(Closed) Sorta Terrified to Meet With Priest. What Can I Expect?

posted 6 years ago in Catholic
Post # 4
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

For the wedding to be done by a priest and officially recognized by the church, it needs to actually happen inside the church. I was also raised Catholic, and I’m fairly sure that whether or not your FI’s difference of faith matters will depend on the priest – some will refuse if your Fiance is not willing to go through RCIA classes to convert, promise to raise any future children in the Catholic faith, etc., and some are more easygoing about that portion of it. But the ceremony being done outside is not something they’re allowed to waver on unless you get special approval that is difficult to obtain, and the odds of them saying okay to an outdoor ceremony to respect your FI’s Wiccan faith are pretty much zero. Sorry, I know that’s not what you want to hear – but it’s an accurate answer. As I’m sure you know, marriage is an important sacrament in the Catholic faith, and therefore it needs to take place inside of a church.

You guys are going to have to come up with some kind of interesting compromise here since the outdoor ceremony being recognized by the church and done by the priest is just not going to happen. Some bees find a former priest to do the ceremony, but that’s not recognized by the church, which sounds like it is important to you, and I’m assuming having that priest do it is something you want too, since he knows your family well. Is doing the church ceremony, and then following it up with an outdoor handfasting ceremony something that the two of you could both agree upon?

Post # 5
11419 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Although this is not the question that you asked, I would encourage you to think very carefully about how a marriage to someone who does not share your love of your faith may affect the rest of your life, not just how you are able to be united in marriage. I have no doubt that you and your Fiance have tremendously strong feelings for each other; however, a marriage between a practicing Catholic or other Christian and a Wiccan is wrought with potential conflict that may cut to the core the very hopes and dreams each of you have for not just your wedding but also your entire future.

I am saying all of this, because one of the most difficult things I ever had to do was to break an engagement to an absolutely amazing guy whom I loved dearly and whom I still respect to this day, all because of a religious diference — and we were both Christians. Once we really considered the impact on everything from how we would raise potential future children and where and how we wanted to worship and celebrate holidays and certain life milestones, we (I first, then he as well) realized we just could not move forward with our wedding plans. I shed many, many tears over this. However, sometimes love is just not enough to sustain a marriage when issues of faith matter to one or both of the the partners.

I want to conclude by saying that I am not trying to upset you. However, for Catholics and other Christians (as I’m sure for those of some other faiths about which I know very little and cannot speak), marriage and divorce are major considerations. I would not want to see you end up experiencing the latter because of your pursuit of the former with someone whose very beliefs may be too much at odds with your own.

Post # 8
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@HonoraryNerd:  He doesn’t want to have my wedding then his wedding, he wants to have our wedding, together. If it’s an impossibility, we’ll have his dad officiate and do a convalidation ceremony after the fact.

I guess you’ll have to do that then. I mean, you can ask the priest, but the Catholic church has pretty strict rules he is required to follow, and unfortunately the kind of ceremony you’re after just isn’t something that will be recognized by the church. Sounds like the covalidation is your best bet – although you’ll want to talk to your priest about that too and make sure it’s something that can be done without your Fiance being of the Catholic faith.

Post # 9
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010


Here are the Church laws regarding your questions

Canon 1086.1 A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptised.

Canon 1086.2 This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.

So, let’s see what 1125 and 1126 say.  Be aware that the local Ordinary usually refers to the Bishop.  Some diocese (especially ones that are inbetween bishops) have someone else in the diocese acting at the Ordinary. 

Canon 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

Canon 1125.1 the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

Canon 1125.2 the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party.

Canon 1125.3 both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.


Catholics marrying non-Catholic Christians have to get permission from the local Ordinary (whose usually the Bishop) to marry elsewhere.  We can see that in Canon 1118

Canon 1118.1 A marriage between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.

Canon 1118.2 The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.

This permission is not needed if you have already gotten approval to marry a non-baptised individual.

Canon 1118.3 A marriage between a catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.


The reason for this difference is that a Sacramental marriage can only be formed when both parties are baptised.  This is because the bride and the groom are the ministers of the sacrament, not the priest.  However, marriage was only raised to the level of a sacrament through Christ.  It existed before such and still exists between those who are not baptised.   As such, these marriages are called natural marriages.  (Annullments do not declare a marriage non-sacramental.  They rather state that the marriage was never validly contracted – either because you were lawfully bared from giving consent, because you lacked the mental capacity to give consent or you actively withheld consent by refusing to agree to some essential componant of a true marriage)

Because it is a natural marriage, having it in a church is not as important and it would be up to your priest.

You will be limited in the form of the wedding.  The Church’s form is very uniform and proscribed.  You aren’t allowed to write your own wedding vows because redefining marriage to your personal preferences it not allowed.  My priest did not even allow for a unity candle.  You can ask about handfasting, but from a quick search, I’m doubting it’ll be allowed.

It should also be noted that convalidations are to resolve the issue that Catholics who marry outside of the Church are not to receive the sacrament.

Any impediments to you marrying each other in the Church have to be resolved before you can receive a convalidation.  (Local Ordinary has to approve you marrying a non-baptised individual)

Post # 10
837 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

We have had a somewhat similar experience. Fiance was raised Catholic, is from a small, VERY Catholic community, and I was raised as “nothing” but following Christian holidays.

I was DREADING meeting with the priest because I thought it would be horrible and I was very much like your Fiance and thought I would find it difficult to pretend and feel like I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t.

So, the priest who is marrying us is a very, very nice man. He is very understanding and he has told us that while the church has rules that they need to follow, they do not refuse to marry two people unless they believe there is a very good reason, and the only one they actually ever brought up was mental instability. Seriously.

The priest here where we live was EVEN NICER, if you can imagine, and he was the one to do our “interviews.” He was very relaxed and none of the questions made me uncomfortable. He asked if I had any history of mental instability (ahahaha) and that was it. He asked us if we were doing this freely, etc. etc. and it was very basic. Such a relief! As a result of my “passing” this interview, he will request a dispensation from the church for my Fiance to marry me in a Catholic church – apparently they very rarely have trouble unless you don’t pass the interview, in other words, if you’re nuts, or have told them you are not entering into this freely and of your own will.

Huge sigh of relief, we made it through. Now, we DO have to take a one day marriage course, which is with yet another priest as our local church was offering it while we are unavailable. This third priest seems to be even nicer, yet again! I can hardly belive it.

BUT – a Catholic priest will likely refuse to marry you outside of the actual church, so look into this. We also have to choose songs/readings from approved lists and we have to pass all other things by the priest. I know he’s allowed some unity candle/sand ceremonies, so I would just explain what your ceremony is, what is symbolizs and hope he feels it’s in keeping with the Catholic faith and beliefs.

Good luck!!! 

Post # 11
764 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

posting to follow


Post # 12
2856 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@HonoraryNerd:  can you try and find someone who follows the beliefs of David Steindl Rast in your area? Google him and you will get some information. He is a Catholic monk but very open to other beliefs.

Post # 13
475 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@nycsa:  or maybe she could find a priest that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ…

Post # 14
11419 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@HonoraryNerd:  “All religions come down to one thing, don’t be a butt to others. Which means compromising and being empathetic to each others opinions.”

I must respectfully disagree with that statement, because it is not accurate. The very premise upon which Christianity, including Catholicism, is based is that Christ alone  is the way to God. There is no room for compromise on that issue.

However — and I mean no disrespect to you at all in saying this, the fact that you believe it to be true strongly suggests that your own personal beliefs may not be reflective of some of the core beliefs of your church.  Therefore, the differences in belief between you and your Fiance may not be as dramatic as one might presume, based upon the specific faiths with which you said that you each identify.

Post # 16
691 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think there are major boundaries being stepped over in this thread, none of which have anything to do with what you asked. 

I can tell you from experience, priests are a total gamble! Some will be more open minded than others, keep your options open. 

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