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.
I mean, Catholicism is as close as Christianity GETS to Paganism, so...
...but being serious. A Handfasting is a pretty low-key, non-upsetting Pagan tradition that you can totally incorporate into a ceremony of any faith. But the best way to figure out what goes in is really to sit down with your FI and write out lists of what you want in the ceremony and what he wants in the ceremony, and figure out how to tie it together. Even look up traditions you may not have known about to see what all you can include. I can't say I know all THAT much about Catholicism, so that's the best I can do, but it shouldn't be too difficult, really.
@notestasiskis: If you're not being married in the Catholic Church, any conservative Catholic family members will not consider it a Catholic wedding anyway. Is the spiritual aspect important to you, or is it just for your family(ies)?
commenting to follow. this is quite a pickle! I used to be a christian, and then later a pagan (now I'm agnostic). the old christian part of me would have been totally agahst and 100% against any blatant references of paganasm in the ceremony. but I was a really uptight and by-the-book protestant.
all I can think of is to maybe hold your ceremony outside in nature, and talk about love of nature in the ceremony? that's just about the only thing I could think would not offend christians.
also, a pagan friend of mine has this really lovely tradition of having guests tie ribbons to her backyard tree and have them think of a wish or blessing while they do it. you could do something like that during the ceremony or reception - like with a potted tree you take home and plant?
OR, since you and your SO don't practice, how about you make the ceremony about you two: non-religious? it is your wedding after all, not your parent's weddings. (PS, you can get a non-religious officiant too, but I'm sure you knew that already.)
Just posting to follow! My SO is Catholic and attends mass regularly. I on the other hand, am not...
@Duncan: The spiritual aspect is important to me. I'm definitely more religious than FI is and having our marriage blessed by the Church is very important to me. FI's very supportive and is willing to do anything necessary for it except convert or have an all Catholic wedding. Also, the family is well aware we won't be having a traditional church wedding. They aren't thrilled about it, but they've known about our religious difference for a long time. They've kinda just come to accept that it is what it is.
@nerdybird: I like the tree idea, I hadn't heard that before. I'll mention it to FI. We also don't want a non-religious ceremony. He's non-practicing mainly because there isn't anywhere or anyone to practice with. Now that I've found a church that I like, I am much more heavily involved in the Church.
We have a meeting scheduled in a couple weeks to meet with the priest at my church to see what our options are. We aren't looking to have a Church wedding, we really just want to know what we need to do for our marriage to be valid in the Church. FI hasn't asked for much other than that we get married outdoors and that his faith is also recognized. If they can do that, then great! If they can't, we need to know what else we can do. I'm so nervous about it. We have no idea what to expect from this first meeting.
Our wedding will be a mix of Wiccan and Native American. FH is Catholic but not a practicing one, so he does not care. We found an officiant (a reverend) who is quite willing to do anything we wish. In our ten minutes ceremony will include honoring the four directions as well varous readings and blessings.
@notestasiskis: I think really the best way to equally represent both religions is to have a non religious ceremony with references to both. If you're not up for that then I guess you could have a Justic of the Peace officiate (seems unfair to your FI to have a priest do the ceremony) and then have a Priest and his Wiccan equivelent come in at the end and both bless the marriage. You could have religious readings to keep a spiritual aspect but I don't think you're going to get a better compromise.
Don't worry about any Catholics clutching their rosaries. t would be weird and rude of your family members to get offended that their religion wasn't present in someone else's wedding and you don't need to pander to anyone.
It might be nice for you guys to each have a ribbon and tie them together in a knot. You could say something like 'Groom, this ribbon represents me, my family, my faith, my beliefs, my hopes and my fears.' and then when you guys tie the ribbon togher in a knot it would represent your lives and religions coming together.
We weren't to the same degree as you, but had a pretty similar issue.
My family are VERY strong evangelical Christians (fully of pastors, missionaries, preachers etc), and his family are devout Mormons. We are both not religious. His family are pretty accepting of evangelicals, but my family are of the "Mormon's aren't Christians and are wrong" persuasion (I literally did a project on why Mormonism is wrong in my evangelical High School). The families are very nice to each other and get along, but we wanted to find a way to represent both without causing problems.
In the end we had a non religious ceremony, and had my father say a short prayer at the end. For us this included both religions, as my Mormon family "accept" the prayers of evangelicals, but I don't think my parents would be comfortable with Mormon prayers.
It seems like your Catholic family are the ones that have the issue. Is there anything Catholic that can be done that your Wiccan family might appreciate?
@nerdybird: @Lizzy272: I posted an update here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/interfaith-wedding-catholic-and-wiccan-update?replies=1#post-6837634
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