Interfaith marriage question (Catholic/Jewish)

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Hello all, I'm new to these posts so I hope I'm doing this right. I'm already engaged to my (Jewish) girlfriend of 5 years and we are going to be having the main ceremony outdoors, therefore outside of the Church. I was told by a couple people that I could have a separate ceremony inside the Church either before or after. However, based on a few threads I've read here, that doesn't seem to be the case. Does anyone have any information they could offer or point me to? I've got a little over a year to work out the details/proceedings before the big day comes along. All help is greatly appreciated.

-Shawn

-- Shawn Burgwald (volyblmn@yahoo.com), April 03, 2003

Answers

Jmj
Hello, Shawn. Although you did not make it clear, I am going to assume that you are a Catholic.

You said that you are engaged to a Jewish woman and you want to begin planning for your wedding. You need to sit down with your Catholic pastor as soon as possible to make preparations, including a determination of your obligations (e.g., receiving pre-marriage instructions and obtaining your bishop's permission to marry a non-Catholic).

You said that you are "going to be having the main ceremony outdoors, therefore outside of the Church." This may be possible in the case of a marriage to a non-Christian. However, again it would require your bishop's permission.

You would like to know if you "could have a separate ceremony inside the Church either before or after." The answer is ... It depends on what takes place in the outdoor ceremony. If you exchange marriage vows in that ceremony, then you cannot "have a separate ceremony inside the Church." Here is how the Church's Code of Canon Law states this:

"Canon 1127 -- ...
3 It is forbidden to have, either before or after the canonical [i.e., Church] celebration ..., another religious celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent. Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the catholic assistant and a non-Catholic minister, each performing his own rite, ask for the consent of the parties."

I recommend that you have your single ceremony in your Church (not outdoors), unless your fiancee refuses to agree to this.

God bless you.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), April 05, 2003.


Hi Shawn

I attended my brother's wedding in December 2002. He is catholic and his (now) wife is Jewish. The wedding took place in a beautiful New York venue (not a church)and was officiated over by both a priest and rabbi. It was a lovely ceremony and both religious communities found it very interesting to witness the different wedding customs. It would seem that this is quite a common practice (in the States)and often you find that the representatives of both churches are used to working together.

Hope this helps and good luck with the wedding.

-- Caitriona (caitrionahome@aol.com), May 08, 2003.


Dear Shawn, I am in the midst of helping my daughter work out the details of her upcoming wedding to a young man who is Jewish. We are Catholic and the groom's mother refuses to come if it is in a church. There are many creative solutions and I found the book Interfaith Wedding Ceremonies by Joan C Hawxhurst most helpful of the six that I originally purchased. It is a sourcebook and has solid advise and is a quick read. You and your intended should sit down and take a look at it or any of a number of other options. Our solution is a Unitarian Church with 2 dear friends coofficiating with the pastor of the church. We are having a Catholic nun and a close Jewish friend who is a lawyer help perform the ceremony. Blessings to you and your intended. Laura Strom

-- Laura A. Strom, MD (laura.strom@uchsc.edu), July 05, 2003.

Dear Laura,

In what sense are you Catholic?? You would do well to simply skip the ceremony and let them move in together. It would accomplish the same thing, since your daughter won't actually be married after such a ceremony anyway, and at least you could avoid subjecting the sacred Sacrament of Marriage to this bizarre parody. Not that it sounds like sacred sacraments are anything you are concerned about.

-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 05, 2003.


Dear David,

Sorry, but requests for information about validity of marriage are too important to allow for contamination by foolish non-Christian ideas. Your lack of knowledge on other questions ultimately affects no-one but yourself. Posting of false information on subjects like this could ruin someone's life.

-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 05, 2003.



Paul's answer to Laura has some problems."In what sense are you Catholic?? You would do well to simply skip the ceremony and let them move in together. It would accomplish the same thing, since your daughter won't actually be married after such a ceremony anyway, and at least you could avoid subjecting the sacred Sacrament of Marriage to this bizarre parody. Not that it sounds like sacred sacraments are anything you are concerned about."

A marriage between a Catholic and a Jew will not be a SACRAMENT under any conditions. For that, two baptized Christians (not necessarily Catholic) are needed. However it can be a perfecetly valid natural marriage and licit for the Catholic if certain steps are pursued. Note that this is complicated and generally (always?) requires assiatance from the parish priest.

A marriage between a Catholic and a non baptized person requires an explicit dispensation from the Bishop for "disparity of cult". This is more than is required if a Catholic is marrying a baptized non- Catholic, although some of the same requirements also follow. In addition to the bishop's dispensation which is required for the Catholic-Jew wedding even if it is to be witnessed by a priest in a Church, it is is also possible to petition for a dispensation from "canonical form". If this dispensation is also granted it is frequently possible to be married outside a Catholic Church and even without a Catholic priest witness!

There are too many details to go deeper here. There are MANY canons in Canon Law dealing with such complicated marriage cases, both before and after the fact. It is really too complicated for non- experts, myself included! You would need some expert help to handle the regulations; the Church does treat marriage seriously.

-- Edward Pothier (EdwardPothier@aoo.com), July 06, 2003.


Dear Edward,

You state: "it can be a perfectly valid natural marriage and licit for the Catholic if certain steps are pursued"

You are absolutely correct - and the first steps which would have to be pursued would be marriage in a Catholic Church, in the presence of an ordained minister of the Catholic Church.

There is no possible way that a ceremony performed in a Unitarian "church" before a Unitarian "pastor", a renegade "Catholic" nun and a Jewish lawyer could result in a Catholic person being validly OR licitly married to anyone. The whole thing is completely absurd.

-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 07, 2003.


Dear Paul, You responded to my passing mention of ways that a "non-traditional" marriage ceremony for a Catholic marrying a Jew could be pursued. You wrote: "You are absolutely correct - and the first steps which would have to be pursued would be marriage in a Catholic Church, in the presence of an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. " "There is no possible way that a ceremony performed in a Unitarian "church" before a Unitarian "pastor", a renegade "Catholic" nun and a Jewish lawyer could result in a Catholic person being validly OR licitly married to anyone. The whole thing is completely absurd. "

====== Although the canon laws on marriage start off rather apodictically, they have built-in options for dispensations which can be applied for and can be granted by the bishop. Specifically canons 1124-1129 of the current (1983) Code deal with "mixed marriages" (two baptized Christians, one of whom is not Catholic) and "disparity of cult" marriages (where the non-Catholic is non-baptized). Canon 1127 deals with "canonical and liturgical form" and allows the bishop (for sufficient reason) to not only allow the marriage but also remove the canonical form requirement (required unless dispensed when at least one of the spouses is Catholic).

As a standard Commentary on the Code edited by Father James Coriden and others states on canon 1127: "The Catholic party in a mixed marriage or disparity of cult marriage has a right topetition his or her local ordinary for a dispensation from canonical form. If granted, the marriage may take place validly before a non-Catholic minister or civil official." "When canonical form is dispensed, the non-Catholic officiant acts as the official witness and receives the exchange of consent according to the particular religious or civil form."

This whole question is certainly complicated and requires professional expertise (beyond what I have!). However, things are not as simple as suggested by your answer.

-- Edward Pothier (EdwardPothier@aol.com), July 08, 2003.


Dear Edward,

Father Coriden's "commentary" on forms of marriage is merely his personal opinion, carries no authority whatsoever, and is typical of the watered-down pap with which modernist liberals continually seek to undermine Church authority.

In fact, the opening statement of Canon 1127 reads "The provisions of Canon 1108 are to be observed in regard to the form to be used in a mixed marriage."

The opening statement of Canon 1108, adherence to which is dictated by Canon 1127, reads "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". So Canon 1127 is hardly a license to utilize self-designed free-form ceremonies in place of required form.

Canon 1127 does indeed go on to say that a local bishop can grant CERTAIN dispensations "If there are GRAVE DIFFICULTIES in the way of observing the canonical form", and then ONLY following guidelines "ESTABLISHED BY THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE, whereby such dispensation may be granted in a uniform manner". In other words, no bishop has the authority to grant any dispensations other than those formally pre-approved by the Conference of Bishops, and further, may grant those restricted dispensations only in the most urgent and unusual of circumstances. Further, the Catholic party in a proposed disparity of cult marriage must petition the local bishop for approval of any such dispensation, and may not act until and unless such petition is granted. So, Canon 1127 isn't exactly the general license for free-for-all, do-it-yourself marriage that Father Coriden and others of his ilk would like to make it.

Specifically, in reference to the "marriage" ceremony planned by Dr. Strom above ... - The bishop has not been petitioned. It is clearly a do-it-yourself venture. - The fact that the groom's mother is in a snit about her son marrying a Catholic does not constitute "GRAVE DIFFICULTIES in the way of observing canonical form. Therefore the Bishop, even if petitioned, could not grant any dispensations from canonical form. - Even if grave difficulty actually existed, the Bishop's Conference has not approved Unitarian ministers, Catholic nuns, or Jewish lawyers as legitimate presiders at marriages of Catholics. Therefore the Bishop could not grant the requested dispensations, even if there was grave difficulty.

Therefore, the sideshow planned by Dr. Strom cannot result in a valid or licit marriage.

-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 08, 2003.


Moderation questions? read the FAQ