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  #1  
Old May 7, '12, 9:10 pm
mcgoose mcgoose is offline
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Default Wedding with no Mass?

My bf and I have been dating for 8 years, most of them long distance. We will finally be living in the same city again next summer and have decided to wed shortly before. He's proposed, but I am fearful of telling my family. I have a secret that I'm too scared to tell them.

I'm not Catholic.

I don't want to bore everyone with the details of my conversion from Catholicism to ... whatever it is I am now. Agnostic? Maybe. I don't want to assign arbitrary labels. The point is, if I had a traditional Catholic wedding, it would be for my family and not for me/husband. That's not fair, neither to us nor Catholic couples and the integrity of their vows.

My question is this: Is there a way to be married inside a Catholic church without a Mass? Maybe some readings and blessings and a little prayer, but no communion? Does not including the mass defeat the purpose of a Catholic ceremony? I'm just looking for a short, 20-30 minute ceremony that would appropriately display our commitment to one another without causing a rift in my family (at least, the rift that my over-anxious brain anticipates)

Any charitable advice is welcome
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  #2  
Old May 7, '12, 9:21 pm
DhuAlQarnayn DhuAlQarnayn is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Yes, it is common to have a Catholic marriage ceremony without a mass. The service can be as elaborate or as simple as you like.
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  #3  
Old May 7, '12, 9:48 pm
BlueEyedLady BlueEyedLady is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

I don't think a priest will marry her in the church if she doesn't consider herself Catholic will he? Especially if she can't agree to raise her kids Catholic.

Interesting question that will probably yield a lot of interesting and controversial answers.
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  #4  
Old May 7, '12, 9:56 pm
YADA YADA is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

I am assuming that you were raised in a Catholic family and received Baptism [probably as an infant] and Eucharist [or the rest of your family has probably fallen away as well and you would have little concern], Confirmation perhaps ...

With that - then ... you must ask yourself several questions:

Where are you in your faith life? .. you indicate agnostic - non believing in God or Christianity - at least ambivilent ...

You have been dating 8 years - so you are not a very young adult - barely out of high school .. so as an adult -

Do you not feel confident and mature enough in your 'beliefs' to acknowledge same with your family? If not - are you really ready to enter into a life long committment with someone?

If you can;t be honest with yoru family - can you be honest with the person you intend to marry? If that person why not your family?

Is your fiance Catholic? Where are they in their faith life? What is it they beleive and can you reconcile any diferences?

If you do not believe what the Church teacheds - especially regarding marriage and married persons - Why would you seek a "Catholic" ceremony? Does that fraud cause you concern [I think yes - or you would not have posted here]

Here is my advice ..

If you do not profess the catholic faith - do not seek a Catholic marriage. Pretending and forgery are not the basis upon which to buid a permanent relationship.

Honesty is always the best action to take - with your family and your future spouse - and with friends too ...

I wish you all the best -

PLEASE Read Bishop Fulton Sheen's "Three to Get Married" - Its a wonderful book ...
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  #5  
Old May 7, '12, 10:09 pm
berkley09 berkley09 is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Congratulations!

No, even if there weren't a mass, you should not be married in the Catholic Church if you do not truly believe the Catholic faith plus you want to be married in the church for the wrong reasons.
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  #6  
Old May 8, '12, 12:26 am
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

If you've converted "from" Catholicism, to a state of uncertainty, then you probably don't know the Catholic faith very well. I would encourage you to study it, maybe attend RCIA, and find out what you have given up before too much more time goes by.
Most people who really understand their Catholic faith would not give it up for anything.
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  #7  
Old May 8, '12, 12:43 am
thewanderer thewanderer is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgoose View Post
My bf and I have been dating for 8 years, most of them long distance. We will finally be living in the same city again next summer and have decided to wed shortly before. He's proposed, but I am fearful of telling my family. I have a secret that I'm too scared to tell them.

I'm not Catholic.

I don't want to bore everyone with the details of my conversion from Catholicism to ... whatever it is I am now. Agnostic? Maybe. I don't want to assign arbitrary labels. The point is, if I had a traditional Catholic wedding, it would be for my family and not for me/husband. That's not fair, neither to us nor Catholic couples and the integrity of their vows.

My question is this: Is there a way to be married inside a Catholic church without a Mass? Maybe some readings and blessings and a little prayer, but no communion? Does not including the mass defeat the purpose of a Catholic ceremony? I'm just looking for a short, 20-30 minute ceremony that would appropriately display our commitment to one another without causing a rift in my family (at least, the rift that my over-anxious brain anticipates)

Any charitable advice is welcome
What your family will care about is whether or not your marriage is considered valid in the eyes of the church. Now, it is possible to have a valid marriage that does not involve a mass, however, there are other requirements. If either person getting married is baptized then they must promise to be open to life and to raise any of their children in the Catholic faith if their marriage is to be considered valid by the church. Unfortunately, since you say that a Catholic marriage is only important to your family, not to either you or your fiance it is unlikely that you will be able to do this honestly. In which case you will not be able to be married validly in the eyes of the church. I am really sorry for the position you are in, as it is likely to cause your family much hurt, especially if they are not yet even aware that you no longer believe in the Catholic faith. There is also the possibility that they will blame you leaving the faith on your fiance, which could make the situation even worse. I wish I had better news, or even more advice on how to handle this. This is a very difficult position to be caught in. I hope that you can find a way to work this out.
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  #8  
Old May 8, '12, 1:23 am
Seira Seira is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

You should be honest & upfront w/ your parents. You're an adult now & if you make decisions you should be able to stand by them. If you don't really want or care to have your wedding at a Catholic church then don't. Don't do it because that's what your parents want or expect. Keeping secrets isn't a great way to kick off a wedding. Besides you might be making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe they'll be more understanding & respect your wishes. You never know. However, I do know that hiding this fact isn't going to do anything good. It actually could make your parents more upset if they happen to find out the truth via third party.

Last edited by Seira; May 8, '12 at 1:38 am.
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  #9  
Old May 8, '12, 5:10 am
Lovemyfaith Lovemyfaith is offline
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Posts: 1,131
Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Will you be inviting any Jewish guests? Perhaps you should hold the wedding in a Synagogue. Will there be any Wicans? I am not sure where they marry, but outdoors maybe?
A wedding in a church would be for a couple (or for at least one member) who intends to practice that faith. If you have no intention of doing so, why would you want to say your vows there?
My husband and I were not practicing Catholics when we married. We were not married in a church. When we realized our lives were incomplete we came back into the church and had our marriage blessed.
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  #10  
Old May 8, '12, 5:25 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgoose View Post
My bf and I have been dating for 8 years, most of them long distance. We will finally be living in the same city again next summer and have decided to wed shortly before. He's proposed, but I am fearful of telling my family. I have a secret that I'm too scared to tell them.

I'm not Catholic.

I don't want to bore everyone with the details of my conversion from Catholicism to ... whatever it is I am now. Agnostic? Maybe. I don't want to assign arbitrary labels. The point is, if I had a traditional Catholic wedding, it would be for my family and not for me/husband. That's not fair, neither to us nor Catholic couples and the integrity of their vows.

My question is this: Is there a way to be married inside a Catholic church without a Mass? Maybe some readings and blessings and a little prayer, but no communion? Does not including the mass defeat the purpose of a Catholic ceremony? I'm just looking for a short, 20-30 minute ceremony that would appropriately display our commitment to one another without causing a rift in my family (at least, the rift that my over-anxious brain anticipates)

Any charitable advice is welcome
If you were baptized, you're still Catholic. You are a lapsed Catholic, but you're still Catholic. And, you and your BF need to get this settled between you before you marry. How will you raise the children? It's a bigger deal than just your wedding ceremony. No, you shouldn't lie to your family and pretend to have a Catholic wedding, but I do not advise you to marry in your current confusion. I take it that you have had no pre-Cana (marriage preparation)? Is your BF's faith weak then?

What about children? Will you be open to life or do you intend to use artificial birth control? If he's a faithful Catholic, this is going to be a problem.

Just some things to consider.
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  #11  
Old May 8, '12, 7:38 am
akela135's Avatar
akela135 akela135 is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

I'd advise you to sit down and really think about what kind of marriage you want. If you doubt you'll follow the Catholic faith in your marriage then I'd advise against a Catholic wedding. My FH and I just finish going through the pre-Cana courses and in our area at least, they make sure you understand what it means to have a Catholic marriage, the wedding is just one day of a life long commitment after all.

If your FH is agnostic, as well, I think a civil ceremony would be fine. You could perhaps consult with a priest about the situation and see if the church can have someone present to bless or acknowledge your wedding for your families sake.

You should probably address your family so they aren't confused or hurt when they find out. I'd suggest telling them you are unsure about your faith right now, but until you figure it out you think it would be dishonest to have a Catholic wedding. Also that you welcome their prayers and support as you try to figure out and discern your path in life.

Good luck!
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  #12  
Old May 8, '12, 11:42 am
mcgoose mcgoose is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Thank you everyone for your replies.

Many people have been asking about the "openness to life" criterion. Even though we are both in our very late 20's/early 30's, I had a hysterectomy a few years ago and he has stated that he never wants children, biological or otherwise. I am in agreement. So this promise that we would make to raise children in the faith is sort of like promising that I will build a church if I live on the moon. I can promise all I want, but it's never going to happen.

To others asking about my SO: he was baptized and confirmed and then nothing after that. His parents went through the motions of Catholicism with him and then abandoned the project once it was "complete", if that makes sense.

To the individual telling me that if I knew the Catholic faith more, maybe I would stay in the Church... it is quite the opposite. It's because I studied that Catholic faith so religiously (ha, pun) that I discovered that it does not align with my beliefs. It's no offense to the devout, nor is it a defect on my part. It simply is what it is.

I understand that because of my hesitation to marry in the Church, that should be sufficient evidence to man up (as it were) and be honest with my family. I am the eldest of my generation however, and successful career wise. My aunts and uncles (unfairly, I'll admit) use me as an example to teach their children good decision making. My grandparents are stuck in their ways as well as (and I say this with love) simple minded. My grandmother will have the hardest time dealing with me not getting married in the church. My mother will be upset at first, but I have a hunch that she will defend me in the end.

It's just a very difficult thing, to know that the right thing would be to have a secular wedding, but at the same time, abandoning my family's traditions. Causing heartache when I want them to celebrate my joy...

The family is gathering on Memorial Day. I plan to tell them that I am engaged and see what happens from there.
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  #13  
Old May 8, '12, 7:56 pm
YADA YADA is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

You say you have studied the faith and it fails to align with your beliefs ...

Notably you don't give any idea how you made this study - nor what your 'beliefs' are .. but I accept you at your word ...

Your aunt uses your 'success' as an example and because of that you are considering having a "Church" wedding to not disappoint her ... What ???? Listen to what you just said .. you would perpetrate a total fraud .. in order to be an example to young people .. Do you not see the contradiction here?

You grandparents are 'simple' minded ... wow - now that shows respect ... How did you get to be so wise in so few years - you are so obviously more intelligent then the rest of your family

Truthfully - you should just grow up and if you are not a person of faith - or a person of the Christian Catholic faith - then be honest - First with yourself followed immediately by being honest with your family, friends and fiancÚ .. especially with your fiancÚ ...

A marriage built by people who would claim to live out a lie in order to be an example to young people will find it hard [I don;t say impossible - but hard] to weather the storms of life that will confront you from time to time ... debilitating illnesses, accidents, financial issues and children. Yes - saw that you cannot have a child due to a hysterectomy .. but you could foster or adopt - and even though you may be fine without the child complication - what would you do if nieces or nephews were orphaned - would you want to help them? What if its your fiancÚ's family and he wants to take that on after a family tragedy?

Marriage is a great gift - but look at divorce rates and you can tell that it is hard and takes work ..

PS you can still learn more about your faith - I learn new things, new insights and renewed faith everyday - and I hold a theology Master's degree .. People I know who seriously study any topic with an open mind [as opposed to a committed opinion or preconcieved position] consider learning a life long endeavor. It is never something that is finished
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  #14  
Old May 8, '12, 9:00 pm
mcgoose mcgoose is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
You say you have studied the faith and it fails to align with your beliefs ...

Notably you don't give any idea how you made this study - nor what your 'beliefs' are .. but I accept you at your word ...
This isn't a thread about how I came to be a non-Catholic. This is a thread about disappointing my family.

For the record, I have no "beliefs". I am, for lack of a better term, Apathetic Agnostic. I think that if a god were all loving, it wouldn't care if I went to a service every week and saved myself for marriage. If a god did care and was vengeful and sent people to hell for it, that's not the kind of god I want to worship.

And there you have it. Everything I "believe".

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
Your aunt uses your 'success' as an example and because of that you are considering having a "Church" wedding to not disappoint her ... What ???? Listen to what you just said .. you would perpetrate a total fraud .. in order to be an example to young people .. Do you not see the contradiction here?
Yes, I do see the contradiction. I'm scared to be a disappointment. Sometimes people are irrational when they're paralyzed with fear. My purpose here was to see if I had other options, or a way to make a compromise before bringing it up to my family. My purpose was not to be a fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
You grandparents are 'simple' minded ... wow - now that shows respect ... How did you get to be so wise in so few years - you are so obviously more intelligent then the rest of your family
I have great respect for them. But with all due respect to you, I'm pretty sure I know them better than you do. These are two people who both have an eighth grade education, have never been outside of a 400 mile radius of their house, and who both have dementia. I respect them for raising their son to be an excellent father to me. I respect them for working hard for everything they have. But I never intended "simple" to be an insult. Maybe if I said "hard to rationalize with" instead? In any case, age has only a small correlation to wisdom. Don't patronize and marginalize me because I was born in the 80's. You have no idea what I have experienced in my "few years" and what it took to get where I am today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
Truthfully - you should just grow up and if you are not a person of faith - or a person of the Christian Catholic faith - then be honest - First with yourself followed immediately by being honest with your family, friends and fiancÚ .. especially with your fiancÚ ...

A marriage built by people who would claim to live out a lie in order to be an example to young people will find it hard [I don;t say impossible - but hard] to weather the storms of life that will confront you from time to time ... debilitating illnesses, accidents, financial issues and children. Yes - saw that you cannot have a child due to a hysterectomy .. but you could foster or adopt - and even though you may be fine without the child complication - what would you do if nieces or nephews were orphaned - would you want to help them? What if its your fiancÚ's family and he wants to take that on after a family tragedy?

Marriage is a great gift - but look at divorce rates and you can tell that it is hard and takes work ..
With all due respect (again), you are telling me this as if I don't understand that marriage is a commitment. My bf and I know eachother's religious stances very well. We have had long discussions about these fears of mine. But I would never lie in my vows. I'm simply asking if there is a way to make both me/bf and family happy (Catholic ceremony with no transubstantiation) Now that I know there is, I should talk to my hometown priest about these issues so that I can be completely upfront with everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
PS you can still learn more about your faith - I learn new things, new insights and renewed faith everyday - and I hold a theology Master's degree .. People I know who seriously study any topic with an open mind [as opposed to a committed opinion or preconcieved position] consider learning a life long endeavor. It is never something that is finished
If I said "gay marriage" or "contraception" in place of where you said "faith" the first time, you would throw that whole paragraph down the toilet. Sometimes having an "open mind" is not something you can do. But I'll remember this.
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  #15  
Old May 8, '12, 10:43 pm
YADA YADA is offline
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Default Re: Wedding with no Mass?

It would be very good for you to discuss marriage options with the local priest - please be totally honest with him as to where you are in your beliefs .. not what you think would be prudent to get a Catholic ceremony ...

I am sorry that your grandparents suffer dementia. Thats hard on the family. However, that being the case - whether you are married in a Catholic Church/Ceremony- or not - will probably not register with them.

I would still recommend that you and your fiancÚ read Bishop Sheen's book - "Three to Get Married" - its a good read and offers many insights - even if it is grounded in Catholic Theology. FYI - I have non-catholic friends who think it is good for any and all couples - though in my Esperance all have a Christian world view.

Your parish will most likely require pre-nuptial counseling and typically a marriage encounter weekend along with natural family planning. In my archdiocese those are not optional - they must be completed - of course - you get out of it what you put into it.

I wish you well -
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