Can I get married outside the Catholic Church and have it be recognized? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread


I am planning a wedding in a non-denominational church in my town becuase I am Catholic but my Fiance is not. I was wondering if I was still able to have a Catholic priest or decon marry my fiance and I and if it would be recognized by the Catholic Church? Does anyone know the rules concerning this subject. Any help is greatly appreciated.

-- Kelly Piasecki (, March 25, 2003


Dear Kelly,

If you mean having a priest or deacon go to the "non-denominational" church and participate in that wedding ceremony, no, that is not possible. If you are Catholic, then you should marry in the Catholic Church. Actually it goes far beyond "should". You have a solemn obligation to do so. By marrying "in the Catholic Church", I don't simply mean inside the Catholic Church building. I mean, in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning marriage. It is your choice of course. We each have free will. But God calls us to make our choices according to His divine will, and His will is expressed through the teaching of His Church.

-- Paul (, March 25, 2003.

Actually, it IS possible for a Catholic to marry a Protestant in a non-Catholic ceremony, BUT you would have to get a dispensation from the bishop first. I don't know how long that would take, but it shouldn't take long at all. Without permission from the bishop, the Church won't recognize your marriage if you marry in a non-Catholic ceremony.

-- Dave Conger (, March 27, 2003.

Canon law states: "Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local Ordinary or parish priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who, in the presence of two witnesses, assists, in accordance with the rules set out in the following canons, and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned (Can. 1108) A dispensation is possible ONLY in the case of "grave circumstances which preclude adherence to canonical form", and are extremely rare, as well they should be. In fact, in the case of absolute unavailability of a priest or deacon, which is the only time a dispensation is likely to be given, the Church is more likely to authorize a Catholic layman to officiate, than a clergyman of another faith. The one who officiates stands as the officially appointed representative of the Catholic Church. Membership in the Church would therefore seem a reasonable requirement.

-- Paul (, March 27, 2003.

You are right Dave, it is possible and widely used. Nobody can force the non catholic side to accept the catholic church as the only place to marry. That's why the canon law uses the dispense, easily given.

-- Peter Hoger (Peter, March 30, 2003.

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