Dispensation for civil ceremony, or convalidation options?


#1

Hello,

I am new here, and wonder if any of you might be kind enough to help me. I am not a Catholic and not baptised into any Christian faith. My fiance was born into a Catholic family, but has not practised since university. We are getting married in a civil ceremony in the UK in early November, which has been all planned, invitations sent out and so on.

In recent months I have felt increasingly drawn to the Catholic faith and have tried to explore it further. I have attended Mass (without taking communion obviously) and decided that I will begin the RCIA classes offered in my local church, which begin in late September, with the intention of being baptised at the Easter Vigil, all being well.

Which leaves the issue of my marriage. I know none of the options below are ideal, and it would have been better to plan a valid Catholic ceremony from the start, but as it is too late for that:

  • Would you suggest waiting until we are married and looking into the possibility of a convalidation? (It is the first marriage for both of us).

  • Should I wait until after I am baptised and confirmed to have this, or should it be done beforehand?

  • If it should be done before baptism and confirmation, is there any way the preparatory work could be done before our marriage and the marriage convalidated very soon afterwards, even the next day?

  • Is there any possibility at all of getting a dispensation (in the 3.5 months available) to marry civilly, or is this only an option for those getting married in another Christian church?

Thank you in advance for your advice!


#2

Welcome! It's wonderful that you're planning to join the Church.

You should definitely talk to the priest at the parish where you will be attending RCIA about the best way to go about this.

Is your husband-to-be interested in returning? Since he is Catholic, he is technically required to marry in the Church form.

Time is short, obviously, but four months may be enough time for you both to do your marriage prep. If the priest is willing to work with you, I would actually suggest a private Catholic wedding ceremony (maybe at a regular Mass?) just before the civil ceremony that has already been planned. Keep everything valid from the get-go. :)


#3

[quote="Moscati, post:2, topic:205814"]

Time is short, obviously, but four months may be enough time for you both to do your marriage prep, if you act real quickly]. If the priest is willing to work with you, I would actually suggest a private Catholic wedding ceremony (maybe at a regular Mass?) just before the civil ceremony that has already been planned. Keep everything valid from the get-go. :)

[/quote]

THAT sounds like a plan! :thumbsup:

Welcome to Catholicism, KateLiana! (If that's your real name, I offer my compliments to your parents! I think it's a beautiful, almost poetic name!)


#4

If you enter into a civil marriage, you will need to have a convalidation prior to your baptism and confirmation. It is against the rules for people who are in irregular/invalid marriages to be allowed to enter the Catholic Church.

A dispensation of form to marry in a civil ceremony is certainly possible, given that you have not been baptized into any Christian faith. However, such a dispensation is not guaranteed. You will also need to obtain a dispensation for disparity of cult, since you have not been baptized.


#5

Moscati, Ponyguy and Just Lurking - thank you so much for welcome and advice. I am making an appointment to discuss it with our parish priest, and feel much better now I know that there are options. I will definitely try my best to get the marriage valid from the start.


#6

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