Post # 1
Hi American Catholic Bees!
I have a question…. I live in Europe and got married at my local church. I was chatting to an American friend last night who was recently at her sisters wedding in a hotel in the states. She was saying how it was a Catholic mass. I happened to mention I didn’t think you could have a Catholic wedding not in a church. She was adament that it was a “proper” catholic mass with a “real” priest etc and said that this is normal in the states. Come to think of it when I watched “4 Weddings” I saw that actually there are often catholic priest marrying people in hotels/reception halls etc.
Now to my question… Who are these priests? I don’t know any priests who would do this and I was worried that her sister thought she had a priest but maybe he actually was not?
Anyway, I was just curious. I am not judging her choices at all. I was just interested 🙂
Post # 3
I am also under the impression that a full mass could only be conducted in a Church. I do know it is possible to find retired/ non-practicing priests to do a blessing (no communion), but as far as I know and my dioceses practices, the Eucharist can only be served in the Church (unless super special circumstances like giving mass to the elderly who are otherwise unable to come to mass).
Post # 4
@bdemps11: So a nuptial mass can be anywhere so long as communion does not take place? Wow, so different here!
Post # 5
Some Catholic priests will marry a couple outside of a Catholic church, but most will not. Usually the priest knows the family, not just a random priest. Im not sure if that’s considered a Catholic ceremony though. And you definitely cannot have a mass outside of a church!
Post # 6
No, it is my understanding that practicing catholic priests will not marry outside of the church. I believe ceremonies can only be performed outside the church under extreme circumstances – not just because of preferences. Maybe your friend saw a pastor from another religion perform the ceremony and confused the religions? I am catholic… and to have our priest perform the ceremony, we needed to have our ceremony in the church. I have never heard or seen otherwise.
Post # 7
It’s the same here as it is over there. That is, in order to get married in the Catholic Church you need to have your ceremony in a Catholic Church. Not sure if some diocies are a little more lacking? but I thought this was universal wherever you went.
Post # 8
My aunt just got married by a catholic priest/family friend in the reception hall. There was no communion so it wasn’t really any different than my wedding, where we had a friend ordained online. You have to get married in the church for it to be a catholic wedding.
Post # 9
The Catholic church’s rules on this matter are not different in the U.S. than other countries as the Church is worldwide. Two Catholics cannot get married outside of a Catholic church, period. If a “retired” priest or someone else who calls themselves a Catholic priest marries 2 Catholics outside of a church, that marriage is not sanctioned by the Church.
The only situation I am aware of where a Catholic can get married outside of the Church is if you are marrying a non-Catholic, in which case you need to get a dispensation to marry outside of the Church. And it definitely wouldn’t be a Catholic mass.
Post # 10
@kimm99: Agreed. As explained by our Deacon to my FI and I, the church will allow Catholic marriages to take place outside the physcial Church but it’s for very specific situations such as one of the persons being married is a non-Catholic or another being divorced. Usually a Deacon would preside in our diocese over a union such as this.
Post # 11
Real, legit Catholic priests WON’T do marriage ceremonies outside of a church.
Unfortunately there’s a lot of sleazy guys out there who say they are Catholic priests available to do weddings (usually ex-priests who have been defrocked, you can just imagine the reasons why). The marriages they conduct are technically legal in terms of the government, but they are phony Catholic weddings. It’s no different than having a justice of the peace marry you.
If you ever have any doubts about an officiant you can call the diocese and they will have a list of priests who are in “good standing” with the Church.
Post # 12
@Magdalena: no he’s a priest but retired. She’s legit married but it’s not recognized by the Catholic church, just like mine that was conducted by our online ordained guy.
I’m so glad we are all in agreement on this thread!
Post # 13
@Sea_bass: well, it wouldn’t be a Mass if there was no Eucharist, so I guess it would just be a service.
There are some groups that have broken away from Rome and still call themselves Catholic, even though they are not in communion with the Church. I would assume that these are the people performing these marriages.
Post # 14
I’m not really sure about this but I went to a Catholic High School and they held full mass (with communion) in the gym. So, I would assume they could hold a full Catholic mass in a hotel or other place that is not a church?
Post # 15
@MrsWBS: I think that that is an exception. We held Mass in our Gymnasium because there was not room in the chapel for everyone. Basically, there are no other options and Mass would be in a chapel if possible. Where for a wedding, a church would have plenty of room for guests and its just that they dont want it there
Post # 16
@Sea_bass: It is my understanding that you may not take communion outside the church. I also thought it was not a valid sacrament if not performed in the Church. I may be wrong, someone might enlighten us.