Is my Catholic friend married?


Hi all,

So as a Protestant converting to Catholicism I’ve been meeting with a lot of my Protestant friends who’ve been genuinely interested in my journey so far.

This morning I met for breakfast with a long-time Protestant friend and his long-time Catholic friend, who I hadn’t met before.

This Catholic friend has several “problems” with the Church which has caused him to stop going to Mass recently but he was raised Catholic and is fairly knowledgeable about the faith.

He explained today how he was married in the Church but it wasn’t sacramental, and I was confused.

He was married, in a Catholic church, by a priest. His wife was a professing “Christian” at the time although unbaptized. He received all the appropriate dispensations to marry his wife and the priest performed the ceremony.

Is he wrong in thinking that his marriage was not sacramental? This is what he says the priest told him, but that doesn’t sound right to me. Aside from a “difference in cult,” I don’t see how the priest could marry them and it not be sacramental.

Thanks in advance.


I believe he is correct, as sacramental marriage can only exist between two baptized persons. If his wife was subsequently baptized, however, their marriage became sacramental at that point. If not, then they have a natural marriage.


Baptism is the gateway to the sacraments. Marriage between the baptized is a sacrament.

Because the wife is not baptized, the couple has a natural marriage.

Their marriage is valid, perhaps you were thinking valid verus invalid. Validity and sacramentality are two different things. A natural marriage can be perfectly valid.


A marriage is a sacrament with another validly baptized else it is called a natural marriage. Here is the canon law:

Latin Canon Law (CIC)Can. 1055 §1. The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.
§2. For this reason, a valid matrimonial contract cannot exist between the baptized without it being by that fact a sacrament.


So, to summarize, he is validly married in the Catholic Church (because it was performed in a church by a priest) but it’s not a sacramental marriage, just a natural one?


Yes. Their marriage is valid in the eyes of the Church because they received the appropriate dispensation. This would be true even if they were married in a Protestant church.

Read the Catechism on Marriage:


Can there be a natural marriage between two people of the same sex?


You asked that question. I think there is much said by the church about that, and it has always been NO.
In civilian life, the answer is YES. God, says that He also makes the civilian laws, and we are to follow them. Read, as this is found in Romans 13 1-5. The church is at odds with those civilian laws, but so far have not changed their ruling on that.


No. A marriage is, by essence, the lifelong exclusive union of one man and one woman who become one flesh. If the spouses are baptized, it is also a sacrament, that is, it imparts grace.


Natural refers to their baptismal status-- God created marriage between one man and one woman “in the beginning”, as Christ teaches us. So those men and women who are unbaptized enter a natural union. Those who are baptized enter into a union infused with sacramental grace.

It is not possible for two people of the same sex to enter into marriage with each other at all.


Let me try this again. According to the Bible, which if it covers a subject that God talks about is a higher and better answer than any one else’s answer, covers Civilian Laws. And when Jesus left, he said to not remember anything, the Holy Spirit would come back and remind them. In any event, whether Jesus says something is, or God The Father, or The Holy Spirit says something is, it is true.
Paul only once that I know of ever talked of his own feelings on anything and he put a disclaimer on his words then, that those particular words were his and his alone and not God’s. Otherwise when Paul speaks, it is ofJesus, or The Holy Spirit, or God The Father, or what Paul had revealed to him in his experience with Jesus. Off the point, he talked of knowing more than he is allowed to say.
Now, Paul and therefore The Holy Spirit or God spoke about God making the Civilian Laws, and they there, then, we now are supposed to follow those laws. If you think general statements made back then are not binding on us now, then please state why you can change God’s words in the Bible. Your reference for this is Romans 13. Lines 1-5.
And, the civilian laws of many countries and states allow marriage. Many also allow gay marriage. If you wish to say they are still wrong on this, you cannot use church laws as Romans 13 1-5, trumps that, in God’s eyes.
However, if in the Bible explicitly, rather than just implied by the church or by you and others, that marriage is between one man and one woman only, then you are right on this and the church must suport that, against all the civilian laws to the contrary as it is explicitly, not implied, but explicity there.
In the past things like Mark 9 38-42 forbade by Jesus making anyone less knowledgeable about God angry, by you who know more. That is there. Yet, we in times past, did the Inquistion and that seems every bit in opposition to those statements made by Jesus.


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