Catholic marrying an Anglican


Hi everyone,
One of my friends is an somewhat active Catholic who is seriously dating an Anglican. They are beginning to think about getting married and she wants to get married in a Catholic church. She asked me what would her boyfriend (future fiance) have to do if they decided to get married inside the Catholic church? She doesn’t want a long ceremony since she already has five children from a previous relationship. (no marriage with that guy.)

I was able to give her some guidance but I know this forum is filled with knowledgable people so I figured I would ask you in case there is some information I omitted. I’m not sure if her boyfriend would be willing to convert therefore, I am curious to learn her options. I know she will have to speak with her pastor at some point but she is hesitant to right since she doesn’t like him that much.

Thank you for all of your help,



Well, to begin with, there is a six-month long pre-Cana period in most Roman Catholic parishes. And that’s after the Catholic party is a registered member of the parish.

Are you sure she meant a Roman Catholic church? A lot of Anglicans consider themselves to be Catholic, just English Catholic.

Since marriage is a sacrament given by the spouses to each other, and not conferred on them by the priest, deacons are allowed to preside at weddings. Deacons can’t say mass, so obviously a wedding conducted by a deacon would be a prayer and commitment ceremony, not a wedding mass, even though it was conducted inside the church.

My brother’s wedding was at the Methodist church and jointly presided over by his Catholic deacon and her Methodist minister. But they had to get permission from the Bishop to do that.


“Somewhat” active Catholic? Five children and never married? Does not wish to speak to her pastor because “she doesn’t like him that much”? This one has red flags all over it. :eek:


Doesn’t meant she should be discouraged from getting married. Desire for marriage is likely a step in the right direction here.

To the OP…she definitely needs to meet with her priest. If she attempts to marry in the Anglican church or anywhere else outside of the Catholic Church without a “dispensation from form”, the attempted marriage will be invalid and not recognized by the Catholic Church. That being said, the dispensation could be requested. If both parties are willing to get married in the Catholic Church, this can certainly be done without issue assuming neither has been previously married. The Anglican party is not required to convert, only to be made “aware” of the Catholic party’s obligation to do her best to raise the children in the faith. In either case, whether a dispensation is requested to marry outside of the Church or if they marry within the Church, both parties will be expected to take part in some sort of marriage prep - often a seminar or course.


Why can she not be an active Catholic? We cannot judge her - I presume that she repented of her sin of having 5 children, so after confessing to that, she can be an active Catholic, no?


Thank you all for your help.

To clarify- when I meant not an active Catholic: she doesn’t attend mass that much but she has made sure all of her children were baptized, and as her children become old enough, they are having their first communions and confirmations. She prays with her family. She stopped attending mass regularly this year because the parish she was at had a new pastor who she doesn’t like because he is a jerk. I used to attend that parish myself and I don’t attend it because he is a jerk. I am talking about the Roman Catholic Church. We have very few eastern rite catholic churches in our area.

No one here has the right to judge her: you don’t know her life therefore don’t begin to judge her life based on the small amount of information I have given. I am asking for you to please give me as much information based on the information I have presented so I can ensure she she will be best informed regarding her options. She wants to get married inside a Catholic church which should say something. Plus the fact she never married the children’s father was because abuse was involved. You cannot be quick to judge because everyone makes their own decisions. Her children are awesome and this guy is wanting her adopt all five of her children.

I await for more ideas and options.

Thank you all,



The sin was in fornication not in having the kids. Having them is a great deal better them aborting them as so many others, both Catholic and non-Catholic do. I agree with you though and Secret Garden rushing to judge her based on a very limited amount of information provided about her life is pointless. It reminds me of the lace curtains mentality so prevalent and so damaging in Ireland in the past where I come from.


God bless the man willing to take on the responsibility of fathering five kids not his own, especially with the birth-father still in the community and able to influence the kids.

I am troubled by the idea that her response to the priest she doesn’t like was to quit going to mass altogether. Is there another parish within driving distance that she can attend?

I also noted that you criticized the priest with “he is a jerk.” I have to wonder about that too. Very often we hear complaints that seem to go the other way: the scriptures are watered down and tolerance is overemphasized. Are you saying this priest is a jerk because he is preaching a firm message of repentance vis-à-vis John the Baptist, or because he is actively alienating the congregation by doing things not in conformity with the church?


I outlined two options for her. Assuming neither has been previously married, she can either marry him in the Church (which does NOT require him to convert), or request a dispensation to get married outside of the Church. I don’t understand what the issue is? If the issue is not being willing to meet with the priest, could she meet with another priest? The Anglican man would have to agree that he is committed to a life long marriage, without exceptions, and would have to take some sort of pre-cana marriage course / instruction with your friend, but nothing beyond that.


No judgment here–I said that there were red flags, and there are several here that would suggest that the individual may not be ready for a Catholic marriage. That is not judgment; it is precisely what needs to be looked at.


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