marriage outside the Church

Question from Chris on 4/1/2008:

If a Catholic is married to a non-Catholic outside the Church, and the non-Catholic has been married at least 4 times before, is there any way to convalidate this marriage? The non-Catholic would not be willing to go through the annulment process for each of his previous marriages (they were over 25 years ago). He probably doesn't know where spouses from his previous marriage are now. My friend is facing this right now. Is there any hope for her to get married in the Church so that she can be in communion with the Church and receive the Sacraments? Thanks.

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 4/3/2008:
If the non-Catholic is not willing to petition for four declarations of nullity, then there is no possible means for convalidating the marriage.

Assuming that there are no minor children involved, I think that the best option is to separate, go to confession, and then go to Holy Communion.

I have real doubts about the psychological stability of someone who is now on marriage #5.

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