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John Matsons wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How much time needs to elapse for a Catholic to obtain absolution for the forgiveness of sin?

My wife, a Catholic, is worried about her soul because she is in a marital relationship with me, a non-Catholic, who has a non-annulled Christian marriage in his past.

My thinking is that if after my death, which is highly likely to occur before hers, she can gain absolution before her death, then she should be much less concerned.

  • Is my thinking on target?

John

  { Can a Catholic receive absolution later for marrying a Protestant with a non-annulled marriage? }

Paul replied:

Dear John,

Your thinking is wrong. Relationship with God is not a magical formula, but one of loving God above all things and seeking always to follow His Will. Holding off repentance so that one may continue in a sinful lifestyle does not illustrate true sorrow.

Here is the problem:

  1. Jesus clearly taught that marriage is indissoluble, until the death of one of the spouses.
  2. Since divorce from a valid marriage is impossible, civil divorce would mean separation from each other with the marital bond remaining in tact.
  3. Therefore, civil marriage to another after civil divorce would obviously mean perpetual adultery.
  • Does it display true sorrow for sin by saying to God,

      "I will continue violating your Law until it is convenient for me not to"?

Another avenue that would be reasonable to explore is obtaining an annulment for your marriage.

Receiving an official declaration of nullity would make you free to marry. During the process you would have to move out or at least resolve to live as brother and sister.

If it is granted you, you may get your partnership validated as a marriage and then resume living a marital relationship.

Peace,

Paul

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