A couple questions about civil marraiges


#1

I was discussing with a friend yesterday about civil marriages. She believes that the Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of civil marriages (as in, a man and woman married by the law) because it brings into the marriage characteristics that can hurt or destroy it (such as prenups, divorce, etc).

My first question is this: Are civil marriages recognized by the Church? If so, under what conditions, and if not, why?

This brings up a more troubling thought I had, and thus my second question: If civil marriages actually WEREN'T valid in the eyes of the Church, what does this imply about intercourse within the marriage? Is the couple guilty of fornication or something similar?

Please help, because I am very concerned for my loved ones who have been married in civil marriages.


#2

If the parties (one or both) are baptized Catholic then they are required to marry in Church unless they receive dispensation from the Bishop (or delegate). If they marry civilly without this dispensation then no this marriage is not recognized.

However if they do so in ignorance then this may lower their culpability when it comes to mortal sin, etc. One should be very careful how they approach someone on this subject matter. It is best to talk to a priest.

In the case of Catholics who are married in a civil ceremony they may have their marriage convalidated provided there are no impediments to a marriage (previous marriages with no decree of nullity.) During this time the usual choice is that they either live as brother and sister or they do not receive Eucharist until the marriage is convalidated.

I understand I am not being detailed and I apologize but this is the surface issue. God bless.


#3

If one of the parties is Catholic, the Catholic form for the marriage must be followed. That would include being married in a Church, unless a dispensation is obtained beforehand. A dispensation could be allowed for a Catholic to take part in a civil marriage, but this appears to be mostly limited to cases involving disparity of cult (marriage to an unbaptized party).

The rules for non-Catholics are different, since they are not obliged to follow Catholic form.


#4

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:2, topic:252614"]
I understand I am not being detailed and I apologize but this is the surface issue. God bless.

[/quote]

Don't worry about it!:D I'm asking mainly because I work from 8 to 5 every weekday and I don't have readily access to a priest until the weekend.

The rules for non-Catholics are different, since they are not obliged to follow Catholic form.

In what way? Is their marriage (and thus intercourse) considered valid in this case?


#5

In what way? Is their marriage (and thus intercourse) considered valid in this case?

It could be - there are many variables and therefore the priest really needs to be involved. Your best bet is to have the couple make an appointment.


#6

It's good to remember that the ministers of marriage are the bride and groom. A Catholic marriage isn't necessarily Sacramental or valid even and a civil marriage isn't necessarily invalid nor is it impossible for it to be Sacramental. God can lift up anyone He chooses to Sacramental life.

A sure sign that a couples vows are valid is that they lead to a marital state united to the mystery of Christ's union with His Church and they become Catholic and have their marriage recognized and Blessed.

The Church doesn't make a marriage valid or Sacramental but assumes they are when two baptized Catholics marry.

The Church is given authority over marriage and with it recognizes the validity or not, of a marriage. Through it's blessing the Grace is made available to the couple to enable them to live up to the demands of a life obedient to their vows so their matrimonial state is open to the possibility of lifting them up into Sacramental life.


#7

To make it really simple:
Two Catholics married civilly **without a dispensation **from their bishop are not considered married by the Church. *Such a dispensation is rarely granted but might be for a very serious reason: to keep peace in the family, for example, when one of the parties is a convert with a family that is strongly anti-Catholic, or, one has a close relative who is a minister in another ecclesial community. (One Catholic I know really wanted her grandfather, a United Church of Canada minister, to officiate at her wedding.) *

A Catholic and a non-Catholic (baptized or not) married civilly without a dispensation from the Catholic's bishop are not considered married by the Church.

A Catholic and a non-Catholic married civilly with a dispensation from the Bishop are considered to be validly married.

Two non-Catholics, married civilly, are presumed to be in a valid marriage unless there was an impediment (a previous marriage with that spouse still living) since the requirement to marry in the Catholic Church applies only to Catholics.


#8

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