Catholics and marriage licenses


Where did I use the word “lucky”? :thinking:
While I agree that the process should have been expedited, realistically that’s the way things are😕

Please refrain from making emotional and personal attacks. It’s a discussion and I’m not attacking you.

I didn’t see statistics demonstrating this… Overall “Responsible Homeschooling” appears to have as much of an agenda as HSLDA. Albeit, to me it’s more pessimistic.

I read a letter where they defended it. Unschooling is intriguing in that it’s similar to college. You learn what interests you. :+1:

It sounds like they’re trying to stay out of marital disputes. I’m no lawyer but those sound like sticky situations that would require a lot of research.

A well conceived homeschooling plan is never an avenue for neglect. If the child can learn better at home than at the “bad school” the parents have every reason to homeschool.


I share it also and I am not even a priest.


Thank you so much Eliza for your kindness and charitable words towards my friends. You have shown true Christian charity. You seem very insightful and open minded. I must say, I am a little dismayed by the attack against their way of life. By the way some of the people here have responded, you’d think they were really evil people. They are not! They are a very good Catholic family who loves their country and the church. I never thought this topic would turn into an attack against them especially with the limited info I gave. Definitely a bit of a witch hunt going on and I wonder why?

Anyway, my friends situation has really opened my eyes to this. I never knew the US Catholic Church needed the states permission to perform the sacrament of Marriage. I am more convinced then ever that this should change and at the very least, it should be optional for couples.


You are so right Father every church both Catholic and protestant require a license to marry a couple every house of worship requires a marriage license to marry a couple.


What occurred was a travesty. Hands down. That the government needed to act in the first place to ensure a 19+ year old had a birth certificate is insane. Whats even crazier is that her parents were not held liable for their crime.

:roll_eyes: It’s not an emotional or personal attack to think that it’s a bizarre line of thinking that it’s some kind of good fortune that the government acted fast. What this young woman went through was a tragedy, flat out. Seeing it as some kind of government efficiency to help her out is taking the absolute disgusting crime that was perpetrated on her.

There are two sides to every coin. HSLDA is one. Responsible Homeschooling is the other. You need both to paint the picture of reality.

They barely defend it…and only after much push back. And they didn’t defend it until many years on.

Except they have regularly defended the rights of fathers. The were basically forced to take the case of the mother because they had already defended many fathers.

Parents in the US have the right to homeschool. But it is foolish to think that all parents enter homeschooling with a well-conceived plan. Or with good intentions. There are many bad things happening under the flag of homeschooling. Which is why sites like Colition for Responsible Homeschooling are vital.


Very well put! My parents both attended college and that greatly affected the coursework and lesson plans. When I attended college it was literally like walking home :grin: Truthfully, you do need that balance in homeschooling. Multiple viewpoints :+1: Excellent debate :clap:


Aw, I’m glad I could offer a comfort. I really do think we do not have enough info to judge your friends, and we should be careful about judging. Of course, we also must judge actions, and I think that is what people in this thread are trying to do. But sensitivity is needed.

What is happening in our country and culture is shocking, and getting worse, and I feel sure that likely the time will come, before long, when the Church will decide it must have a different or a severed partnership for marriage with the government. (Its painfully lonely and helpless to have the realization that this is justice, and therefore sometime later God will act on it by moving the Church to change on it, while most don’t see what you see). In these times there are many tests for our faith when we see the Church or those in the Church acting or speaking in unexpected ways, and it can be painful and confusing,. But God has a plan, and some reason, when He allows what He allows in His Church. He makes all things (even really bad things) work together for the good.

Matters of conscience and moral choices that one makes in this dysfunctional, disobedient culture really matter to me. Not to get too off-topic, but right now I am currently struggling with my work in public school… I feel that for the purpose of making money I work there. I give it my best but I feel I am participating in something I don’t believe in, on so many levels. Including just the choice of a Common Core Curriculum, which public schools are so immersed in now, which I feel is so wrong on SO MANY levels.

So I have studied and contemplated much on the whole broad subject of education, and I have particular well-formed ideas on the topic. I feel its reasonable to assume that your friend’s family has put a lot of thought into government and politics (which I have not, as it’s an “ugly” subject, to me, that I prefer to avoid, not contemplate - though my avoidance of the topic is no virtue) and likely they have acted on their deeply held beliefs and conscience, paying the price of disrespect and ill repute from those that hear of their choice and resent it.

So while I am at a crossroads right now thinking I should turn away from public education (though I cannot leave immediately, I need to start planning for it to happen soon) I can imagine that some who contemplate our government might find it imperative that they disassociate from it. Yet I can see how people would say, "We’re paying taxes; they should not get away with not paying taxes" (Taxes seem to be the sorest point with responders here).

Anyway I knew the Church needed the State’s permission, as I have married fairly recently. But until this thread, I did not realize that there are various reasons why this Church/State partnership poses difficulties for some. But in the end I do think that acting in accord with the requirements of Holy Mother Church, while waiting patiently for God to act, will always be the right choice. God honors obedience. Even though very hard at first.*** [see next post]

“Better is the end of thing than the beginning thereof.”


***My advice to the couple is to accept the unfair/unjust situation they are in right now, while they do the right thing (=obedience). Being in a state of acceptance will help this phase of their journey go much, much better. I would pray, “Lord, I do not like this situation you have allowed me to be in, but I know You are sovereign, and I accept it, and I trust in You.


Having college-educated parents actually puts you ahead of many. Too many, sadly.

Did you know that (partly because of HSLDA) there are no parental standards of education? Most states DO require the “teaching parent” to have a highschool diploma…but not all. That it is permissible for parents with no high school diploma—or even no MIDDLE school diploma (in states where that carries meaning) required? It’s unfortunately true that people can, and do, choose this route. You can imagine the consequences of being “educated” when neither of a child’s parents even attempted high school.

It’s scary. Parents are the primary educators, but as a society we must seek to provide all children with either a tenable way of living (ie the Amish/Mennonite) or a good education from people who are able to give it. You should count yourself extremely lucky that you came from a house where your parents were college educated. That is not the norm.*

-*it is becoming more normative now to have a college educated parent teaching. However it just hit 50% last year. 15-20 years ago it was less than 25%.


You are awesome! Thank you again for your kind words and advice. I think that’s best advice to give her right now. Patience, obedience and trust in God. I’m confident it will all work out for them. I will continue my prayers for her and her family and thank you for yours. I will add you to my rosary intentions tonight that you will follow Gods will for your life and vocation. That’s hard to feel called to make that kind of career change in this day and age. I pray that you will find peace soon.


Wow, thank you! These words are a comfort, at a time of really struggle lately.


That’s kind of the reason there is so much suspicion over their situation. We have only your word that their actions are justified. You are expecting us to trust you on this very unbelieveable point. The natural response is “I don’t believe it.” Now I can understand why you might not feel right about telling information that would compromise the privacy of your friends. But without any apparent reason for their being in this unbelievable position, the question you ask just cannot be answered intelligently.


Why not? All I’m asking is why does the church require a state marriage license to preside over the sacrament of marriage?

If someone like my friend doesn’t qualify for whatever reason, then why would the church withhold the sacrament?

And maybe good and Holy priests should consider the ramifications of working for the state in matters of marriage. The government after all is redefining marriage. Maybe nows the time for the church to sever ties with the state and take back the sacrament.



The church can’t “take back” the sacrament that was never taken from them.

The church CHOOSES to act in accordance with civil authorites.

If the church ever chose to separate and do a spiritual ceremony, there is no evidence they would not require a civil one first. If a civil ceremony is not first required there is also no evidence that the church would not require typical civil documents for basic identity purposes…the same basic documents that are now required for a civil marriage liscence.


Perhaps the Church recognizes that the State’s requirements for marriage are legitimate and good and that the State has the right to set laws regarding marriage. It’s in society’s best interest that the State does so, because marriage is the legal institution that ties children to their natural parents.

I don’t fully understand the situation your friends have found themselves in (they’ve removed themselves from US jurisdiction? Are they non-Americans living in a foreign embassy compound?) but if they are US citizens and have somehow found a way to circumvent the law to avoid taxes or whatever, then it’s really hard to be sympathetic to their plight.


Because maybe your “for whatever reason” is a reason that will explain why the Church would deny this particular sacrament. Since you won’t tell us the reason, we can’t tell you why a priest would object. Quid pro quo.


I want to throw in here—In the US tribes are considered sovereign nations. Tribes track documents, like birth certificates, and are a legal authority to give marriage licences…so this is NOT a case involving Native Americans, either, unless a tribe has rejected a member and “released” their citizenship to the US. In which case, the person is simply a US citizen, and not, say, a “dual” Cherokee-American.


Unfortunately, you can’t just ask any priest to marry a couple. The marriage has to take place in the parish of one of the spouses. If the marriage is to be celebrated elsewhere, permission must be obtained from the bishop (if I remember correctly). Otherwise, the marriage would be invalid due to lack of canonical form.


“Perhaps the Church recognizes that the State’s requirements for marriage are legitimate and good and that the State has the right to set laws regarding marriage. It’s in society’s best interest that the State does so, because marriage is the legal institution that ties children to their natural parents.”

Are you saying the church needs the state to legitimize marriage? I think the government should recognize marriages within the Catholic Church without us first having to getting permission from the state for the sacrament. Asking permission from the state to marry is in and of itself an undermining of the sacrament. Just look up the word “license “.
”,… a license may be issued by authorities, to allow an activity that would otherwise be forbidden.”

So is marriage considered a “forbidden” activity by the state ? And I don’t want the state regulating our sacraments.


You’ll have to check with @Don_Ruggero or @frdavid96 …but that doesn’t sound entirely correct.

My husband and I were validly married…and we didn’t do it in our parish. I had a parish but the priest I was familiar with changed so it was pointless as he had no idea who I was, my husband was not registered because of college and several moves.

We were married at the church he attended during College (5+ years before)…he was never registered at.

The priest asked for our baptismal certificates, asked where we attended Mass (it was scattered due to us both living and working in random places as we got our careers off the ground) and went from there.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit