Catholic Weddings

Meetings with Catholic Priest before Marriage

Hello all.  I am getting married in May and just had our first meeting with the priest that will be marrying us the other week.  My fiance (not Catholic) and I will be married in my church where I was baptized, etc., and have been a parishioner there my whole life. What I expected for these meetings was to go over what is expected from us as we get married in a Catholic church, take the FOCCUS test, and to plan our ceremony.  Our priest seems a little extreme (my fiance and I live together) and he gave us a book to read called "The Good News about Sex and Marriage" and is seeming to focus heavily on this.  Has anyone had the same experience? I just do not feel comfortable discussing this with my priest.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Re: Meetings with Catholic Priest before Marriage

  • That book is incredible. Please read it with an open heart and mind. The priest's job is to make sure that you are freely entering into this covenant and that you fully understand what you are undertaking...what it means in the Catholic church. So you know what your promises mean. A priest has heard everything in the confessional and counseling, and has a lot of wisdom about relationships and the human condition that can only help you.

    The priest isn't being "extreme". He's being Catholic. This book helps give the basics to the blueprint for the Catholic understanding of marriage.
    banana468holyguacamole79MesmrEweaugustgirl21
  • Born, baptized, and confirmed Catholic here! I'm a little surprised at *your* surprise about the priest's stance. Chastity is a pretty fundamental part of the church. Also, the church does NOT like non-members marrying members. My parents experienced this firsthand when my mom, a firm Lutheran, married my dad, a firm Catholic. The priest actually tried to forbid their marriage because it wasn't "set in a holy place," since they were 1) living together while engaged and 2) my mom refused to convert. This is very, very, very normal. The church has actually loosened up in recent years. My parents actually had to sign a contract with the church that, since, my mom wasn't converting, their future children would all receive Catholic education (basically we were forced to attend Sunday schooling and to be confirmed). The penalty for noncompliance was that my parent's marriage would be annulled in the eyes of the Catholic church. They had heavy counselling about sex and child-rearing as well, with the priest pretty much hounding my mom for being on the pill and wanting a career. 

    I have since stopped affiliating with the Catholic church. After attending a Methodist and now an Episcopalian church for several years, I've realized that, yes, Catholicism can be quite extreme when it comes to marriage, sex, and childbirth. Each diocese (and individual parishes) is different. It seems like yours is WAY more relaxed than mine was! I remember when I turned 13, a nun personally lectured me about "preserving my chastity until marriage." Honestly, it's extreme, but normal for the church at large. If you are serious about being married in a Catholic church, you need to be serious about the values and beliefs you're vowing to tie into your marriage. You'll likely raise your children within the faith, and you need to consider the implications that has for them. You're also subjecting your "outsider" spouse to a lifetime of a religion they may (like my mother) grow to resent. Your parish may be liberal, but if you move... You might be in for a rude awakening. 

    My Episcopalian pastor who will be marrying us in June has brought up our living arrangement. We live together, which is an important topic for counseling. Sex and life together (handling chores, expectations of work, handling money, and overall lifestyle ideas) are HUGE parts of married life. They should be expected to be heavy topics in any premarital counseling, religious or not. Personally, our pastor hasn't been condemning, but instead interested in how our relationship has been impacted by our sex life. How we use sex, how we each feel about it, our desires, and how we reconcile it with God (because sex before marriage is generally considered taboo for Christians, cuz, the bible says so). 

    Books like the one your priest recommended are pretty good resources. Even if it's full of sexist, shitty advice (like the one a friend reccomended to me), it's good to identify what you do and don't agree with. Now is your time to pick your future spouse's brain. The last thing you want is to walk into an eternal commitment with very different expectations. 
  • An Annulment in the church is looking at the time the vows are said to see if there was something lacking that would prevent it from being valid. It can't use it as a penalty for people that slack on bringing their children up Catholic.

    MairePoppy
  • An Annulment in the church is looking at the time the vows are said to see if there was something lacking that would prevent it from being valid. It can't use it as a penalty for people that slack on bringing their children up Catholic.

    This.   I've never heard of the Catholic church going after a couple to purposely annul their marriage.   That said, if you agree at the time of your wedding to raise your children in the Catholic church while never intending to, it's certainly grounds for an annulment. 
    MairePoppy
  • Thank you for your response. I guess it was a shock to the system. My fiance and I have been together for almost 8 years so a lot of topics have been discussed , but I am happy to learn more. My mom was married in the same church as me and was shocked to hear what he wanted us to read. I guess the church really hasn't change, but the priest leading it. I wish I would've have met with him earlier to explore my options before it was too late.  I thank you again for your response. Good luck with your wedding! :)
  • Thank you for your response. I guess it was a shock to the system. My fiance and I have been together for almost 8 years so a lot of topics have been discussed , but I am happy to learn more. My mom was married in the same church as me and was shocked to hear what he wanted us to read. I guess the church really hasn't change, but the priest leading it. I wish I would've have met with him earlier to explore my options before it was too late.  I thank you again for your response. Good luck with your wedding! :)
    Keep in mind, the priests have heard everything even if they're not active in a bedroom.  

    And marriage is a Sacrament so they want to ensure that you and your FI are well prepared to receive it.  Try to look at it that way vs. as though the priest is judging you.    
  • Your mom was shocked to hear that a Catholic priest wanted you to read a book about what marriage is in the Catholic church while preparing you to get married in the Catholic church?
    MesmrEwe
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