Can you still have a Catholic Mass when marrying a Russian Orthodox? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

I am a devout baptised Roman Catholic and have plans to marry a non-practicing baptised Russian Orthodox. I am pretty sure I remember learning in theology class, correct me if I am wrong, that in this type of situation the marriage can still be done in the Church. Now I know that with certain interfaith marriages the Church will or will not allow for a Mass during the Wedding ceremony. Does anyone know if we can still have a Mass?

-- Angela (, June 02, 2003


Hi Angela,

I can't tell from your post if you are trying to follow both Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox rules, e.g., in a joint ceremony, or if you are just trying to follow Roman Catholic rules, e.g., in a pure Catholic marriage ceremony.

-- Mark (, June 02, 2003.

Can a Catholic marrying a baptized non-Catholic in the Catholic Church have a Catholic Mass? The technical answer is "yes"; the "real" answer is "it depends on the priest". The priest is suppossed to advise against it in favor of the Rite of Marriage outside the Mass; how firm he will be in following that advice is up to him. The reason is that the non-Catholic is not supposed receive communion, as would his (presumably) non-Catholic family members in attendance, as well any non-Catholic guests. This would lead to an appearance on non-unity at the wedding, which is supposed to be a celebration of unity. Some preists will recomdend the Mass anyway, some priests will simply refuse to allow the mass, others will allow it if the parties make it clear they want it, and some will bend the rules and allow all present to recieve communion anyway. Here there is the additional factor that the Russian Orthodox Church also forbids Russian Orthodox Christians form receiving Communion in a Catholic Church as well, so even if the Catholic priest will allow it, "good" Russian Orthodox will not accept the invitation.

The Mass is technically forbidden in the situation of a Catholic marrying someone who has never been baptised.

But a marriage of a practicing baptized Catholic can always be done in the Church (with the proper permissions, dispensations, etc. etc.), but sometimes without a Mass.


-- Rick (, June 07, 2003.

Hello, Rick.
You stated: "The Mass is technically forbidden in the situation of a Catholic marrying someone who has never been baptised."
Can you please quote a Vatican regulation that reflects this prohibition. I was not able to find one.
Thanks. John

-- J. F. Gecik (, June 08, 2003.

I don't know it I have a vatican document. I was drawing in statements such as this from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston web site at In the case of a Mixed Religion marriage (where one of the parties is a baptized non-Catholic) ”the rite of marriage outside of Mass shall be observed. If suitable, and if the [the Diocesan Bishop] gives permission, the rite for celebrating marriage within the Mass may be used, except that, according to the general law, communion is not given to the non-Catholic”. In a marriage where one of the parties is not baptized, a Nuptial mass may not be celebrated (with no provisions made of exceptions). The purpose of this is to protect the dignity of the Eucharist and the sensibilities of the Church and of the people gathered for the wedding, and to avoid underlining the difference in the spouses faith-life. The day, and the celebration, should be one of unity not disunity. But, in all these cases, the wedding should be celebrated in a Church in the presence of a priest. The question is really about the Mass itself, which is not necessary to the celebration of Marriage. [my emphasis] This was in a answer provided by Very Rev. Kevin Michael Quirk, JCD (Judicial Vicar), and I assume he knows what he is talking about, although I may have misinterpreted a local rule for a Church-wide one. Another esmaple is from web site of a parish (St. Stanislaus Kostka, in Bay City Michigan), at The ideal setting for the sacrament of matrimony is as an integral part of the Mass. The celebration of marriage in the context of the mass is reserved for two Catholics. In accord with the marriage guidelines of the Catholic church, interfaith marriages (between a catholic and a baptized Christian of another faith), takes place outside of the mass sitting. In special circumstances, permission can be received from the pastor to celebrate a nuptial Mass at an interfaith marriage. The rite of marriage between Catholic and Non-baptized may only take place outside of a Mass setting.[my emphasis] The only thing I can find right now in terms of Vatical ducuments at APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE PAUL VI ON MIXED MARRIAGES MATRIMONIA MIXTA
which has: 11. With regard to the liturgical form of the celebration of a mixed marriage, if it is to be taken from the Roman ritual, use must be made of the ceremonies in the rite of celebration of marriage promulgated by Our authority, whether it is a question of a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic (39-54) or of a marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person (55- 66). If, however, the circumstances justify it, a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic can be celebrated, subject to the local Ordinary's consent, according to the rites for the celebration of marriage within Mass (19-38), while respecting the prescription of general law with regard to eucharistic communion. Which seems to authorize,"if circumstances justify it", a mixed marriage with a baptized non-Catholic with a Mass, but does not authorize it for for a wedding where on of the parties is unbaptized. I hope this helps.

-- Rick (, June 10, 2003.

Sorry about the formatting (or lack thereof) in my response. Most of my line breaks seem to have dissappeared when I sent it. I hope you can make it out OK.

-- Rick (, June 10, 2003.

Thanks very much, Rick.
I have been to the Wheeling-Charleston site many times, and I trust Msgr. Quirk's information there, because I have never stumbled across anything I knew to be an error there.
God bless you.

-- J. F. Gecik (, June 11, 2003.

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