(Closed) Catholic, secular wedding to non-Catholic. What are the ramifications?

posted 6 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
9549 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

It all depends on how strict any given parish is. I have one friend who was denied communion at her Catholic church because she married outside the church and so it wasn’t recognized. But I also know that other parishes may be more forgiving.

Post # 4
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

I heard recently from a friend that one of the conditions to getting married in the Catholic church, if you are already living together, is to move apart for at least six months prior to the wedding- plus all of the pre cana stuff. 

That would be enough for me to give up a dream for a church wedding! 

Post # 5
Member
2057 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I live with my Fiance and we are both Catholic. We are getting married in a Catholic Church, but not having a mass (We don’t have enough time before the reception starts).  We just finished pre-Cana and didn’t have any problems getting our certificate because we lived together.  I think it depends on your parish – some are a lot stricter than others!

Post # 6
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@CityBearBride:  Yes, you are correct. Some parishes are more strict, depending on the Bishop and Archbishop of the area Diocese.

Your friend may be having reservations because if they marry outside of the church, the banns are not listed in the church newsletter which is traditionally to sort out anyone who opposes the marriage to come and talk to the couple/priest.  Now, they’re more tradition than anything, but because this process is not followed, the church can’t officially bless a marriage without banns. However, if it’s really on her mind, after their secular ceremony, they can get “married” by the priest after church on a Sunday afternoon, just the two of them, for the church’s records.  The banns would be “read” 3 Sundays prior, leading up to it, and her Fiance would have to agree to not divorce her and to raise any future children Catholic.

However, most parishes are not so ridiculously strict that if you don’t do this they won’t baptise your children as Catholics or allow you to go to Sunday School, etc. The marriage simply wouldn’t be “on record” with the Vatican, which doesn’t mean you’re living in sin persay.  Think of it more like…you didn’t take the census, because you weren’t home. 

Post # 8
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@MrsEdamame:  This is from the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ:

Must Catholics Marry in a Church?

FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS

Do Catholics have to be married in the Catholic Church? The “straight answer” is simply “yes,” but let’s understand also the “why.”

The “straight answer” is simply “yes,” but let’s understand also the “why.”

In the Sacrament of Marriage, a baptized Christian man exchanges vows with a baptized Christian woman. Before Almighty God, they promise to each other a love that is faithful, permanent, exclusive, self-sacrificing and life-giving. Through marriage, a couple now enters into a new public state of life both in the eyes of the Church and society; therefore, the celebration of the marriage rightfully ought to be public with the vows exchanged before a priest (or other authorized witness of the Church), the witnesses (usually the Best Man and Maid of Honor), and the faithful gathered for the ceremony. (Cf. Catechism, No. 1663.)

Given this basis, a Catholic (either baptized as a Catholic or later entering the Catholic Church after having already been baptized in another Christian denomination) is bound to be married in the Catholic Church. The Church in which one has been baptized and confirmed, receives Holy Communion and professes faith, ought to be the Church in which one is married. Consequently, whether a Catholic is marrying a Catholic or a baptized non-Catholic Christian, the normal expectation is for the marriage to take place in the Catholic Church and for the children to be raised in the Catholic faith.

However, when a Catholic is marrying a baptized non-Catholic Christian, legitimate circumstances may arise when the couple would like to be married in the Church of the non-Catholic. Such circumstances include recognizing a special or long-standing relationship with a minister, or preventing family alienation. In such a case, the couple would complete the regular Catholic marriage preparation. The Catholic party would also attest to his intention of not leaving the Catholic Church and of promising to baptize and raise the children in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic party would be informed of these promises, attest to understanding these promises and in turn promise not to interfere in their fulfillment. After the preparation and the attainment of these promises, the priest would petition the bishop on behalf of the couple for a “Dispensation from Canonical Form,” meaning permission for the couple to be married outside of the Catholic Church. The Church requires a dispensation because the bishop, as shepherd of the diocese and guardian of the souls, must insure that the couple is prepared as best as possible for marriage and is ready to enter into Holy Matrimony. With such permission, the wedding is valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. (Cf. Code of Canon Law, No. 1124-25).

 

So, in the strictest sense of the word, if she wants the marriage considered valid, they must still submit to Pre-Cana and ask for a Dispensation, which are actually a lot more common than they sound. 

Post # 9
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Also, the “church” wedding with the priest I was talking about is called a “convalidation.”

Post # 10
Member
3082 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@JenGirl:  Honestly, HOW would the Catholic church KNOW that you were taking communion and got married outside the church? I’m just curious, because whenever I go up for communion, the priest doesn’t ask me if I was ever divorced or if I got married outside of the Catholic church. 

Post # 11
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@FoxyBride14:  Well, if they attend church there regularly, and then come back after a weekend and say “we got married!” and the parish priest says…where was I? 😀

Post # 13
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@MrsEdamame:  Exactly. It’s not a difficult process…but they do have to give a reason why.  It could be as simple as…DH’s family is not Catholic and would not be able to follow along with services comfortably, and to not cause waves.  Most couples who file are given dispensation, but it can take up to 3 months and a lot of communication, so if they want dispensation, they should start now.  If they don’t want to go that route, they can ask for a convalidation after the fact.

Post # 14
Member
9549 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

This was actually my (new) aunt:

My uncle was married for 30 years, had 2 kids and 3 grandkids. Then his wife decided she wasn’t happy, moved out and filed for divorce. My uncle isn’t really cut out to be single so he met someone pretty quick. Enter my new aunt who is Catholic (my family is Epsicopalian). They got married quick and not in a Catholic church because he didn’t want to go the pre-cana route.

They moved and started going to a new Catholic church. My uncle did not take communion because he isn’t Catholic. After they had been going for about a year my uncle missed taking communion so my aunt met with the priest to ask if he could get permission to take communion. When the priest found out that my uncle was divorced he told my aunt that not only could he not take communion but she couldn’t take communion either. Unless my uncle filed for an annulment. Basically saying that his marriage of 30 years, 2 kids and 3 grandkids didn’t happen. And filling out a form. And paying a fee. He was reluctant to do that so they switched to an Episcopal church where they can both be welcome.

While this baffles me, I don’t think all parishes are this strict. But some definately are. So it’s something to look into if your friend wants to continue attending her Catholic church.

Post # 15
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

It also may make a difference that they are having a secular ceremony at the reception site, rather than having a religious wedding at the FI’s church. It might make the dispensation more difficult to get. And your friend might be aware of this, which might explain why she has reservations.

By getting married outside of the Church, your friend will need a dispensation or a convalidation to be able to take Communion. The Church will not hold anything against their future children, however. Even if she didn’t get the marriage convalidated, the Church would never deny baptism to a child or label it illegitimate. In the eyes of the Church, she would have made a “natural” marriage but not a sacramental one – and, as a Catholic, she has a responsibility to seek a valid sacramental marriage, so they would encourage her to resolve that, but they wouldn’t take it out on the couple’s future children.

Post # 16
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

@JenGirl:  Just to clarify a small but important detail: the annulment wouldn’t state that the 30-year marriage, the kids & grandkids, etc., “didn’t happen.” It would declare that the marriage was never sacramentally valid. The kids, grandkids, etc., would still be recognized as legitimate.

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