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Tim Johnson wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was married in the Church to my first wife (a non-Catholic) for 26 years before getting divorced. I did not get an annulment believing it was impossible after 26 years.

I remarried a Non-Denominational woman four years later in a civil ceremony.

My first wife died last year.

  • Is an annulment still required to make my second marriage recognizable?
  • Am I considered an adulterer?
  • What if my wife wants to become a Catholic?
  • What is my current standing in the Church?



  { Is an annulment still required to make my 2nd marriage blessed and how do I handle this Catch 22? }

Bob replied:


You don't need an annulment anymore but you will need to get your marriage blessed in the Church.

  • Why not consider getting together with a priest and talking through the details of coming home?

God bless and best wishes.

Bob Kirby

Tim replied:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the quick reply.

  • When you say I don’t need an annulment anymore, is that because my first wife has died?


Bob replied:

Hi Tim,

Yes. The fact that she is deceased precludes any formal adultery because adultery is contingent upon a living spouse. You can get a reboot with having your marriage blessed and walking with the Lord. Go to Confession, do your Sunday duty, and make God your number one priority, because that is what Jesus expects from all of us.

God is not a hobby (I'm not suggesting you think/operate that way, but many do). He is our Father and affords us an everlasting relationship that is the foundation for all our other relationships. Your marriage, friendships, and parenting, all will come to their fullest meaning when God is your source and center.

Do everything in Christ and this second chance to do it right will make your life truly blessed.

Best wishes,

Bob Kirby

Tim replied:

Thanks, Bob

This whole situation started with my wife expressing interest in becoming a Catholic.

I thought about it a lot and decided to go to Confession today for the first time in 35 years. That’s another story.

Anyway, the priest told me he could not give me absolution because I was in a civil marriage with a non-Catholic and I could not go to Confession until we got re-married. He said she would have to attend RCIA classes and become a Catholic or go through some sort of indoctrination before we could get re-married in the Church which could take six months. I know my first wife went through this so we would raise our kids Catholic, etc.

I’m 75 and my wife is 66 so kids are out of the picture so I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

  1. I can’t get married in the state of mortal sin (adultery), and
  2. can’t go to Confession until I get remarried in the Church. (A Catch 22.)
  • What if I die before all this time elapses . . . all along wanting to go to Confession?

I honestly don’t want to go to Hell.

Thanks for your advice.


Bob replied:


I'm sorry that your first attempt at fixing this ended so badly. Take heart! God is behind you and knows you are trying to make things right and He will not forsake you. Cheer up! You are going to be okay. God would not impress this desire to come home and then leave you out to dry.

The priest you met with was both right and wrong.

He is correct that you technically need to get the marriage blessed before you receive absolution, but he is wrong in saying your wife must become Catholic to do so. That is not true.

Getting the marriage blessed is absolutely simple and nothing should stand in your way.

Find another priest.


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