Post # 1
I am Lebanese-American and was baptized and confirmed as Maronite (basically Catholic) in Lebanon as a little one. My fiance is American and was baptized in a nondenominational church, so never confirmed. Neither one of is religious, but we do want to get married in Lebanon; no such thing as a civil ceremony there, so our only option is a Maronite church. It’s booked, and we have gone through almost all the paperwork and hoops we need but just learned that, since he isn’t Catholic/Maronite, I need permission from my governing bishop (who, since I live in the US, is in St. Louis) to marry him. We need to go through all Catholic pre-wedding requirements, aka the pre-cana/counseling. We are willing to do this, as we are willing to do anything to be married with my family present, but are wondering what to expect. We also both still have respect for the Church despite our non-involvement. Can anyone offer some knowledge as to what to expect? We also really don’t want to be dishonest to a priest but also worry we won’t “pass” if we admit we aren’t religious. Is this silly?
Post # 2
Catholic here. Based on my research in order to be married in the Catholic church at least one member of the couple must be a regularly practicing Catholic, have gotten all sacraments, etc. Not sure if the Maronite rules differ but since you’d be needing the US Catholic bishop to sign off I’m assuming those would apply. Since you were only baptized and I assume haven’t received all of your sacraments and been confirmed in the faith I’m not sure that you’ll be able to receive the dispensation of the bishop that you would need to be married in Lebanon, unfortunately.
Post # 3
I’m a Canadian Roman Catholic, and I’ve been going through wedding planning with my priest since 2016. I’m marrying a Christian who is not a Catholic.
I’m not familiar with any Maronite, but from my personal experience:
- We met several times with the priest at my local parish of where I live now.
- For every meeting, both of us were required to attend.
- Priest interviews each of you seperately, and then talks to you as a couple.
- You each provide your personal identification to him.
- Priest fills out a form with your details.
- He asked questions about our parents, if they were still married (mine are divorced), if my parents obtained a civil divorce or an annulment (I had to check)
- He will ask if the Catholic is attending Mass. If not, why not?
- He will ask if you two live together, if you are having sex – he encouraged us to abstain from sex until the wedding.
- The priest will ask if you agree to not use birth control
- The priest will discuss children; if you are blessed with children, do you agree to Baptize them as Catholics and raise them in the Catholic faith – how does your Fiance feel about that?
- Priest advised we will need to attend a pre-wedding cana course
- He asked for my Baptism certificate. I provided it. The priest advised I will be required to contact my home parish, and get them to issue a new Baptism certificate, dated within 6 months of the wedding date. This is non-negotiable.
- The priest advised I will have to be Confirmed, and go through the “RCIA” class.
- Because I wished to marry a non-Catholic, I needed a “dispensation”, where the bishop of where I currently live basically grants permission for my marriage.
- Getting this permission was handled by the priest. All I had to do was fill out a form, make an oath to God before the priest, and sign.
- Originally I wished to get married in a different province where my family lives, so my local priest was going to discuss that with my priest back home. However, my priest back home died. Other things happened, and I decided to get married at my current parish where we live.
- The priest requested several additional interviews with us.
The initial interview was easy. We signed up for the cana course, which was 8 weeks of 2 nights a week. After we finished the course we had another interview with the priest. All subsequent interviews were “easy”, they were just a major pain in the ass due to scheduling.
I went through Confirmation, and got the go ahead to get married, finally.
We had our final meeting back in December I believe, where we confirmed our date was okay with my church and that the bishop had granted the dispensation.
He gave us the requirements for the witnesses, and the requirements for the person or people to read the prayers.
As you wish to wed in Lebanon, you should speak to the local priest ASAP because it will be tricky for you to get stuff like Baptism and Confirmation certificates issued within the timelines required.
Post # 4
OP wrote she was already Baptized and Confirmed. So it should be a matter of getting her home church back in Lebanon to re-issue those certificates within 6 months of her wedding date.
Assuming they treat this like any regular Catholic marriage.
Post # 5
I’m agnostic and fiance is Catholic. We went with his home parish and the priest knows him.
We were not questioned about living together or having sex before marriage. They only asked if I was ok with our kids being raised Catholic and I said yes. They didn’t even ask me my religion, we just told them I wasn’t baptised and they were like oh no problem we will just need to fill out an extra form that always gets approved. They sent both of us to different rooms to respond to a paper that asked if either of us was being forced against our will into the marriage, and we just marked no. No questions about my parents other than what they did for a living as idle chatter.
Post # 6
Ah- got it! Sorry OP, I swear I went back up to check but I must’ve mixed it up from where you said your fiance wasn’t confirmed.
There’s still the requirement to be a practicing Catholic (regularly attending Mass, etc) but I guess technically you could not mention that to the priest if he doesn’t ask you outright about it. He’ll probably ask what your home parish is though so I’d have an answer ready for that. (ETA because it wasn’t clear, by “home parish” it would mean the one you’re currently registered at/attending, not the one back in Lebanon where you were baptized/confirmed.)
Post # 7
Thanks, everyone! It took my poor mother months and some financial bribery to get the certificates, simply because they translated them to English and had them certified by the Ministry of Exterior. She brought them to me here last week when she visited from Lebanon, so I am really really hoping they can cut me some slack given that it is an overseas situation. We luckily found a local Deacon who we are meeting with next week to get the ball rolling – he understands the time constraints and extra steps so fingers crossed! #shouldhaveeloped
Post # 8
Both my Fiance and I are both Catholic and have received all of our sacraments. With regard to pre-marital counseling, we thought it was fantastic. We were actually sad when it ended. We can’t wait for our first Catholic marriage retreat lol!
You certainly will not feel judged. There were many couples that were inter-faith and they seemed to enjoy it too. I would recommend it to anyone getting married, regardless of religiousness.
Post # 9
We just met with the person who is guiding us through the pre-cana process and she was very kind and flexible. Didn’t bat an eye when we mentioned my fiance isn’t baptized. So I don’t think there will be much of an issue there.
In terms of the priest, we are having a priest who knows us conduct the ceremony. While we haven’t had a conversation about my fiance not being baptized (yet), he does know from seeing us in church that he doesn’t participate in communion, and he hasn’t mentioned anything.