Catholic not married in the church.

I’m a catholic and I’ve been married almost two years now. My wife and I were married by a judge. We decided to skip all the fancy stuff since I didn’t want to go through it and she had already been married one time before. We wanted something simple and small and that’s what we did. However, what’s the Catholic church’s view on such things? I’ve heard excommunications (spelling?) and I’ve heard it’s not that big of a deal anymore. OK, maybe not excommunication but something bad. So what is it?

IANAC, but my wife is. I don’t think the Church excommunicates for things like that any more. At the worst, if a conservative priest knew your situation, you might be refused communion. At worst, as far as the Church is concerned, you are living in sin, and I don’t think they excommunicate you for that.

That you are not married and you and your wife are living together in sin. Like Giles said a priest may decide to deny you communion unless you agree to refrain from sex with your wife (or marry in the church). Actually the RCC doesn’t so much care about the “living together” part, but it does condem any sex not taking place between a “husband and wife”.

Same boat as Giles here. Since my wife doesn’t take communion, a potential ban doesn’t affect her anyhow. The Church, of course, would welcome you to attend their pre-marital counseling in order to give you a dispensation permitting you to get married “in” the Church, which the Church would then recognize.

So a Catholic has to be married within the Catholic Church. What about someone in my position, or something similar, and they wanted to have their child baptized Catholic?

Are you sure about this? Do you have some authority to cite? I believe that I have heard the opposite, that the Roman Catholic Church recognizes civil marriages and other marriages performed outside the Church as valid (as long as the marriage is permitted under Church law).

What do you think “excommunicate” means?

The OP’s situation depends on the status of the wife’s previous marriage. If her previous marriage was annuled, or if her previous husband is dead, then she’s free to marry. Despite exchanging vows in front of a judge instead of a priest, you two have gone through the sacrament of matrimony together, albeit not in the manner encouraged by the Church. You would not be denied communion, but your priest would likely urge you to go through the church-sponsored classes for newlyweds, and to renew your vows in the Church.

However, if your wife was only divorced from her previous marriage, not annulled nor widowed, then, in the eyes of the Church, she’s still married to the first guy, and was therefore not free to marry you. Your marriage is then null and void, and you two have been committing adultury. For this, you could be excommunicated, though the most likely result is still that the Church hierarchy will look the other way and pretend they don’t know (unless you or someone else (the ex-husband, perhaps?) force the issue to their attention).

Not in my mother’s case, it didn’t If she wanted to be able to take communion, there was a need to get married again, even to my non-R.C. father, in order to be a proper member of the church once more. It was sort of amusing,really.
HOWEVER, things must might be different in the U.S.A.: I don’t know.

Since your wife was married before, she is not free to marry in the Church unless and until she receives a declaration of nullity with respect that union, or unless her husband from that marriage has died.

Because you married without that, your marriage is not considered valid under canon law - her previous marriage has a presumption of validity, although it may well be a presumption very easy to overcome.

Yes, it does, but this recognition applies with equal force to the wife’s first marriage – which triggers the exception contemplated in your last parenthetical.

To answer the OP’s question, you’re not living in a state of grace, which means that you are ineligible to approach communion. To remedy this, you should conslut your pastor, who can advise you on what’s needed. Most likely, I would expect that he will suggest obtaining an annulment for your wife’s prior marriage, if such is possible, and then having your marriage solmenized in the Church.

No. The penalty for adultery is not excommunication.

Canon law imposes excommunication in two flavors: an ordinary or ferendae sententiae excommunication is the result of a juridical proceeding - a trial, if you will. If you are accused of, for example, usurping an ecclesiastical office, you may be tried in an ecclesiastical court and punished by excommunication if found guilty.

A latae sententiae excommunication is one that comes into being the moment the act is complete; without need for a trial. For example, any person who uses physical force against the Pope incurs an excommunication immediately, at that moment.

The law does not proscribe a penalty of excommunication (of either type) for adultery.

An excommunicated person:

[li]Cannot have any ministerial part in the celebration of Mass or in any other ceremonies of public worship[/li][li]Cannot celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals or receive the sacraments[/li][li]Cannot exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, functions or acts of governance[/li][li]Cannot validly assume any dignity, office or other function in the Church [/li][/ul]

A person who commits adultery may not receive the sacrament of Eucharist, by virtue of not being in a state of grace, but is not subject to the other restrictions listed above.

This cite seems to say that the Church recognizes non-Catholics’ civil marriages as valid but that Catholics’ must be convalidated as a sacrament in the Church:

non-Catholics: “The Church assumes marriages to be valid until proven invalid. Because your fiance and his first wife are not Catholic, they were not bound by Catholic marriage norms. Therefore, we presume the marriage to be valid.”

Catholics: “The Church does not recognize the civil marriage alone as a marriage. Your convalidation of the civil marriage would be considered your marriage in the Church.” "If I understand your situation correctly I believe you will be free to marry in the Church. I understand your fiance was baptized a Catholic and that his first marriage was before a judge or justice of the peace. If he had not received a dispensation from canonical form (marriage before a priest/deacon and two witnesses) it might be possible to receive a simple declaration of invalidity for this marriage which would free him to marry you in the Church.

You need to approach your local pastor with all the information about his first marriage, as well as a copy of his baptismal certificate. Also, you will need to show that the marriage ended in divorce ( a copy of the divorce decree) and the testimony of a witness who can testify that his marriage was never convalidated in the Catholic Church. "