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Requirements for getting married in the Catholic church

        My fiancé and I recently got engaged. Both of our families are excited and his parents almost immediately asked if we would be having a catholic wedding. It surprised me that they would even ask seeing as I am not religious and my fiancé, although raised Catholic, is not religious either. I let them know that from what I had read I was under the assumption that we would be ineligible to do so for a number of reasons. I'm pretty sure that I saw somewhere that one member of the couple must be a member of the catholic church in good standing. My fiancé doesn't attend church and was never confirmed. Something else that I remember reading is that the non catholic half of the couple must still have been baptized (which I have not). Furthermore FI and I have cohabitated (he's currently in another country for work) and plan to continue to cohabitate after he returns.

        Additionally, I feel like it would be disrespectful to the Catholic faith for me (and us) to go through with a marriage in the church when it's not what we believe. When I told them all of this they told me that non of these things were really issues and that we would have no problems marrying in the church. What do you think? I need the opinions of others. My FI just wants to make everyone happy.


Re: Requirements for getting married in the Catholic church

  • Thanks for being honest about it. Please do NOT get married in the church simply to make everyone feel happy. This would be a lie as you can't promise the necessary things in order to do so (I'm going by what you've said here), and would definitely be disrespectful of the faith. 

    Cohabitation is not, by itself, necessarily a formal impediment. The existence of it can lead to some deeper concerns. 

    A Catholic can marry someone of a different faith, even when they aren't baptized, with certain dispensations and permissions, but these are granted when the priest sees that the Catholic's faith is not in danger and the Catholic must still promise to raise the children Catholic. 

    You should know though, that your marriage won't be considered valid. Your fiance will not be able to participate in the life and grace giving sacraments of the church, because he is in a perpetual state of sin. This is a very serious decision (and statement) to make and is difficult to rectify. I would encourage you both to do some reading, meet with a priest to discuss the issues, and look into what you are rejecting before doing so. 
  • It is a tricky question as to whether someone in your situation "could" get married in the Catholic Church... perhaps that more pertinant question is *should* you. As long as one of you was baptized in the Catholic Church, I believe you could get married in it; some priests may or may not require him to also get confirmed. You definitely would not have to get baptized. (Unfortunately,) the vast majority of priests would not even blink knowing that you were cohabitating.

    As for whether you should- I think you've hit the nail on the head when you acknowledge that it would be disrespectful to the Catholic faith to get married there when it's not what you believe. The problem is with his relatives, you have to understand that according to the Catholic Church, his Catholic relatives will not be able to believe you are validly married if he doesn't get married in the Catholic Church.  (Since the Catholic Church says that once you are baptized Catholic you are always Catholic... there's literally no way to get out of it.) It's a tough situation that may seem unfair, but the Church makes these rules for a reason, for example so you (and especially your FI,) know exactly the gravity of your situation by not getting married in the Church. (But on the other hand, his relatives shouldn't care that much, since if you are already living together, then by getting married outside the Catholic Church you will basically just be continuing to do what you are already doing.... sooo...) 

    So, knowing that is his relatives beliefs (about the importance of him getting married in the Church,) I have to point out that they have a misunderstanding of what a Catholic wedding is - it SHOULD only be done by someone who actually believes in what they are doing (committing to raise their kids Catholic, follow the rules of the Church, etc,) which it sounds like you fully admit you won't. Yes, you probably could find a priest who would marry you and happily take your money, and his relatives would be happy, but by your own conclusion, you probably shouldn't. 

    My advice would be to either ignore the topic altogether with the relatives, or (especially if them are particularly devout,) you will probably need to have a serious conversation with them about how you (well, really your FI) does not consider himself at all Catholic, and it would disrespectful to have a Catholic wedding. Such a conversation would help to clear their consciences if they are concerned about whether they should attend your wedding.

    One final thought,:since this is a serious situation (that of deciding whether you want the Church and his relatives to accept your marriage,) I would encourage you to spend some time researching what the Catholic Church actually teaches. So many people don't consider themselves Catholic when they simply weren't educated very well about the Faith (unfortunately even many who went to Catholic school their who lives,) so if you want to make this decision with a really clear conscience, then I'd suggest (especially for your FI, before he decides he really does want to formally distance himself from the church he was baptized in my not getting married there,) reading some books and even checking out an RCIA program at a nearby church.

    Good luck! Sorry about the novel... I think your line of reasoning is pretty solid, it just might take some time and backbone to get his relatives to understand.
  • Ditto the ladies above.  If your fiance cares about his faith and wants to practice in the future, he should rediscover his faith, try to get involved again, and get married properly in the Church.

    But if neither of you are concerned about that, then it'd just be a fraud to marry in the Church.  You need to have a sincere ceremony--whatever fits your beliefs.  Don't cave to family pressure for this!  

  • vmj23vmj23 member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 250 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2014
    Me and my finance are both raised catholic but neither of us go to church (until recently)   I had no intentions of marrying in the church and when his mom found out she was very upset.    after much discussion with my fiance, we decided to go talk with a priest.  In the end, we decided we wanted to get  married in a church.  This decision had nothing to do with our parents or making anyone else happy.  We ddi nto want to cut the church out of our lives and we plan on having childen and raising them Catholic.   You need to do what is best for the 2 of you.   We have since started going to church (me more than my fiance due to his work scheduled , and not every week, but we are making the effort)  We live together and the priest is aware.  while he doesn't think that is an ideal arrangement, he said he would not expect either of us to move at this point.   he was very supportive and helpful.   I am not sure about the different religions, or your specific chruch, but the only advice i have is you need to do what you believe in, not trying to make someone else happy.  if you have questions, i'd suggest talking to a priest.   I was nervous about being judged, but really, it was very helpful for us to sit and talk with him. 
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