Catholic/Non-Catholic marriage


#1

I've gotten myself in a jam and need your thoughts. A friend of mine who is a baptized Catholic is getting married outside of the church and to a member of a different faith. I don't think I'm suppose to attend this wedding but here's the problem, I've been chosen as the best man. I don't want to bash the groom over this and I can't go back on accepting being the best man being that the tux's have been purchased already. What are everyone's suggestions?


#2

Pray for them. Other than that, I would speak to my priest about how best to handle the situation.

:gopray2:


#3

talk to your pastor about the appropriate course of action.


#4

Do you know for sure that your friend didn’t get a dispensation to be married to his non-Catholic bride in a non-Catholic location? Or are you assuming the worst about the situation without any basis?


#5

If he cares enough to do it and there is still time, you might suggest that he goes through the process to request a dispensation from Catholic form. I would certainly ask your pastor for advice.


#6

I know for sure he hasn't gone through that. He isn't a practicing Catholic.


#7

[quote="CatholicRaven, post:2, topic:328012"]
Pray for them. Other than that, I would speak to my priest about how best to handle the situation.

:gopray2:

[/quote]

Bless you. This is a great suggestion and should be what everyone is doing.


#8

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:328012"]
Bless you. This is a great suggestion and should be what everyone is doing.

[/quote]

We're all Christians; prayer should go without saying.


#9

Talk to your pastor.

Some thoughts though are you were not required to accept his invitation as best man.

And things like tuxedo rental and such should not factor in to making a stance for the church.


#10

[quote="JordanRogers, post:1, topic:328012"]
I've gotten myself in a jam and need your thoughts. A friend of mine who is a baptized Catholic is getting married outside of the church and to a member of a different faith. I don't think I'm suppose to attend this wedding but here's the problem, I've been chosen as the best man. I don't want to bash the groom over this and I can't go back on accepting being the best man being that the tux's have been purchased already. What are everyone's suggestions?

[/quote]

A relative of mine got married outside the church (mildly baffling the rest of the extended family), but soon afterward had a private Catholic ceremony to properly consecrate the marriage. Encourage your friend to do the same. If you do back out, offer to reimburse the tuxedo.


#11

I do not mean to be a troublemaker, but clearly I missed something. Explain what the problem is. You are not the one getting married. How could this be a sin for you? Is there a rule against attending/witnessing such a wedding?

I read the Catechism on mixed or out-of-faith marriages, paragraphs 1633-1637, and briefly skimmed the rest of the section on the Sacrament of Matrimony, and could find nothing with regard to those attending or witnessing a marriage.

Assuming there is no such rule, I can still imagine your heart may not be in it, considering that your good friend is missing out on the grace and blessings of the sacrament. That could perhaps make it difficult to be a cheerful best man, …but not inevitably.

Assuming it’s not sinful on your part, you could resolve to be a loyal and true witness to the love of the couple, to the bond of love in their marriage. You could join hearts with the families and the community to support their marriage. When called upon to offer a toast, you could (after warming up five or ten minutes with the usual quaint and/or embarrassing stories about your friend), close with a prayer, solemnly and humbly asking that the Holy Spirit bless their marriage always with love.

What do you think?


#12

It is not a matter of witnessing a mixed marriage. It is a matter of attending an INVALID attempt at marriage. They are not the same thing.


#13

Assuming it's not sinful on your part, you could resolve to be a loyal and true witness to the love of the couple, to the bond of love in their marriage. You could join hearts with the families and the community to support their marriage. When called upon to offer a toast, you could (after warming up five or ten minutes with the usual quaint and/or embarrassing stories about your friend), close with a prayer, solemnly and humbly asking that the Holy Spirit bless their marriage always with love.

The problem is this is a baptized Catholic and as such he must be married in the Church or with proper dispensation or the church will not recognize the marriage and the two will not be validly married. Thus the sin of scandal can be present by cheapening the sacrament and passively affirming by your presence that a valid marriage can occur outside the church.

Canon 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.

Canon 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

Canon 1125.1 the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

Canon 1125.2 the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party.

Canon 1125.3 both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.

To read the entire section on marriage please see the link below:

catholicdoors.com/misc/marriage/canonlaw.htm


#14

No one is saying it will be a sacrament, but is it not a marriage?

Now I will read the Canon Law to which Jon S has directed my attention, which may settle this question…


#15

... After a brief reading, I can't be sure what it means.

JordanRogers, if I were you, I would talk to my Pastor to figure this out.


#16

[quote="Beryllos, post:14, topic:328012"]
No one is saying it will be a sacrament, but is it not a marriage?

[/quote]

No. It is not a marriage.


#17

The issue of validity and the issue of sacramentality are two separate issues. A marriage is, at least in the order of logical priority, first valid in the natural order and then sacramental. The sacrament is only conferred on a valid marriage between two baptized Christians. We don’t know if the bride-to-be is baptized or not. If she is, then a valid marriage is of necessity a sacrament; if she isn’t, then the marriage cannot be a sacrament but can still be valid in the natural order. However, if a Catholic does not observe the laws of the Church concerning the form of marriage, then the marriage is not even valid. That is the issue at hand here - the Catholic spouse is making no effort to observe the laws of the Church concerning the form of marriage.


#18

aemcpa, thanks for the clear and detailed explanations. I am beginning to understand.


#19

[quote="Jon_S, post:13, topic:328012"]
The problem is this is a baptized Catholic and as such he must be married in the Church or with proper dispensation or the church will not recognize the marriage...

[/quote]

Given the fact that...

[quote="JordanRogers, post:6, topic:328012"]
He isn't a practicing Catholic.

[/quote]

...he most likely couldn't care less about how the Church views his marriage.

The OP probably should have thought this through before agreeing to assume such an important role in the ceremony. Backing out now would undoubtedly put a severe strain on this friendship. In fact, it would most likely end it.

I agree that that best course of action for the OP is to consult his priest. I suspect the priest will tell him to go ahead with his obligation to his friend, but use a bit more discretion in the future. At least that's what I'd tell him.


#20

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