One thing we seem to have a lot of is innacurate information on the Catholic boards. 50 years ago Catholics married Catholics and the first marriage was it. easy peasy.
Whereas today we have Catholic encore brides who had a courthouse ceremony the first time around marrying non-Christian grooms after having 3 kids together already. Canon law is not that complex, but our relationships nowadays can be VERY complex and that's where worries and confusion come in!
Add in that for some reason Catholic topics tend to attract a lot of non-experts who want to put in their 2 cents - it can be a big confusing mess to brides and others who are just looking for accurate info! Just because you went to Catholic school, or are an ex-Catholic, or once dated a Catholic 10 years ago, does not make you an expert on Catholicism or the Catholic approach to marriage. In fact I've noticed that Catholic school grads and ex-Catholics tend to have lot of misconceptions and wrong information unfortunately.
Sometimes the posts come off as downright hateful or anti-Catholic. Surely most posters don't mean it that way, they're just being ignorant. I've been a Catholic for 27 years (and a practicing Catholic for 10 years) and I'm CONSTANTLY learning new stuff I didn't know!
Just in the last year, here are some of the bombs I've seen on the bee, some of them multiple times:
- You can't get married in the Catholic Church if you live together (fact: priests ARE NOT allowed to refuse to marry you for this reason. In the Unted States, priests are explictly FORBIDDEN to treat you this way. In fact part of the Pre-Cana program is usually customized to help couples who already live together or have kids together).
- You can't get married in a Protestant church if you are Catholic (fact: if your fiance is Protestant, with the right permission, you can get married in his Protestant church)
- You can't take communion if you are divorced (fact: just being divorced has NO EFFECT on being able to take communion).
- it's possible to "fail" a FOCUS test (fact: there are no wrong answers on the FOCUS test. If your answers reveal your partner is abusing you or you are on totally different pages about money, and so forth your priest will want to talk about this)
and so many others. With all that, I was wondering if it would be helpful if I could get a real, educated expert in theology or canon law to post here, and maybe request to make their post a sticky? Addressing many of the common questions and providing references to the appropriate documents. I haven't asked yet but there are a few people who I could query and see if they were willing to do this. I would try to make a giant post myself but again I am NOT an expert at all. Do others think this might be a good resource post for bees?
I think that would be a great idea! When the post is done, just flag it or pm a Hostess and ask that it be stickied. You can also request a sticky in the support section.
@Magdalena: I understand your frustration... I'm not Catholic myself, but my grandparents were and I attended with them regularly. I do not claim to have any answers or knowledge about the faith, but I do have a great respect for it.
I agree that it sucks that people without full knowledge can accidently give wrong information. However, I looked up the post that seems to have spawned this one. If the people were actively seeking out the Catholic boards, it would be different. But with every post going into the general bee-hive, I think we don't pay attention to what specific board it was posted to. So, you can't be too upset about non-catholics posting on the Catholic Boards.
However, I think it would be a wonderful learning experience if someone with a well of knowledge could answer questions about the faith. It is a very mysterious religion to anyone who has never had anything to do with it, and confusing even for those that have.
Please, forgive those that don't know any better. Especially the ones who truly mean no harm and are just trying to help.
You have to understand that people wouldn't be so confused over a lot of these issues if actual Catholics with actual authority weren't imposing their own personal moral code onto others. I have first-hand experience in being told (as an 8th grader mind you) that my chosen Confirmation sponsor would not be allowed to fill that role or receive communion as she was divorced. This coming from the Monsignor overseeing the process.
It's not simply a matter or ignorance or blind assumptions, it's often coming from people who are supposed to have authority in these very matters.
Surely there are better ways to address this topic than label people as being "ignorant."
I think this would be extremely helpful. There are also online resources outside the bee that can answer alot of common questions.
Another issue I think is that different priests and parishes make it so that personal experiences are not the same in all areas - there are supposed to be universal standards but they aren't always maintained based on personality and personal beliefs in different parishes. An easy going open minded young priest is different than an older, extremely traditional strict priest. Just saying...
But I hear you, some of the misconceptions come across as anti-Catholic. Its frustrating.
Very interesting though!
Different priests have different opinons, maybe thats what causing some confusion amongst bees.
FACT - 33% of the world’s population claim they are Christian (aprox 2.2 Billion People). Of that, aprox 1.196 Billion consider themselves to be Roman Catholics (2012 Annuario Pontificio). Which makes the amount of Catholics in the world truly HUGE.
And as much as it can be said, that the Catholic Church tries to maintain one consistent set “of Rules” for their followers… (Roman Catholic Doctrine)
Like all forms of religion, there are man-made factors that come into play...
So that things are unfortunately not always applied in the same manner around the world… or even within the same countries, states, or cities.
Men and Women of the cloth… make choices on how they want to apply the rules (rightly or wrongly so... it does happen). Which is WHY in many cases you'll see Questions on WBee to begin with that say things like "We've been told we can't marry in our church because ____".
BECAUSE Men & Women of the cloth ARE HUMAN. Automatically that means that there can be inconsistencies in how things are applied.
So whether you like it or not…
Some of the info that is going to be provided on WBee is going to be not in agreement with whatever you “personally think / or believe to be true” about the Catholic Church.
(PERSONAL ASIDE - This is part of the reason I for one as I’ve aged, have become less and less a fan of organized religion… (and also have left the Catholic Church)… IMO there are too many opportunities for man-made rules to taint the concept of having a personal relationship with God )
All that said,
I have to say that I find your title here for this topic very offensive.
You have no right calling other people who have different experiences than your own to be ignorant.
They just have different experiences to your own. Period.
And even if there was a so-called expert who posted here on Bee… ultimately their posts would be the same… just a matter of their own opinion.
As always, with all things Wedding Related (or read on the Internet), people are best advised to take everything with a grain of salt… and do their own research in their own backyard.
Different priests do or say different things. Just because people have been told things that don't match up with what you've written here does not make them "ignorant" or "inaccurate". My dad was not allowed to marry my mom in his childhood church because he got divorced, and he HAD been specifically told he could not receive communion anymore. Many people ARE ex-Catholics because of these experiences. To pretend they haven't happened and everyone whose mentioned it is lying is pretty ridiculous.
I'm happy that you posted this. It was a good read.
I'm not catholic and thought I never could be because of all the things I heard about catholics. I always admired the catholics but just couldn't "worship saints" as I was told many times that catholics did.
But talking to other catholics helps me because it helps me see a lot of the stereotypes aren't accurate. And it was nice reading this post as well.
I don't have a religious prefrence when it comes to catholic vs baptist vs protestant etc. I am just a christian and trying to find a good church to raise my daughter in.
But now the thing keeping me from catholic church is that I am in fact divorced. We met out of high school, got married by a notary and neither one of us were religious at the time really. Over time he was abusive and we went opposite directions with our religion. I went back to Christianity and he started looking up the devil and such. I left and got divorced.
So as far as divorce goes and remarriage, what is the catholics view on this?
We discuss issues and opinions here. I don't think this should be a place where members get eclisiastic guidance. I dont think it's appropriate.
It depends on the individual church and the Priest in charge for some things... my dad & stepmom were not allowed to get married in the Catholic Church because they were both divorced... they were told that the prior marriages would have to be annuled in order for them to get married in the church.
I've also been told that if I don't attend church regularly, that I'm not allowed to take communion - and this was told to me by more than one church... even if I considered myself Catholic, I would have to attend regularly to take communion. But then I had another church where the priest encouraged me to take communion even though I didn't consider myself as Catholic anymore at that point.
So it appears that different churches may be more relaxed or more strict than others. I would encourage anyone to talk to their priest if they have any questions, especially if they're considering getting married within the church.
Different priests interpret things differently, different Diocese do things different ways. I remember growing up and watching a family friend be denied communion because she was divorced. Not remarried, just divorced. Just because one person interprets Canon law one way doesn't mean that everyone shares that interpretation.
@This Time Round: +1000
If people want accurate, factual information on the do's and don'ts of the Church, they should seek that information from the church itself, not a wedding forum. I have never seen anyone on here claims to be experts, but rather people give their advice and opinion based on their own beliefs and experiences. If I had THAT serious of a question about the rules of the Church, I'd seek the answer from a priest in my own Parish.
I personally just don't see this site as the appropriate place for that kind of guidance.
@BartenderPlease: +1 YES! THIS!
OP, I know you meant no harm (like you said of other posters who posted that they couldn't get married because of ______), but try not to use the word ignorant. The way that you are using it means that they have no clue whatsoever about their religion (uneducated in general, unsophisticated) when they just have a different religious leader than you do and therefore have come to the boards with a different experience. I love that you want to have a sense of consensus on the board, and want to educate everyone on the bylaws of what should be happening in their church (the more you share - the more you grow and all that) just be careful about wording.
Other ladies that have been offended, I don't think she meant any harm. It appears that it came from a 'oh heck no, don't fall for that!' place. So for that, lets let her do her thing.
Posting here for later. :)
@WillyNilly: I'm not trying to stir the pot (really, I'm not) but this is not the first time the OP has come across as judgy and condescending while trying to convey aspects of her faith. Religion is complex, no one person can provide answers or discount the experiences of others. It's more than a little annoying for someone to present themselves as an authority (whether intentional or not) on this subject. Even more so to say "Just because you're an ex-Catholic doesn't mean you know!" Religion is like anything else, people are going on their own experiences, what they have been exposed to, and what they have been taught. That is not ignorance, it is a different experience.
@Magdalena: I was wondering if it would be helpful if I could get a real, educated expert in theology or canon law to post here, and maybe request to make their post a sticky? Addressing many of the common questions and providing references to the appropriate documents.
I would love to see this. I think many of the people who post topics and genuine questions on the Catholic board would appreciate such information.
I think perhaps part of the issue is that the posts on the Catholic board show up on the regular wedding board, so people may be answering them from their own viewpoints, often different Christian ones - they may not notice it's under the Catholic board, or they might not think that prohibits them from sharing their opinion.
This is similar to when people ask on here for legal advice, then others get upset that random people are giving suggestions. The best way to find out sure legal advice is to ask a lawyer in your area, not on a general wedding board. The same goes for religious advice. Things vary by region, priest, or church. The only way to get surefire answers is to ask at the particular church where you're getting married, or to ask the particular priest who will be marrying you. Even if an "expert" gives answers on here, if those answers differ from what one's church/priest says, it's not going to change the mind of that church's or priest's stance.
While there is some misinformation spread around various topics on this board. Some things people said that you mention in the op has happen. A lot of what happens varies from parish to parish and often times is at discretion of local priest. So people share their experiences but having an "expert" come and give official rules isn't going to be helpful for everyone because things are adopted and follow differently depending on where you live.
At the end of the day any information given/shared on the bee sometimes ends up being correct other times may lead someone on the right path. But I suspect until a bride picks her specific church it not going to matter much. Some of the information she was given will be correct for her situation, and other not so much.
As for people having a negative experiences/ opinions on the bee it's normal. A lot of people raised in the faith and still consider themselves Catholics have very legit beefs with the catholic faith, that doesn't mean that they are anti catholic or hateful. Although some people are very vocally anti catholic and that is their prerogative.
I think the bottom line is you shouldn't just blindly accept something as fact because you saw it in a message board. And I think most people get that, so I don't really see the misinformation/differences in opinion as being that big of a problem. I don't think that is limited to any one particular board either.
@KatyElle: I feel you, totally.
It's definitely true that people have different experiences with different Catholic parishes- and I am positive that adds to people's confusion. Because sometimes even the "authorities" do things the wrong way!
But that doesn't change the fact that there really is one right answer for a lot of this stuff. It is NOT a matter of opinion. For instance, I have seen so many posts where the bride is devastated about a Catholic priest refusing to perform the marriage unless the couple stop living together.
There is more than one idiot, power-hungry priest who gets it into his head he is allowed to do this. But if the bride contacts his boss, (the bishop) he will be told where to get off. Regardless of where you live or which parish you are at, the vast majority of rules concerning marriage within the church are universal - a Catholic couple in Italy has the same obligations as a couple in Japan or a couple in San Antonio.
But many Catholic lay people aren't aware of their rights and so they never think to call the bishop. And then they share that experience with others ("well I think you won't be able to get married in the Catholic Church, my cousin Jenny had to get married in a garden by a judge because her priest wouldn't do the wedding when she was living with Jim") It's a case of the blind leading the blind. It doesn't matter what Jenny's experience was - what happened to Jenny was wrong and doesn't need to happen to anyone else who educates themselves for empowerment.
Similarly, just because you are divorced, you CAN NOT properly be denied communion. People are ignorant of their rights so they don't know - if a priest denies you communion JUST because you are divorced, HE is totally in the wrong. Just because someone has a collar does NOT make them an authority that can't be challenged. Or even that he knows what he is doing! The Church even officially states that sometimes a civil divorce is best for everyone. They certainly don't want the priest turning around and saying "okay, the civil divorce decree went through just like I suggested. Now go lurk in the back of the church like an unwanted stray cat, you spawn of Satan."
You can even be baptized and receive confirmation in the Catholic Church, as a divorcee. Plenty of people who have been divorced, convert to Catholicism every year. It has literally nothing to do with it.
All priests have a boss... and all bishops have a boss, too. Just recently our bishop tried to close a whole bunch of parishes. Some of the parishioners (who were savy about their rights) wrote to the Pope to appeal. It took awhile but the Vatican wrote back and overturned the bishop, told him he was wrong and ordered him to reopen the parishes.
@pinkgreenandyellow: when it comes to divorce and remarriage the situation can be complex - often when a partner is abusive it can be an indication that the spouse who perpetrated the abuse has emotional or psychological defects that make him unable to contract a truly valid marriage. I'm not an expert though so if you contact your local parish's office they would be able to give good info. In my local area there are actually "Quck Start" workshops that are run quarterly so people can get informed about the Marriage Tribunal. You don't have to hire a canon lawyer or anything like that, often there will be an advocate appointed to help you if you go that route.
Since some mentioned it might be helpful, I will ask around and see if I can get someone to come and make a post worthy of sticky-ing.
I think the best way to not spread false information (not on purpose, just unknowingly) would be to guide people with questions to a different site like Catholic Answers www.catholic.com, their parish priest or even other lay members of their parish. Weddingbee probably isn't the best place to look for answers on this stuff... especially since 9 out of 10 times I see responses like "You should just find a better religion".
I really don't think its appropriate at all to have an "expert" host a Q&A on these boards. First of all, we'll have absolutely no way of verifying this person's authority or background on the matter, and second of all, it opens the door for a WHOLE lot of arguments, because of people's very different interpretations and experiences. The Weddingbee is not the be all and end all for religious answers - its not supposed to be. If we start having a Catholic "expert", whats next, a Protestant "expert"? An athiest one? Telling people they are right or wrong about aspects of religion is highly inappropriate given the TOS and purpose behind a discussion board. It also comes across as seeringly condescending - telling posters who have had an experience different from what you know to be "accurate" that they "have no idea what they're talking about".
@BartenderPlease: It's more like if someone claims that you need a photo ID to vote in the 2012 elections. Actually, you didn't. People will have annecdotal stories of "well my Aunt Joann was asked for a photo ID" or "I always give my drivers license when I vote."
And that's fine but the objective point is no, you didn't need a photo ID to vote in 2012.
Catholicism is like that, in that the marriage and other sacramental laws really are fairly objective, and cut and dry, especially when it comes to restricting rights. Regardless of where you live, a Catholic person has rights within the church and they don't have to lie down and just take whatever a priest or nun dishes out if it conflicts with their rights. I'm not talking about whether rule X or rule Y is right or not, or if it should be changed (of COURSE that is a matter of opinion) but rather whether Rules X and Y exist, or not.
It's not a matter of opinion, for example, if you can have a sacramentally binding Catholic ceremony and go into it with the agreement that it will be an open marriage. It's literally one of the first things asked about in the inquiry phase and from the canonical perspective it is automatically grounds for anullment, even when (especially when) concealed from the priest and others doing the marriage preparation. You can't do it, from an (ecclesiastical) legal perspective it invalidates the entire procedure.
It doesn't matter if you happen to get a kooky priest who says "hey it's OK! Open marriages for everyone!" he doesn't get to make sacramental law up as he goes along. Similarly he can't say "hey, you're living in sin so I won't marry you." it's not his call to make. The law is cut and dry on that one.
This doesn't mean if a bride doesn't like Rule X she can't just decide to skip the Catholic wedding. And that's OK, open marriages work great for some people!!! :) but if you want to have a Catholic wedding it is going to be an issue. That's all.
CLEARLY the best thing when you have a question is to just ask at your parish... where they hopefully know what they are doing... and if they give you a weird answer, go up the chain of command to confirm what they told you is true. But for whatever reason some people aren't comfy doing that as we see the same questions asked over and over again on these boards.
I have no problem doing that myself, I once had a priest refuse to give me Communion because I was kneeling. He thought you had to stand to receive Communion. Um, nooooo Father Crazypants, that is irrelevant. You can receive Holy Communion standing or sitting or lying down or standing on one foot. I wrote a letter to his boss and I didn't have that problem again. But if I didn't know my rights I would have just thought "oh Father Crazypants was such a bitch to me! What a nasty man and a nasty church. What does such meanness have to do with Christianity etc" and felt alienated and sad. When really it was just a matter of a priest on a powertrip. They're human and sometimes they do go that way...
Is a good source of info made by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This subpage answers some of most common questions. For example: "If a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, how can they assure that the marriage is recognized by the Church?"
To me, this is the most "official" source on who can do what and how can they do it. hopefully this helps someone! (it's been really informative for me, though I'm not engaged yet)
@Magdalena: Sorry - just need to slip in and say that in fact, in certain states (4 of them), one *does* require photo id in order to vote (http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id.aspx#Legislation). Increasing numbers of states are attempting to introduce photo id requirements.
(Don't mean to threadjack, but wanted to point this out!)
@Magdalena: Words cannot begin to describe how offended I am by your post.
You are in no position to call anyone a "kooky priest" or "Father Crazypants" or describe anyone's parish as one "Where they hopefully know what they are doing...".
I firmly second what @KatyElle: @This Time Round: @BartenderPlease:@WillyNilly: in that you are in no position to go around calling anyone "Ignorant".
Just the fact you would write something like that on this message board seems to highlight the fact you should go away and think about your faith and if you think posts like this where you are grandstanding as some expert on Catholism while calling priests names and saying parishes don't know what they are talking about, are appropriate.
I have been a practicing Catholic many, many countires across the earth and the one thing I have learnt is that nothing is "Cut and dry" in Catholisism (even if you want to think its thats simple). It is one of the worlds largest and oldest communities of FAITH. Not a selection of rules for you to pronouce yourself an expert on after carrying out a few google serches.
Being a Catholic to me is about humbly trying to live your life by Jesus' example, (and mostly failing). Not coming to message boards shouting about how no one knows anything, priests and parishes are wrong and how we all need to know more about "Cut and dry" rules.
@Magdalena: "With all that, I was wondering if it would be helpful if I could get a real, educated expert in theology or canon law to post here, and maybe request to make their post a sticky?"
Hi, that would be me. I'm currently finishing up a theology degree and have taken a couple courses specifically on marriage and canon law. Anyone with questions, feel free to ask me :)
@pinkgreenandyellow: What you would need to seek is an annullment. Catholics take very seriously Jesus' teaching that "whosoever divorces one woman and marries another commits adultery." So what needs to happen in order for a second marriage to take place is that it needs to be shown that the first marriage was somehow not valid (not in the civil, legal, sense, but in the spiritual one). And what that means is that there must have been an issue with the consent given. Many things can impede consent, for example, being rather young is often cited in annullmet cases, or if you happened to be intoxicated when you made your vows (Vegas, comes to mind). If you want more information, PM me.
ETA: there are other reasons you can get an annullment, but they tend to be rarer.
@Sea_bass: I am sincerely sorry if you are offended :( To be honest your response hurt my feelings (I freely admit I am not an expert, in fact I've said that a couple times. Really I'm quite clueless on a lot of things).
But for instance, yes, a Catholic priest who tells a woman she is going to hell and can't have communion because she is divorced, does not know what he is doing. It's flat out wrong.
It's wrong in Vietnam. It's wrong in Mexico. It's wrong in France. Again, I'm sincerely sorry if you think the rule is way too lax and offensive. It's OK for someone to think, "civil divorce is wrong for me, personally" but it's not OK for a priest to apply his own judgement and withhold communion. Sometimes priests try to be stricter than the Pope. When it infringes on a lay person's rights, it's not OK. It's... just not.
Again I don't know what to say, it's not my intent to offend you. All I can say is that these things are absolutely true. People really DO have rights in the Church.
@AdriannaJean: neat!!!! :)
@Magdalena: Thanks for correcting the misconception that a priest will refuse to marry you if you live together. It drives me nuts when people don't realize that they're not allowed to refuse you on that basis.
I can see how people found the OP condescending, but I think most people don't realize that while there are many (what seem like) variations in people's experience, the Catholic Church does have listings of the rules and laws governing things such as weddings (and everything else.) Most notably, the Code of Canon Law, which anyone can go online and reference! I think the point of the OP was that someone who can answer the questions according to what the official rules are, and direct everyone to the official rule that says that, that post ought to be given more credibility than "some priest said this."
I'm not sure that having a sticky answering some of the most common questions by some supposed expert would be all that productive, first of all b/c there are so many possible variations on "common questions," but also b/c...who is going to determine who is the "expert" and who isn't? As PP's have demonstrated, many people have trouble understanding that (contrary to their own personal experiences) there are precise, written rules that priests, bishops, and lay people are supposed to follow, but sometimes don't b/c of being unaware that these rules exist. *If* there is going to be a sticky, I think it ought to be written by a nameless person, and the questions simply be answered with direct quotes and links to authoritative documents. The benefit being - if anyone does have difficulty with a priest trying to tell them something incorrect, they have the actual document citation to how him how he is wrong.
Finally, I'm not quite sure why people took such offense to the use of the word "ignorant." Ignorant just means "unaware." An example: I suspect that the vast majority of Catholics are "ignorant" of the fact that Catholics are required to do penance on Fridays, not just during Lent. I direct you to Canons 1250 and 1251And a clarification from the US bishops on more precisely what that entails (#22-24).Does that mean someone is a bad person if they never knew they are supposed to observe Fridays as penitential? No! They are just "ignorant" of this fact.
(Some people might read my paragraph above and say, "what a meanie! she is judging me b/c i don't do penance on friday!" but that's their problem...if you don't like it, then do your own research and maybe you'll be surprised when you find out the reasons why for so many of the Church teachings!)
Anyhow, I'm digressing too much. Like I said before, I'm not sure it's necessary for an "expert" to come in and answer a bunch of questions. Anyone is free to do research themselves, and I think it will be apparent that if someone's post links to a direct quote from an official document (US bishops, Vatican, etc,) that people will take them more seriously than all the posters "well I heard this..."
I find the original post a bit confusing, because so much depends on the priest in my experience. Also, you'll have a hell of a job getting the Catholic church to give you a dispensation to have a liturgically valid marriage within a Protestant church. You have to have a really good reason for it.
I know many people who have tried to marry outside a Catholic church (either in a different church, or outside in a park etc). I know none who have succeeded in getting the marriage liturgically recognised by the church at the time of the ceremony/marriage. Some things only happen in theory, and not so much in practise, I think. And so much is dependant on the local context.
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