6
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

You’re being incredibly charitable above.  I wouldn’t say that the situation was fine, though (even using the spirit of the canons).

Being married outside of the Church is basically the same thing as premarital sex.  It’s wrong and you know it’s wrong, but it’s not eternally damning.  If you’re truly sorry and ask for forgiveness, God will forgive.

In the OP’s situation, she should try to abstain from sex until she is married.  However, we are all human and sin.  If she can’t wait and sins, she just needs to ask God for forgivenes again and try again.  As long as she keeps trying and asks for forgiveness when she falters (even if that’s every single day from now until she’s married), she is right with God.

 

 

 

 

 

Post # 7
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@CatholicBee: In canon law, given what we understand about the necessary conditions for sin, if people don’t believe themselves to be sinning then it isn’t a sin (this obviously excludes natural law like murder and theft – things every society knows are wrong). 

For instance, I have lots of friends who have been married by the Justice of the Peace. They are not Catholic or they formally left the Catholic Church, and so even though their marriage is outside of the bonds of God, they aren’t living in mortal sin. I definitely have asked a priest about this and gotten the answer; there are also many books you can look at to verify this. If you aren’t aware both mentally and spiritually that your marriage should be in a church, then you simply aren’t aware and it does not meet the requirements for mortal sin. 

The minute that a couple in this position has an awakening, though, and says, “Oh, Catholicism is what we believe in and what we want our marriage to be,” then a line is crossed and at that point, sex before a Catholic convalidation of that marriage would become mortal sin. It’s that moment of awakening that divides mortal sin from sinlessness. 

You’re right, though – nothing can keep us from the grace of God! As long as someone is willing to confess with real contrition, believing that she will do her best not to sin again, then sins are washed away. Just be sure to have made a confession and then not sinned again before the convalidation ceremony – it is a terrible thing to receive a sacrament while in a state of unconfessed sin.  

 

Post # 8
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

@Lapeaudesoie: You seemed to be a little confused about mortal sin.

A sin is a sin.  There’s noway out of that.  However, a sin can be a venial (minor) sin or a mortal (grave) sin.  For a sin to be a mortal sin, it must meet certain criteria.  One is that it must be done with full knowledge.  So, for example, if someone takes communion in a non-Catholic church, that is a sin.  But that is only a mortal sin if the person knows that she should not receive communion in a non-Catholic church (otherwise it is a venial sin).

With regard to marriage, a Catholic that violates form (gets married outside of a Catholic church without a dispensation) is sinning.  This is true whether or not the person knows that she must be married in a church and whether or not she believes it to be a sin or not.  For that sin to be a mortal sin, the person must know that it is against Catholic teachings to be married outside of a Catholic church.  It doesn’t matter if the person believes herself to not be Catholic or if she disagrees with Church teachings – if she knows it’s against Church teachings and she does it anyway, it’s a mortal sin.

Post # 9
Member
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@CatholicBee: It does matter. A sin is something that is done with full knowledge, consent of will, and has to be of grave matter. Obviously the OP is trying to correct her situation, so no need to drive home that it’s a sin! I think she’s got that figured out, otherwise she wouldn’t be doing a convalidation.

Post # 10
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

@jedeve: A sin is defined in the CCC as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”  There’s no requirement for full knowledge.

A MORTAL sin is one that’s done with full knowledge, consent of will, and has to be of grave matter.  A VENIAL sin does not have to have one of those conditions.  Thus, you can commit venial sins without your full knowledge.

Also, it doesn’t matter if a person determines that she is “not Catholic” and thereby free of Catholic requirements.  Once baptized Catholic, you are always Catholic.  There is no way to undo an indellible mark.

As far as “driving it home” that premarital relations is a sin, I’m only making that distinction so that someone else doesn’t read this thread and think “Oh, it’s not a sin.  Well then I won’t worry about it.”

 

Post # 11
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

The OP should simply mention in the confessional that she got married by a JP.  If she had sex prior to that, she should confess that.  She should also present her uncertainty about the sex after she civilly married.  She should mention her desire to start TTC now and what should be expected of her.  I think that way she can get advise tailored most to her situation.  If she’s comfortable, she should go to the priest whose handling their marriage and go face to face.  This will ensure that the advise is most tailored to her.

If she can’t go face to face because of nerviousness, than more explaining will need to be done and the advise might not be as tailored.  In all honesty once you get past the screen, its totally fine.  My in-laws came back to the Church during our engagement.  They set up appointments to make confessions that included sins from long ago.  I know my FIL was commenting recently that he didn’t know how people could go behind the screen and that the screen seemed to make it more frightening when he was a child.  I doubt he would have said that before he had gone back to confession and gone face to face.

Post # 12
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@CatholicBee: As I understand from the very lips of a priest, you can formally leave the Catholic Church. Most often this is done when people convert to Islam or Lutheranism or what have you, but can also be done when people “convert” to atheism. It is, understandably, a very serious thing, and is not the same as walking around “on the fence” and being a cafeteria-Catholic and unsure of your beliefs and all of that. Nonetheless, you can be released in the sense that, for instance, a marriage outside the Church would not be a mortal sin. 

 

Post # 13
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

@Lapeaudesoie:  Until 2010 there was a method for formally defecting from the faith, which included sending a letter to the local bishop renouncing Catholicism and requesting to be removed from the baptismal registry. 

However, in December 2009 (so it went into effect in March 2010), the Vatican promulgated Omnium In Mentem which modified canon law to eliminate that method of formal defection.  This was specifically done because of marriage.  Since Catholicism recognizes the marriage of two non-Catholics, people were sending a letter to the bishop to not be Catholic, then getting married on the beach, then sending a letter to the bishop asking to be back on the rolls (which the bishop has to accept).  Basically, it was a loop hole.

The Vatican didn’t like the loop hole so they basically closed it.  Their point was that people who don’t want to be Catholic anymore just stop going to Mass.  The people that used the formal defection process were almost always doing it for the wedding loop hole or as a poltical statement.

As far as joining Islam, that’s not grounds for formal defection.  That person would be excommunicated per Canon 1364, but would still be Catholic and would still be encouraged to attend Mass and maintain a relationship with the Church.  That person would also be welcomed back to the Church if s/he wanted to return.

 

Post # 14
Member
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Without reading all of the lengthy responses,  once your husband is confirmed and if you are confirmed…. you can have what is called a VALIDATION in the church which will recognize your marriage.  Your priest can help you with all the paper work. 

Post # 15
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

@maskelunass: You actually don’t need to be confirmed for a convalidation or any Catholic wedding.  It’s recommended but not required, so don’t let that stop anyone!

The topic ‘Married but not through church & intimate relations.’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors