I am currently going through the RCIA process and am 4 weeks away from being confirmed. I was just told by the priest that because my husband and I were married previously (neither in a Catholic Church) that I now need copies of our marriage certificates and a copy of my husbands baptismal certificate. There is no record of my husband being baptised and he is not a practicing catholic. What bearing does this have on me becoming confirmed?

  • 1
    That would be a better question for the priest. Mar 9, 2015 at 22:48
  • 2
    No, that's just so they can decide whether the marriage needs convalidation or radical sanation. I'll be able to answer tomorrow morning. Mar 9, 2015 at 23:19
  • 1
    I think the question is fine. It's about Catholic doctrine/practice on a specific issue. Sans the personal overtones, the question is on-topic.
    – user3961
    Mar 9, 2015 at 23:24
  • One question for you, which has a bearing on my answer: it appears that you are a baptized Catholic, or at least Christian; is that correct? Mar 10, 2015 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The Catholic Church is asking for proof that your husband is a baptised Christian, baptism being the "gateway to the sacraments."

Can. 849 Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments and necessary for salvation by actual reception or at least by desire, is validly conferred only by a washing of true water with the proper form of words. Through baptism men and women are freed from sin, are reborn as children of God, and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. (1)

Without proof, your husband is considered by The Catholic Church not baptised, which is a diriment impediment. Thus, your marriage is considered invalid.

Can. 1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.

§2. A person is not to be dispensed from this impediment unless the conditions mentioned in cann. ⇒ 1125 and ⇒ 1126 have been fulfilled.

§3. If at the time the marriage was contracted one party was commonly held to have been baptized or the baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage must be presumed according to the norm of ⇒ can. 1060 until it is proven with certainty that one party was baptized but the other was not. (2)

Your marriage can be rendered valid by simple convalidation...

Can. 1156 §1. To convalidate a marriage which is invalid because of a diriment impediment, it is required that the impediment ceases or is dispensed and that at least the party conscious of the impediment renews consent. (3)

...or by radical sanation.

Can. 1161 §1. The radical sanation of an invalid marriage is its convalidation without the renewal of consent, which is granted by competent authority and entails the dispensation from an impediment, if there is one, and from canonical form, if it was not observed, and the retroactivity of canonical effects. (4)

Unless your marriage is validated by The Catholic Church, you cannot be confirmed.

Catholics seeking the sacrament of Confirmation must be married by the Church, either by a deacon or priest before receiving the sacrament of Confirmation (5, emphases added)

Your priest should have explained all of this to you. Here is a little more information.

Best wishes.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .