Marriagegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Can a catholic priest perform a marriage at the reception hall. Someone told me it has to be in the church.
-- Nicole Etschman (email@example.com), July 23, 2001
Dear Nicole, --Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament, not just a ceremony. Matrimony is normally at the altar of God in the Church. Why would anybody conceivably want to be married in a hall?
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 24, 2001.
Mine is not an answer but a question off of Nicole's question. If a marriage was performed in a hall away from a church's altar but a subsequent altar was provided and the ceremony was part of the mass give in a hall, does that constitue a valid/invalid marriage even if it was a priest to give mass?
-- Martha Martinez (email@example.com), August 14, 2002.
To my knowledge, all Catholics must celebrate the Sacrament of marriage in the presence of a priest. Unless special permission is given, the marriage must also be performed in a church. That said, I'd point out that these are regulations of the Church--not doctrine. The practice of marriages in churches (in the presence of a priest) was imposed as a way to counter abuses by those who (centuries ago) practiced the medieval equivalent of common-law marriages.
Here is some text from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
" II. THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE
1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.
1622 "Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful." It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.
1623 In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called "Crowning") is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant."
-- (MattElFeo@netscape.net), August 14, 2002.
Hi, Mateo. You stated:
"To my knowledge, all Catholics must celebrate the Sacrament of marriage in the presence of a priest."
To celebrate Marriage in the presence of a priest is definitely the preferred way -- so that Mass may be celebrated too -- but it is not absolutely required.
In some parts of the world (even in the U.S.), priests are a bit scarce. There, it is permissible for a permanent deacon to be the Church's witness of the Sacrament.
Then, in very extraordinary cases -- e.g., in extremely remote areas, which not even a deacon can reach within a reasonable time -- a bishop can appoint a non-ordained representative of the Church to be an official witness of the exchange of vows. I have heard of a nun in Alaska being appointed (by phone, I think) as such an official witness. Why not wait indefinitely for a priest or deacon? My understanding is this: If the couple is prepared, the Church does not want to deny them the right they have (according to Canon Law) to celebrate the sacrament without delay.
God bless you.
PS: Mateo, am thinking of you and your beloved prayerfully as the day approaches.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 17, 2002.