Bi-ritual Families

I’ve been told by a number of Catholics that it is customary (though not mandatory) that when two Roman Rite Catholics marry they do so in the husband’s parish. Is this tradition the same with bi-ritual families?

Say a Maronite Catholic and a Roman Catholic decide to wed. Do they marry according to the Roman Rite or Maronite? Is one spouse expected to change rites? Which rite would future children fall under? Or are such decisions left entirely up to the couple?

Really? I thought the Latin rite tradition was exactly the opposite, to marry in the wife’s parish. Maybe that’s my Protestant upbringing talking though, and I never realized an opposite tradition existed in the Catholic Church.

I believe that in a “bi-ritual family”, as you call it (don’t know if that is technically the correct term) the children are usually raised in the father’s church at least in a canonical sense. I suppose it would make sense in that case that they would get married in the father’s parish.

I believe they may marry in either parish, but the marriage must be performed by a priest, not a deacon. Neither is expected to change rites, but can do so freely. Upon baptism, the children are automatically enrolled in the church of the father, unless both parents agree to do otherwise.

Latin rite Catholics normally marry in the wife’s parish, but that is not a rule, just a custom, and it may be different around the world.

According to Eastern Catholic tradition, the wedding is to take place in the church of the groom. When the couple wishes to do otherwise, they must have the permission of the Byzantine hierarch. In other words, if an Eastern Catholic man is marrying a Roman Catholic woman and the couple has the wedding in the Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic bishop must consent–without his permission, the marriage is invalid. In any marriage involving an Eastern Catholic and a Latin Catholic, the minister must be a priest–never a deacon, regardless of whether it occurs in the Eastern Church or the Latin Church.

The norm of canon law is that one is married by the proper pastor or delegate. For Latin that is normally the pastor of the bride, and for eastern the pastor of the groom for *liceity. *For validity one of the couple must be a subject of the pastor. So an inter-ritual Catholic marriage with an eastern groom is limiting. Matters of liceity may be dispensed.

See CCEO 828, 829, 830, 831, CIC 1109.

The wife may change ritual church at the time of marriage. The children under 14 may change also if the couple agrees, but if not in agreement, the father chooses.

The ritual used is the one of the pastor for liceity, but there are exceptions. CCEO 40.3, 674.2, CIC 846.2.

The family may adopt the norms for feast days and days of penance of either ritual-church. CCEO 883.2.

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