Wedding Woes

Catholic Church or something else? Need advice.

Hi everyone!

I am looking for some advice. I am getting married next summer and I'm currently debating whether or not to have the ceremony in a Catholic Church. I am Catholic but haven't attended church on a regular basis in a very long time (also the church I technically belong to has gone downhill and I absolutely do not want to get married there). My fiance was raised as a Methodist and doesn't want to convert just to get married, nor does he seem very enthusiastic about attending mass with me if we were to join a church. I am so nervous to call different churches in the area because I don't want to be "shunned" for not being a regular church-goer on top of marrying a non-Catholic. Should I suck it up and just start calling? Or should I try a different avenue? 

Re: Catholic Church or something else? Need advice.

  • Sounds like "something else" is more suited to the two of you.
  • @HeatherH92 - When was the last time you've been to Mass?  You do realize that by marrying outside of the Church without a dispensation from your Bishop, you're separating yourself from the Church, and getting a marriage convalidated is not a given.  Have you and your FI discussed what you will do if children come into the picture?  Do you want them baptized in the Church?  Most parishes would welcome you with open arms, because it's always wonderful to see people returning to the faith.  I would encourage you to visit several parishes in your area and find one that is active and thriving, and speak with the priest about going through pre-Cana and marriage prep.  Your FI will not have to convert for you to marry.  It would be good for you to discuss what you want in your faith life as a couple - going through the pre-Cana process and taking the FOCCUS inventory will help with that.  Feel free to PM me if I can be of any help!  Good luck! 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

  • I was in a similar situation when I contacted my parish about my wedding (in terms of the not having attended Mass in any sort of regular fashion in a while). Most places won't outright deny you solely on that basis, but if you're not a registered parishioner they will certainly question why you want to get married there. Something you really have to think about is why you want to get married in the Catholic Church -- is it because you have the spiritual need to reconnect yourself to the Church and create a stable foundation for your marriage through Christ, or because you want a pretty backdrop for your ceremony? If you're not completely set on renewing your faith except to have your wedding, there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not the right reason to have a Catholic wedding.
  • @mrsmorales2be is 100% correct. Most Catholic Church's won't mind that you're not a member. The donation to use the church, however, does increase. I'm a member of the church I'm getting married in, so the donation is $150, whereas for a non-member, the donation is $400. Your fiancé definitely doesn't have to convert. My fiancé is Lutheran, and he isn't converting.
  • Do you plan on being a practicing Catholic in the future?  Do you plan on kids being Catholic?  Does FI want the kids to be Catholic? If the answer to any of these is possibly no, something else is better.  If my catechism is correct, you would be committing a mortal sin by not following through.  If FI has no intent of being a practicing Catholic after going through conversion, then that's deception and also a huge no-no.

    My mother and father were both Catholic (Roman and Ukrainian, respectively), and they got married outside of the Church since my father was disenchanted with organized religion at that point.  Mom still raised us Catholic and took us to church every Sunday.  The sibling and I became agnostic and Anglican/Episcopalian, respectively.  The parents are still together after 35 years, and the only couple out of their circles of friends (including all my aunts and uncles).  Being married outside the Church is not a sentence of doom for your relationship or your soul.

    @HeatherH92, why are you considering getting married in the Church?  You don't have to answer it here, but if it's to please someone else or to have a nice setting, think twice.  Also, if it's going to drive a wedge between you and your betrothed, think about what's important to you two.  FI and I are of different Christian sects, and we've had several conversations like this. 
  • I think everyone above had great points. My fiance and I were in a similar situation and we ended up compromising by choosing an American Catholic priest. The priest we met with explained the difference to us- one big difference being that, long story short, they are less restrictive. He was totally okay with us getting married in a beautiful outside venue rather than a church building, not having a Mass (though that is "preferred") and the fact that we don't attend church regularly- of course that is also preferred but he understood that we choose to have our own relationships with God and that we haven't found a parish where we feel it enhances that. They are also okay with marrying a Catholic to a non-Catholic (though my FI and I were both raised Catholic). They also have classes that they usually recommend but after asking us a few questions and learning that we've been together for 8 years, he said the classes could be optional for us. We felt very comfortable with him. We had given up on finding a Roman Catholic priest since it's difficult to get a wedding approved outside of a church building and also because we were very hurt and insulted after one priest, a close friend of my FI's mother, said, "I would NEVER marry you! You live in sin!" (we live together). Even my FI's mom was shocked by that, and she's extremely devout! Anyway, we met with this American Catholic priest and I was nervous almost to the point of tears because I was so afraid we'd be judged for living together, for not being part of a parish, etc. We were happily surprised to feel completely comfortable with him. The "drawback" is that although American Catholics recognize Roman Catholics, Roman Catholics do not fully recognize American Catholics- they're "acknowledged" but not fully. So yes, if you want to have kids and raise them Roman Catholic, that could be an obstacle later on. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there as another option :) Good luck! I know that's a tough decision!
  • Thanks everyone for the input. It's an extremely hard decision to make, especially with parents who cannot offer me much advice. My mom is a Baptist and my dad, although Catholic, has not attended Mass in years, either. I think I need to sit down with my FI and discuss this with him. 

    AshleyP42 - Our situations are very familiar. On top of all my other concerns, I have also been extremely nervous about even trying to contact any priests because my fiance and I have been living together for almost a year and I know that is a big taboo with the Catholic church. I just can't picture myself having a non-religious wedding ceremony. I may have to see if there are any American Catholic priests in my area.
  • AshleyP42

    I don't know who told you that, but the Catholic Church (there is actually no such thing as "Roman Catholic"... it's just the Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome) does not recognize the "American Catholic" Church in any way, shape, or form.  By marrying outside of the Catholic Church, you are no longer in communion with the Church and therefore cannot receive the sacraments.  If that's not really important to you, then great.  But just thought it was important to make that clear so as not to confuse the OP.

    Also, only one spouse has to be Catholic to be married in the Church.  It can be difficult, and yes, some spouses don't want their children raised Catholic, but plenty of couples make it work.  It really just depends on how important your faith is to you.  If you are deeply committed to Catholicism, then you'll be willing to make it work and prioritize marrying properly in the Church.  If you're not that committed, then seek a ceremony outside the Church that will be pleasing  to both you and your fiancé.

  • Also, very few priests will refuse to marry a couple just because they are living together.  Some won't bring it up, some will talk to you about the Church's position on it but let you make the decision, and some might ask you to "live as brother and sister" until the wedding.  But very few will refuse to marry you.

  • Or you could not pretend to be religious for a day.  I mean honestly, if you don't go to the services or do any other practicing of the tenements of your faith, why is the wedding suddenly so important to have in a religious setting?
  • Things to ask yourself & FI

    • If you could find a different Catholic church that you enjoyed going to more, do you think you would start going on a more regular basis? This is based on FI not going with you
    • If you have kids, what if any faith do you plan to raise them?
    • Is FI willing to do pre-marital counseling if you find another catholic priest to marry you
  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island member
    Sixth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Heather, another resource is the Ecumenical Catholic Church. Google and search for a congregation near you.
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