“Ask a Priest: What If My Partner Doesn’t Want to Have the Marriage Blessed?”

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Q: I was confirmed Catholic through RCIA when I was 19, I’m 23 now. After about six months of being an active Catholic I had decided to leave the Church and joined a non-Christian faith instead. Between then and now I had gotten married to a man who is not a Christian. I have been contemplating coming back to the Church for several weeks but was wondering: Could I be an active participant again while being married to him? He refuses any Church activities, and he has no interest in anything related to Christianity. I will not divorce him and I don’t want to pressure him into living or believing a certain way that he doesn’t want to. Is it possible or do I need to settle with living a non-Catholic life? – C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s unfortunate that you stopped practicing the Catholic faith so soon after your confirmation.

Nevertheless, you are still Catholic and still a beloved daughter of God, though your marriage isn’t recognized by the Church.

It’s good, at least, that your desire to return to the sacraments. That shows the Holy Spirit is nudging you.

To return to the sacraments, you would need to find a remedy for your domestic situation. If you intend to stay with your partner, that means having the marriage convalidated (“blessed”). This assumes that there are no impediments — for instance, a previous marriage by your partner.

He wouldn’t need to convert, but you would need to promise to raise any children in the faith.

It’s interesting that you don’t want to pressure him into something he doesn’t want. Is he willing to extend that same courtesy to you?

Now, situations are rarely static. You and your partner are on a journey. Things can change for the better, with the grace of God.

It might be good to pray for your partner to be open to a convalidation. And think of offering sacrifices for him, too, such as fasting and other forms of mortification (less desserts, cooler showers, etc.).

It would be good to start attending Mass regularly, even though you can’t receive Communion.

You might also consider speaking with a priest at your parish.

With God’s grace you can move forward toward a resolution of your situation. Count on my prayers.


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