Post # 1
I really need advice…
I was raised Catholic but stepped away from the church while I was in college for a few reasons… met Fiance who was attending a contemporary non-denom church. Being a Christian is extremely important to him and a big part of his life, so I started attending church with him. Long story short, I did not like the non-denom, as I was used to a traditional Catholic mass so we started looking for a good compromise and found a Presbytarian church that we have been attending for the past 2 years or so. We attend this Presbytarian church because we love the fellowship, the music is inspiring and beautiful, the message is profound (the pastor is awesome). We don’t know enough about Presbytarianism to call ourselves Presbytarians. We have asked that pastor to be our officiant and we will be getting married at an outside church close to our venue.
Ok. So problem is with my mom- she insists on having a Catholic priest and ceremony because I’m a Catholic, I was raised Catholic, how can I not take communion, etc. She makes passive/aggressive comments to me, like “If you’re going to have some man marry you in a church you’re paying $1k for you might as well go to Hawaii and get married there.” She doesn’t see any validity in Protestant churches at all and it’s hard to discuss anything with her because we have a language barrier. I feel sick to my stomach and dread that I might be disappointing her. On one hand, I do feel that I’ve stepped away from the Catholic church but I don’t want to admit it. I also cannot say with certainty that I am not Catholic, because I haven’t done enough soul searching and I don’t know enough about religion to say anything decidedly. All I know is that my Fiance and I have found a compromise, a church we both enjoy attending, and that we want God in our lives.
In terms of what I want out of the ceremony, a part of me just wants to have a ceremony with our Pastor… and another part of me wants to incorporate Catholicism into it because it’s how I was raised, and I hate the thought of letting my family down.
My mom already asked a priest at her church, and he declined to participate in our ceremony because he doesn’t know me and said that it appears that my mother wants him there more than I do. I’m thinking of calling him to talk to him to explain that it would be meaningful to have him there.
So I guess my question is… where can I find a Catholic priest who would be willing to officiate given that I am not a practicing Catholic? Will that even be possible? Also, I would like our pastor to do the “homily” and the vows… so can the Catholic priest (if we can even find one) do a nuptial blessing? Will our marriage “count” that way?
Post # 3
Given that your husband is a non-Catholic, it would be TOTALLY possible to be married in the Presby church, by his pastor, and have the marriage recognized as Catholic. Happens all the time. You just have to follow the process to get permission. His pastor would be able to receive your vows and do the sermon.
The key phase though is “HIS pastor.” You can’t have a wedding recognized by the Church, nor will the priest participate, unless there is a Catholic involved. A priest would not participate in the wedding of two Protestants, so the key question to resolve is (and they WILL ask), is the bride Protestant or Catholic? If you are both truly functioning as Presbytarians with a Presby pastor, and you no longer belong to the Catholic community, they will probably feel that it is more authentic for you to be married in the faith to which you now belong.
It’s different if you are just a Catholic marrying a Protestant at his church. That’s perfectly acceptable to the Catholic Church, as long as you aren’t changing to his religion. There are many families who go to two different services (the Protestant one on Sunday, the Catholic one Saturday night). Or both on Sunday.
Nevertheless if you wish to have your marriage recongized by the church, they are also going to want a written promise from you that if you do have children, you will do everything in your power to bring them up as Catholics. Your husband doesn’t have to say anything, he just has to sign that he is AWARE you have made this promise. They also don’t specify what “everything in your power” means but it probably implies bringing your kids to Mass, having them baptized Catholic etc. Basically the same things that were done for you.
Post # 4
Thanks so much! I need to have a long talk with Fiance. Any ideas on where should I try to find a priest?
Post # 5
@MissTaken: one way is to just google “catholic church” and “name of your town or nearest city.”
Or you can go to this website : http://www.parishesonline.com/scripts/default.asp
and run a search.If you call you’ll probably speak to the parish secretary and she can start you off. Make sure you explain you are a getting married in a Protestant church and are looking to get what’s called “a dispensation from canonical form.” Depending on the church, they may want you to register with them as members. However since you are not wanting to use their facilities (the church building) things should be easier.
The US Bishops have a great website that goes over some of these issues (and they are the top authority in the US so they know what they are talking about!). Lots of other great relationship-building resources too. If you scroll down you’ll see they specifically address the issue of getting married in a Protestant church instead of a Catholic one 🙂
Post # 6
This link that was mentioned above, seems to be pretty clear that the marriage MUST (almost always,) be in a Catholic Church for it to be valid. An exception would be if someone’s father was a Baptist minister…. NOT just because someone “wants to incorporate elements of Catholicism…” You need the permission of the bishop for it to be outside the Church, and unlike Magdalena, I have always been under the impression that that is extremely rare.
More importantly, however, I think you need to look at what you actually believe. It sounds like you aren’t really interested in being Catholic anymore, although now would be a perfect time to start looking into what the Catholic Church teaches and believes about different things; things which you probably weren’t well-catechized about when you were young. (Most Catholics arent.) Try a book like Why Stay Catholic or Why Do Catholics Genuflect?
It seems that the priest your mother talked to had the right idea… She wants your wedding to be “Catholic” more than you do. The only reasons that I can gather from your post that you want to incorporate Catholic elements seem to be more nostalgic than anything else. I think you really need to look into what you are promising when you marry in the Catholic church. This is not something to be taken lightly… Among other things, you are promising to raise your children Catholic! (How can you do that when you don’t even know if you believe in it yourself?!?)
Make sure that you realize, that unless you get this difficult-to-obtain dispensation to marry outside of the church, that your marriage will be considered invalid by the Church, and you will no longer be able to receive any sacraments like Communion, as you already know.
To summarize… DON’T have a Catholic wedding just because your mother wants you to… but DO research what the Church teaches, and decide for yourself if you want to make a committment to this church for the rest of your life, which is kind of what you’re saying you will do when you get married in it.