Can a Catholic get ordained to officiate at a non-Catholic wedding?

The “Universal Life Church” ( offers quick, free “ordinations” that allow one to solemnize a civil wedding. According to the laws of this state, this would suffice to officiate at a wedding ceremony.

Would a Catholic be allowed to acquire such an “ordination” if its only purpose and intent was to officiate a marriage between two non-Catholics? Clearly, the only true effect of such an “ordination” is the acquisition of legal status to solemnize a civil (NOT religious) marriage ceremony.

There are two principles to keep in mind here:

[list]A Catholic cannot accept “ordination” in a non-Catholic church because such “ordination” is invalid and because it gives the appearance that one has joined and ministers in a non-Catholic church.[/list]

[list]Assuming that there are no obvious impediments to marriage (e.g., previous marriage, close blood relationship), a lay Catholic who is qualified by the state to preside at civil marriages may do so for non-Catholics or for a Catholic and non-Catholic who have dispensations from the Catholic’s bishop to be married to each other and within a non-Catholic ritual.[/list]

In short, although a Catholic may not try to become “ordained” in a non-Catholic church in order to officiate at a civil wedding, if he is qualified by the state by some other licit means to preside at civil weddings (e.g., judge, justice of the peace), he can preside at a civil wedding under the conditions mentioned above.

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