Can a Protestant minister co-officiate at the marriage of two Catholics?


#1

My fiance and I are starting RCIA in the fall and we hope to enter the Church this upcoming Easter. We’ve been attending mass for quite some time, almost a year, and we’ve fallen in love with the Church and the richness of her theology and tradition, so we know what we’re getting into. Of course, we want to get married in the Catholic Church.

My father is a Protestant minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. He’s very supportive of our conversion, however. Despite his disagreements on doctrine, he has a lot of respect for the Church, and the other day he even told me he probably has more in common with the Catholic hierarchy than he does with his own denomination (PCUSA is going the way of the UCC and the Episcopal Church and becoming increasingly theologically liberal).

There’s one problem though: I’ve always thought he would officiate at my wedding; I never anticipated converting to another Christian faith. My dad has told us he would be fine with not playing a role in our wedding if it’s against Church law, but I would be crushed if he couldn’t do anything at all. I spoke with the priest at the parish we are planning on joining about this, and he said he would be fine with my father playing a large role in the wedding (non-Gospel Scripture readings, homily, his own prayer), and even with him leading us in saying our vows as long as the Bishop okays it. Of course, the priest would consecrate the Eucharist and lead us in celebrating the mass. But I’m not sure if this is correct, especially because the Church views marriage as a sacrament and my father does not. My dad has co-officiated in Catholic/Protestant weddings before, but I don’t know if the Church allows that in a wedding of two Catholics.

Can anyone tell me if Canon Law addresses this situation, and if there really is a loophole if the minister is a relative? Our parish priest is very orthodox and I trust him, but I want to make sure that he is not in error.


#2

i am not a canon lawyer, but i know he can not do the homily.


#3

I guess the priest knows it all.
Look, in marriage, it is not the priest that “does” the marriage but the couple. It is the exchange of vows that “makes the marriage”. I am using non-conventional words as I am not a native English speaker.
Now, what do the priests do? They are witnesses of what was promised. Look at Canon Law, but I think that if you do not have a priest at a Cruise Ship, anybody can witness a Catholic Marriage. As long as the couples does it the Catholic way, it is Catholic. Later on, it is needed that everything be put in writing and witnesses write it down so that the Catholic Community knows the change of state.


#4

I will leave the rest of the details to the bishop's judgment...but I know for a fact that your father definitely can't preach the homily! He could, perhaps, give a talk or even a blessing at the end of the mass....but not after the Gospel when the priest is to give his homily. This would be a grave violation of Church norms.

Canon Law # 766 "Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous in particular cases, according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops and without prejudice to ? can. 767, §1."

Canon law # 767 "§1.** Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent**; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year."

(Emphasis added)


#5

No.

Either the couples marries in th Catholic form and the priest is the officiant OR the couples gets a dispensation from form and the non-Catholic minister officiates and receives the consent and vows.

They cannot co-officiate.


#6

[quote="Therana, post:1, topic:293102"]
My fiance and I are starting RCIA in the fall and we hope to enter the Church this upcoming Easter. We've been attending mass for quite some time, almost a year, and we've fallen in love with the Church and the richness of her theology and tradition, so we know what we're getting into. Of course, we want to get married in the Catholic Church.

My father is a Protestant minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. He's very supportive of our conversion, however. Despite his disagreements on doctrine, he has a lot of respect for the Church, and the other day he even told me he probably has more in common with the Catholic hierarchy than he does with his own denomination (PCUSA is going the way of the UCC and the Episcopal Church and becoming increasingly theologically liberal).

There's one problem though: I've always thought he would officiate at my wedding; I never anticipated converting to another Christian faith. My dad has told us he would be fine with not playing a role in our wedding if it's against Church law, but I would be crushed if he couldn't do anything at all. I spoke with the priest at the parish we are planning on joining about this, and he said he would be fine with my father playing a large role in the wedding (non-Gospel Scripture readings, homily, his own prayer), and even with him leading us in saying our vows as long as the Bishop okays it. Of course, the priest would consecrate the Eucharist and lead us in celebrating the mass. But I'm not sure if this is correct, especially because the Church views marriage as a sacrament and my father does not. My dad has co-officiated in Catholic/Protestant weddings before, but I don't know if the Church allows that in a wedding of two Catholics.

Can anyone tell me if Canon Law addresses this situation, and if there really is a loophole if the minister is a relative? Our parish priest is very orthodox and I trust him, but I want to make sure that he is not in error.

[/quote]

Your priest is talking about getting a dispensation from form....With the dispensation you could have your father be part of the ceremony.


#7

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and RCIA classes. It would be wonderful if it can be worked out so that your Dad can lead you in the saying of your vows.


#8

While a lay person might be able to assist/officiate at a Catholic wedding it is only if no clergy is available and if permission has been granted by the bishop after receiving permission from the Holy See. The specific part of canon law is:

**Can. 1112
**§1. Where there is a lack of priests and deacons, the diocesan bishop can delegate lay persons to assist at marriages, with the previous favorable vote of the conference of bishops and after he has obtained the permission of the Holy See.
§2. A suitable lay person is to be selected, who is capable of giving instruction to those preparing to be married and able to perform the matrimonial liturgy properly.

The only place that canon law on marriage speaks of ministers from another faith community is in the chapter on Mixed Marriages. In particular it does not allow for a Catholic and Non-Catholic to ask for and receive consent according to their own rites (Can. 1127§3).

I am not a Canon Law expert, but I would say that doing the Old Testament or Epistle reading is okay. The prayer shouldn’t be an issue either. The homily is another question. Here is the relevant section from the GIRM:

  1. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the Priest Celebrant himself or be entrusted by him to a concelebrating Priest, or from time to time and, if appropriate, to the Deacon, but never to a lay person.

(emphasis added)


#9

Have him do a reading or two, have him be a witness on the form, have him be your best man. Have him lead the prayer at the reception.

But he can’t read the Gospel, give the homily, and shouldn’t do the vows.

Let him experience the wedding some, it may lead him to appreciate the Church even more, and who knows, he may follow you soon into the Church! Especially if he is growing further and further away from his current denomination.


#10

[quote="johnnykins, post:6, topic:293102"]
Your priest is talking about getting a dispensation from form....With the dispensation you could have your father be part of the ceremony.

[/quote]

Actually, if they both have already become Catholic before the wedding, they cannot be dispensed from form. Dispensation from form can only occur when a Catholic is marrying a non-Catholic.


#11

Thank you all for your input. Him not saying the homily isn't that big of a deal for us. To be honest, it will probably be for the best because his sermons are typically twice as long as the average Catholic homily, and my fiance's mostly Catholic extended family would probably fall asleep. :p Perhaps we'll have him give a short speech with a religious theme at the reception instead. I guess we'll defer to the bishop when it comes to him leading us in the vows, because people seem to be divided on that.


#12

[quote="zz912, post:9, topic:293102"]
Let him experience the wedding some, it may lead him to appreciate the Church even more, and who knows, he may follow you soon into the Church! Especially if he is growing further and further away from his current denomination.

[/quote]

I certainly hope so! :gopray2:


#13

[quote="zz912, post:9, topic:293102"]
...........

Let him experience the wedding some, it may lead him to appreciate the Church even more, and who knows, he may follow you soon into the Church! Especially if he is growing further and further away from his current denomination.

[/quote]

Have him read books by Scott Hahn and Marcus Grodi, both who were pastors in the
same denomination. :D:D


#14

[quote="TexCatholic4JMJ, post:13, topic:293102"]
Have him read books by Scott Hahn and Marcus Grodi, both who were pastors in the
same denomination. :D:D

[/quote]

He actually graduated from the same Protestant seminary as Scott Hahn! (He got his DMin there though. Scott Hahn only got his MDiv there.)


#15

[quote="Therana, post:14, topic:293102"]
He actually graduated from the same Protestant seminary as Scott Hahn! (He got his DMin there though. Scott Hahn only got his MDiv there.)

[/quote]

Hmmm, could the Holy Spirit be at work here?:)


#16

[quote="Therana, post:1, topic:293102"]
My fiance and I are starting RCIA in the fall and we hope to enter the Church this upcoming Easter. We've been attending mass for quite some time, almost a year, and we've fallen in love with the Church and the richness of her theology and tradition, so we know what we're getting into. Of course, we want to get married in the Catholic Church.

My father is a Protestant minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. He's very supportive of our conversion, however. Despite his disagreements on doctrine, he has a lot of respect for the Church, and the other day he even told me he probably has more in common with the Catholic hierarchy than he does with his own denomination (PCUSA is going the way of the UCC and the Episcopal Church and becoming increasingly theologically liberal).

There's one problem though: I've always thought he would officiate at my wedding; I never anticipated converting to another Christian faith. My dad has told us he would be fine with not playing a role in our wedding if it's against Church law, but I would be crushed if he couldn't do anything at all. I spoke with the priest at the parish we are planning on joining about this, and he said he would be fine with my father playing a large role in the wedding (non-Gospel Scripture readings, homily, his own prayer), and even with him leading us in saying our vows as long as the Bishop okays it. Of course, the priest would consecrate the Eucharist and lead us in celebrating the mass. But I'm not sure if this is correct, especially because the Church views marriage as a sacrament and my father does not. My dad has co-officiated in Catholic/Protestant weddings before, but I don't know if the Church allows that in a wedding of two Catholics.

Can anyone tell me if Canon Law addresses this situation, and if there really is a loophole if the minister is a relative? Our parish priest is very orthodox and I trust him, but I want to make sure that he is not in error.

[/quote]

Just a question here.

When is your wedding date? Is it after the Easter Vigil, once you become Catholic? Or is it before?

If it is before you become Catholic, then no problem, dad can officiate, and do the whole thing.

The Church considers protestants married in their own churches, prior to their conversion to the Catholic faith to be valid.


#17

[quote="Therana, post:11, topic:293102"]
Thank you all for your input. Him not saying the homily isn't that big of a deal for us. To be honest, it will probably be for the best because his sermons are typically twice as long as the average Catholic homily, and my fiance's mostly Catholic extended family would probably fall asleep. :p Perhaps we'll have him give a short speech with a religious theme at the reception instead. I guess we'll defer to the bishop when it comes to him leading us in the vows, because people seem to be divided on that.

[/quote]

Follow the instructions of the priest. The wedding will be beautiful. Good luck to you both, and God bless.


#18

My parents had this type of a ceremony, but you have to get it okayed with the local Catholic Priest.


#19

Let me clarify. My mom was a Congregationalist and my dad a Catholic, so it was a dispensation of form.


#20

Correct - my bad…


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