A baptized and confirmed Catholic married a Protestant in a Protestant church without permission. About the marriage:
- The marriage covenant was made with the full understanding of what a Christian marriage meant in the eyes of God (cf. CCC 1601-1620): a solemn covenant between two baptized Christians, with full consent (cf. CCC 1625-1632), for life, for the purpose of procreation, etc.
- The celebration of marriage was similar to CCC 1621-1624 and similar to the canonical form, except:
- officiated by a valid Protestant minister instead of a Catholic priest/deacon
- CCC 1621: instead of in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it's made in the presence of Christ in the Protestant ceremony
- CCC 1622: instead of receiving the sacrament of penance, the couple confess sin to one another in Christ
- The couple has lived honoring the marriage bond and obligations like a Catholic marriage should be (even without contraception), thus realizing The Effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony (cf. CCC 1638-1642), The Goods and Requirements of Conjugal Love (cf. CCC 1643-1654), and The Domestic Church (cf. CCC 1655-1658).
- The couple is raising the kids as Protestants although in a denomination that is not hostile to the Catholic Church. The couple is also attending a conservative Protestant church regularly and bring up their kids there as good Christians who love the Lord. Let's say it's ACNA, a more conservative Anglican denomination than the Church of England.
Now the Catholic has second thoughts and wants to go back to being in a state of grace and receive the Catholic sacraments. But the spouse wants to remain in the Protestant church and does not allow the kids to attend the Catholic church, although the spouse gives full freedom for the Catholic to practice the faith EXCEPT to teach the kids one or two Catholic doctrines that the spouse doesn't agree, such as praying to Mary. THIS IS TRULY A TESTAMENT TO THE WARNING GIVEN IN CCC 1634. Therefore, although the spouse is more ecumenical than a typical Protestant, the Catholic cannot fully discharge the obligation spelled out in Can. 1125 §1 but made the best effort:
the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;
For sure, the Catholic has to receive absolutions for the following:
- Have been away from the Catholic church
- Have contracted a mixed marriage outside the church without exemption
But I was taken aback at Geremia's answer that fornication needs to be repented. Is this true when the marriage is lived as described above?
Given the limitation that the spouse is not willing to convert and to raise the kids fully within the Catholic church (although she is not hostile to most of the teachings), according to the Catholic Church, what else does this Catholic need to do beyond confessing the two sins above and continue raising the kids in the Lord as Catholic as possible?
Three related questions:
CCC 1623 says that
According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. ...
Although the "Church" here is a Protestant ecclesial community, it appears that this Catholic can remain in this Protestant marriage (as described above) without committing fornication, or is this not true?
It DOES appear that the marriage has to be convalidated since the Catholic married in a non-Catholic ceremony without an exemption from the Catholic church. But is the Protestant spouse consent / presence needed for the convalidation? A Catholic Answers article suggests that this require radical sanation (Can. 1161 § 1) and in some cases the non-Catholic does not need to know (although it's preferable that the non-Catholic knows). But can radical sanation still be obtained even though the Catholic cannot perform Can. 1125 §1 to the full extent because of the spouse's opposition?
Modifying the case study a little, let's say the case is between a Protestant couple in which one wants to become Catholic but the other wants to remain Protestant and the kids need to be raised in the Protestant church. Is it an impediment for the would-be-Catholic to receive communion? Is marriage convalidation necessary / possible in this case? Is fornication committed without convalidation?
Motivation for this question
I believe there are many who are in this situation: who through Catholic evangelization effort now want to go back practicing Catholic but have a difficulty introduced by the Protestant spouse. Ultimately, this is an ecumenical question as all mainline denominations try to reconcile as much as they can without losing their distinctiveness.