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  #1  
Old Jun 23, '09, 2:05 am
Sir Knight Sir Knight is offline
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Question Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

Is it possible to get married in the eyes of the Church but remain unmarried civilly? If so, how does one go about doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 3:01 am
Phemie Phemie is online now
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

Unless the law of the land is patently against natural law (for example, no interracial marriages) and the Church agrees to perform a secret marriage, the Church normally follows the law of the land. If a Church marriage is not recognized, the Church will usually require proof of a civil marriage before performing the religious ceremony.

Other than cases when the law is unfair, why on earth would anyone want to marry religiously but not legally? The legal protection of property, etc, would not be there.

That's not to say that I haven't known a priest to deliberately marry someone when he knew they didn't have a valid marriage licence with the deliberate intent to thwart the government. All it did was cause a major headache for the couple and for me and bring a reprimand from the gov't.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 3:17 am
Sir Knight Sir Knight is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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why on earth would anyone want to marry religiously but not legally? The legal protection of property, etc, would not be there.
Elderly couple with limited income who could stand to lose up to half of their social security benefits.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 3:19 am
Phemie Phemie is online now
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Elderly couple with limited income who could stand to lose up to half of their social security benefits.
In other words you would want the Church to be a party to fraud against the government. Don't think the Church will go for that.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 3:21 am
Sir Knight Sir Knight is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

Actually, the government is encouraging immoral behavior. There would be nothing illegal or fraudulent if they moved in together but if they get married, their benefits could be cut. From a fairness perspective, why should immoral behavior be rewarded but moral behavior be punished?
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Old Jun 23, '09, 3:58 am
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

Actually in many countries (most countries, I think, but am not inclined to try and prove it) the church wedding and the civil marriage are separate - the business of the clergy standing in for the State is an American thing. And, frankly, one I think we would be well-advised to get un-involved in, before the State comes around and says "you have to marry anyone we say can legally marry."

After all - we don't recognize civil divorce, which means we consider people married when the State does not. I'm not sure I see a difference.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 4:14 am
Phemie Phemie is online now
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Actually, the government is encouraging immoral behavior. There would be nothing illegal or fraudulent if they moved in together but if they get married, their benefits could be cut. From a fairness perspective, why should immoral behavior be rewarded but moral behavior be punished?
I don't consider it punishment. The government rules make sense to me. Social security is just that, security. Since getting married and moving in together cuts many expenses in 1/2 why should the government keep paying double? Are they worse off marrying than they were living a moral life apart? No. Immorality is their choice, based on finances.

I've seen the same argument by widows of military personnel who will opt to live with a new partner for the maximum time allowed before losing survivor benefits, then move out for a while and repeat. I don't think the gov't is sanctioning immorality. Heck, with that reasoning why shouldn't people on social security go out and rob banks?
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Old Jun 23, '09, 4:37 am
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Is it possible to get married in the eyes of the Church but remain unmarried civilly? If so, how does one go about doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies.
no not in the US. it may be possible in very rare cases in countries where there would be some kind of persecution or some extreme situation, which would be judged by the bishop, but ordinarily a marriage has to valid under civil law as well as canon law. In the US it would also be fraud and so objectively sinful on that basis alone.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 5:01 am
FastLearner FastLearner is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Is it possible to get married in the eyes of the Church but remain unmarried civilly? If so, how does one go about doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies.
They can go to a foreign country where a Church wedding is not recognized by the State and get married. Another option that's less advisable but still possible is to go to any foreign country and not legalize the marriage in the US.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 5:19 am
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Is it possible to get married in the eyes of the Church but remain unmarried civilly? If so, how does one go about doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies.
If the jurisdiction you are in allows for "Common Law Marriages", then no. If not, if a marriage licence is required, then yes. With the consent of the bishop, the priest simply does not sign the marriage license.

That actually happend to my wife and I. She is Canadian and we were planning on getting married at her parish. Even though we applied 7 months before the Wedding, INS had not processed the paperwork to bring her in the the US.

Needless to say, I would have like to bring my wife back to our new house with me.

So we talked to the priest about not performing his civil obligations at the Nuptual Mass, he gave the circumstances to the bishops and the bishop approved.

So we went ahead with the wedding, so we were Sacramentally married (which is was most important), Father listed it as a Convalidation on our baptismal records. We went off on our honeymoon, and she came in to the States as a regular Canadian on a visit.

Paperwork came through about a month later and we did a Justice of the peace thing with two friends to keep INS happy.


This is also quite common in countries like France,or Poland under the Communists, where only civil marriages are recognized. A couple would get married in the Church, and then head down to city hall to be legally married.
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  #11  
Old Jun 23, '09, 5:34 am
Phemie Phemie is online now
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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If the jurisdiction you are in allows for "Common Law Marriages", then no. If not, if a marriage licence is required, then yes. With the consent of the bishop, the priest simply does not sign the marriage license.

That actually happend to my wife and I. She is Canadian and we were planning on getting married at her parish. Even though we applied 7 months before the Wedding, INS had not processed the paperwork to bring her in the the US.

Needless to say, I would have like to bring my wife back to our new house with me.

So we talked to the priest about not performing his civil obligations at the Nuptual Mass, he gave the circumstances to the bishops and the bishop approved.

So we went ahead with the wedding, so we were Sacramentally married (which is was most important), Father listed it as a Convalidation on our baptismal records. We went off on our honeymoon, and she came in to the States as a regular Canadian on a visit.

That seems most irregular, since a convalidation means making an invalid marriage valid and you weren't even married.

Paperwork came through about a month later and we did a Justice of the peace thing with two friends to keep INS happy.


This is also quite common in countries like France,or Poland under the Communists, where only civil marriages are recognized. A couple would get married in the Church, and then head down to city hall to be legally married.

No actually in those countries the Church will not marry you unless you prove you are already legally married. You are required to present a marriage certificate in order for the priest to witness your exchange of consent.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 5:35 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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They can go to a foreign country where a Church wedding is not recognized by the State and get married. Another option that's less advisable but still possible is to go to any foreign country and not legalize the marriage in the US.
Not exactly.

In countries where the clergy do not have civil authority to marry, the Church marriage must come AFTER the civil marriage has been contracted. Not the other way around.
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Old Jun 23, '09, 5:37 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
So we talked to the priest about not performing his civil obligations at the Nuptual Mass, he gave the circumstances to the bishops and the bishop approved.

So we went ahead with the wedding, so we were Sacramentally married (which is was most important), Father listed it as a Convalidation on our baptismal records.
Wow! A priest who will lie, falsify Sacramental records, and become complicit in defrauding the US government.

That's a priest to hold up as an exemple of holiness-- NOT.
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Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
  #14  
Old Jun 23, '09, 6:03 am
bpbasilphx bpbasilphx is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

You're making very good points, SirKnight.

I've seen this kind of thing happen too often.
  #15  
Old Jun 23, '09, 6:11 am
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Brendan Brendan is offline
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Default Re: Is there a way not to be legally married by the church?

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Wow! A priest who will lie, falsify Sacramental records, and become complicit in defrauding the US government.
Exactly where did the priest utter any falsehood, or falsify a Sacramental record. Is it your claim that we were actually NOT Sacramentally married? If so, what is your basis for that claim?


As to defrauding the US Government, at no point did any party claim to have been married in any way that would be recognized by US Law, so where, specifically, is the fraud?
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