Choosing the form of your wedding?

■Rite for Celebrating Marriage During Mass

■Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass

I’m Catholic. My boyfriend was baptized Roman Catholic as well, but he was never confirmed or ever received communion. He considers himself as a born again christian right now and he is not about to convert back to Roman Catholic. He goes with me to church from time to time.

-Can we celebrate our marriage during mass or outside mass? I surely would like to be able to celebrate our wedding with the full mass.

-Does he need to meet some special reqirements, before we can get married in a Catholic church?

You need to talk to your priest.

Regardless of what he considers himself to be, the **Church **considers him to be a Catholic. He is, therefore, subject to the canons of the Church. So, the fact that he is currently estranged from the Church, has not completed his sacraments of initiation, and is in a state of objectively grave sin for having left the Church, this could be a big problem.

IF the Church treats him as having defected from the faith, then the canons that pertain to mixed marriage would apply. This includes permission from the Bishop to marry and you would need to meet the requirements of promising to raise your children Catholic.

You will have to speak to your priest. He will be unable to receive the Eucharist and therefore the priest may determine that it is best to celebrate the Marriage Rite only, without Mass.

Yes, indeed he does.

Go talk to your priest.

Moreover, you need to seriously think about the wisdom of marrying a fallen away Catholic who now considers himself an “evangelical Christian.” You, as a Catholic, are responsible for raising your children as Catholics. How do you plan to do this in a spiritual divided household?

You could do either, but given your description of your boyfriend it might be preferable to celebrate it outside Mass.

As has been noted, discuss with your priest.

Thank you both!

Regardless of what he considers himself to be, the Church considers him to be a Catholic. He is, therefore, subject to the canons of the Church. So, the fact that he is currently estranged from the Church, has not completed his sacraments of initiation, and is in a state of objectively grave sin for having left the Church, this could be a big problem.

Gathering from what you’ve said: my boyfriend needs to get confirmed, go to confession to be able to receive communion? Does he have to go through RCIA? Otherwise, I have to get dispensation to marry?

I am planning to call my priest without telling my boyfriend first. We actually haven’t told our families about our intent to marry.

Yes, talk to your priest first.

But as far as the wedding itself goes, I don’t know…I find myself partial to weddings that are not in the context of Mass, to be honest. I think it is important that the bride and groom be highlighted as the ordinary ministers of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. That notion tends to be de-emphasized when a wedding occurs within a Mass: in that setting, the bulk of the focus is on the priest, not the couple.

A couple at my parish were married this Summer: they arranged for the wedding to occur within the celebration of a solemn sung Mass, concelebrated by three priests, with a permanent deacon to proclaim the Gospel, and transitional deacon to offer the homily. It was all about the clergy. The bride and groom were parenthetical. They were featured for about seven minutes during this one and 1/2 hour long liturgy.

Catholic couples often say they would like “the full Mass” but I often wonder why. I wonder if they even know why, to be honest. A bride will insist that her wedding day is “her special day”, but then insist upon shining the spotlight upon a priest.

I’ll tell you why, because I was a bride that choose a “full mass”. Its the Eucharist, the thing that separates us as Catholics from any other couple getting married in other denominations. I could not imagine starting out my vocation as a wife and not being able to receive Jesus in communion. I didn’t need to be the “focus”, I didn’t need to feel THAT special on my day. I did though need to place an importance on the sacrament of my chosen vocation and on the Eucharist. Why would I want to keep Jesus locked up in the tabernacle while I’m pledging my life to my husband and his to mine?

OP, my husband was in a similar situation as your intended finds himself in. He had never been confirmed and was a lapsed Catholic. He did not go through RCIA, and I got the unique opportunity to be my husband’s confirmation sponsor and he was confirmed about a month before we got married. Talk to your priest, this could be a very blessed opportunity for you two to grow closer in your faith together as you prepare for your wedding.

He is a Catholic, he would not go through RCIA but there is likely some sort of adult confirmation class. The priest can discuss all this with you. Depending on the circumstances there may be several options. Confirmation is not an *absolute *necessity for marriage, but canon law states those to be married must be confirmed unless there is some sort of grave reason they can’t be prior to the marriage. This is assuming he wants to return to the Church and sacraments.

Not a dispensation. *Permission *from the bishop following the canons used for mixed marriage.

You do need to talk to your priest. Marrying a non-practicing Catholic is a serious undertaking and you need to think through future issues and how lonely you will be in the practice of your faith if he does not return-- and the full responsibility you will have for raising children in the faith. It’s very hard to do when the parents are not united.

Not a dispensation. Permission from the bishop following the canons used for mixed marriage.

I called our church today and I talked to someone in the office. He told me that we just need to show them my boyfriend’s baptismal cert and this would be sufficient record to marry in the Catholic church. We wouldn’t need permission from the bishop because he is Catholic (however not practising).

Note My boyfriend has always practised and has been active in his baptist church since his parents converted (he was only 4 years old). He was baptized Catholic as an infant.

Should I get a second opinion in my church?

Only if you want to. Otherwise, trust what your church told you.

To celebrate a wedding within Mass both must be fully initiated (Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion). My wife didn’t get confirmed and she had to before our wedding. My sister also had the same case, her husband didn’t get confirmed but wanted a specific date so bad but couldn’t get Confirmed in time, so they just had a Wedding outside of Mass.

I would talk to the priest directly. Just talking to someone in the office, who may not be knowledgeable in a situation such as yours, would not be sufficient information IMO. I would not take their word as fact. Especially if you didn’t give the information that your boyfriend has been active in his baptist church.

Nowhere does the Church say that a Catholic who has not been confirmed can’t have a wedding within Mass . Even a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic can have a Nuptial Mass if the bishop gives permission.

Yes, the Catholic is supposed to be confirmed before the wedding but Can. 1065 §1. says “Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before they are admitted to marriage if it can be done without grave inconvenience.” In my experience “grave inconvenience” is in the eyes of the beholder and is priests are the ones who decide what that is. In the last 10 years in this parish, of those unconfirmed who presented to be married exactly NONE were confirmed before the marriage was celebrated. None were denied a Nuptial Mass if they wanted one.

While I do not have the references to Church documents, it is what the priest told my sister. She definitely wanted a Mass with her wedding but the priest refused for that reason. Could it be a diocesan policy? This is in the US btw.

Also it was a requirement for me and my wife when we got married. I don’t know though if they would have refused Mass if my wife didn’t get confirmed. But we did anyway.

you need to make an appointment for both of you with your Catholic pastor, now, before you make plans. Only he can ascertain all the variables that apply here and give you answers helpful in your own situation. You have to take action as the Catholic party and be in a position to give assurance that your own faith will not be endangered before you can receive a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic. Whether in fact he is non-Catholic is the point at hand, and your pastor will first endeavor to establish his status, and yes, it matters.

very few priests are willing or encourage a celebration of marriage within Mass if both parties are not practicing Catholics because it virtually assures at least half those present, including one of the couple, are not admitted to Holy Communion–and this is not the time to emphasize that disunity. btw nobody here is in a position to declare that he must complete his Christian initiation, as I say, that is something he will have to discuss with the priest, and before his status is established you cannot proceed with your plans.

Do not talk to “someone in the office” or take their opinion as fact. “Someone in the office” might know as much about Canon Law on marriage as they do about astrophysics.

Can. 1071 §1. Except in a case of necessity, a person is not to assist without the permission of the local ordinary at:

4/ a marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith;

§2. The local ordinary is not to grant permission to assist at the marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith unless the norms mentioned in ⇒ can. 1125 have been observed with necessary adaptation.

You should make an appointment and explain all the details to your priest.

“Someone in the office” is NOT “the Church.”

No, but where do people go with these questions except to their local parish first? As they should.

So, I trust that the parish ministers provide the correct response.

Do you disagree? Should people go elsewhere other than their parish, for Catholic responses to their questions about sacraments?

Sometimes people feel the need to go elsewhere to get information. I’m one of them. I want to make 100% certain that what’s going on is correct in terms of the Catholic Church because I don’t know any better. When my “Mommy Radar” goes up that something is amiss, I want to investigate…whether it’s something to do with my child’s education, something at our Church, or something with my husband’s medical care. Paying attention to that little voice in your head that says something just isn’t right can save you a LOT of headaches later!!!

In this case that little voice should be saying “Go directly to the priest for the proper answer.” It is true that if someone calls and says that she and her husband-to-be were both baptized Catholic I’ll tell them they need to bring in their certificates of baptism at the time they meet with Father. OTOH, if they tell me that one now belongs to another religion I’ll tell them they have to talk to Father about that. Note that I’ve only had that happen once where the groom was baptized but his entire family became Baha’i when he was a child – the couple finally opted to leave the Catholic Church out of it completely and had a Baha’i marriage ceremony, without a dispensation.

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