EWTN Catholic Q&A
Radical Sanation ?
Question from David Barnes on 04-03-2006:

Please help if you can, after reading the references to a radical sanation I exuberantly ran to our new priest, thinking after 23 years I would be able to change the view of church on my marriage. I wanted to attend reconciliation, and receive the Eucharist. Well, it was similar to being hit with a 2x4, he said No, he said there is no impediment? I do not understand, his advice was to have my wife convert, he seemed incapable of understanding that 23 years of persuasion has not worked so far, and this answer will become for non-Catholics another "There you go (more problem being Catholic) again". Any ideas or suggestions regarding obtaining a Radical Sanation ? - thanks

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-04-2006:

I don't understand your question or what exactly your marital status is.

If a Catholic is married outside the Catholic Church, then the marriage must be convalidated. This is true whether the marriage involved a Catholic and a non-Catholic or two Catholics.

The marriage can be convalidated either through a simple convalidation, which requires a new (although usually simple) ceremony with a new exchange of consent. Or the marriage can be convalidated by a radical sanation. A radical sanation is a decree issued by the diocesan bishop stating that he accepts the original consent of the marriage as valid. A radical sanation is usually sought when one party to the marriage does not want to participate in a new ceremony for some reason (e.g., because of belief in conscience).

In any case, there is no requirement for a non-Catholic to become Catholic just to get married in the Church or have one's marriage convalidated in the Church by either method.

If a person has prior marital bonds, then one needs to resolve those issues (usually by petitioning a diocesan Tribunal for a declaration of nullity of the prior marriages) before a marriage can be convalidated by either method.