Post # 1
My fiance is Catholic, however I was raised Christian and have never been baptized. His parents really want us to have a Catholic wedding, but I’m finding it really difficult to find a church to do the ceremony. Do I have to go through RCIA in order for them to marry us? Also, do you have to live in the specific parish boundaries to register with them?
Post # 3
Post # 4
@astuve812: You can definitely have a Catholic wedding and you do not need to convert. However, since you are not Catholic, you will have to get a dispensation (but that shouldn’t be hard at all). And because you are not baptized, your marriage will not be a scramental one. I also believe it is highly discouraged to have a full Mass with Communion if one of the parties is not Catholic. Some priests might allow it, and others might not. You will have to go through pre-martial counseling and the Pre-Cana classes.
You don’t have to live within the specific parish boundaries. I do not live within the parish boundaries of the church I am a member of.
I am curious as to what you are being told and why you are being refused. It might help to talk to the priest instead of a secretary.
Post # 5
Yes, definitely talk to the priest rather than the parish secretary – and, ideally, it’d be better to have your Fiance talk to him (or have the two of you go together) rather than you alone. Since your Fiance is the Catholic one, some of the details that could be confusing to you will (hopefully) make more sense to him.
In a nutshell, though, there are two “levels” of rules that you’ll need to think about: the rules that apply to the entire Catholic Church no matter what, and the specific local rules for the diocese and parish where you end up getting married.
The “worldwide Catholic rules” that apply to you are that: yes, an unbaptized person and a Catholic can get married in the Catholic church, but it will not be a sacramental marriage (so no Mass, i.e. no Communion at the wedding) and you’ll have to do a little extra paperwork. You don’t have to get baptized or go through RCIA unless you want to. (And, in fact, you shouldn’t do it just because of the wedding. The Church would love to have you join, but only because it’s something you freely choose, not because you felt pressure to do it because of getting married).
There’s also a “worldwide Catholic rule” that applies to the parish where your Fiance lives: they *have* to let your Fiance get married there even if no other parish will. He has a right to be considered as a member there.
However, you guys can also choose to join another parish and have your wedding there – in which case you’ll have to find out what their local rules are. They might require you to be members for 6 mos. or a year, etc., before you can set a wedding date, they will probably have specific things you need to do for marriage preparation (classes, etc.), and they will likely have rules about the wedding itself (i.e. what times of day you can do it, whether you can wear a strapless gown, drop petals in the aisle or throw birdseed, etc. A lot of that stuff is up to the individual priest – they can set those rules for their own parish.)
Post # 6
If either spouse is an active Catholic in a particular parish (not necessarily where they were reared), the priest of that parish will have some pastoral responsibility to assist you in planning a sacramental marriage. In that case, normally there is no problem in booking the church, fixing the date and planning the ceremony.
A problem can arise if NEITHER party plays any visible part in the church where they plan to marry, even if either or both has a baptismal certificate. It then becomes very much a matter of prudent choice for the priest, whether to undertake the wedding.
In many parishes in Ireland, nowadays, a couple from outside the parish can book the church for their wedding only if they can also nominate a priest who is willing to act as their celebrant. This is perfectly understandable due to the relative shortage of clergy, plus the fact that most priests would only want to officiate for practicing catholics rather than for an unknown couple who may have abandoned regular churchgoing altogether.
Lots of options for the wedding ceremony – at least those not formally in the Roman Missal – are described at http://www.together.ie/Ceremony.html. All that is described there will normally be allowed by catholic priests in Ireland, if you ask nicely!
Fr. Pat Rogers