Does marriage truly exist in other Religions?

I know this seems like a silly question, because I’m pretty sure I know the answer; but I’m not sure why…

Assuming a Muslim man and a Muslim woman in Turkey get married by an Imam; are they truly “married” and free to have intercourse without sin? Or because they were never married through the Catholic Church would any sexual act be considered fornication because they had sex without truly being married?

So then how do we define what is officially marriage in God’s eyes even if it’s by those of different Religions?

Yes, marriage exists in other religions, although not as a sacrament (except in the case of Orthodox; their marriages are sacramental.) In the case you give in your example, that is a true marriage, unless either the bride or groom had formerly been Catholic.

A valid marriage between two baptized people – Catholic or not – is also a sacramental marriage according to canon law.

Can. 1055 §2. For this reason, a valid matrimonial contract cannot exist between the baptized without it being by that fact a sacrament.

Non-baptized people (or one baptized and one non-baptized) enter into a valid natural marriage. If at some point they are baptized, the marriage then becomes sacramental.

What ever would cause you to think that only Catholics could be validly married?

Because I would like to know what officially makes one, “Married.” Is it two people coming together and saying, “we’re married now!” to their family? Does it have to involve a priest? Obviously you do not believe so.

So if a couple can be married and live married lives outside of the CC then how does one officially be married in God’s eyes if they’ve never heard of Catholicism and are a part of an entirely different Religion?

As far as the RomanCatholic Church is concerned, it is the exchange of consent that makes a couple “married”. The Church says that a Catholic must do that in front of a priest or deacon (or in some cases in front of a lay person appointed by the bishop) unless he/she obtains a dispensation from canonical form. The Church imposes no such rules on those who are not members.

So then, can two people be married in God’s eyes just by simply stating that they’re married if they are not Catholic?

I’m just trying to figure out the difference between sex outside of marriage and what makes one no longer guilty of fornication in God’s eyes outside of the CC.

There are many ways of marriage.

For those of us in communion with the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament.

Those outside the Catholic Church, marriage is what they have made it to be.

What is valid or not in the eyes of God - is to be determined by God.

If those who married outside the Catholic Church wish to become Catholics, the Church will ensure and help them making their union consistent with the Sacrament.

Any organised society, if it is to survive, has to define/regulate sexual cohabitation in some way. Otherwise law and order would break down due to sexual jealousy, loss of a stable environment wrt upbringing and education of children, destitution of abandoned mothers, difficulties in passing on of productive land/assets between generations, constant feuding between tribes/families etc.

God respects the wisdom inherent in surviving cultures which evolve laws, authority figures and customs for defining/stabilising these sorts of things.

That doesn’t mean God cannot use Christian culture as a “leavening” agent to evolve them further (eg from polygamy to monogamy).

Marriage is far more than divine permission to have sinless sex - that is usually a narrow and distorted teenage preoccupation and misunderstanding of both religion and society.

Actually, two Methodists, or Lutherans etc who are married in their churches are in a sacramental marriage.
Marriage being a sacrament is between two baptised persons, not just between Catholics.

Well that’s their jurisdiction. I have none there. I can only attest to my Church. If they declare that marriage is a sacrament for their jurisdiction, then :thumbsup::thumbsup:

Or have we declared the validity of their sacrament?

When you think about it, two Catholics are validly married by stating their consent to marry and making their vows of permanence, fidelity and openness to life, to each other. The priest does not marry them. They confer the sacrament on each other. The priest must be present as the official witness of the Church. The same would apply to other religions. Only Catholic are subject to Catholic marriage law.

As to cohabitation, the question is: what do the couples intend? When moving in together, did they exchange consent to be married? Did they exchange vows? If so, why not do it publicly before a minister or a civil official?

We work from an assumption that marriages that take place in other churches are valid. I work with RCIA and this is often an issue. Two Protestants marry and later divorce. One of the parties remarries and later wants to become Catholic. That person is in an invalid marriage since the assumption is that the first marriage was valid and he wasn’t free to marry someone else. He needs to apply for a declaration of nullity even though all of this happened before he had any thought of becoming Catholic.

Canon Law states that (assuming no impediment to marriage) marriage between two baptised persons is sacramental. You do not have to be Catholics to be in a sacramental marriage.

I don’t think so…The validity of a Catholic marriage is not assumed if the normal juridical requirements are not met. Presently I understand that requires the witness of a priest/deacon and a service within a Catholic Church unless permission is otherwise granted.

So they would be accepted just as someone who had a valid Baptism?

Meaning that the marriage is seen in the same Sacramental manner as Baptism? And is the marriage seen in the same Sacramental manner as in those entered in the Catholic Church?

ETA - Do you have the code of canon law at hand?

Ay yia yia.

Western (Latin) and Eastern (Orthodox) Catholics are not in agreement on who the minister of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is.

In the Latin Church, the man and woman mutually confer the Sacrament upon each other. In the Eastern Church, the priest is the minister (though, unlike ANY other Sacrament, he must first ask and obtain the permission of the couple to conduct the ceremony).

This difference in theology is not significant between Western and Eastern Catholics, because (either way) the conditions will be fully fulfilled.

But the difference becomes HUGELY important when discussing non-Catholic Christian marriages (protestants are the source of many more East-West discrepancies than filioque). Under Latin theology, assuming both the bride and groom are not Catholic but have received valid Christian Baptism, and they both intend to “do what the Church does” in conferring the Sacrament (even if they don’t properly understand what that means - it is “intent” that matters, not understanding), then the marriage is presumed Sacramentally valid. If this couple later converts to the Catholic Faith (as my wife and I did), the marriage vows are “renewed” and the union receives the blessing of the Church (which is what happened for us).

But the (Latin) Catholic Church recognizes practically ANY marriage as valid (though, possibly, not Sacramental).

The institution of marriage pre-dates the Christian religion, and even the Jewish religion (Noah and his sons had wives, even though Noah considerably pre-dated Abraham and Moses). This is why the Catholic Church accepts the lawful validity of marriage (even if it could not possibly be Sacramental) unless it is PROVEN to be invalid:

Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven. [Code of Canon Law, 1060]

Muslims (for example) who are married within their Faith are considered lawfully married by the (Latin) Catholic Church, unless somebody can PROVE otherwise (such as proving that one was not lawfully free to marry). Their marriage is not considered to be a Sacrament (assuming these Muslims are not Baptized), but it is considered to be lawfully valid, and if this couple converted to the Catholic Faith, but did not have their marriage recognized, they would not be considered to be “living in sin.”

You are saying the same thing JimG said, except that you included the deacon. In some cases the Church’s witness is a lay person – that has happened in my diocese in parishes where priests only go a couple of times a year.



The valid marriage of two validly baptized people is sacramental. If we recognize the validity of their baptism (let’s say, two Methodists) then we recognize their marriage as sacramental even if they don’t think of marriage as a sacrament.


It was already posted in post #3.

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