Catholic Weddings

I don't know if my marriage will be "valid"

We met with the priest again yesterday. We have an ongoing saga that started when we requested our baptismal certificates. We planned everything to get married in the Byzantine church that FI grew up in. The problem is that when we ordered our records, it turns out that both of us are Roman Catholic. And that a Byzantine priest is not allowed to marry us. Two months ago at our meeting he said we need a dispensation. The priest who handles that was on vacation at the time, but when he came home the priest contacted him. That was wrong. We need something else that begins with a "d." And I can't remember what it's called. Delegation? Can anyone help with that?Anyway, I asked the priest what was involved. He said he writes our local Roman diocese and parish priest to ask for permission to marry us, since we're "under his jurisdiction." The priest said it should come through in time, and that the biggest hold up is that it might sit on someone's desk for a bit. I know the church and how paperwork goes. There are posts all the time about 2 year annulments. I'm terrified.So I asked him worst case scenario. He says that he would be allowed to sign the license, but that our wedding wouldn't be valid in the eyes of the church. So I would have a big sham liturgy. Our wedding is in 89 days. I'm freaking out. Does anyone have any experience with this other "d" word that escapes me? Is 89 days a feasibly time period, or is this something that takes a year? I'm terrified and haven't even told our parents because they will go into freak out mode.
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Re: I don't know if my marriage will be "valid"

  • edited December 2011
    Bel, I have not been on here in a few months and this post was the first thing I saw.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.Take a deep breath.  I don't know much about this particular situation, but if it makes you feel any better, my wedding is a week after yours and FI is not yet Catholic and I am not yet Byzantine.  If my transfer of rite doesn't come through, I will be exactly where you are now.All you need to do is get in touch with someone who has or can develop a sense of urgency about the situation.  It sounds like you don't have that yet.Call your local RC Diocese.  In my experience, they are generally more responsive b/c they are so much bigger and have more resources.  Make sure they know the time frame up front.Then call the Archeparchy.  I have had good experiences with the Eparhcy of Passaic, but I think you would be under the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.  Hopefully, they will be just as helpful.  Make sure they hear you say 89 DAYS loud and clear.I say go right to the source b/c I think it is the Diocese and the Eparchy that will have the final say--and they are usually better versed in all these technical rules than a parish priest.Some Priest at some point dropped the ball, so the Church is going to have to make it right somehow.  They can still follow the rules, but they are just going to have to be quick about it.  This should have been discovered and addressed the first time you met with a Priest to discuss marriage.There would also be an option for FI to transfer to Byzantine rite (better he does it since he is a man), but that is probably not quicker or they would be suggesting that.  That route still requires the RC Diocese where you live to "let you go"--even if you have never set foot in their church!  It's worth mentioning, just in case that would make it easier--it may also make a Byzantine who does not know either of you more receptive.  I think it only requires 3 years of Byzantine Church attendance.This is all just paperwork with very little substance.  An annulment is paperwork and real substance, so don't let the timeframes on that concern you.  I don't have any guarantees, but 90 days should be enough time for them to get their acts together.  My priest doesn't seem concerned about my situation, either.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    does this only apply to marriages?  My sister and her husband are both RC, but 2 of their kids were Chryzmated (sp?).    While these were valid sacraments (so they were told), it did not make them Byzantine as their father was RC.Can you just marry RC?
  • bel138bel138
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Thanks Emily! We definitely need to switch rite, mostly because we want to, and also to avoid any potential situations with future baptism/chrismation. But the priest told us that would take longer than this pseudo-dispensation, so we'll just do it after the wedding. The priest said some cases have to go all the way to Rome, so I don't want to count on that. I agree that there should be more sense of urgency than the priest has. I love him, I really do. But he's sooo relaxed about everything. When we meet with him, he has no concept of the "planning side" of weddings, and has no answers for anything. I'll call the Pittsburgh diocese and Eparchy. I've been in contact with the eparchy before about pre-cana and ECF, and they're usually pretty helpful. Hopefully they will be with this too! calypso - Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure if it only affects weddings, but the priest told us to change rites or our children would be considered Roman. One HUGE difference during the wedding is that the priest actually performs the sacrament in the Eastern church, unlike in the Roman church where the couple "marries each other" for lack of a better term. The liturgy is VERY much different as well. I worked long and hard making our own crowns, and it means a lot to us to get married in the church that we attend. The Roman rite holds no emotional ties for us. I'm sure you can understand that, as you had your Latin Mass which meant a great deal to you. I would honestly rather wait until this all gets clear up and push back the wedding than have a Roman Mass.
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  • edited December 2011
    Bel,My friend went through something very similar - her parents died in a car accident when she was very young and she was adopted. No paperwork (religious, anyway) was given to the adoption agency, and she was eventually baptized as a Ukranian Catholic by her adoptive parents. Her FI is Roman Catholic, and they chose to get married in the Ukrainian Church since she had ties to it.Fast forward about six months; she gets ahold of ancestry.com and finds an aunt-through-marriage living in Austria who reveals that my friend was actually baptized the day after the car accident to dedicate her to God in thanks for sparing her life in the car accident. She was baptized Roman Catholic, and was pretty upset since she, too, had done all her sacraments in the Ukrainian church and identified with that rite. She and Jeff applied for a dispensation from the archdiocese, and I think it was treated as disparity of worship, since the rites do function as two separate bodies. It took a bit of prodding on her part to get the paperwork through, but I believe she got this done in about six weeks. Don't lose hope - wonders are worked when you're in a pinch and not trying to scam the Church into granting a dispensation for something!
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    bel, yea, i see your point.  so what does that mean?  can you get everything done in 89 days?
  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    I have no advice for you but I want to say how sorry I am that you are having this problem to deal with now.I too would rather put it off the wedding waiting than marry under circumstances that I was not totally comfortable with.Good luck!
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