Post # 1
It is really important to my fiancée’s family that we are married in the Catholic Church. This is fine with me. However, I was wondering what it takes to marry a catholic, how long that takes, and what qualms they may have with my being pregnant? I don’t know if it makes a difference…but I’ve never so much as set foot in a Catholic Church, I was baptized, and we are living together. We are planning the wedding for mid-January. Id really like to respect their wishes, but would like to know what to expect before we visit the church.
Post # 3
I know you have to take classes (called RCIA) for about 6 weeks and have a catholic sponsor. I dont know if you have to be baptized after that prior to being married. I’m not sure about being pregnant, but now I’m curious.
Post # 4
if youre baptised christian but not catholic you can have a “mixed marriage”…permission needed from bishop.
also you need to do pre-cana classes (everyone getting married in the church does). there are online and in person options.
check your churches restrictions, mine requires announcement of intention to get married 6 months before you are allowed to set a date, but i dont think thats common
Post # 5
For some churches, you have to notify them 6 months in advance if you’d like to get married, for others it is as little as 3 months. You’ll have to talk to the parish you’d like to get married in to see what they require.
In terms of what you’ll need to do, you’ll have to talk to the priest and take the pre-cana (pre-wedding) classes. Many dioceses have different class formats – some are weekend retreats, others are on one night a week for six weeks. They cover a lot of different facets of being married – finances, children, work/home relationships etc. I’m just going through this process now!
Because you are not Catholic, you won’t be able to have a full mass (which is when you have communion). Instead they’ll just do the wedding ceremony. One thing they will ask you to do (because you aren’t Catholic) is to raise your children in the Catholic faith. If you’d like to become Catholic, you go through the RCIA program, as @GypsyLove: mentioned. Note that you don’t need to be Catholic to get married in the Catholic church! However, I haven’t seen an RCIA program that’s only 6 weeks long. When I joined through RCIA, the full program was from September to Easter. I know they do make exceptions for that though, so if you’re interested in becoming Catholic, you should inquire!
In terms of being pregnant, I don’t think they can refuse you. I know that there was definitely a question on the FOCCUS survey (part of those pre-Cana classes) that asked if you were currently pregnant. That’s something you’ll potentially want to talk with your fiance’s priest about.
Hope this helps! Sorry this post got so long!
Post # 6
@purpeley: thank you sooooo much for all your help!!!
Post # 7
@purpeley: i thought that the non catholic partner didnt have to promise anything, its only the catholic that has to promise to do all in their power to raise the children in the faith
Post # 8
@newname_99: I’m not 100% sure from personal experience. Although both Fiance and I are Catholic, his mother is Catholic and his father is not. According to Fiance, his father had to agree to raise the children in the faith. I consulted the Catechism on that one and it didn’t say anything about whether or not that was true. I do know that there was a question on the FOCCUS survey about raising children to be Catholic. A quick google search revealed this article:
But that seems to indicate that it might be something that depends on the local bishops rather than something that is definitively in the doctrine. In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised if the question came up and it may vary even from diocese to diocese whether or not the non-Catholic has to promise anything.
Post # 9
The reason the pregnant question is on the FOCCUS test is because they want to make sure you are getting married with your full free will, and not because you are scared or pressured into it because of the pregnancy. If you are not marrying for the right reasons (complete free consent) it’s not considered a valid marriage. I think any converations about your pregnancy will probably be about making sure you really are choosing the marriage yourself and not doing it for the baby, family, society, etc.
Post # 10
The best thing to do would be to go to the church you want to get married at and ask them what they require.
My husband is not Catholic, he was baptized Lutheran. I’ve done all my sacraments.We were able to have the full liturgy (he didn’t take Communion, obviously). We both did the FOCCUS survey, met with our presiding priest a couple of times, and attended the Engaged Encounter weekend. He was not required to do RCIA.
We both had to provide the official certificates showing proof of our baptism and sacraments.
He did have to say he would raise any future children Catholic.
We met with the priest for the first time over a year before the wedding, but that was not required. I think six months is recommended in our diocese.
I’ve been to one Catholic wedding where the bride was very visibly pregnant, not sure what sacraments she had made.
Post # 11
If you are a baptized (non-Catholic) Christian, then, as @luna31 points out, you have the option of having a wedding with or without Mass (you wouldn’t be able to receive Communion, so the “without Mass” option is usually recommended in those cases, but you and your Fiance do get to choose). If you were unbaptized, then it would automatically have to be a wedding without Mass.
It used to be that the non-Catholic person had to promise to raise the children Catholic, as @purpeley mentioned. Nowadays (at least in the US, not sure about other dioceses) it works like what newname_99 described: the *Catholic* half of the couple is the one who makes the promises about doing all they can to ensure that children are raised in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic member doesn’t have to make any promises either way about that. It’s a little surprising that they made @luna31‘s Fiance make that promise about the children – not sure if it’s a different rule in that diocese, or maybe an old-school priest? But that’s not the general norm any more.
And @fresnodress is right about the Church not wanting to marry you if you are rushing into the marriage because of the pregnancy. The Church would *prefer* that your children be born into wedlock, and would be *delighted* to welcome you into the Catholic faith through RCIA if you decide that you want to convert – but it’s really important that both of those things be freely chosen, not brought about through pressure or coercion.
As for the timeline, you will want to check with your parish. ~6 months is typical in order to be able to complete all the marriage preparation requirements, but some parishes are more flexible on that than others.
Post # 12
Congrats on your upcoming wedding AND baby!
All Catholic parishes and priests I’ve encountered and dealt with are different (well, not totally doctrinally different, but just a little different in interpretation and practice). So – go talk to his priest. Remember that he’s not a scary guy in a robe – just a guy doing his best to live his life to please his God. He’s the only one who can tell you how they do it *there.*
Post # 13
@newname_99: I know when DH’s parents were getting married, his mom was Catholic and his father wasn’t. They were originally going to get married in a Catholic church, until the church tried to make Father-In-Law sign a contract swearing that they would raise their children Catholic. He refused to sign it, so they got married in a FIL’s Lutheran church instead.
Post # 14
@ChemistryBride: and @KCKnd2: yeah from what i gather i think its a relatively new thing that the non-catholic partner doesnt have to swear to it but the catholic partner does. I certainly don’t oppose my children being raised as catholics or attending church and having all the sacraments, but for some reason i would ideally not like to swear to it as for me, raising them as catholics would involve actively teaching all of the catholic beliefs, and there are some that i dont personally believe in (so id pretty much leave that for my FH to cover)
From my pre-marriage classes, pregnancy before marriage was covered. and it was basically that of course marriage is a good thing, but you need ot enter it freely and not feel “trapped with no way out” like you have to get married. they didnt say it as a bad thing, just to make sure you dont enter a life long committment because you feel you have to
Post # 15
@ChemistryBride: I’m not sure if it’s recently changed or not- and the non-Catholic partner DOES have to sign a form, saying they are aware that their PARTNER has made a promise to God to raise the children Catholic.
Post # 16
@Magdalena: yeah, I’m not sure the nitty gritty details, since DH’s parents were married ~35 years ago, so it could be either they changed it within the last 30 odd years, or his parents remember incorrectly. I just avoided the issue by getting married by DH’s Lutheran church even though I am Catholic!