Marriage in a Catholic Church by non-Catholics

If a protestant couple thought that a particular Catholic church were pretty, would (and could) the Catholic parish priest or bishop allow them to have their ceremony in that very Catholic church?

Perhaps they could get permission to borrow a Catholic building but, one of the two must be Catholic in order to have Catholic clergy marry them. :slight_smile:

i would hope not

It happens a lot in NY. Many churches here let non-Catholics have their weddings, they rent the space, they pay much more than a parishoner would in terms of fees and they have to bring their own minister.

I could not find any canonical reason why this is not possible, but like many decisions, it’s a matter of parish and diocesan policy.

As I learned during my wedding plans over two years ago at my parish, “non-members” had to pay a much higher marriage ceremony fee than member parishioners. What “non-member” means in terms of being Catholic or non-Catholic was unclear.

I will speculate that most parishes have a full schedule already of Catholic weddings. Further, as many Protestants may only want a “pretty backdrop” for their church wedding, a high ceremony rate (Bring your own minister) is designed to scare off non-Catholic weddings in some places–if the diocese doesn’t restrict them altogether.

Still, it would be nice to know a canonical answer, if there is one.

This is certainly anecdotal but my sister has been the Wedding coordinator at our Basilica (which is the second largest parish in the Chicago Archdiocese) for twenty two years. There used to be a one year wait to get a Saturday from April through October. That would be with up to three weddings per Saturday. This whole year there have only been ten weddings from January through mid May. :frowning:

What would they do about the crucifix? Statues? Stations of the Cross? :confused: What would the family say? I mean, most families have their own church and their own pastor…:shrug:

Weird question.

I was at a wedding 2 years ago. The bride and groom were both Catholics(non-practicing). The wedding took place in an Anglican Church. The Anglican minister was a former Catholic priest. This came to mind and I thought it might be interesting to you.

That is not a valid marriage. Too bad for them.


I’m sure I’ve heard of British people marrying in churches in Italy (where I’m assuming most churches are Catholic), and as far as I know of neither one of the couple was Catholic. Not sure how that works exactly, unless it was just the building that was used.

I’m assuming the above wouldn’t be considered a valid marriage then under Catholic eyes?

Not sure about Canada, but in England because the Church of England is still established, anyone has the right to an Anglican funeral in their own parish, and I think nearly everyone can have an Anglican wedding, though in my parents’ day it used to be that divorcees couldn’t.

I think the couple still may need to explain the circumstances of a divorce to a priest and it may be harder for an unfaithful party. There’s even a website encouraging church weddings (though the layout looks disturbingly commercialist really).

I know of a Catholic Church which is on an “Historical Monuments” list, that is used for weddings for many Christian denominations.

None of the other posters seem to think it’s a weird question. And y’know, there are some protestants that wouldn’t be bothered at all by statues, a crucifix, or stations.

Actually, given that both of them were Christian, it would be considered a valid sacrament.

Canon law permits a bishop to allow Catholic churches to be used by non-Catholics for worship, weddings, or funerals. It is up to the local bishop.

Would you happen to have the canon handy? A friend asked me this question, but I don’t have a reference.

Boy, you learn something new every day. It never crossed my mind that a non Catholic would even want to get married in a Catholic church.

What can I say? We do have some very pretty churches that make a bride and groom look great in wedding photos. :slight_smile:

The scenario you were responding to was 2 catholics marrying outside the catholic church. This is an invalid marriage due to lack of form.

The bishop can allow it. See: 1993 Directory #137.
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137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances, permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries.

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