Jim asked:

Is divorce by a Catholic and remarriage to a non-Catholic the only sin that God will not forgive?

Fr. Fessio replied:

"There’s no sin that God won't forgive ... When a baptized man and a baptized woman are free to marry, and get married in the Catholic church and it's a valid marriage ... that marriage is until death ... It's unbreakable ... So what happens if Catholics get divorced is they are still married, but maybe civilly they are going to live apart ... but if it's been a valid marriage there can be no such thing as a second marriage.

When the Church says it annuls a marriage what it means is it's declaring that there never was a marriage ... It appeared to be a marriage but wasn't. An annulment does not dissolve an existing marriage. An annulment states that in the Church's judgement, this marriage never existed."

Mark's take:

The only way a valid (sacramental) Catholic marriage ends is by death of one of the spouses. Any other Catholic marriage ends only if it was not sacramental (lack of form), undisclosed impediments, pre-nuptial agreement, unwillingness to have children, et cetera.

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

Click icon for archived podcast answering this question in its entirety.

Show air date: September 5, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Fr. Joseph Fessio

Question appeared in show: 35:11

Social: Share:

This site is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18