I was informed by my pastor that marriage can not be celebrated unless it is done within a church. he said he could not marry my son and his fiance at an outdoor service, it would violate Canon Law. As best as i can determine, the sacrament of marriage is the only one that must be celebrated inside of a church. Why is that? I was taught that we are the church, not the building, so celebrating the service before the friends and family that are the church would seem to comply with the canon Law. Was father interpreting canon Law correctly in giving his advice?
The pastor is correct. Canon Law does not permit marriage outside of a church except for serious reasons. An outdoor wedding is not considered a serious reason.
As for sacraments that must be celebrated in a church, pretty much all the sacraments are required to be celebrated in a church unless a serious reason exists:
Can. 857 §1. Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place of baptism is a church or oratory.
Can. 881 It is desirable to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation in a church and during Mass…
Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place…
Can. 964 §1. The proper place to hear sacramental confessions is a church or oratory.
Can. 1011 §1. Ordination generally is to be celebrated in the cathedral church; for pastoral reasons, however, it can be celebrated in another church or oratory.
Can. 1118 §1. A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church.
The only sacrament that canon law does not set the church as the norm is anointing of the sick, and that is for obvious reasons.