Ask the priest

Question:

I was was married in 1994 by a notary public.  At that time I was without any religion, living a secular lifestyle.  A few months later my son came into the world.  Soon after his birth, I felt a tremendous desire/need to have him baptized.  I felt called to baptism myself as well.  I found out that my family were non practicing Episcopalians, so I went to the local Episcopal Church to inquire into baptism.  After several weeks of counseling, I, my son and my husband were Baptized.  I also received Confirmation and first communion.

A few months later, I felt called to the Catholic Church.  I presented myself to the local Parish Priest and expressed my belief in Jesus present in the Eucharist and my desire to be a member of the Church.  This Priest was very liberal, and as there was no RCIA in the parish at the time, I was welcomed into the Catholic Church with a profession of faith.

Nobody had told me that my secular marriage was not recognized by the Catholic Church, and that I was I suppose living in a state of perpetual fornication.(perhaps my ignorance made it not a sin). My husband divorced me soon after.

My question is this…   Does the Catholic Church regard my baptism and confirmation as invalid because of my marital situation?  Am I really not baptized?  Have I been receiving our Lord in the Eucharist all these years unworthily?  Do I need to be baptized again?    I am very distressed and anxious to receive an answer.

Answer:

You are baptised and confirmed.  Please relax. 

Baptism is a cleansing of all sins of the past.  What you need is to insist that despite being received into the Catholic Church you should still take the RCIA courses – they are so useful.  This will give you a chance to answer your questions.  If the course is not available in your parish, it is available some place in the diocese.  Do seek it out.