Post # 1
I’m Catholic but my Fiance is not and whilst we plan to be married by a Catholic priest in a Catholic ceremony, it will not be in a Catholic church. I know that I have to get special dispensation from the bishop to marry a non-Catholic and to be able to get married outside of a church.
My questions are: do I have to apply for the dispensation myself or can my priest do it on my behalf? Has anyone else had to apply for dispensation and how did you go about getting it? Was it hard to get it?
Post # 3
@Miss Circe: Regardless of your situation, the first step to getting married as a Catholic is to meet with your parish priest. It doesn’t matter where you have it. He will identify any obsticles and work you through them.
Post # 4
I’m not catholic but fi is and we went and spoke to our priest and he filled out all our info and sent it to the diocese to be approved. Once the marriage was approved and we finished all our classes we were good to go. Our priest wouldn’t marry anyone outside of the church, but he’s also very traditional/strict so I’d go talk to your priest and he’ll have all the answers
Post # 5
Just a suggestion…if your parish priest won’t perform the ceremony outside of the church even with dispensation, you might try to find a retired priest to do a Catholic ceremony. I don’t know if that’s possible in your area, but Fiance and I stumbled across a few in our search for an officiant. Good luck!
Post # 6
@HisMoon: I was going to suggest that too, I know a couple of weddings where they went that route. However, it wouldn’t be recognized by the Catholic church – not sure if that’s important to the OP or not.
OP, what are your reasons for not having a church ceremony? I’m fairly agnostic now but was raised Catholic, and all of the priests/parishes I know of will not give a dispensation unless it’s a serious circumstance, not just because the couple wants to get married outside or something like that.
Post # 7
A Catholic priest won’t marry you outside the Catholic Church, fyi. If he does, then it won’t be a valid marriage (and he would be in big trouble with the diocese if they found out.) It will be VERY hard to get a dispensation around that. A reason like “because I want to” is not an acceptable one for getting the dispensation. On the other hand, the dispensation to marry a non-Catholic *in* the Church is very easy.
Post # 8
A priest won’t (can’t) do a Catholic ceremony in a non-Catholic church.
My H and did get a dispensation – he was Catholic at the time and I was not (although I went through RCIA and was confirmed after we were married). I was baptized at the time however, and Christian.
It was important to us to have the marriage recognized by the church. We didn’t get married at our parish church because it’s the Cathedral of the Archdiocese, and you have to book it a year in advance (at least). Plus they won’t even talk to you if you want to get married in less than 6 months. We wanted to get married in the summer after we got engaged in March – there was no way to get the church on a July Saturday at that point. They worked with us because we were 38 and 41 and they knew that we didn’t want or need to wait. We went through the One In Christ classes (similar to pre-Cana), the FOCCUS, and the dispensation process. I’m not gonna lie – the dispensation, although no one gave us any problem about it, was a LOT of hoops to jump through. We had to get all kinds of people to meet with priests and swear to affidavits – there was a point when I wasn’t sure it was all going to get done in time. Part of that was that the priests in my hometown weren’t being very cooperative with the demands of the Archdiocese here.
ETA: We did get married in A church, by an ordained Christian minister, which was part of the reason they OK’d it. Here’s a picture just because I love it!
Post # 9
Thank you for all the response everyone – you all certainly give me a lot to think about and consider.
@twoangels: and @MrsRichard: Thank you both for addressing my main concern – I really wanted to know whether or not getting dispensation was something we had to proceed with by ourselves or if we could get a priest to assist us with it. Since it’s the latter, I’m quite relieved.
@Wonderstruck: It is fairly important to me to have our marriage recognized by the Catholic Church although I should probably clarify something.
The Fiance and I do plan on having a church ceremony. However, the church that we would like to get married in is a very progressive and liberal Anglican church. It’s really a compromise between what we both want as it is one of the few (if the only) churches that the Fiance feels comfortable getting married in and as the church allows for ministers of other Christian denominations to officiate weddings within the church. And I have spoken to the verger and he has stated that there have been Catholic priests who have officiated there in the past.
I am in the process of e-mailing him now and checking to see whether or not he knows if those weddings were considered to be valid. If not, then the Fiance and I will have to have a discussion about our priorities with regards to the ceremony.
Post # 10
@Miss Circe: i’m pretty sure, and someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but if your Fiance is not Catholic, you can get a dispensation to marry in his church And have everything be hunkey-dory. I do not think you would be able to use a catholic priest though….
best thing to do is talk to your parish priest and see what the rules are for your area. Good luck!
Post # 11
@Miss Circe: We thought we were going to have to get a dispensation to marry a) outdoors and b) because Fiance is United, but the priest who is marrying us didn’t seem to think it was a problem. I think it depends on who is performing the ceremony. This priest is an old family friend so I think we got lucky.
Post # 12
@Miss Circe: If your Fiance is Anglican, you can get consent to be married in his church, with a Catholic co-officiant. It requires a dispensation, however. Your priest will assiste you with both your dispensation for the non-Catholic place of worship, and the dispensation for marrying a non-Catholic. He helps you fill out the paperwork and sends it off to the dioscese.
The whole “getting married outside the church” problem only really applies to non-religious locations. For example, if a Catholic marries a Jew then the wedding may take place within a synagogue, with a Catholic co-officiant, and it will still be recognised by the church as long as you have the correct dispensation.