MArriage between Roman Rite and Byzentine Rite Catholics

This was lightly touched in another thread, but I didn’t want to tag into it since it was not the main topic. I’ll now proceed to procliam my gross ignorance on this topic. :blush:

Anyway, I have recently heard about a couple preparing for marriage. One is a Byzentine Catholic, the other a Roman Catholic (I guess the proper Rite would be Latin Rite?) . From what I have heard, they can’t just simply “get married” and attend whatever Parish they want…they must decide which Rite they will formally register as.

Is this correct? And is there a reason for that? Also, if they choose the Byzentine, are they still free to attend Mass at a Latin Rite Church…and vice versa?

Any Catholic may worship at any Catholic parish of any of the 23 Catholic churches. One need not change membership to a different ritual church in order to worship there.

If the man is Byzantine Catholic, the wedding must take place either in his parish, or there must be permission from his bishop for the wedding to take place in the bride’s parish. Regardless of which one is Byzantine Catholic, and regardless of where the wedding takes place, it must be witnessed and blessed by a priest (not a deacon) for the marriage to be valid.

If the man is Byzantine, and if his wife wishes, she may change from being enrolled as a Roman Catholic to being enrolled as a member of the ritual church of her husband, but she is under no obligation to do so. I’m not sure what the canons permit is she is Byzantine and want to change her enrollment to Roman Catholic.

Thanks fro the clarification. Yes, in this case the man is Byzantine.

One additional thing is that there are some different impediments in the eastern canon law than compared to the Latin canon law. There can be no impediments of the Latin or of the eastern Church present for the inter-ritual matrimony to proceed.

Quite so. This is a reason I do think Eastern Catholics need to be catechized about issues that can render a marriage invalid for them which would not render invalid the marriage of two Latin Church Catholics. It’s never a good thing for an engaged couple to discover they are not free to marry. Also, IMHO anytime a Latin Church is approached with a couple seeking marriage and one of the parties is Eastern/Oriental Catholic the chancery should be consulted. Hopefully when the marriage is taking place in an ECC parish the clergy are familiar with their canons and know the impediments that would cause the marriage to be invalid.

AFAIK, the prescriptions of Allatae Sunt are still in force - namely, it is not permitted under pain of censure to attempt to induce an Eastern or Oriental Catholic to switch membership to the Latin Catholic Church. This prescription has been repeated by several Popes since it was first promulgated. I think the latest was with the promulgation of cum data fuerit. Of course, an Eastern or Oriental Catholic can switch of their own free choice.


These following are normal cases, the extraordinary is by transfer request and might not be granted:

CCEO (Eastern)

Canon 31
No one can presume in any way to induce the Christian faithful to transfer to another Church sui iuris.

Canon 33
A wife is at liberty to transfer to the Church of the husband at the celebration of or during the marriage; when the marriage has ended, she can freely return to the original Church sui iuris.

Canon 34
If the parents, or the Catholic spouse in the case of a mixed marriage, transfer to another Church sui iuris, children under fourteen years old by the law itself are enrolled in the same Church; if in a marriage of Catholics only one parent transfers to another Church sui iuris, the children transfer only if both parents consent. Upon completion of the fourteenth year of age, the children can return to the original Church sui iuris.

Thanks for the additional great info. I actually had to look up “sui iurus” to find out what it meant. :wink:

So, now what I understand is that, as long as there is no impediment to marriage, they are free to celebrate Marriage in, and attend Mass, at whichever Rite they choose, as long as the groom has permission from his Bishop (for the wedding celebration if he chooses the Latin Rite Parish) and a Priest must bless/witness the Marriage, not a Deacon.

Also, regardless of which Parish they register with (either the Byzantine or the Latin) they are free to attend Mass at either Rite, (and now for another question) but the Priest at the Parish in which they register will have the responsibility of conferring the Sacraments? In other words, if they are registered in the Byzantine, the Priest at the Latin Rite Parish will not be the one to Baptize their children, etc…?

They can even have their children chrismated by whichever, or even a third, provided the parents agree to which church the child is admitted; by default it’s the father’s church of enrollment, and that the local pastor and their proper pastor agree to it.

If, however, the children are to be enrolled in an Eastern Church, they are supposed to be baptized, confirmed, and receive first communion all at once, even if done by a Roman priest.

Also note: there is provision in Eastern Canon Law for marriage witnessed by a deacon, or even by two laymen, when a priest is not available for an extended period. While it’s seldom relevant in the US or Europe, there are places where it does matter. The priest’s blessing is supposed to be sought at the earliest opportunity when this is done. The difference being that the pastor may not delegate marriages of easterners to the Deacon unless the pastor is remote.

Actually, you were right the first time, it’s the “Roman Rite”. “Latin” and “Roman” are sometimes used interchangeably, but technically they’re not interchangeable. (In fact, the Latin Church has other Rites besides the Roman Rite, e.g. the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite.)

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