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Catholic Weddings

What to expect with a catholic ceremony?

Ok. I am not Catholic or any specific religion for that matter. (I am very faithful and have a strong spiritual connection with God. let’s just say I have had my experiences) That is going off topic. My issue is I do not understand general things about the catholic religion. I have learned a little here and there from church each week, but other than that I am pretty lost. Not to mention catholic priests ALWAYS make me feel uncomfortable. I feel belittled because I am not catholic even if that is not their intention. My question is what should I expect from the ceremony? We would like the absolute minimum. So if readings are not necessary I would prefer not putting his brother through the anxiety. We will only have the ceremony and not the actual service...but what is each called? I know the priest asked my Fi on the phone if we wanted a something or a something else ceremony. Which is the right answer? My Fi went to a catholic school and was raised catholic but he does not practice it as much as he should I guess. Well anyway he does not know the answer and he just picks one and tells the priest so he doesn't look like he is not knowledgeable of the catholic terms. I would just rather not deal with the entire catholic wedding, but it is important to my Fi and his family so I absolutely do not mind giving them what they want. Oh and one last question, we live together and I do understand that it is a big NO NO in the catholic religion. HOWEVER, my morals do not allow me to lie to the priest or be deceitful just in order to get married. My Fi on the other hand wants to use his mothers address for himself and tell the priest we do not live together. Will the church not marry us if we live together? I won't bring it up to the priest but if he asks me I am sorry I am not lying. I would feel more sinful lying to the church to get married than I would for admitting we live and sleep together already. if any of this offends anyone that is not my intention at all. I really just want to know what to expect. How long is a typical catholic wedding without the service? AND what is the minimum we are going to be required to do?
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Re: What to expect with a catholic ceremony?

  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    your two choices are the ceremony and the ceremony with the Nuptial Mass.

    it sounds like youd rather go with the ceremony.  this will be 45-60 minutes, depending upon readings. 

    you are correct that you shoudl not lie to the priest about your living situation.  if you are asked, you shoudl tell him.  he may or may not marry you based on your answer.  there are priests that will refuse to marry you, and there are some that still will (as a way to rectify your sin) and then there are others that simply ask you to live apart until the wedding.  so if he does refuse to marry you, you shoudl be able to find a priest who will.

    you will have to go through pre-cana.  how long this is varies from priest to priest.  some make you go for a whole weekend away (engaged encounter) some just require a few meetings with the priest (that's what we had) or meet with a church group a few times.

    as a non-catholic you will have to vow to not interfere with the raising of your children in the catholic faith.  as a catholic marrying in the church your FI will be bound to baptizing and raising his kids catholic.  you wont have to convert, but you cant interfere with his efforts or prevent him from raising the kids catholic.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to What to expect with a catholic ceremony?:
    [QUOTE]Ok. I am not Catholic or any specific religion for that matter. (I am very faithful and have a strong spiritual connection with God. let’s just say I have had my experiences) That is going off topic. My issue is I do not understand general things about the catholic religion. I have learned a little here and there from church each week, but other than that I am pretty lost. Not to mention catholic priests ALWAYS make me feel uncomfortable. I feel belittled because I am not catholic even if that is not their intention. My question is what should I expect from the ceremony? We would like the absolute minimum. So if readings are not necessary I would prefer not putting his brother through the anxiety. We will only have the ceremony and not the actual service...but what is each called? I know the priest asked my Fi on the phone if we wanted a something or a something else ceremony. Which is the right answer? My Fi went to a catholic school and was raised catholic but he does not practice it as much as he should I guess. Well anyway he does not know the answer and he just picks one and tells the priest so he doesn't look like he is not knowledgeable of the catholic terms. I would just rather not deal with the entire catholic wedding, but it is important to my Fi and his family so I absolutely do not mind giving them what they want. Oh and one last question, we live together and I do understand that it is a big NO NO in the catholic religion. HOWEVER, my morals do not allow me to lie to the priest or be deceitful just in order to get married. My Fi on the other hand wants to use his mothers address for himself and tell the priest we do not live together. Will the church not marry us if we live together? I won't bring it up to the priest but if he asks me I am sorry I am not lying. I would feel more sinful lying to the church to get married than I would for admitting we live and sleep together already. if any of this offends anyone that is not my intention at all. I really just want to know what to expect. How long is a typical catholic wedding without the service? AND what is the minimum we are going to be required to do?
    Posted by RizNat[/QUOTE]

    Hi, and welcome to the board.
    The typical Catholic ceremony without Mass is the typical Mass through the Homily, then there are the wedding vows, the intercessions, and a final blessing.  All in all, if the priest says a short homily and you pick three short readings, the ceremony takes about 30-40 minutes.  
    That being said, I do not understand why you are having a Catholic wedding.  You do not seem comfortable in the church, and I'm not sure if it's the right place for you.  Have you really talked about this with your fiance?
    Finally, I would advise against lying to the priest about your living circumstances.  You are right on this (and your fiance is wrong).  Many priests will still marry a cohabitating couple, although it's within their rights to decline to marry you.  However, lying is wrong, and to start out your marriage with a lie to the officiant is probably not starting things out on the right foot.  (And I believe lying to the priest would count as bearing false witness <-- that'd be a mortal sin for your FI.)
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the insight all!

    Of course I have talked to my fiance about this. I am getting married in a catholic church because my Fi and his family are catholic. It may not be important to me, but it is important to him and even more so his mother. Just because I am not comfortable in the church right now, does not mean I can not get comfortable. I am not comfortable because I feel some catholics tend to look down on those who do not practice the catholic religion, it is not the faith that makes me uncomfortable. Even though I do not have a religion, I am a very faithful person and like to think I have a better relationship with god then some catholics do. Of course with time and more interactions with the church I will change my perspective. To be honest, I admire the fact that his family is dedicated to their religion. It is very important to my Fi to get married in HIS church, not just any catholic church. So please try not to look down on him for wanting to lie about our living situation, as bad as that sounds. I am 100% sure there are many catholics who have done or plan to do the same thing. Which is how he looks at the situation. Not that that makes it any better. His faith is important to him, unfortunately like most young adults he does not practice the religion as strictly or to the extent that the church may desire. In time he will mature with his religion as most people do. That is just the world we live in. He has a good heart and means well. He is more afraid then I am for the priest to look down on him...which is also part of the reason he wants to say he lives with his mother.

    oh for the record that is another thing I do not understand...a mortal sin is what? I thought a sin was a sin. Does a mortal sin condemn you to hell right away? Just curious...for future reference I'd like to know.

    Thanks again everyone for all your help! I think I got what I wanted. :) You are all wonderful!!
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  • caitriona87caitriona87 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hi & welcome! I'm sorry you have felt looked down upon...I would try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of them just want to help. Similarly, trust that others are giving you the benefit of the doubt--we're not sitting here thinking you or your FI are bad people because of what you've said above. We just want to help.

    I do have to echo PP's advice above--don't lie to the priest. A way for everyone to win would be to begin abstaining from sex (with confession for your FI) and then you can tell him the truth without shame: "yes, we are living together. we understand it is not ideal but to make the best of the situation, we will be living as brother & sister until the wedding." Win-win. =D

    Mortal sin has several requirements: 1) it involves grave matter (it is a serious sin)
    2) full knowledge (you must know that it is a grave sin) and
    3) full consent (you must WANT to commit the sin, not be coerced, etc.)
    All three conditions must be met in order for a person to be guilty of mortal sin. It is called "mortal" because it cuts us off completely from the life & grace of God, whereas venial (less serious) sin may harm our relationship with God, but does not sever it completely. Dying in a state of unrepented mortal sin would put one in grave danger of hell, but the Church will never say definitively that x, y, or z person is in hell. Still, not something to play around with. A Catholic in a state of mortal sin may not receive any sacraments except for Confession, which is the means by which the mortal sin is forgiven. Venial sins do not preclude one from receiving the other sacraments.





    Our little saint, 12/18/2010-12/28/2010

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  • edited December 2011
    First, I would really recommend you spend some time at www.catholicweddinghelp.com

    It's a great website that might help you understand the Catholic marriage, wedding and ceremony more.

    Second, to answer your question, a mortal sin is one that, if you die without having properly confessed it, then yes, you are condemned to hell upon death.  http://www.catholic.com/library/Mortal_Sin.asp

    Third, please, please, please encourage your FI not to lie to the priest. If knowing that you shouldn't be living together outside of marriage is on his heart the way you descirbe, maybe the message is that you should seperate or live as brother and sister until the wedding. It might not be easy, but maybe that would ease your FI's heart.

    Finally, I don't think it is wrong for your FI to mature and want to turn to the Church as such. I don't think it is wrong for you to support him in that, even to the point of marrying in the Church. I do think that you both probably need to spend some time really opening your hearts and learning more of the whys about what the church teaches. This is not something I'm saying because I'm judging you or condemning you or think ill of you or think you need to convert right.this.instant. I just think that you need to go into this with your eyes wide open.

    There are lots of knowledgable ladies here who would love to help you, answer questions and point you in the direction of great resources to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the faith.


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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    have you considered attending RCIA to get a better understanding of the faith?  my SIL to be has been attending, and found it very informative and helpful (she is lutheran, marrying a catholic).
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thank you so much.

    I will check out those websites for sure. Don't worry, like I said my morals will not allow me to lie to the priest. My Fi feels bad about doing it as well, if he is that concerned I will suggest what you have all suggested. Caitriona's advice is great! I am sure he knows these options, but I will bring them up so he knows I will support him if that is what he wants.

    Ok, so mortal sins can be confessed and forgiven? So are venial sins confessed as well?...hmm...I guess all sins are confessed. So why are they classified as different sins? I am only asking because I was looking to join his church but not unti l understand it completely. I will not do it for the sake of getting married. I obviously have felt a little bad for living with my Fi before we are married, but to be honest he is my only and I love him so I do not see what the difference marriage would make if my heart is in the right place. I don't think I am going to go to hell for that. I also don't feel it is right that I have to confess my sins to the priest when I can confess them to god. Of course I am ignorant to the catholic religion and I have a lot I have to learn about why they teach what they teach like PP said. So, I appreciate the support and kindness you have all shown with my posts, even though you may not agree with what I say.
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  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    What is RCIA? Are those the classes you take when joining the church? Because yes we have had the priest send us information on these. I have just decided I would do it after our wedding because I do not want to rush into a religion for the wrong reasons.

    I know we have to take classes for a weekend or something before we get married either way. What are they called?

    If you are wondering my fiance is not good at explaining his religion, you can tell he knows (obviously going to a  catholic school your entire life you should know), but he just has a hard time explaining everything the way I need it explained. So yes I have talked to him MANY times about his religion. I have even discussed some of it with his mother.
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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I also felt looked down upon, uncomfortable , self-conscious and out of place with the Catholic Church for a long time and I was born and raised Catholic.

    I found that the more I learned and the more I actively participated, the less self-conscious I felt. It took me over two years to learn more about the faith and find a church/pastor that I felt really comfortable with. I went from dreading mass to really looking forward to it. And now trying to help others understand the faith, which has really helped me. So, definitely don't shy away - be persisent.

    Also - don't let one (or two or more) people's bad examples turn you completely off. There are bad eggs everywhere - even in the Church, so just try to weed through the bad. I find many of the people that claim to be "uber-practicing-Catholic" are some of the worst at living and sharing the faith.

    Don't be a stranger - when something strikes you funny/odd about Catholic beliefs I GUARANTEE you many of us have had the same question or concern at some point. As long as you're coming from a good place (and not demeaning), the ladies here are unbelievably helpful at explaining and clearing up confusion and misinformation. So give us a shout! Best of luck!
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    RCIA is Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  yes, it is the courses/program for conversion, but you can attend and not convert at the end if you have questions or are unsure. 

    the weekened classes you mentioned are the pre-cana requirements.

    alot of the things you dont understand (like why living together is wrong - adn actually, its not the living together as much as it is sex outside of marriage) will become clear once you  start learning about the faith.  there are very clear and solid reasons why some of the "rules" are what tehy are.
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Calypso, I thought it was called pre-cana, but I wasn't sure. Thanks for letting me know. Oh and I just say living together because it is typically associated with having sex. I figured you guys would get the idea. Like I said my morals and beliefs kept me from sleeping around, which is more than I can say for a lot of people. I don't feel like that rule or belief is really followed as much as it is preached though. But who knows, maybe I am wrong.

    Riss, Thanks. I appreciate hearing that you understand me and I am glad to hear you are more comfortable now.

    All of you ladies have been very helpful and kind. Thank You all so much.

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  • edited December 2011
    I would like to echo what Calypso said about going to RCIA.  I think most classes start in September.  I recently finished RCIA and was welcomed into the church and let me tell you how great it was!  Our teacher was so knowledgeable and so accepting.  There was never any pressure to go through with confirmation -- when I started, I saw it as an opportunity to learn about FI's faith.  I think it would really help you with your discomfort in the church.  I'll probably attend the classes again next year just to really absorb all the information there is.
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  • caitriona87caitriona87 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Here's an introductory article on confession for you:

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Confession.asp

    As Calypso said, things will become clearer as you learn more about the Faith. One of the most beautiful things, IMO, about Catholicism is the way it all hangs together. It is VERY much a unified whole, and all these pieces fit in very neatly to make a cohesive picture, though that can be hard to see when you are first starting out. Keep studying and it will begin to come into focus.

    It does take awhile to learn everything. It's great that you are open to learning about the Faith. You mention your relationship with God and that is wonderful. Pray and ask Him for guidance, ask where He is leading you.

    & as others said, feel free to come here any time with questions =)
    Our little saint, 12/18/2010-12/28/2010

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  • monkeysipmonkeysip member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Riz Nat,

    All the ladies have answered everything perfectly, I just wanted to say congratulations on your upcoming wedding, and its really good that you're being so supportive of your fiance and open to Catholicism, even if you don't want to convert yet.  Like you said, converting to a religion is a life-changing event and should be done when and if you feel completely ready... no rush!

    Also, just wanted to add that I too sometimes feel self-conscious in church or when talking to priests, even as a Catholic.  Sometimes I feel like they think I'm stupid or don't want to talk to me... but I always have to remember that priests are people too that have good days and bad days... or sometimes aren't very sociable.  Many different people are called to the priesthood... sometimes they aren't always the friendliest.  But they're probably not judging you at all... they've seen and heard EVERYTHING... but sometimes their responses may not come out right.  Either way, your honesty to the priest will make him much more amenable to your situation.  He'll probably only ask you and your fiance to abstain from sex until your wedding, which will only make your wedding and honeymoon that much more special and exciting!

    And of course, no question is a dumb question on this board.  Feel free to ask!

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  • edited December 2011
    i'm surprised you have a choice which ceremony to have. My FI is not catholic and not even a baptized christian and we did not have a choice but rather just have a ceremony outside mass.

    Is your FI going to be practicing afte the wedding? I get it it's important to his family but if he is not going to then I see no point of getting married there though. JMOP. The church would require you (the catholic one) to attend mass on a regular basis not just during holidays.

    My FI and I live together when we met with the priest. You just have to be honest. It was not an issue at all, I was really nervous about it but it turned out ok.
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: What to expect with a catholic ceremony?:
    [QUOTE]i'm surprised you have a choice which ceremony to have. My FI is not catholic and not even a baptized christian and we did not have a choice but rather just have a ceremony outside mass. Is your FI going to be practicing afte the wedding? I get it it's important to his family but if he is not going to then I see no point of getting married there though. JMOP. The church would require you (the catholic one) to attend mass on a regular basis not just during holidays. My FI and I live together when we met with the priest. You just have to be honest. It was not an issue at all, I was really nervous about it but it turned out ok.
    Posted by CaylaSummer[/QUOTE]

    It is important for my Fi as well, not just his family. It is more the fact that my Fi said we would not really be "married" in the eyes of god if it was not a catholic ceremony. I don't understand it, but it is important for him to be married the proper way as he says. I think it is actually very nice that he looks at it that way. Also, we go to church almost every weekend. I am in the NG so some weekends I cannot make it. Oh and I actually do not know if we even do have an option. I know the priest did ask him on the phone what ceremony he was having. I am not sure if he was talking about the same thing. He did not ask if we were having a mass ceremony, but he called them something else. I as well am not baptized. The priest said we will have to do something, but we are still allowed to get married in the church. He actually said it was easier that way, because he does not have to go through my church. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT! lol. I will have to talk to him about it in more detail. Thanks
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    if you are not baptized, then you most likely will nto be able to have Mass.  but that's ok, your marriage is still valid in the eyes of the church, with or without Mass.
  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    A Catholic is bound by canonical form in marriage. This means they have to get married according to the form set forth by the church in order for it to be valid. (Non-catholics marrying non-catholics are not bound by such a rule).

    A Catholic can marry a non-baptized person, but they have to get a dispensation from the Bishop (the priest/deacon takes care of this). A catholic marrying a non-Baptized person is not allowed to have a full mass, just a Liturgy of the Word. (There are exceptions to this as well, but it is rare and involves yet another permission from the bishop).


  • edited December 2011
    Also, I believe your marriage will not be considered a Sacrament, just a holy bond. It's not the same thing.

    If you are a Christian and believe in God, why not get baptized?
  • eco1103aeco1103a member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Just for those who are curious-I just completed my RCIA

    Pre-cana are classes for those Catholics and non-Catholics who will be marrying within the year. The alternative to this is an engaged encounter-which my fiance and I did in Baltimore, MD with the Holy Trinitarians

    RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults-It usually begins in September and concludes on Easter when the participants are either baptized (in my case)and/or received into Holy Communion and/or Confirmed. 
    Boy/Girl Twins due 5/27/13
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: What to expect with a catholic ceremony?:
    [QUOTE]Also, I believe your marriage will not be considered a Sacrament, just a holy bond. It's not the same thing. If you are a Christian and believe in God, why not get baptized?
    Posted by SoHappyToBeMrsC[/QUOTE]

    Well, it isn't that simple. There are many christian religions. I am looking into the catholic religion, but I want to understand everything before I just get baptized into a church. I wouldn't want to insult that religion or the church by just doing it for the sake of doing it. There are a lot of things I disagree with in the catholic religion, so I don't even want to get baptized catholic right now. I do, however, want to find out the reasons why they believe what they believe. I could come to understand their religion more and perhaps join when I am ready.
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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: What to expect with a catholic ceremony?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: What to expect with a catholic ceremony? : Well, it isn't that simple. There are many christian religions. I am looking into the catholic religion, but I want to understand everything before I just get baptized into a church. I wouldn't want to insult that religion or the church by just doing it for the sake of doing it. There are a lot of things I disagree with in the catholic religion, so I don't even want to get baptized catholic right now. I do, however, want to find out the reasons why they believe what they believe. I could come to understand their religion more and perhaps join when I am ready.
    Posted by RizNat[/QUOTE]

    You are wise. Everything you said here is exactly what should be considered when finding a faith.

    Please feel free to ask us to clear up any questions or concerns you might have
  • RizNatRizNat member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks, I appreciate everyone answering my questions.
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