Are non-Catholic marriages considered valid?


#1

Obviously I know the churches stand on weddings by a Judge or a JP or anyone not a minister, but what about marriages performed in other churches or by other religions ministers. Are they valid or not?

I only ask because a few years ago, my parents knew a couple who were interested in becoming Catholic. They had been married in a Vegas chapel or something to that effect, and the priest told them they were living in sin and there child was a "bastard" and they had to correct it by getting their vows said in the Church. So does a marriage like theres count, even if they werent Catholic when it happened. Does that mean also, that if someone were to get married and divorced as a non-catholic, they could get a Catholic marriage to their second wife?


#2

Do you?

Non-Catholics enter marriage validly when they exchange vows before any civil authority.

Yes, they are valid. But the validity has nothing to do with where the marriage is performed, nor that the person witnessing it is a “minister”. Non-Catholic ministers are lay people. They are simply witnessing the vows like any other civil authority.

Well, I would suggest there might be more to the story, because being married in a civil service creates a valid marriage for non-Catholics. Perhaps they had some other impediment like a prior marriage.

Regarding the “bastard” comment-- well I can neither confirm nor deny that the priest said this since I was not there, but I highly doubt it. Children born of either a valid or a putative marriage (putative meaning a marriage entered into in good faith that turns out not to be valid) are legitimate per canon law.

Of course it is also possible that this priest somehow managed to become ordained without proper formation and coursework that would have prepared him to handle married non-Catholics entering the Church.

Yes, such a marriage is valid. If the parties are both baptized, it is a sacrament as well.

No. Their prior bond would have to be examined for validity or nullity. They are not free to marry anyone else.


#3

[quote="benjammin, post:1, topic:307933"]
Obviously I know the churches stand on weddings by a Judge or a JP or anyone not a minister, but what about marriages performed in other churches or by other religions ministers. Are they valid or not?

[/quote]

I think you know the Church's stand on weddings of Catholics who are not married in the proper form.

[quote="benjammin, post:1, topic:307933"]
I only ask because a few years ago, my parents knew a couple who were interested in becoming Catholic. They had been married in a Vegas chapel or something to that effect, and the priest told them they were living in sin and there child was a "bastard" and they had to correct it by getting their vows said in the Church. So does a marriage like theres count, even if they werent Catholic when it happened. Does that mean also, that if someone were to get married and divorced as a non-catholic, they could get a Catholic marriage to their second wife?

[/quote]

There have been valid weddings long before there was a Catholic Church. In general, the Church recognizes the marriages of couples (who are otherwise free to marry each other) so long as they marry according the laws, civil or religious, to which they are subject. Most non-Catholic Christian religions recognize marriage when it takes place in front of anyone who has the civil authority to preside at weddings. So the Catholic Church general considers such weddings valid too.

There may have been more to the story that you related. Or the priest could have been wrong. (In the past it has not been unusual for both Catholics and non-Catholic Christians to think weddings other than Church weddings were abominations.)

But to answer your question, a non-Catholic who is divorced and remarried and now wants to become Catholic would have to have his original marriage(s) examined to see if it/they is/are valid or not.


#4

Whenever a question on marriage arises on CAF, I'm always glad to see 1ke post so that I can just say "Listen to 1ke." :)


#5

[quote="Joe_5859, post:4, topic:307933"]
Whenever a question on marriage arises on CAF, I'm always glad to see 1ke post so that I can just say "Listen to 1ke." :)

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#6

[quote="benjammin, post:1, topic:307933"]
Obviously I know the churches stand on weddings by a Judge or a JP or anyone not a minister, but what about marriages performed in other churches or by other religions ministers. Are they valid or not?

I only ask because a few years ago, my parents knew a couple who were interested in becoming Catholic. They had been married in a Vegas chapel or something to that effect, and the priest told them they were living in sin and there child was a "bastard" and they had to correct it by getting their vows said in the Church. So does a marriage like theres count, even if they werent Catholic when it happened. Does that mean also, that if someone were to get married and divorced as a non-catholic, they could get a Catholic marriage to their second wife?

[/quote]

3rd hand reports of a priest calling a child a "bastard" are specious at best. If the couple wanted to join the Catholic Church, yes, they would need to get married in the Church, but they are already civilly married. The priest would have given them the requirements and explained the process. Perhaps this actually happened the way your parents reported, or had it reported to them, but somehow, I doubt it. The timeline would be for them to become Catholic, and THEN be married in the Church.

No, for anyone previously married to be married to a Catholic, the previous marriage would need to be annulled, and there are no guarantees that would happen. It's not "Catholic divorce," but a judgment that one or both of the parties did not contract the marriage in a way so as to make it valid. There would have been an impediment to the marriage, in other words. Adultery does not necessarily qualify a marriage for an annulment, nor any act taking place after the wedding itself.


#7

[quote="benjammin, post:1, topic:307933"]
Obviously I know the churches stand on weddings by a Judge or a JP or anyone not a minister, but what about marriages performed in other churches or by other religions ministers. Are they valid or not?

I only ask because a few years ago, my parents knew a couple who were interested in becoming Catholic. They had been married in a Vegas chapel or something to that effect, and the priest told them they were living in sin and there child was a "bastard" and they had to correct it by getting their vows said in the Church. So does a marriage like theres count, even if they werent Catholic when it happened. Does that mean also, that if someone were to get married and divorced as a non-catholic, they could get a Catholic marriage to their second wife?

[/quote]

A marriage is a marriage, the Catholic Church doesn't have exclusivity on what a marriage is or is not. She has, however, the exclusivity on Sacramental Marriage in the Catholic Church. So the priest really has no right to tell non-Catholics that their marriage is not legit. It is like an American telling someone from Europe (any country) whether their civil marriage is legit or not.


#8

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:6, topic:307933"]
3rd hand reports of a priest calling a child a "bastard" are specious at best. If the couple wanted to join the Catholic Church, yes, they would need to get married in the Church, but they are already civilly married. The priest would have given them the requirements and explained the process. Perhaps this actually happened the way your parents reported, or had it reported to them, but somehow, I doubt it. The timeline would be for them to become Catholic, and THEN be married in the Church.

[/quote]

No, they wouldn't need to be married in the Church because they are already married.


#9

Think of the saying "Innocent until proven guilty", this is the same stance the Church has towards non-Catholic marriages. They are assumed valid unless evidence exists to suggest otherwise, such as if one of them was actually Catholic and did not receive dispensation to have a non-Catholic or civil ceremony.

Also, if they were planning on becoming Catholic, this poses issues too if any one of them had been married before.


#10

Thanks for the answer, and also, I feel like people are freaking out over the whole bastard thing. Doesn’t bastard just mean “without a father”? Also, was there a difference in the church’s marriage views before Vatican 2. I know the priest in question was ordained sometime in the early 50’s, so maybe he was just uninformed if this at all in fact happened.


#11

[quote="Joe_5859, post:4, topic:307933"]
Whenever a question on marriage arises on CAF, I'm always glad to see 1ke post so that I can just say "Listen to 1ke." :)

[/quote]

Me three!


#12

[quote="benjammin, post:10, topic:307933"]
Thanks for the answer, and also, I feel like people are freaking out over the whole bastard thing. Doesn't bastard just mean "without a father"?

[/quote]

Really? I didn't notice that. I think most of us were shocked by the attitude you were ascribing to the priest rather than by the supposed words of this priest.

[quote="benjammin, post:10, topic:307933"]
Also, was there a difference in the church's marriage views before Vatican 2. I know the priest in question was ordained sometime in the early 50's, so maybe he was just uninformed if this at all in fact happened.

[/quote]

I think you will find that there was much more animosity between Catholics and non-Catholics prior to Vatican II. Not every view held by individual Catholics (priests included) reflected the official teaching of the Church.


#13

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:307933"]
A marriage is a marriage, the Catholic Church doesn't have exclusivity on what a marriage is or is not. .

[/quote]

I understand what you're saying, but as "gay-marriage" just came to my state, I find myself seeking comfort and truth in what the church teaches and not what government tells me.

I'm starting to view the civil portion of my marriage as just civil-union paperwork, and my vows exchanged in my Lutheran church before God as my real marriage.


#14

[quote="benjammin, post:1, topic:307933"]
Obviously I know the churches stand on weddings by a Judge or a JP or anyone not a minister, but what about marriages performed in other churches or by other religions ministers. Are they valid or not?

I only ask because a few years ago, my parents knew a couple who were interested in becoming Catholic. They had been married in a Vegas chapel or something to that effect, and the priest told them they were living in sin and there child was a "bastard" and they had to correct it by getting their vows said in the Church. So does a marriage like theres count, even if they werent Catholic when it happened. Does that mean also, that if someone were to get married and divorced as a non-catholic, they could get a Catholic marriage to their second wife?

[/quote]

Wow, that Priest who considered the child a "bastard" needs the gospel preached to him!


#15

True, but I think his point was that the child would be a “bastard” until he was baptized. Much like a child was illegitimate if born to unwed parents, until the child was baptized if i’m remembering correctly.


#16

“Bastard” is a derogatory term.

Legitimacy and illegitimacy have to do with the marital status of the parents.

You would have to go to the 1917 code of canon law, which is not online in English.


#17

[quote="benjammin, post:15, topic:307933"]
True, but I think his point was that the child would be a "bastard" until he was baptized. Much like a child was illegitimate if born to unwed parents, until the child was baptized if i'm remembering correctly.

[/quote]

Um, no, that is not correct.

Again, "bastard" is a pejorative term found NOWHERE in canon law and having nothing to do with baptism.


#18

Neither legitimacy or illegitimacy deals with marital status. Validity, not legitimacy, is how marital status is defined by the Church.


#19

Legitimacy & illegitimacy referred in that post was the status of the child based on his/her parents’ marital status.

Canon Law defines how and when a child is legitimate. An illegitimate child is legitimated as soon as his parents marry. It no longer has practical application in the Church (illegitimacy used to be an impediment to ordination until the 1983 Code) but it still has application in inheritance and succession laws in certain countries.


#20

[quote="Joe_5859, post:4, topic:307933"]
Whenever a question on marriage arises on CAF, I'm always glad to see 1ke post so that I can just say "Listen to 1ke." :)

[/quote]

Me four!!! :thumbsup: :)


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