Do I need to be confirmed to be married in the Catholic Church?


Hello - I’m just wondering this for my own reasons. I’ve been in a serious relationship for awhile, and I am wondering if my boyfriend (finally) proposes if I have to be confirmed to be married in the Church? Or if there are ways around it?

Okay… so you will need to know a bit of history to understand the full situation. I am a cradle Catholic and attended Catholic school up until seventh grade. I attended two grade schools and had huge issues with both the schools. I was a quiet child and bullied relentlessly during school. Gosh, it started in kindergarten with my teacher. Also my mom recently let me know that the school was very dismissive of my intellect despite the fact that I scored very high on the standardized tests in fourth grade. After that, my parents put me in another Catholic school. In this school, I ran into a bunch of “mean girls” and got sent nasty notes to my house. My mom contacted the school, but the students in question were from parents politically active in the parish and it was my fault because I wasn’t “assertive” enough. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and going to junior high at a public school. I suffered from serious eating disorders in junior high. I did end up going to a Catholic High School because the college prep curriculum at the local high school was awful. After two years of therapy, my psychologist determined that I was strong enough to handle it and provided me with coping strategies. I am grateful for the education I received in terms of college prep because I did get into some quite good colleges and it made my transition to college easier. However, the political stuff continued in high school. I just ignored it as my therapist suggested.

Around this time, kids are prepared for Confirmation. Based on the above experiences, I decided not to go through with the process. My experiences with priests and nuns were quite bad and I didn’t really know any good Catholic lay people other than my parents. I do appreciate many aspects of the Church, but really didn’t want to be an adult member of an institution where such blatant hypocrites were honored. My parents were supportive of my decision and it was the first truly “adult” one that I made. Being decisive and saying “no” really helped with my recovery.

I did spend quite a few years as a “recovering Catholic” and only returned as a practicing Catholic in the last few years because I found a quite good parish with a quite good priest. However, I still wouldn’t want to get confirmed because I’m honoring the decision I made when I was thirteen and I’m still quite convinced that the same hypocrisy exists in the Church. I’m hesitant to post here because I really don’t need lectures as somehow seems to happen. I would like some practical advice about the situation. I would obviously like any potential marriage to be recognized.


I don’t know why its “obvious” that you want a marriage to be recognized in a church that you have such disdain for the people in it? Why is that obvious?

Confirmation isn’t becoming “an adult” in the church. You are denying yourself graces from God when you don’t get it. It’s not about honoring a decision when you were 13. Geez…you were 13! 13 year olds make bad decisions all the time.

Marriage is a vocational sacrament. Confirmation is an initiation sacrament. Why would you want to choose a vocation in a church you don’t want to be fully initiated in?

So, bottom line, yes, you have to be fully initiated before your vocation sacrament.


Canon Law says this:
Can. 1065 §1. 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.
§2. To receive the sacrament of marriage fruitfully, spouses are urged especially to approach the sacraments of penance and of the Most Holy Eucharist.

In my experience “if it can be done without grave inconvenience” is broadly interpreted and in 13 years of making entries into the parish registers I’ve never seen any unconfirmed Catholic be made to receive that sacrament before getting married.

[LEFT]OTOH, Confirmation completes the Grace received in Baptism and I would encourage you to meet with your pastor to arrange to receive the sacrament. It’s got nothing to do with anyone in your parish or those who bullied you in school, it’s about the gift of graces from God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, namely, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).

At 13 you likely needed to make that decision to go forward. But don’t let your pride in your 13 year old self stand in the way of receiving graces from God. You’re an adult and need to make adult decisions based on correct information.


IIRC, no. Probably has to do with cradle Catholics. A lot, especially in Catholic-majority countries kinda fall out of the Sacraments in childhood, but still end up with a desire to get married in the Church.


See… This was why I was afraid. This judging is frankly what I don’t need. I mentioned that I didn’t want judging, and the first thing that I get is judging.

And no it wasn’t a bad decision on my part. It really was the “first grown-up” decision that I made in my life. I was recovering from an eating disorder, and this was a huge step for me realizing and confronting the source issue and saying “no” to something that was really not good for me. Going to a confirmation class would have put me in the sort of toxic environment that really caused the issue in the first place. It meant standing up to my parents and saying no to something. It was really the first time that I really asserted myself in that way and my parents came to support that decision. I really do like many aspects of the Church and attend Mass regularly, but this is a non-starter for me.


Technically yes…realistically no.


Exactly where was I judging? Quote it.

You can’t, because I didn’t. Don’t accuse me of something I didn’t do. I used YOUR words to ask you questions. You said it was obvious. It’s not. I’m asking how is it obvious that you would want your marriage recognized after you “judged” the people in the church as hypocrites.

Confirmation, objectively IS good for you and WOULD have been good for you. Classes? maybe, maybe not. People teaching? maybe, maybe not. The sacrament? Yes. Graces from God. That’s what the sacrament is.

Why do you want your marriage recognized by the church that is full of hypocrites? These are your exact words I am using. I’m returning the question to you.


Please, I urge you to consult a priest in this matter. Even shop around various parishes to get a good answer. A good pastor should be able to ensure you are adequately prepared to receive the graces of the sacrament without exposing you to a “toxic environment” or “hypocritical people”. Confirmation is essential for your life as a Catholic. You cannot do without its graces. If you were born into an Eastern Church you would already have been chrismated as an infant. It’s just that important. I encourage you not to wait until it comes up at wedding preparation. As it is, you may have to wait for quite some time: right now we are at the height of Confirmation season; some programs will start now and complete in November, I was confirmed on the solemnity of Christ the King in 2000.

I can empathize with your reluctance. I lost my faith as a child and avoided Confirmation until I was 28. I spent years not trusting the Church. But as much as sinful humans tarnish the Church’s image, you mustn’t let it bother you. She is the Bride of Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit. She is the New Jerusalem and we are lucky to be a part of the True Faith. I will pray for you as you find your way back.


As I mentioned, I enjoy many aspects of the Catholic faith itself. I haven’t had a great experience with people in the Church. I gave you my entire background as to why I feel this way and why it would have been no good for me to go to religious education classes. I quite like my new parish, which is the only reason why I am going back to Church on a regular basis. However, this was an important part of my recovery and I intend on honoring it.

(And no, my boyfriend is not Catholic. He is an Evangelical. He does go to Mass with me sometimes and appreciates the service. I go to a Spanish Mass and it has an Evangelical flavor.)


If your boyfriend is non-Catholic you will have to ask for a dispensation for the marriage, that is pretty routinely granted in most cases however.


But you will probably be hard pressed to find a priest that would request it, knowing that you do not ever plan on becoming Confirmed. Especially knowing why.


To answer your question - to get married in the Catholic church (assuming your future spouse is not Catholic) you need to be Confirmed. If you are Confirmed I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to. My husband is not Catholic and we were married in the Church.

If you were to marry a Catholic who was confirmed (and you were not) you would also be able to get married within the Church.

That all said - to me, I'm having trouble understanding the need to get married within the Catholic Church if you are not willing to become a fully initiated member. (not judging, just not understanding) It sounds like you still need alot of healing and forgiveness towards the church. I've been there, and it took a long time for me, but it is possible to get reconciliation with the church after past hurts and being away for so long. For me it was learning that I also needed to learn to forgive.


You say not being Confirmed was the first step of your recovery and your first adult decision. You also say that you regularly attend Mass and have found a parish and a priest you like. These things I totally understand.

What confuses me is why you want to attend Mass and possibly marry in the Catholic Church if you don’t want to become a full member of said church. I also do not understand why you don’t want to be Confirmed now that you are a recovered adult. It’s not like being Confirmed now will somehow negate the recovery you had after making the decision not to be confirmed when you were a kid.

I made a lot of decisions as a teen that I was proud of and that made sense at the time. Now that I am an adult I recognize that some of those decisions weren’t necessarily the best ideas and that some of the reasons I made those decisions are no longer relevant and I have since changed my mind. Just something to think about.


You’re still not getting it. For the purposes of this discussion, one sacrament is like the other.

If you haven’t had great experiences with the church, why do you want to get married in it? Or, if you DO enjoy the catholic faith why NOT get Confirmed?

Getting confirmed now does not somehow" dishonor your recovery. They are completely 2 different things are not related in the slightest. In fact, it would only be helpful to you with the grace provided. You are shooting yourself in the foot by denying yourself the graces.


Agreed in this case, I find the attitude of the OP ambivalent and confusing as to how they view the Church. It is one thing at age 13 to realise that the Church is composed of sinful people and be dissapointed by that but the poster is now many years older and at some point the realisation that we are all sinners must set in and that there are no Churches without hypocrites.


The answer is that you must be confirmed first.


Personally, I don’t see the big deal. It makes sense that someone wanting to have a religious vocation would need to be confirmed. Just wanting to get married… not so much. In fact, I’d think that the Church would want to be a bit more open about its requirements for marriage given the fact that so many people aren’t getting married. I’d obviously like to get married and start a family because I’m 31. I’d prefer to do this in my local parish, especially since my boyfriend isn’t particularly religious.


Because I’d like to marry my boyfriend and start a family. Isn’t it basically a no-no for us to just rent out a space and have a ceremony with an Evangelical minister?


You need to educate yourself on what marriage is.


Do you plan to raise your children Catholic? None of this is even an issue if you yourself are not wanting to join the church. That’s what I think has everyone confused. Why do you want to get married in the Catholic Church if its not a church you want to become a full member of?

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