Catholics/Questions about marriage


QUESTION: Hello! My name is Breanne Beaasley. I am from Missouri. I am catholic so is my boyfriend Matthew. We have couple questions for you. I am divorced and was not married in a catholic church. What all docment do need to get married in catholic? My boyfriend is want to go Army. I do not think we will have time to get married in our home state of Missouri due to being Army. Do we do our married classes on base and get married there? Is a court house wedding okay then late on get married in a Catholic church? Please e-mail me back at  Thanks so much. Breanne Beasley

ANSWER: Breanne,

My first question for you is this: are you Catholic?  You say you are divorced and was not married in a Catholic Church.  If you are Catholic, you would need what is called a "Lack of Form" annulment.  An annulment such as this is pretty open and shut.  It is relatively easy to attain.  If however you are not Catholic you would need what is called a "Formal Annulment."  A Formal Annulment is more involved.

Whatever the case may be, before you can even THINK about marriage to your boyfriend you have to apply for and successfully receive an annulment if you want to marry in the Catholic Church.  In order to apply for an annulment you would need to make an appointment with your parish priest and he can give you the necessary paper work.  You fill out the paper work and enclose the fee, and give it back to your parish priest who will then send it into the Tribunal.  He will help you through the process.  You will need a copy of the Divorce Decree to include with your paper work.

Parishes usually have at least a six (6) month time of preparation for the wedding.  You need to complete what is called a "Pre-Cana" course, and you need several appointments with the parish priest also.  In these appointments the parish priest will get to know you and help prepare you for the sacrament.  Exceptions can be made for military situations--but as I said you can't even THINK about a wedding without first applying for and successfully receiving an annulment.

A court house wedding may be recognized by law, but such a wedding is not recognized by the Church. You would not be considered married in the eyes of God.  Thus I cannot recommend a court house wedding, then a Catholic wedding.

My best advice to you is to make an appointment with your parish priest to talk about this.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes I am catholic. I think I will have a chat with my parish priest about this. Also I have my boyfriend chat with his priest to about it. In the state of NC they do not do annulment that what state I got married in. I did talk to father little about this and for some reason I remeber why I really  I did not have get annulment. But if have get annulment I will. He is want to go Army really bad. We have to see what say about it when does go activiy duty . I let my boyfriend know this information you give me. I may just let him look at it for himself. Sorry if I sound sound so diffcult. Thanks so much for your help.

In the state of NC they do not do annulments?  The Catholic Church processes annulment requests ANYWHERE.  I don't know civilly whether they do annulments, but the Catholic Church processes annulments anywhere.  

If you have a previous marriage, and were married outside the Catholic Church, as you said, you WILL need to apply for and receive an annulment.  If a priest told you that you do not need an annulment that priest is not correct.  Anyone who was previously married and seeks to marry in the Catholic Church, (whether they are Catholic or not) needs to apply for and successfully receive an annulment.


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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