Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Catholic Wedding Issues

Hi. I was raised Catholic and my fiancé was not, in fact, he is kind of anti-religion, but he's still spiritual in a way that is important to him.

I stopped going to mass a few years ago because I realized that I was going more to please my mother than actually wanting to go for myself.

We are getting married July 30th, 2016 and my mother assumes we are getting married in the church, or she refuses to go.

I do not want to go through pre-Cana because I just don't think it's for us, and my fiancé is pretty much refusing to do it because it is not what he believes in, and I am with him there. I also don't want him to be forced into a Catholic wedding if he doesn't believe in it, but we both really want my mom at our wedding.

Do you think a priest would preform the ceremony outside of the church of the bishop gave him permission? I have read that this sometimes happens.

If not, does anyone have any advice about what we could do to possibly meet somewhere in the middle and make my mom happy too? Like possibly getting married outside the church and then having our marriage blessed in the church? I have also read about this happening sometimes, and I know it's not a wedding and that it happens at a normal mass, but at this point I'm willing to do anything because it needs to be solved soon!

Re: Catholic Wedding Issues

  • OP, I'm sorry you are in this situation. This exact thing happened to one of my best friends a few yrs ago. Her and her FI were both non-church going and it was the first thing they both agreed upon for their wedding - not in a church. Her FI in particular felt very strongly about this (as it sounds like yours does). When her parents found out they told her they would not attend unless it was in a church. Friend was so upset at the thought of her parents not coming that her FI gave in after a while and they married in the church in the end. However, her now H was furious that they even had to make that concession for what was essentially so that her parents wouldn't lose face in their community. He also found it extremely distasteful to marry in a church when neither of them is even slightly religious. I agree with him 100%. The relationship between them has never recovered, and they barely see each other now. Friend says to me that she gave in because it was the easiest thing to do in the situation at the time, but in the long run it has caused far more problems and she wishes she had had the guts to do what she wanted. In the end her parents would probably have come, and if they hadn't then lets face it - they're not great parents in the first place.
                 
    stewykins432
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    From what I understand, it's very hard to get the archdioceses permission for a priest to perform a wedding outside of a church.

    Don't conform to having a religious ceremony to appease your mother. Explain to her that neither you or your FI are comfortable with it. IMO, if you are not religious, it's not right to get married in a church/by a priest. 

    YogaSandy
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As another practicing Catholic, I agree with the others. A dispensation from the bishop is possible, but there needs to be a valid reason (no offense, your reason probably won't work).

    Additionally, the blessing you're referring to is called a convalidation. This would also require pre-Cana and is still considered getting married in the church.

    Regarding your mom, you need to be honest with her. Her saying that she won't attend may not just be manipulation. There are Catholics who have issues with attending the non-Catholic wedding of a Catholic (http://www.catholic.com/blog/jim-blackburn/should-i-attend-the-wedding-or-not). I was actually advised not to attend my own brother's wedding since they did not marry in the Catholic church (I discerned for myself and attended).

    You and your FI need to decide for yourself what role the Catholic church will play in your life (it sounds like you have.) Say to your mom, "FI and I have decided to not marry in the Catholic church because it is not in line with our beliefs. We hope you will respect this and we really want you to join us on our wedding day."

    Good luck!
    tigerlily6OliveOilsMomadwks
  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    Hi there. My fiance and I both grew up Catholic, but when we met were not practicing Catholics, and we only recently both found ourselves independently drawn to going to Mass more often, and "re-verting" into the Church. Pre-Cana was a source of some anxiety for us initially, but it has actually ended up being awesome. The big distinction, though, is that we both freely decided to go through with Pre-Cana and getting married Catholic. 

    @MobKaz hit the nail on the head. This is not your mom's wedding. One of the other things you promise in a Catholic marriage is that you are there of your own free will. Not because you felt pressured into something by family. Getting any kind of dispensation from a bishop, as I understand it, is usually reserved only for very difficult and delicate religious situations between the two spouses themselves -- for example, one is committed to Catholicism, and the other is committed to Judaism. Even then, I think, dispensations aren't freely handed out, and the main point to stress is that at least one spouse WANTS a Catholic wedding because they identify as Catholic. It sounds like neither you or your fiance really identify this way, it's just your mom who does. 

    I think you are doing the right thing and most respectful thing by not getting married Catholic when you know it is not a religion you believe or practice. By not getting married Catholic, however, you are essentially making a clear statement that you are not Catholic. Please be mindful there is no half-way when it comes to this. You are Catholic, or you aren't. You are going to have to draw a clear line on this. 

    In terms of pressure, just be clear you don't take it from either side. When both my fiance and I weren't practicing Catholics, I always felt a bit of tension about the topic of religion, even tho I said we were on the same page. My FI was, like yours, very anti-religion and did not want to get married in the Catholic church or baptize any future kids. I would have probably gone along with it to minimize conflict, but I wasn't so much anti-religion as just discontent about a lot of the Catholic teachings, and in my gut kind of felt iffy and sort of wanted a Catholic wedding, even just for cultural reasons. I look back now and realize this could have been a HUGE issue down the road. If you are having any of those conflicted feelings, I recommend you talk about them first and foremost with your FI. You don't want to take a big step like this unless you are fully on board with doing so, and neither he or his mother should push you one way or another. Discern what YOU want, then work and communicate with your FI and mom from there. 

    ETA for spelling and (relative) brevity.
                        


    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    OP, I want to add one more thought.  In your original post you said, "I stopped going to mass a few years ago because I realized that I was going more to please my mother than actually wanting to go for myself."

    Your mother must be aware of this change in your philosophy.  You choosing to not marry in the Catholic faith should not come as a surprise to her.  You need to remind her of this.  You need to firmly and calmly explain that as you start your new life, she is no longer the person that needs to be pleased or placated.
    tigerlily6OliveOilsMomYogaSandystewykins432
  • ThxSugarThxSugar member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    Deleted so not to thread jack. New thread started.

    JediElizabeth
  • I think the big issue here is to talk to your mom.   She may not like it but I wouldn't make major life decisions that completely conflict with who I am to please my parents. 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    MobKaz is wise and her two posts are worth re-reading.  But I wanted to touch upon two things you mentioned in your OP.

    First, pre-cana is not some crazy bible thumping women must be subservient to their husbands marriage counseling.  There is really very little about Church teachings as it relates to marriage, except for maybe birth control methods.  Depending on the diocese, pre-cana can differ a bit, but the overall thing that you will discuss is finances, children, ILs, communication, other aspects of your married life.  It is lead by married couples.  You will also complete the FOCCUS inventory test which is completely secular and available to anyone online.  I would even recommend pre-cana to non-Catholics because I think they have a great set up to get couples talking about important things and its often cheaper than private premarital counseling.  I also think that everyone who is considering marriage should have pre-marital counseling of some kind.

    Second, is that I had a great Aunt who was refusing to attend my brother's wedding because it was going to be held in a Protestant Church.  She said she would only go to the reception.  Well guess what?  She was at the church smiling from one of the forward pews.  She even gave my brother and his wife one of the "Little Methodist" drawing cards that they kept in the pews for small children afterwards for their future children!  So I would call your mom's bluff, especially after having a conversation with her like MobKaz recommends.

    charlotte989875
  • I think the others are right about your ceremony.  It is your wedding ceremony, not your mother's.
    Has your FI been baptized Christian?  If he has not, then would any priest marry you?  Pre-cana is a good idea for you, though.  It may bring up some questions that you have not considered.  For instance, how will you raise your children - Catholic or no?  Protestant churches are always an alternative, but you would not be allowed to take the host in mass.  If you are married outside the church, you will not be allowed to receive the host, either.  I assume you already know this.
    If you have not discussed your religious future with your FI, then you really need to do this before your wedding, whatever ceremony you choose.  This should be decided before your wedding, not afterwards.  I have seen marriages break up because the couple just avoided the decision until later.
    If you do want a Christian ceremony, United Methodist ministers will marry you, but you would be forbidden the mass afterwards.  United Methodist churches have many former Catholic members because they do not specify what you must believe, other than faith in God and Jesus.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    I think the others are right about your ceremony.  It is your wedding ceremony, not your mother's.
    Has your FI been baptized Christian?  If he has not, then would any priest marry you?  Pre-cana is a good idea for you, though.  It may bring up some questions that you have not considered.  For instance, how will you raise your children - Catholic or no?  Protestant churches are always an alternative, but you would not be allowed to take the host in mass.  If you are married outside the church, you will not be allowed to receive the host, either.  I assume you already know this.
    If you have not discussed your religious future with your FI, then you really need to do this before your wedding, whatever ceremony you choose.  This should be decided before your wedding, not afterwards.  I have seen marriages break up because the couple just avoided the decision until later.
    If you do want a Christian ceremony, United Methodist ministers will marry you, but you would be forbidden the mass afterwards.  United Methodist churches have many former Catholic members because they do not specify what you must believe, other than faith in God and Jesus.
    To the first bolded, yes a Catholic priest can witness the marriage of a Catholic and an non-baptized person.  It just involves a bit more work.

    To the second bolded (and I'm sure you meant this), a person will still be able to attend Mass; they will just not be able to receive the Eucharist.
  • Thank you, HG.  That is what I meant.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I figured, @CMGragain ..... just wanted to clarify / confirm for lurkers.
    CMGragainSoldiersMom
  • Hi. I was raised Catholic and my fiancé was not, in fact, he is kind of anti-religion, but he's still spiritual in a way that is important to him.

    I stopped going to mass a few years ago because I realized that I was going more to please my mother than actually wanting to go for myself.

    We are getting married July 30th, 2016 and my mother assumes we are getting married in the church, or she refuses to go.

    I do not want to go through pre-Cana because I just don't think it's for us, and my fiancé is pretty much refusing to do it because it is not what he believes in, and I am with him there. I also don't want him to be forced into a Catholic wedding if he doesn't believe in it, but we both really want my mom at our wedding.

    Do you think a priest would preform the ceremony outside of the church of the bishop gave him permission? I have read that this sometimes happens.

    If not, does anyone have any advice about what we could do to possibly meet somewhere in the middle and make my mom happy too? Like possibly getting married outside the church and then having our marriage blessed in the church? I have also read about this happening sometimes, and I know it's not a wedding and that it happens at a normal mass, but at this point I'm willing to do anything because it needs to be solved soon!

    You would need to be in good standing to be given dispensation. I know of one person that this has happened with and it took a year and she and her husband were both in good standing with their respective churches. You also have to personally receive council from the Bishop and Pre-Cana is a non-negotiable.

    Look, I grew up with Catholics, was baptized, had first communion, and went to Catholic schools, I was not confirmed because I knew that I was not going to continue in the faith as an adult. I would not dream of having a church wedding, no matter who else wanted it.

    You need to put your foot down and decide what you want to do. It would be disrespectful to have a church wedding if you do not believe in the faith.
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