Post # 1
Ok I’m giving everyone the heads up now this is going to be a long post, so you can get out while you can LOL. But in all seriousness I have quite the problem.
First, some background info: I was raised a Lutheran, but converted to Pentecostal (Assembly of God-AOG). I’m what you’d call a born again (though I hate that word) evangelical Christian. My fiance was raised Catholic and is now a non-denominational, evangelical Christian. We are getting married 1 hour and 45 minutes from where I live and 3 hours and 15 minutes from where he lives. We’ve been engaged since August 2011 and are getting married August 2013.
So a few months after we got engaged we started looking for churches in the area where we were gonna get married at. We looked online and even went down to the town a few times but couldn’t find anything we really liked or felt was a good place. Then we just happened to come across this beautiful Catholic church out of nowheres one day and just felt that God had brought us here and this was the church. In October our parents came down with us to check out the venue and church and we met with the priest of the church. We had been really worried we weren’t gonna be able to get married there because technically neither of us are Catholic, but the priest assumed my fiance was (and though we didn’t correct him, we didn’t lie to him). I had asked the priest if my Protestant pastor could be there too, and he said yes, he could even marry us if we wanted which I was surprised at. We were so excited we could get married here. We obviously needed a Catholic priest there overseeing the ceremony due to it being held in a Catholic church so we asked my fiance’s childhood priest (whom I love cause he is laid-back and funny, and not your typical stuffy priest) to participate and then I was going to ask my pastor. When we met with my fiance’s priest everything was fine except one thing: communion. Everything (minus the repetitive and ritualistic stuff) is pretty much the same for a Catholic wedding as an AOG wedding except communion. In an AOG wedding the bride and groom are the only ones taking it. It is done after vows are exchanged as it’s the first act of serving your spouse (sharing the communion together), then the pastor typically prays for you, and the ceremony continues. It is also done off to the side a little with backs turned to the congregation. It is not this big show. Anyways, my fiance’s priest didn’t think we could do it, and also said we can’t do it just the two of us: everyone had to receive or no one receives, so we left that meeting discouraged. I had told my fiance this was important to me and we may need to find another church to marry in. But after several months of thinking about it I realized I think he thought we were asking HIM to give us CATHOLIC communion (Protestants and Catholics view this differently, google if you don’t understand). So two weeks ago we met with him after several months so we could clear this up. We explained to him MY pastor would bring the communion and give it to us and would he be ok with that. He wasn’t sure if it could be done, but he said if my pastor was ok with it, and the priest of that church was ok with it, then he would be ok with it. So everything was going great. Then last week when my fiance was in his town without me his priest wanted to meet with him and said all of a sudden he was NOT ok with it. He said we could do it before the ceremony (pointless), after the ceremony (anti-climactic “I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. R! walk up the aisle, turn around and take communion as guests file out?), or he could do a full Catholic mass while my pastor was giving it to us. I was never Catholic and do not want a full Catholic mass. Plus if he does it only my fiance’s family would be taking it: none of my family would and the majority of our friends wouldn’t due to being non-Catholic plus they’d be confused like “why are 2 evangelical Christians doing a full catholic ceremony?” I am also offended that his priest chose to speak to him knowing I wasn’t there cause he felt my fiance would “understand better than me”. I found a pretty Reformed church that I’d like to call and check out, but now my fiance is being difficult saying we’ve committed to this church and why change things. (The only “committment” to this church is a penciled in wedding date on a calendar 13 months from now). We are getting into major fights over this. It is my ceremony, too and being a practicing Christian I am not comfortable having a ceremony based on things I don’t believe in/not comfortable with. I don’t know how to get around this issue. I would like to keep the Catholic church but not with all these issues. His mom suggested maybe doing it at the reception, but I just want to have fun there and not do any ceremony stuff there. I don’t know what to do. 🙁
Post # 3
@michelejosephine: I apologize again for the long post. 🙁 Thanks bees.
Post # 4
Hmmm…I’m actually surprised the priest of the Catholic church said he was ok with it. In the Catholic church, if you are not a practicing Catholic, you can’t partake. I’m also surprised as non-Catholics, you are able to have the ceremony in the church. Don’t they make you take classes? Actually, when my mom passed, the Catholic church I grew in said my sister and I couldn’t partake b/c we were no longer practicing Catholicism. You may want to, on your own, go speak with the priest and especially ask them about their guidelines. The priest may have only spoken to your Fiance because he was Catholic and he knows you are definitely not Catholic. Really, you should sit down and discuss this with the priest as there are guidelines in catholicism.
Post # 5
I would find another church – they will understand that you want to change churches. Since neither of you are Catholic (and you NEED to tell the other priest that) I’m surprised they are letting you get married in a Catholic church. You really need to talk to the preist at the church and see what your options are. If neither of you are Catholic, he definitely won’t marry you, but you might be able use the chruch at an extra fee. I don’t really know how that works.
Is there a reason you don’t have the ceremony in the church you attend?
Post # 6
@RunsWithBears: We can’t have it at our churches cause it’s an out of town wedding (see above ) and it’s not close to our home towns
Post # 7
@michelejosephine: Oh oops! I missed that part, sorry about that. That makes sense. Good luck finding a church!
Post # 8
I think it’s pretty clear that the local priest originally agreeing to let you have your wedding there was based on a mistaken assumption – and your failing to correct that misconception when you were aware of it kind of is a lie (Catholics call it a “sin of omission” – failing to do something you should have done – as opposed to a “sin of commission”, actively doing something you were not supposed to do.)
The Communion thing is going to be an intractable problem because Communion in a Catholic church is fundamentally different from how Protestants view communion. (The difference in capitalization just now was not accidental, btw.) There was a long discussion about it the other day on this thread if you’d like to see some of the ins and outs: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/calling-all-catholics
It’s also never okay in the Catholic church to only give Communion to the couple at a wedding, because Catholic weddings are intended to be public celebrations with the entire community, and Communion is part and parcel of that. It’s a sign of unity, so the Church tries to avoid having it take place in ways that emphasize division or exclusion. This is why when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, the Church recommends (although it doesn’t require) that they have a wedding without Mass, so you don’t have the situation where one half of the couple gets to receive and the other doesn’t – that would introduce division in a rite that is supposed to focus on unity. The Church even recommends that when both parties are Catholic but much of the congregation isn’t (if, for example, one or both of the couple’s families are largely non-Catholic) it might be wise to have the wedding take place without Mass so that a big part of the congregation doesn’t get excluded.
Given that neither of you are Catholic in any real sense, the most honest thing for you to do is to find another church. You don’t want to do anything that compromises your own beliefs, and it’s not fair of you to ask either priest to celebrate a rite in a Catholic church that isn’t in accordance with what the Catholic church believes and teaches.
Post # 9
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Why not do a private communion after the ceremony in another room in the church?
Post # 10
I’m not Christian (neither Catholic nor otherwise) but I don’t understand why you would even consider getting married in a Catholic church if neither of you believes in Catholic doctrine. That seems rather disrespectful.
Post # 11
Do not get married in a Catholic church if neither of you is a practicing Catholic. You are both lying, even if by omission. That’s not a great way to start off a marriage.
Post # 12
@ElbieKay: Agreed. It’s strange that youre talking about being such a devout Christian and how important the religious aspect of the ceremony is to you, yet you lied to a priest (yep, lying by omission is lying). That may be harsh, but that’s the truth. Do you really want to start your marriage in a building that you got into by lying about yourselves?