Yea...not your everyday, inferfaith wedding. I and my family (my really big, overwhelming family) are Catholic. He, his parents, and sister are Wiccan (the rest of his family is a mix of various forms of Christian or indifference.) Neither of us are practicing. I'll go on the big days or when home with my family, he'll go when they have something and he's in the area and feel's like it. It's clear we aren't getting married in The Church, but I'm looking for advice on how to combine both of our faiths into the ceremony without stepping on anyone's toes. The main concern here is my family. With generations and generations of Catholics, it kind of freaks them out that I'm marrying someone who's Pagan. I don't want to just throw a handfasting in there to have some part of his faith recognized, but I don't want my family to be uncomfortable either. Is there a way to have both religions recognized equally without upsetting people?
Also, what would be the best way to officiate this sort of ceremony? Many interfaith people that I've researched do Catholic, Jewish, Islam, Hindu, but I have yet to find one who does Wiccan, let alone Catholowiccan (Yes, that's a thing now).
I'm afraid the answer is no. Catholics will usually only co-officiate with other Christian denominations, or Jews. If you want a ceremony within the Catholic church, you are also not permitted to make any significant changes to the order of service. That means no non-biblical readings, no non-Christian music, definitely no handfasting, and usually not even a unity candle (although some churches do make exceptions). So you can't have a Wiccan co-officiant or use any Wiccan practises within a church wedding.
If you choose to get married outside the church, you would be very unlikely to get a priest to co-officiate, because Wicca is not a recognised religion within mainstream Catholicism. Even if you did find a particularly open minded priest who was not afraid of being disciplined by the church, your marriage would still be invalid in the eyes of the Catholic church. If it is important for you to have your marriage recognised by the church, you will have to go the whole hog, Catholicism wise. If not, you would have to have a Wiccan ceremony and use an ex nun or ex priest to co-officiate (if you could find one), because ex or retired preachers could not be disciplined for helping you.
In my opinion, your two best options are:
1. A Catholic ceremony without a nuptual mass, followed by a handfasting etc etc at your reception venue.
2. A Wiccan ceremony (which would also have to be legally binding, for the next step to take place), followed by a Catholic convalidation... takes 5 minutes and happens within the normal church service.
@Rachel631: Oh, well I know that. I wasn't planning on a church wedding. I know that's out of the question. I meant for more of a JP wedding. What can I use to personalize the ceremony that brings together both my Catholic faith and his Wiccan in a way that doesn't exclude or make anyone uncomfortable.
I do want to ask, though, could you explain the convalidation? I haven't heard of that. What does it intale?
A convalidation occurs when a baptised Catholic marries outside the faith, or outside of a Catholic church, and wants the marriage to be recognised by the church. You will have to give plenty of notice to the priest, the Catholic partner should be regularly attending the church you want to be convalidated in, and you will sometimes have to take a pre cana or similar course as well. The Catholic partner will also have to promise to try and raise their future children Catholic etc etc. In many ways, the process is similar to arranging a wedding, only slightly easier, because it can only take place as part of a regular, public service.
Convalidations usually take place as part of the normal Sunday service. Just before mass, the couple come up and spend 5 minutes having their marriage blessed. Then they are seated, and the rest of the mass proceeds as normal.
Sometime it's exhausting trying to get everyone together without upsetting someone. Have you thought about an outdoor wedding? The main thing to keep in mind is that this wedding is a celebration of YOUR love, not a celebration of everyone elses beliefs. If people don't want to have an open mind or they become insulted then they shouldn't bother to come. If they spoil your wedding day because of their own selfish reasons then that's on them, don't let them do it.
@Rachel631: I'll definitely talk to FI about that. I really would like it to be recognized by the church even though we can't marry in it. Do you think they'd refuse to validate it because he's Wiccan?
@Peach_Cobbler: An outdoor wedding would be nice. Just got to keep an eye on the weather, we're looking at October and Texas is known for being weird regarding climate. It's more my family I'm worried about? They're bummed I'm not getting married in the church and while they like FI, they aren't as keen on his lack of a Christian God. I think a handfasting would be alright, maybe some other things. I also just don't want to end up shoving Catholicism at my FI because I know he would not take kindly to that. He doesn't like Catholicism whatsoever, but he respects and supports my beliefs and will go with me to church when the occasion warrants it.
It would probably be fine, as long as you yourself are a practising Catholic who regularly attends mass. Your FI would probably count as having no religion at all, for church purposes, and your marriage would be counted as a "natural" marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian. You would, however, probably need a dispensation for this marriage, as natural marriages require the approval of your local bishop.
I know all of this because FI (Catholic) and I (Methodist) are having to put up with a massive load of paperwork and procedural faff from the Catholic church, so I've had to research all my options!
@Rachel631: I wonder how it would work for us. The church I "regularly" attend is 6 hours away back home while I'm at school. My family is close to the priest there and we've attended that church since before my first communion. I go when I'm in town, but that's not considered often. What we need to do for a dispensation? Also, in what time frame would this need to be done? Like, is it something we need to start doing before the marriage or can we take care of it afterwards?
You can start looking into this at any time. However, the convalidation must take place AFTER a legally binding marriage has taken place, and not before. I would say that you still have time. You can have a convalidation at any stage after your wedding. For example, we might (if we really can't get the church we want) have a convalidation the day after our wedding.
It would be a huge, huge headache to have a convalidation outside of your family church. My advice is not to bother (gahhh... I could bore you to death with our problems there!). Just have a convalidation at some stage after the wedding within your family church. Talk to the family priest, and ask him to do the paperwork for you. He will also apply for the dispensation on your behalf.
@Rachel631: Cool cool cool. Thank you so much, that's a big help.
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