An acquaintance is getting married in the near future. He is a practicing Catholic in good standing in the Church. His fiance is a practicing Protestant. They attended the Pre-Cana classes. The pastor of our parish claims that because one of the parties is not Catholic he will not conduct the wedding within a Mass. My friend desires a Mass. Are there any rules to protect him that say that it is his right to have a Mass at his marriage?
The pastor may be concerned about the ramifications on Communion at a mixed marriage: up to half or more of the congregation, including the bride herself, will not be able to receive Communion and will need to be instructed during the ceremony that they may not receive Communion. Some couples deal with this difficulty by inviting family to attend a morning Mass, at which the Catholic and Catholic family members may receive Communion, and then have a wedding outside of Mass later in the day. However, I am not aware of any rule that forbids a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic Christian from having a nuptial Mass. If your friend’s pastor fails to produce such a rule but still refuses to allow the couple a nuptial Mass, the couple may approach another priest to perform their wedding.