A valid marriage?


My wife and I facilitate the marriage preparation program for our parish and started working with a couple that concerns us very much. Usually when we start working with a couple they have already met with a priest.
The couple we have now were married by a J.P. one year ago and now want a Catholic marriage. The husband is Lutheran (non-practicing) and the wife is Catholic (also non-practicing). At our first marriage prep. class we asked what made them decide to have their marriage blessed by the Church. We were very surprised to have the wife tell us that by not having a full wedding they missed out on the big party and all the presents that come with it. Also, the husband says he missed out on his bachelor party. They have now canceled their second meeting with us so he can attend his party. (This point is probably irrelevant to the situation, but adds to our frustration.)
Also at our first meeting the husband made it quite clear with a 10 minute rant that he has deep anti-Catholic sentiments. The usual Protestant issues were thrown at us one after the other…Mary, the saints, the Eucharist, call no man Father and on and on. My wife and I have no problem answering these arguments and defending our faith on these issues, but I am concerned that this couples intention is not a Sacramental marriage at all.
I am afraid our priest has not met in depth with this couple since this seems like a ‘no-brainer’ since they are already married legally.
With these circumstances would their marriage be valid?
My wife and I are meeting with the priest who will preside at their wedding tonight to express these concerns to him.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the issue.




It doesn’t seem that they intend what the Church intends with the sacrament of Matrimony. In such a case, the marriage would not be valid. But the real question revolves around whether your priest has the courage to confront them on this. I will keep him in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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