Marriage in a protestant church


#1

Hi everyone,

Just after some advice. My fiance is Protestant (Uniting Church), but has indicated to me that he is likely to convert to Catholicism when we are married.
However, as a kind of farewell to his church, we are wondering if a Catholic marriage is possible in the church he grew up in.
We would like to have a Catholic priest & a Uniting Church minister co-celebrate the wedding in his church.
Would this be allowed? Will we still be able to have a proper Catholic mass?

Thanks for your help!


#2

Possible? Yes.

Likely? Not.

The only one that can answer this is your pastor. He would have to submit a request for a dispensation because the wedding would be held outside of the sacred space we know as the church or sanctuary where Christ is kept in the tabernacle. The building is consecrated by the bishop. So many issues doing this you way. I know, because I went through this many years ago. Ended up marrying in my wife's church without permission and committed a huge sin by doing so. Though I was confused and angry during that time, I still felt something wrong about it.

Why not have the wedding in your parish and invite his pastor? This would be so much better. And you being the woman, it would stick to traditions I grew up with, marriage in the brides church. Approach the sacrament with the understanding of the sacred mysteries.


#3

Okay, thanks alot for your help.
I guess I was just trying to find a way to even it out, I've been feeling like it's all about me and my church.
Hopefully bringing his minister along will be enough!


#4

I will say a prayer for the two of you.


#5

[quote="jezzarose, post:3, topic:233265"]
Okay, thanks alot for your help.
I guess I was just trying to find a way to even it out, I've been feeling like it's all about me and my church.
Hopefully bringing his minister along will be enough!

[/quote]

While you will not be able to have a wedding Mass in his Church, it may be possible for you to get married, validly, in his church if it's important to him. You would still need to do everything the Catholic Church requires in terms of preparation but the priest would request a dispension from canonical form from the Bishop. If the Bishop grants the dispensation, it would allow you to marry in his Church, with their ceremony. You could ask your Pastor to attend and offer a blessing or do a reading if he is available .


#6

[quote="jezzarose, post:1, topic:233265"]
My fiance is Protestant (Uniting Church), but has indicated to me that he is likely to convert to Catholicism when we are married.

[/quote]

How confident are you that he will do this? What would happen if he didn't?

The theory and practice behind a Catholic wedding and marriage is for two Catholics to marry each other in a Catholic church before their Catholic priest at a Nuptial Mass – anything else is an exception for which permissions may be obtained if it will not be a threat to the Faith of the Catholic party. While I can understand wanting to have a sentimental 'last goodbye' to his home community, it sounds like he isn't exactly attached to the 'Uniting Church' anyway. Why not go for the 'whole hog' and have a Catholic wedding and marriage after he becomes a Catholic – it would be a shame to miss out.


#7

[quote="jezzarose, post:1, topic:233265"]
Hi everyone,

Just after some advice. My fiance is Protestant (Uniting Church), but has indicated to me that he is likely to convert to Catholicism when we are married. However, as a kind of farewell to his church, we are wondering if a Catholic marriage is possible in the church he grew up in.

[/quote]

Meet with your priest and discuss it. A Catholic getting married must follow all the Church requirements for marriage. This includes you and your fiance going through Catholic pre-marital preparation.

A Catholic marrying a non-Catholic must obtain permission for a mixed marriage (your priest will handle this) and also obtain a dispensation from canonical form in order to marry in their fiance's place of worship. So, yes, you can do this assuming he has not yet converted to the Catholic Church. If he converts before your marriage, you would then both be bound by Catholic form and would not be able to receive a dispensation to be married by a non-Catholic minister.

[quote="jezzarose, post:1, topic:233265"]
We would like to have a Catholic priest & a Uniting Church minister co-celebrate the wedding in his church.

[/quote]

No, this you cannot do. If a Catholic receives a dispensation from form, the priest does not preside or "co-officiate" the wedding. The non-Catholic minister does that. The priest can certainly attend, read a reading, give a prayer or blessing, etc, acting pretty much in any capacity a layperson can act; but he cannot receive the vows or "co celebrate" the wedding.

§2. If grave dffculties hinder the observance of canonical form, the local ordinary of the Catholic party has the right of dispensing from the form in individual cases, after having consulted the ordinary of the place in which the marriage is celebrated and with some public form of celebration for validity. It is for the conference of bishops to establish norms by which the aforementioned dispensation is to be granted in a uniform manner.

§3. It is forbidden to have another religious celebration of the same marriage to give or renew matrimonial consent before or after the canonical celebration according to the norm of §1.** Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the Catholic who is assisting and a non-Catholic minister together, using their own rites, ask for the consent of the parties.**

[quote="jezzarose, post:1, topic:233265"]
Will we still be able to have a proper Catholic mass?

[/quote]

I don't understand this question. If you receive a dispensation from form to be married in the non-Catholic's place of worship there is no mass. If you marry in Catholic form, you can have a Mass, but since your fiance is not yet Catholic then it would be discouraged as he cannot receive the Eucharist.


#8

[quote="jezzarose, post:1, topic:233265"]
Hi everyone,

We would like to have a Catholic priest & a Uniting Church minister co-celebrate the wedding in his church.
Would this be allowed? Will we still be able to have a proper Catholic mass?

Thanks for your help!

[/quote]

yes with the proper dispensation and a real serious reason the marriage could be celebrated in his church. No there could be no such concelebration. The Catholic priest can be present but the minister in whose church the marriage is performed officiates, and there is of course a dispensation for that as well. You would have to convince the bishop that there is no danger to your faith in marrying a non-Catholic (which also requires his permission) nor in the plan you propose. Quite frankly as yet you have stated no good reason for it so you had better discuss this with your priest during your marriage preparation.

You fiance should only convert if he is convinced the Catholic Church holds and teaches the truth, not because he is marrying you, and if he really is convinced of that he should cease worship at his old Church and attend Mass, and would not want to marry in that Church. But we cannot dictate to him, you the Catholic party have to follow Catholic form for marriage.

No you cannot have wedding Mass in a non-Catholic church, it is illicit and the other minister would never permit it. You would have the exchange of vows in the rite common to that church. If you want a Catholic wedding under the Catholic rite it will be in a Catholic church witnessed by a Catholic ordained minister. In this diocese you will be counselled strongly against celebrating your wedding during Mass in any case if the groom and half the guests will be non-Catholics, since in this instance sadly the Eucharist will emphasize the disunity that exists between our two bodies and would be excluding half those present.


#9

[quote="puzzleannie, post:8, topic:233265"]
yes with the proper dispensation and a real serious reason the marriage could be celebrated in his church. No there could be no such concelebration. The Catholic priest can be present but the minister in whose church the marriage is performed officiates, and there is of course a dispensation for that as well. You would have to convince the bishop that there is no danger to your faith in marrying a non-Catholic (which also requires his permission) nor in the plan you propose. Quite frankly as yet you have stated no good reason for it so you had better discuss this with your priest during your marriage preparation.

You fiance should only convert if he is convinced the Catholic Church holds and teaches the truth, not because he is marrying you, and if he really is convinced of that he should cease worship at his old Church and attend Mass, and would not want to marry in that Church. But we cannot dictate to him, you the Catholic party have to follow Catholic form for marriage.

No you cannot have wedding Mass in a non-Catholic church, it is illicit and the other minister would never permit it. You would have the exchange of vows in the rite common to that church. If you want a Catholic wedding under the Catholic rite it will be in a Catholic church witnessed by a Catholic ordained minister. In this diocese you will be counselled strongly against celebrating your wedding during Mass in any case if the groom and half the guests will be non-Catholics, since in this instance sadly the Eucharist will emphasize the disunity that exists between our two bodies and would be excluding half those present.

[/quote]

Excellent response. And her fiance' may be thinking of the Catholic Church as just another denomination or even just another church, as Protestants do of their own churches. Switching churches is not as huge a deal as it is for Catholics.

Your last sentence highlights what can happen in a mixed marriage, only carried forward into the future children.


#10

You need to understand that receiving a dispensation for this particular matter is nearly impossible. Truth is that both of you need to go through the pre-cana program as prescribed by your ordinary, the bishop. Your pastor can get you both off on the correct direction. As lovy,dovy you many feel, place that aside somewhat enough to make sure Christ in included in this relationship. The major mistake I made 22 years ago eventually worked itself out, but not without major trauma to our relationship. I'm from a very different mint, the product of a mixed marriage gone bad and had to work our most of my faith up to where I'm at today. Do searches on my name and learn from my mistakes.

My mother went through the training to become Catholic and rejected after it was too late for my dad. Ultimately an annulment was issued, which hurt my feelings as a teenager. You have to think beyond your own life. This is just as much for his sake as it is for you. The best programs for pre-marriage training and counseling are provided by Catholic sources, usually through your diocese. Take full advantage of it. My situation was related to being in the military and out of my jurisdiction. Had that situation not existed, we would have gone through the normal route to Holy Matrimony.

Make sure you capitalize the name of this sacred sacrament when you state it. Protestants do not have the same view of marriage as Catholics and Orthodox Christians. It is a sacrament. I have a protestant background and can assure you that even in my Church of Christ faith divorce was never really accepted but there were many of them and shocked me how they were handled, depending on the congregation. There is absolute chaos going on in the Protestant world on this subject. Stay true to your Catholic faith. You've received advice from some of the best members on this forum. Take it.

As far as my wife is concerned now, she is on medication and our pastor finally strongly advised her, told her, take your medication at night, every night. This has been the biggest problem in our relationship. Though she converted to Catholicism with me reverting back to my Catholic faith with our children, she is still learning her obligations as a Catholic to her family by taking her prescriptions as prescribed by her doctor. When she takes it, we're great. When she fails to take it, life is chaos for everyone, and painful to my heart. She gets mean during those times. She hid this from me for many years and I only discovered it during our convalidation, 18 years after our Protestant marriage. It was mere will power, with the grace of God, however little we received, that kept us together all this time. I will never leave her, but it has been very tempting at times. Do NOT make my mistake. Make sure you know who you are marrying. Make sure he doesn't view marriage the same way he seems to view switching faiths, snap of the fingers. Make sure he converts only if he believes, and prior to marriage preferably.

You are in my prayers.
PAX


#11

This simply isn’t true.


#12

I guess things have changed then. I’ve been told by many priest just the opposite. And if anyone needed this I did. My wife’s mother is still trying to “save” me from my pagan religion.


#13

Thanks for your advice everyone!

I've talked it over with my fiance and we have decided that getting married in a Catholic church would be the better option. The only worry I have now is that he, and all his friends and family will not be participating in our eucharist.
Has anyone experienced this? Does it become a difficult situation?


#14

[quote="jezzarose, post:13, topic:233265"]
Thanks for your advice everyone!

I've talked it over with my fiance and we have decided that getting married in a Catholic church would be the better option. The only worry I have now is that he, and all his friends and family will not be participating in our eucharist.
Has anyone experienced this? Does it become a difficult situation?

[/quote]

Many people will suggest you not do this part of the ceremony. It will be a point of education for all present if you do. So, you should at least consider it. Blessings.


#15

[quote="jezzarose, post:13, topic:233265"]
Thanks for your advice everyone!

I've talked it over with my fiance and we have decided that getting married in a Catholic church would be the better option. The only worry I have now is that he, and all his friends and family will not be participating in our eucharist.
Has anyone experienced this? Does it become a difficult situation?

[/quote]

I was facing that and opted to go with a wedding within a Liturgy of the Word. It's what is strongly suggested in the pastoral notes of the Marriage Rite. That way, division is not stressed by having to announce that half the congregation cannot participate in part of the wedding. You stress unity by having the things you have in common: Scripture.

Just so we're clear, your fiancé is baptized, yes? If he isn't, a Nuptial Mass isn't an option and even the wording of the Rite is different.


#16

[quote="Phemie, post:15, topic:233265"]
Just so we're clear, your fiancé is baptized, yes? If he isn't, a Nuptial Mass isn't an option and even the wording of the Rite is different.

[/quote]

Yes, he is baptized into the Uniting Church, he hasn't been confirmed though.


#17

[quote="jezzarose, post:13, topic:233265"]
Thanks for your advice everyone!

I've talked it over with my fiance and we have decided that getting married in a Catholic church would be the better option. The only worry I have now is that he, and all his friends and family will not be participating in our eucharist.
Has anyone experienced this? Does it become a difficult situation?

[/quote]

There are two options-- marriate rite during the mass and marriage rite outside the mass. Talk them over with your priest.


#18

[quote="jezzarose, post:13, topic:233265"]
Thanks for your advice everyone!

I've talked it over with my fiance and we have decided that getting married in a Catholic church would be the better option. The only worry I have now is that he, and all his friends and family will not be participating in our eucharist.
Has anyone experienced this? Does it become a difficult situation?

[/quote]

yes it does for the reasons I state, which is why it is strongly discouraged in this diocese for mixed marriages to be celebrated in the context of Mass.
What does your priest say? Have you started your marriage prep? That is your first priority and also where you will get answers to these questions that fit your individual situation.


#19

[quote="jezzarose, post:16, topic:233265"]
Yes, he is baptized into the Uniting Church, he hasn't been confirmed though.

[/quote]

I must admit I've never heard of the Uniting Church.


#20

[quote="Phemie, post:19, topic:233265"]
I must admit I've never heard of the Uniting Church.

[/quote]

I hadn't either. I looked it up, and it appears to be an ecclesial community in Australia made up of a joining of Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist churches.


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