How do we get the Church to speed up a marriage?

My sister and her fiance are expecting their first child in early spring of this next year. They had already planned a civil ceremony for October of this year and have decided to postpone the wedding to be married by the Catholic Church. Due to the circumstances of medical insurance and tax purposes, finances, etc, and the mere fact that they desire to be married before the baby is born, they wish to be married as soon as possible, but were told by the priest that they had to wait six months. I am not sure if the priest knows all of the details and just told them six months, or if he does know and meant too bad, so sad, it’s six months, period. I had heard that the priest may be able to “speed up the process” due to certain circumstances, but I don’t know if that is true or not. And if so, how do they go about it? Can I get some clarification on this subject?

I can’t imagine any priest reacting to the need for an expedited marriage in the Church with “too bad, so sad.” I suspect that he was not informed of the pregnancy. If that is the case, then he should be informed immediately of the special circumstances. Your sister and her fiance may have to settle for a ceremony held on whichever day the parish has available, even if that means a weekday or another less-than “prime” wedding date, but they should be able to marry relatively quickly. To facilitate the process along, they might also offer to attend marriage preparation courses after the marriage instead of before.

If the priest did know the circumstances and gave your sister and her fiance a response similar to the flippant dismissal you suspect, then they need to meet with him again and say firmly but politely, “Look, Father, we’re expecting a child and need to be married before the baby is born. As you well know, a civil marriage is not appropriate for Catholics. Please assist us in being married right away. In return, we understand that we will have to have marriage prep after the ceremony and will have to settle for a ceremony that gets the job done instead of a Wedding Day Extravaganza.”

If the priest still refuses to help, they should call the diocese and/or the St. Joseph Foundation for further assistance.

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