So it is certain that you cannot remarry in Church before getting an annulment as divorce is not recognised.

But what if you never got married in Church to begin with. But instead only did a civil marriage. Then the marriage broke down and you get a divorce.

Now on the new civil marriage certificate it will show as divorcee.

So now, can you get a Church marriage done for the second marriage??

  • 1
    This depends heavily on the religion and denomination of the partners of the first marriage. Please add this to your question.
    – K-HB
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 12:58
  • Both of us are roman catholics. Infact everyone referred to above is a roman catholoc.
    – user59683
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 17:25
  • related Q&A here Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can - as in it is possible - but you must consult with your pastor

So now, can you get a Church marriage done for the second marriage??

In my time in the RCIA ministry, I saw any number of cases similiar to what you describe.

Have you spoken to a pastor yet?

If not, get off the internet and go see the pastor.

Each case must be dealt with on its own merits. You need to discuss the details with your pastor, and perhaps the chancery at your diocese.

Example: A couple in our church who had a civil marriage only, both raised Catholic, had what was termed a "short form" process ... but their case and yours may not be identical.

You need to see your local pastor about this. The process you are asking for may amount to a convalidation. (Please review the Q&A at the link, it appears to be related to your question).

The only valid answer to this question is: go and see your pastor. Details matter.

As Geremia pointed out, confession (the sacrament of penance and reconciliation) will be a part of the process.


Assuming both parties in this case were Catholic at the time of the civil union, they are not validly married by getting a civil marriage only.

For the Church to recognize a marriage between two baptized Catholics as valid, the bride and groom must follow canonical form:

Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses…

So, yes, a Catholic can/must separate/divorce from his concubine, go to confession, and get married in the Catholic Church.

  • I was under the impression that the couple confer the sacrament upon each other, and that a cleric or one representing them was not essential to the sacrament? Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 21:12
  • @SolaGratia Yes, that's true, but canonically the marriage is invalid. Such marriages need radical sanation (cf. can. 1161). Catholics must adhere to the last precept of the Church: to obey the Church's marriage laws.
    – Geremia
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 21:49
  • Inasmuch as the code of canon law is not infallible in and of itself: is there other reason to believe that the matter of the sacrament consists in anything other than the couple, out of interest? Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 22:54
  • @SolaGratia The invalidity of marriages of the baptized which do not adhere to canonical form was defined at at Council of Trent, session 24, ch. 1 "Tametsi" on Clandestinity Invalidating Matrimony (DZ 990). Also, the Church has the authority to judge the validity of baptized people's marriages (cf. Trent sess. 24 can. 12).
    – Geremia
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 0:04
  • @SolaGratia Pope St. Pius X declared in Provide sapientique (DZ 1991) and Ne temere (DZ 2067) that "marriages are valid, which are contracted in the presence of the pastor or ordinary of the place, or a priest delegated by either of the two, and at least two witnesses".
    – Geremia
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 0:09

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