Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church - illegal in Church Law???

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Hullo all who read this.

I am writing about Catholic/Orthodox Marriages

I am Not a Catholic...yet but have approached a Melkite Greek (Byzantine) Priest at a Melkite Church to convert and be recieved directly into the Catholic Church as a Melikite (Byzantine Rite) Catholic.

1: Can a Catholic (Of any Rite) be married to a Greek Orthodox in a Greek Orthodox Church as there Sacrament of Marraige is considered Valid? OR are Marriages that take place (even if valid) outside the Catholic Church against either Canon Law of 1983 (Western) and 1991 (Eastern), that is are they illicit or illegal in Catholic Church Law?

2: I have read an Orthodox Publication saying that from the Greek Orthodox Perspective and discipline and law in a Mixed Marraige between a Catholic (Of any Rite I presume)the Children MUST be brought up in the Orthodox Church and yet I know that the Catholic Church makes the same requirement in both its Western and Eastern Canon Laws (1983 and 1991), ie that the Children MUST be rasied as Catholics. Question: Can a Catholic and an Orthodox marry each other And NOT break the Laws of either the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church?? (It would seem that mixed marraiges between Catholic and Orthodox are impossible and illicit because of this requirement?

Thank you and God bless Anthony cdiscipulus@catholic.org

-- Anthony Patterson (cdiscipulus@catholic.org), May 12, 2003

Answers

Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Anthony,

Christ is Risen!

I also happen to be a Melkite priest and a canonist. First you seem to be confused as to the difference between Valid/Invalid and Licit/Illicit. They are two separate categories.

To say that something is Licit is only to say that no law has been violated. If it is illicit the law has been violated but the effects (in this case the marriage) are still recognized.

On the other hand, to say that something is Invalid is to say that something was attempted but is NOT recognized as having been accomplished.

That having been said the Catholic Church does recognize marriages in the Orthodox Church as Valid. In marriages between a Catholic and an Orthodox canon 834.2 of the Eastern Code of Code of Canon Law (and there is a parallel canon in the Latin Code) says that such a marriage, if celebrated in the Orthodox Church is Valid but illicit. The marriage is recognized, in other words, but the law on form has been violated.

Also your statement about the requirements for children is a bit overstated. Canon 814.1 of the Eastern Code (also paralleled in the Latin) says that the Catholic spouse is " to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power to have all the children baptized and educated in the Catholic Church."

I hope that is helpful.

-- Fr. Michael Skrocki, JCL (abounamike@aol.com), May 12, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Jmj
Hello, Fr. Skrocki.
Christ is truly risen!

You wrote: "In marriages between a Catholic and an Orthodox canon 834.2 of the Eastern Code of Code of Canon Law ... says that such a marriage, if celebrated in the Orthodox Church is Valid but illicit. The marriage is recognized, in other words, but the law on form has been violated."

Is it possible (as in the West) for this to be remedied through a dispensation granted by the Eastern Catholic bishop?

Thanks. God bless you.
John
PS: Is an Eastern Orthodox person usually (or always) forbidden by his/her bishop to be married to a Latin or Eastern Catholic person in a Catholic ceremony.

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), May 12, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

John,

Yes this can be remedied through a dispensation.

As to the rules of Orthodox jurisdictions, those do differ a bit from Church to Church but generally speaking marriages in a Roman Catholic would not be recognized as valid but Orthodox (and Eastern Catholic) form requires the blessing of a priest for a valid marriage.

-- Fr. Mike Skrocki, JCL (abounamike@aol.com), May 12, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Here is a link to some Orthodox marriage guidelines:

http://aggreen.net/guidelines/guide04.html

For mixed marriages, it lists the following (among others):

1.A petition for a mixed marriage must be submitted to the diocesan hierarch for his blessing. 2.In a mixed marriage, the Orthodox partner should not consent to have children of the union baptized outside the Orthodox Church as a pre-marriage agreement.

-- Mark (aujus_1066@yahoo.com), May 12, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Christ is Truly Risen

Greeting Abouna Skrocki and hullo to the other people posting.

Thank you for your replies

To clarify and repeat my main point, the laws of the Catholic Church require as Fr Micheal remids us of, Canon 814 of codes of Canons of the Eastern Churches (and the parrallel code in the (Latin) Code of Canon Law) that the Catholic spouse is " to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power to have all the Children baptised and educated in the catholic Church". The Orthodox spouse has to make a similar requirement that the Children in a mixed marraige (of Catholic And Orthodox) must have the children baptised and raised as Orthodox. This would seem to mean that for example after I come in to the Melkite Catholic Church (Or any Ritual Church Sui Iuris) and become a Catholic, Hypothetically speaking, If I wanted to marry a Orthodox woman, one of us would have to go against the laws of our respsective Churches, after all we could not both make that promise and it is not possible to raise the Children as Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic at the same time, they must be one OR the other. This is my undertanding but please correct me If I have reasoned wrongly I am willing to learn and be corrected. I hope I am wrong.

Finally as a convert to be, I am becoming a Catholic because of Truth (discovering Christs Church) and wanting to be obedient to Gods will for my Life but I think it is outrageous and sad that after almost one thousand years the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are still divided. I sincerly wish there was a reunion and I love my friends in the Orthodox Churches who are my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and will be spending (by persevering and Gods grace) eternity in heaven with them. Why do I have to be divided/seperated from them down here on earth? (a retorical question I understand the historical reasons, 1054 etc) how it must break Gods heart.

Anthony P

-- Anthony Patterson (cdiscipulus@catholic.org), May 13, 2003.



Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Jmj
Hello, Anthony.

You wrote: "This would seem to mean that for example after I come in to the Melkite Catholic Church ... hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to marry a Orthodox woman, one of us would have to go against the laws of our respsective Churches. After all we could not both make that promise and it is not possible to raise the Children as Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic at the same time, they must be one OR the other."

I suggest that we take another look at the Catholic and Orthodox laws on this subject, to determine whether there would really be a breaking of a promise. I think that no promise would be broken. See if you come to agree with me ...

I don't have access to the Eastern Catholic canons, but Fr. S says that the relevant Eastern canon is "parallel" to the following Western Catholic canon:
"Canon 1125 -- The local Ordinary [bishop] can grant ... permission [for a mixed marriage] if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
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 baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;
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; ...

I cannot quote for you the text of the Orthodox law on this subject. However, I hope that we can count on the site linked by Mark, above, accurately to convey the thrust of the Orthodox law. That page states:
"In a mixed marriage, the Orthodox partner should not consent to have children of the union baptized outside the Orthodox Church as a pre-marriage agreement."

So, we see that a Catholic does not promise to force his/her will on the rest of the family -- e.g., to demand that the children be raised Catholic, or he/she will go to court, abandon the spouse, etc.. Rather the Catholic promises to "do all in his or her power," and the non-Catholic is made aware of this promise in advance. I think that the hope is that an agreement will be made by the partners before the wedding, though an agreement is not required. If a non-Catholic makes no pre-marriage agreement and later expresses adamant opposition to the children being raised Catholic, the Catholic will have a difficult decision to make. In my opinion, every effort should be made, with the help of others (e.g., the Catholic pastor), to persuade the non-Catholic to change his/her mind, reminding that person of his/her knowledge of the pre-marriage promise. I believe that the Church has published a document that states that a Catholic is not guilty of sin when, in the end, a non-Catholic spouse's will prevails in such a case.

But, if the quoted Orthodox guideline is accurate, we know that the Orthodox person, before marrying a Catholic, is required "not [to] consent to have children of the union baptized outside the Orthodox Church as a pre-marriage agreement". Thus, if you have an Orthodox fiancee some day, she would not be allowed to agree, before the marriage, to a Baptism of the children in a Catholic ceremony. However, this rule does not say that she is forbidden to agree to the baptism and raising of the children as Catholics at some later date.

Therefore, regardless of how the children are raised, I don't see that either spouse actually breaks a promise. In saying this, I am not implying that I am indifferent about how the children would be raised. In fact, I think that all children in the world should be raised as Catholics.

God bless you.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), May 13, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

John,

You have correctly interpreted the point I was trying to make. That is exactly how the law should be read. In this case the prescriptions of the CIC (Latin Code) and the CCEO (Eastern Code) are the same.

-- Fr. Mike Skrocki, JCL (abounamike@aol.com), May 13, 2003.


Response to Marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church-illegal in Church Law???

Thank you to all of you for your replies. Thanks for pointing out the tecnicalities of the Law hmmmm.......I see what you mean by the promises, technically speaking these things could happen....(but what is the spirit behind these laws?) something to think about.

Anthony

-- Anthony P (cdiscipulus@catholic.org), May 14, 2003.


My wife and I are both Catholic. We were married in the Catholic Church (Latin Rite). If we converted to Greek Orthodoxy, would our marriage be recognized by the Greek Orthodox Church?

-- Joe P (piroli@forcomm.net), June 11, 2003.

I don't know, Joe ... but I do know that I pray that you will not leave the Church.
The pope is the successor of St. Peter, and the Vicar of Christ on Earth, and the chief visible pastor of your souls. Please do not commit the grave sin of schism.
Thanks. John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), June 11, 2003.


I am Catholic woman who is engaged to a Greek Orthodox man who's father happens to be a Greek Orthodox priest. I want to get married in a Catholic Church and was wondering if a Greek Orthodox priest and Catholic priest can both be a part of the ceremony?

Peace!

Dorie

-- Dorie Vasquez (dvasquez@cathdal.org), June 27, 2003.


Dorie,

It is unlikely that an Orthodox priest would be able or willing to co-officiate a wedding with a Roman priest.

-- Fr. Mike Skrocki, JCL (abounamike@aol.com), June 27, 2003.


Jmj

Although what you have stated, Father, is true, would not the following also be true? ...
(1) The Catholic Church would not prohibit the kind of "concelebrated" ceremony that Dorie mentions (i.e., in a Catholic church building).
(2) The Catholic Church would not prohibit her being married by the Greek Orthodox priest in an Orthodox church building (with or without the participation of a Catholic priest).
(3) If the Greek Orthodox priest would not concelebrate in a Catholic church, it would be because his bishop prohibits it.

Thanks.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), June 28, 2003.


To: Joe P

If you are both Catholics considering converting to the Orthodox Church, Why?? Visiting may be ok if it is for the right reasons, and having Orthodox freinds can be an enriching and ecumenical expereince

If it is because you are attracted to the Byzantine Liturgy and spirituality perhaps there may be a Byzantine Catholic Parish (Melkite,Ukranian, Ruthenian, Romanian etc) in your city/state/country that you could attend. There are Eastern/ Byzantine Catholic Websites

If it is because of doctrinal issues that divide the Catholic and Orthodox there are many books, Catholic websites and people you can contact to discuss these issues, it is important to know why you should remain Catholic and most important why Christ want's you to remain Catholic

Let us all pray for the day that Unity between the two Churches may occur.

-- Anthony P (cdiscipulus@catholic.org), June 29, 2003.


What if I was to marry in a Greek Orthodox Church by both a Catholic priest and a Greek Orthodox priest? Would this work? I am Catholic and will always be Catholic but my fiance is Orthodox and his father is a Orthodox priest.

-- Dorie Vasquez (dvasquez@cathdal.org), July 10, 2003.


Jmj
Hello, Dorie.

I am sure that your Catholic bishop would give you the special permission you need for doing this.
The question would then remain:
Would your fiance's bishop give your fiance's father permission to arrange the ceremony as you describe?
Please ask, and let me know what you find out.

God bless you.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), July 10, 2003.


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