After this past Sunday’s Mass I received two words from my pastor that I have longed to hear for over three years now, “it’s done.”He was referring to my request to have my marriage convalidated within the Church. Convalidation of a marriage is basically the blessing/recognition/regularization of a marriage between a Catholic and a nonCatholic Christian whose “marriage,” for whatever, reason is not valid and sacramental due to some impediment. This impediment usually falls on the shoulders of the Catholic spouse because as baptized Catholics, they are bound to the Church (the binding and loosing thing). The usual impediments in this case are failure to seek a dispensation from the Catholic’s bishop to marry a non-Catholic Christian and many times dispensation to marry outside of the Church. This was essentially my case. As Catholics we are bound to follow the Church’s authority in these matters under penalty of sin. And a sin of this magnitude is considered a mortal sin in most cases. But because God desires that all men be saved there are always means to reconcile oneself to the Church, thus con-validation. Con-validation is usually quick and simple – so long as both parties are willing. Unfortunately, this was not my case. When the spouse is not willing or able to participate there is one other means to correct a marriage in this state. That is called radial sanation:
The radical sanation of an invalid marriage is its convalidation without the renewal of consent, which is granted by competent authority and entails the dispensation from an impediment, if there is one, and from canonical form, if it was not observed, and the retroactivity of canonical effects. (Code of Canon Law 1161:1)
My parish pastor was giving me the positive news that our bishop approved my petition for radical sanation. At these words, “it’s done,” I felt such a relief that I held back my tears as I kneeled in a pew before the Tabernacle in thanksgiving.There is still more for me to do on my journey to full reconciliation with Our Blessed Lord through His Church and that includes receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Eucharist and later Confirmation. Pray for me especially as I enter this season of Lent.