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Catholics/pauline and Petrine privlidge


How exactly are the Pauline and Petrine Privlidges invoked. I gather that some decree or ceremony from the diocese is needed or a civil divorce is needed before the Catholic party just goes and marries someone else.

In short, what canonical procedures are involved in invoking the Pauline and Petrine privileges?

In Christ


ps. in the case where lets say a woman convert from Judaism was married, divorced and then converts, may I assume that no canonical rulings are needed? Note, I also want to know about the status of say a muslim who gets married in Islam, converts and then wants to separate from the unbelieving wife or in the case of a catholic who marries a wiccan with a dispensation and then wants to invoke one of these privileges.

First of all, the Catholic church presumes that any marriage is valid if the couple was mature enough to consent and freely consents.  For a marriage in which one of the parties was a catholic, you have to also follow the rules of the Catholic church.  If you don't the church would not recognize that as a valid marriage.  The Pauline privilege is very restricted; it is the situation where a person who is not baptized is married to another unbaptized person, and wishes to be baptized.  If the unbaptized spouse plans to leave him/her if this happens, the church, based on Paul's epistle to the Corinthians (I, can declare the marriage over.  This is not the same thing as an annulment where the marriage in question is declared not to have been a valid marriage based upon some impediment to consent.  The Petrine privilege is similar -- it involves the same sort of thing when a baptized person is married to a non baptized person in a non-sacramental marriage (sacramental marriage can only be between two baptized persons).  Then at some point if one of these wishes to be come a Catholic and this causes the marriage to break up, the Church can declare that marriage over.  This privilege is based upon the Book of Ezra in which Jews married to non-Jews were allowed to divorce and re-marry.  The Petrine privilege is more theory than anything -- it almost never is considered any more.  The Pauline privilege on the other hand continues to be invoked.  so for your examples;  in the first case, a Jewish woman who was married and then divorces and then converts would still need a declaration of the Pauline privilege or an annulment before marrying in the Catholic church.  In the second case, you could invoke the Pauline privilege, or seek an annulment; and in the third case, if the marriage took place with a dispensation, an annulment is the only way out.  


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Donald Higby


Most any question about Catholic teachings, the structure of the Church, issues related to Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage; I also know a lot about biblical foundations for Catholic teaching, and apologetics. As a scientist and a deacon, I am conversant with the dialogue between science and religion.


Deacon, 13 years; Religion minor, Catholic University of America. Self study.

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Diaconal Formation, four years (college level courses) Catholic University of America, religion minor, philosophy minor. (AB)

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