Marriage witnesses must be Catholic???

posted 3 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
42 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’m pretty sure no–I’ve been a witness for a few Catholic weddings, and no one ever asked me if I’m Catholic (I am, so I guess the bride could have told the priest I was, but no one ever asked to see a baptismal certficate or anything like that). This is something your priest would be able to answer, though. 

Post # 4
Member
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Nope, that is not true. You’re good to go. Also, non-Catholics can be God parents! 😉

 

Post # 5
Member
3677 posts
Sugar bee

Nope, witnesses to a marriage do not have to be Catholic.

Re. godparents, one of them has to be Catholic and they both have to be Christian. They also have to be one male and one female.

Post # 6
Member
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@KCKnd2:  My parents are not Catholic, but they are Christian (Lutheran). They are God parents to a Catholic baby. 

Post # 7
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@malinowskiscanoe:  Whomever told you that is probably thinking of sacramental sponsors.  You have to Catholic to sponsor someone through RCIA, or sposor a child through the rites of initiaion.  That’s not the same as “yep I was here; they did indeed get married and I saw it.”

Post # 8
Member
3677 posts
Sugar bee

@solidarity:  Maybe this varies by diocese? I found this that says that according to the Code of Canon Law, only Catholics are supposed to be godparents at baptisms in the Catholic Church. A couple of years ago I when I was preparing for my first goddaughter’s baptism, the priest who baptized her (who is quite strict) told us that you had to have both Christian, at least one Catholic, and one male and female baptismal sponsor. Not sure why the variation?

ETA: Another source I found says that since technically only one godparent/sponsor is required for baptism, you must have one Catholic, and it is permissible to have a second, non-Catholic Christian act as witness to the baptism (i.e. “godparent.” In the Church’s eyes, only the Catholic godparent would be considered the “official” sponsor of the sacrament.) My mom is Catholic and my father is Protestant, and my siblings and I each have one aunt/uncle from Mom’s side and one from Dad’s side as a godparent.

Since, by their nature, infants who are baptized are going to need further instruction in the faith, the godparents’ responsibility is to agree to participate in that instruction. For that reason, they have to be Christian, and one of them is supposed to be Catholic, since a non-Catholic will necessarily be limited in his/her ability to instruct the child and serve as an example of the Catholic faith.

Witnesses to marriage, on the other hand, have a different sacramental function, because matrimony isn’t a sacrament of initiation. They aren’t sponsors who are supposed to teach the couple – they just need to be able to attest to the couple’s adulthood, freedom to enter into marriage, and the fact that they did actually marry one another at the ceremony.

Post # 9
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@KCKnd2:  One godparent must be Catholic – the other godparents named aren’t godparents under the Church, per se.  My godparents are from my dad’s side, so they are not Catholic.  So my godfather in the Church, and at my baptism, was my Catholic uncle on my mother’s side.

Post # 11
Member
195 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Nope.

Post # 12
Member
813 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

No, I don’t think there are any requirements on witnesses (other than maybe they have to be adults). 

Post # 13
Member
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Your witnesses definitely don’t have to be catholic.  I got married in the Catholic church and only one of the witnesses was Catholic, but the priest never checked with us if either one was anyways.  

Post # 14
Member
886 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

No they do not have to be catholic.  My MOH was catholic and our BM was muslim.  No issue what so ever.

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