Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Multiple marriages involving the pauline privilege and ligamen, 2005, Private.


This entry concerns a Jewish man whose first marriage was to a Jewish woman. The couple divorced and he remarried another Jewish woman from whom he was later divorced. Both marriages took place in synagogues. The man eventually was baptized in the Presbyterian Church and practices Christianity. Subsequently, he entered into a civil marriage, his third, with a Catholic woman who is free to marry. The man does not want to become Catholic, but is willing to submit his marriages to the judgment of the Church in order that his Catholic wife may receive the sacraments and practice her faith. The question was posed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for direction in processing these cases. What follows is the Judicial Vicar's explanation of the matter and the Congregation's response, in English:




Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Prefect

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Piazza del S.Uffizio 11

00192 Rome, Italy

Your Eminence:

Your kind help would be much appreciated in assisting us to resolve a marriage case presented to this office. The situation is this:

A Jewish man, marriage a Jewish woman in _____. The couple married in a synagogue. That union ended by civil divorce in _____ and in accordance with Jewish Orthodox law. This had been the first marriage for each party. In _____, he married another Jewish woman, free to marry. That union was also celebrated in a synagogue. It ended by civil divorce in _____. There is no indication whether it was terminated according to Jewish law. After both divorces, he was baptized in a Presbyterian church. He still practices Christianity. He has entered into a civil marriage with a Catholic woman who is free to marry. He does not wish to become a Catholic; however, he would like his present wife to be able to marry in the Catholic Church and receive the sacraments. He is willing to submit his marriages to the judgment of the Church so that this can be accomplished.

Some direction regarding the processing of this case would be appreciated:

1. Assuming sufficient proof of non-baptism for him and his first wife can be obtained, will that marriage be considered dissolved in virtue of his valid Presbyterian baptism in 1985 when he convalidates his civil union with the interested Catholic party? (A certificate is on hand proving his baptism).

2. If the first marriage is dissolved in virtue of the Pauline Privilege, I assume his second marriage should be declared invalid on the grounds of ligamen. If not, how would that union best be treated?

a) As a Privilege of the Faith, based on his non-baptism at the time he married his second wife, the Favor of the Faith being the ability of the Catholic party to marry validly and receive the Sacraments?

b) As a formal case for invalidity, provided canonical grounds are present and proven? (It is doubtful all the principal parties would cooperate in such a process).

3. Are there other options to be explored?

In your response, it would be appreciated if you could kindly remember that in addition to the Petitioner, the two Respondents are Jewish. Their level of cooperation will probably be minimal, if at all, as they appear to be Orthodox Jews. Nevertheless, there is the faith of the Interested Catholic Party to be considered, as well as the good faith of the Petitioner who was baptized as a Presbyterian. He is willing to participate actively in our Church process, but he does not wish to become Catholic.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Judicial Vicar




Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei

Dear Father _____,

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith writes in response to your enquiries of _____ with regard to the direction you sought concerning a marriage case that has come to the attention of your Diocesan Tribunal.

The non-baptized Petitioner contracted marriage in _____ with a Jewish woman. He divorced her twenty-one years later and married another Jewish woman. During the second marriage the Petitioner received baptism in the Presbyterian Church. He then divorced his second wife. Now, without wishing to convert, he wishes to convalidate the civil marriage he contracted with a Catholic woman, who is free to marry.

Three questions were posed in your letter:

1. Assuming sufficient proof of non-baptism for the Petitioner and his first wife can be obtained, will that marriage be considered dissolved in virtue of his Presbyterian baptism when he convalidates his civil union with the interested Catholic party?

2. If the first marriage is dissolved in virtue of the Pauline Privilege, I assume his second marriage should be declared invalid on the grounds of ligamen. If not, how would that union best be treated?

3. Are there other options to be explored?

This Dicastery, having studied the matter at length, wishes to recall that the application of the Pauline Privilege is subject to the following conditions:

a) the privilege is applied to a marriage celebrated between two non-baptized persons. In the present case, it appears that this fact has been established beyond doubt: both parties to the marriage are unbaptized;

b) One of the parties receives baptism, including baptism in a non-Catholic Church. This condition has also been fulfilled since the Petitioner received baptism in the Presbyterian Church;

c) In the application of the privilege, it is to be established that the non-baptized person did not wish to continue cohabiting with the baptized party. In this case, the parties have not lived together for over twenty years since the Divorce Decree was granted.

The Petitioner's marriage to his second wife is to be considered null on the basis of the impediment of ligamen. Accordingly, with respect to the provisions of canon 1143 of the Code of Canon Law and the canons concerning mixed marriages, the baptized Petitioner may now contract marriage with the Catholic party. The Petitioner's marriage to his first wife will, consequently, be dissolved by virtue of the Pauline Privilege.

With every good with, I remain

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

+Angelo Amato, SDB

Titular Archbisop of Sila

Secretary




Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Multiple marriages involving the pauline privilege and ligament. 2005, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2005, 23-26.