It is my fervent prayer that Bahar will not be discouraged by all these. Chelsea is quite right about the Pauline Privilege as the answer to Bahar’s case.
The Pauline Privilege recognizes that certain marriages, while valid, were not sacramental (not “Christian”). A marriage between two unbaptized persons is not a sacramental marriage. A Muslim marriage is called a valid natural marriage.
“Some have called the Pauline Privilege a “Catholic divorce.” It is not. A Pauline Privilege is the dissolution of a purely natural (not sacramental) marriage which had been contracted between two non-Christians, one of whom has since become a Christian. The Pauline Privilege is so-named because it is based upon the apostle Paul's words in I Corinthians. The Pauline Privilege is no simple formula, and is certainly not a divorce. Neither Christ nor the Church accepts divorce, and as we have seen, marriage is truly sacred. Some marriages however, were not sacred from their beginning. In these marriages, neither party was a Christian or a Catholic. When at a later time, one partner converts and is baptized, questions about the marriage may arise. The Pauline Privilege differs from an annulment because it dissolves a real but natural marriage. An annulment is a declaration that there never was a valid marriage to begin with.”
According to the Pauline Privilege, the Catholic Church can dissolve a marriage bond, allowing the Catholic party to re-marry, if:
-Both persons were not baptized at the time of their wedding. Marriage originally not sacramental.
-One party has been baptized, but the other remains unbaptized. Marriage remains not sacramental.
-The unbaptized person departs physically by divorce or desertion, or morally by making married life unbearable for the baptized person. Just cause for the dissolution.
-The unbaptized person refuses to be baptized or to live peacefully with the baptized person. Unbaptized person is asked.
-Civil divorce has been granted by the state.
Requirements may vary depending on the diocese where she intends to remarry, but here is a brief outline of the stages involved in a Pauline Privilege of the faith case:
-Submission of the Petition for the Pauline Privilege and required documentation;
-Questionnaire sent to the Petitioner via the Procurator/Advocate;
-Collection of the deposition of the Respondent (if deemed necessary) and the testimony of witnesses regarding the non-baptism of the parties. The non-baptism of both parties must be verified;
-Review of the evidence by the Tribunal;
-The Decree granting the Pauline Privilege is issued authorizing the Petitioner’s baptism and declaring that after his/her baptism, the party is free to contract marriage within the Roman Catholic Church.
Bahar did mention about getting an Affidavit stamped by the Church at which the latter said that she was free to marry. She also mentioned that she submitted her official divorce papers to the Church. For all we know it could be the Pauline Privilege Decree version of the Cathedral Catholic Church in India that she underwent.
We must also note that Catholic churches in India fully understand the predicament of Muslims converting to Christianity. As Bahar mentioned, her life is in danger. Converts to Christianity are getting killed, harassed, penalized, bullied and persecuted. That is why I can understand why it is hard for her to get her ex-husband to cooperate in the Church interviews and interrogation. www.wikiislam.net
In conclusion, Bahar’s marital status is technically single and free to marry (provided it was Decree of Pauline Privilege that was granted). We can't say she is divorced or annulled since the the Pauline Privilege is not a divorce nor an annulment.
Bahar, if you are able to read this, please know that we are praying for you and that God totally loves you. We both know as advocates of the Divine Mercy “ that in difficult moments, we must not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to His holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself….”
Peace, Love & Prayers