Concerned about my sister's church wedding

Hi everyone!, I hope somebody can help me with this. Im a cradle catholic, my sister is going to have her church wedding in November. Her and her future husband have been cohabitating for about 8 years, they have two kids. She says that when they talked to the Priest, he told them that they only going to receive a marriage blessing, like renewing votes, and that there is no need in having a big wedding with white dress and all that stuff, its going to be something very discret, the ceremony is only going to last about 20 min. Im sorry but im just worried and wonder if this is right, if this is what the Catholic Church does in cases like mi sister’s, I ve never heard something like this, I thought you could have a “normal” ceremony even when you have been cohabitating. Please excuse my ignorance, I will aprecciate all answers and opinions. Thank you, God Bless!

Has your sister already been married in a civil ceremony? This might make more sense then. Perhaps you need more information from your sister.

It certainly sounds like they are on the right path! After 8 years of cohabiting and two children they are finally coming home to the Catholic Church, praise God!

I will keep them in my prayers. I hope you find an answer to your question since it seems to be making you uneasy but I think you need clarification from your sister first.

God bless you.

It is required for Catholics to have a public form of marriage, unless it is dispensed, such as with a radical sanation. So if they were never issued a marriage license and did not have a form of public celebration of marrriage (even a justice of the peace), then they have never given marriage consent. If they had married outside the Church and either are Catholic, then it would be lack of form and would require convalidation. In either case, they would need a Catholic marriage celebration which would be effective from the moment of the celebration. The celebration could be in private with two witnesses and the deacon or priest without other people so it would not create a scandal.

As Monicad said in post #2 there is not enough info to answer your question. Hopefully whatever happens they will be sacramentally, validly and legally married soon. I would hope that in addition to ‘correcting’ their situation that they will go to confession as from the limited info given it sounds like their situation is sinful. I am sure that the priest will have advised them of this.

I shall add them and you to my prayers.

It seems your sister is not married (“Her and her future husband”).
In the latin rite marriage normally takes place during Holy Mass. Those to be wed are the ministers of Matrimony and the priest imparts a blessing. Unless they were previously married, I believe a Mass is required. I think the interpation your sister gave you is the problem .
After you recieve more info. talk to your parish priest for a better understanding.
The above posts cover this issue quite well.

From your description, its sounds like its The Rite of Celebrating Marriage Outside of Mass, and usually is what takes place if one of the intended is not a Catholic or hasn’t received all the sacraments within the Catholic Church. Perhaps your sister’s intended falls into that category. Its not uncommon, it can last as short as 20 minutes or longer, depending upon the couple’s choices in the readings, music, etc within the ceremony. Its not a “punishment” on your sister’s living arrangement, as my SIL had this ceremony option because her husband has never received first communion or reconciliation even though he was baptized in the Church. A full nuptial mass is not the only choice for couples getting married in the Catholic Church.

There is no requirement for a Catholic wedding to be celebrated in the context of a Mass, even if both parties are Catholic. However it is the ideal that two Catholics be married with a Nuptial Mass. In the case where one party to the marriage is not Catholic, a Nuptial Mass may be discouraged or not allowed. A sacramental (or at least naturally valid) union contrasts sharply with an inability to share the Eucharist.

In the case of the OP’s sister it is not clear if the couple is civilly married or not. We don’t know if this is a convalidation or will be a civil wedding as well.

Sacraments are by their nature public events. But in the case where a couple has been living together for years without the benefit of a marriage recognized by God and the Church the public nature of the sacrament could be a means of scandal for the rest of the parish, particularly if the couple is assumed to be already married. A full wedding in such a case wouldn’t be forbidden. But discreetness is often encouraged although it tends to vary from parish to parish and pastor to pastor.

I would add that subdued weddings for couples already living together is actually a *secular *manners custom. But it is obviously widely ignored today.

First of all I want to thank to each one of you that answered my question, Im sorry I didnt explain my question very well :blush: I see what you are saying. My sister had a civil married, I don’t even know why I said “her future Husband” I guess in the back of my mind I was thinking that now they will be husband and wife “legally” in God’s eyes. Thanks again and I hope to hear more opinions. God Bless!

Here is more information: they are both Catholic, have been since born, only not immerse enough in our Church to realize the big mistake of not having the wedding ceremony. they are both in their 30’s, completly agree in getting marriage, and hungry for Eucharist. Hope this info helps to get answers. Its just unexpected to me that the Priest calls it a Marriage Blessing, and renewing votes. But my sister says they have talked over with him and everything is clear, so maybe Im just being too concerned.

So, being Catholic, as soon as the baptism certificate and marriage certificate are presented, the priest will know for certain that it is only an attempted marriage, and will require convalidation. It seems that some priests refer to a convalidation as blessing a marriage, even though it is actually a new marriage from the moment of the new consent, or in the case of a retroactive convalidation*, a new marriage from the moment of the grant.

** *in which case the original consent is used and is presumed to continue unless contrary proof is presented.

there is nothing “not normal” about what they are planning. It is certainly much more appropriate than to have bridezilla show that makes a pretense, although there is not an official church teaching on it.

NO the priest did not say he is only doing a blessing, they will exchange vows in the full rite of the sacrament of matrimony, which only takes 20 minute or so. Yes the Church is pastorally sensitive to the particular needs of a couple who has been cohabiting or living in an invalid marriage, especially when there are children. In such a case they can’t separate as it would be bad for the children, but they should be counseled not to engage in the marital embrace until the marriage is performed. That however is private between each of them and the priest in confession, not the topic for general conversation with family and friends.

Thanks a lot! now everything looks much clear to me, and you friends are right, there is no need in a big show for a marriage to be valid. Im a little ashamed of myself, but thanks to all of you for your help. Im very glad I found this forum.My best wishes for all, and God Bless!

P.s. So nice from you to offer prayers for my sister. We appreciate it!

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