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Can Marriages Between

Unbaptized People Be Dissolved


by Divorce?
Fr. Charles Grondin
https://www.catholic.com/qa/can-marriages-between-unbaptized-
people-be-dissolved-by-divorce
March 03, 2017
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Full Question
Can Marriages Between Unbaptized People Be Dissolved by Divorce?

Answer
A marriage in which one of the spouses in unbaptized is called a
"natural marriage." It is different from a sacramental marriage in that a
natural marriage can be dissolved, whereas a consummated
sacramental marriage can never be dissolved (canon 1141) except by
death.
While a natural marriage can be dissolved, it is not the divorce that
dissolves the marriage.
If there is a marriage between two unbaptized persons and one of
them wishes to become baptized and the other refuses to be baptized
and/or remain in the marriage, this is called the Pauline Privilege (1 Cor
7:10-15; canon 1143). In this situation the new marriage dissolves the
previous marriage, but the Church must verify that the proper
circumstances are present before the new marriage can proceed.
In a natural marriage where only one of the spouses is unbaptized and
the baptized spouse is not a Catholic, and one of the spouses wishes to
become a Catholic and the other spouse refuses to remain in the
marriage then the Church can dissolve the natural marriage. This is
called the Petrine Privilege or "privilege or favor of the faith." In this
situation it is not the new marriage that dissolves the natural marriage
but the authority of the Roman Pontiff.