Lapsed catholic dating
The Council noted that for a true formal act of defection from the Church, “it is necessary that there concretely be: a.) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church; b.) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and c.) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority.” The document notes that merely having one’s name removed from one’s parish membership records does not fulfill these requirements.Rather, a person must intend “a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism” [emphasis in original].That being said, let’s look at the issue of whether a lapsed Catholic, who has married in a non-Catholic wedding ceremony, is considered to be married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.In “Can a Catholic Ever Get Married in a Non-Catholic Church?” we discussed the by which all Catholics are bound to marry.
After the new Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983, legal scholars spent over 20 years discussing and debating what this phrase actually means.
Canonists then began to examine the possibility that leaving the Catholic Church and becoming a full-fledged member of a non-Catholic faith community (or a non-Christian religion) would constitute a formal act.
They found that in some cases, where joining another faith involved structured catechesis and/or ceremonial actions—becoming an Orthodox Jew is probably the most striking example of this—it appeared that this could be the formal act mentioned in this canon.
If he didn’t, he probably cannot be considered to have left the Church by a formal act—which means he was still bound to observe canonical form when he got married.
Ray’s marriage in a Baptist church, without previously obtaining from his bishop a dispensation from canonical form, is in that case most likely invalid.