Dispensation for Mixed-Marriage


I spoke with a deacon at the local parish that my fiance have been attending about our upcoming wedding; I am a baptized Catholic and she is a baptized non-Catholic. The deacon stated that our wedding would have to be conducted in the Catholic Church, but an exception (I assume dispensation) could be granted to have the wedding at another “religious house of worship.” This wedding would still need to be administered by the Priest or Deacon from what he is telling me, but I thought a Dispensation from Canonical Form could be granted to allow a non-Catholic minister carry out the wedding ceremony?

I live in a large city, so I was going to start calling up other Catholic Churches to see if someone can start the process of applying for a Dispensation from Canonical form, which I presume this Deacon is just not familiar with?


To receive that kind of dispensation, I believe you need to contact the Bishop’s office.

May I ask why you would rather have the ceremony at another church rather than a Catholic church? Just out of curiosity (as someone who is currently living in a mixed marriage).

And, just a side note. My wife and I got married in a Catholic Cathedral, and we still get compliments on how beautiful the church was and how it was a great pick for the wedding.


My fiance’s mother and sisters are all baptized in the Jehovah Witness faith (only the mother practices,) so they would not attend a wedding ceremony in a building with a Cross, Statue, Stained Glass Windows, etc.

My goal as a revitalized and faithful Catholic is to get married and to have our marriage recognized as valid in the Church. I’m assuming the deacon was not aware of Canon Law regarding the Dispensation from Canonical Form or their particular parish (it’s in a small town outside a big city) may not want to be involved in marriages conducted outside the Church.


The Catholic Church does not recognize Jehovah’s Witnesses baptism as valid, so strictly speaking they are not members of a the Church of Christ. You don’t say if you fiancee is a Jehovah’s Witness, but if there was to be a marriage between a Catholic and a Jehovah’s Witness, it would require a dispensation for disparity of cult, rather than mixed religion. Assuming the fiancee has a valid baptism (recognized by the Catholic Church), then see the following from USCCB.

CIC Canon 1127, §2 - Dispensation from Canonical Form: Mixed Marriages

                                   Complementary Norm:  The particular norms issued by the National Conference of Catholic  Bishops on November 16, 1970 continue in effect except that the ordinary  of the place where the marriage is to take place is no longer competent  to grant the dispensation from the form of marriage.

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983

(See Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Letter on Mixed Marriages, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 1, 1971)

Canon 1127.2 If there are grave difficulties in the way of observing the canonical form, the local Ordinary of the catholic party has the right to dispense from it in individual cases, having however consulted the Ordinary of the place of the celebration of the marriage; for validity, however, some public form of celebration is required. It is for the Episcopal Conference to establish norms whereby this dispensation may be granted in a uniform manner.


Indiviuals do not contact the bishop’s office for dispensations. These must be requested by the priest or deacon conducting the marriage preparation.


Yes I did not mention that in my initial post, but she was baptized in the Trinitarian form as described by our Lord in Matthew 28 at a non-denominational church, so her baptism is valid and recognized by the Church.

Thank you for posting the information; 1ke, you, and others have been ready with that information and it has been very helpful to me in discerning a marraige with this woman. To say the least, it was a shot in the stomach when I had this discussion with the Deacon and I found that he said exactly the opposite of what Canon Law states.

I suppose I will need to find another parish that can help us with this process of completing the Dispensation from Canonical Form, Pre-Cana, etc…


Or just bring up the issue with him. Perhaps he merely forgot. Clergy are human, after all.

closed #8

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