Marriage outside of Catholic Church


Question: What does the Bible state about couples whom get married through a different church…Example, fiance’s brother is Catholic, his new wife, Christian…He didn’t want to change religions and neither did she, they are raising whatever future children come as Christians, not Catholics, because of mom… They got married in a church that was willing to marry them openly and acceptingly…Without any problems or concerns…They are blessed through GOD just not through their churches…

Is this a terrible thing even though they are happily married through GOD’s blessings, and both practicing their religions equally to the best of their abilities?

I don’t think it’s the same as a couple getting married civilly because even though they are civilly married and legally married they still have GOD’s blessing…

Your insight is greatly appreciated…thank you all and GOD bless…


A person who is baptized Catholic is required to marry according to the laws of the Church - either in a Catholic service OR with dispensation from the Bishop to marry in another place.

There was a small window of a few years when a baptized Catholic could send a letter to the Bishop, and if the Bishop acknowledged it, that person would be free from the obligations to marry in the Church or with dispensation. That window is for all intents and purposes now closed.

From what you describe, your relative is living in sin in an invalid marriage. Pray that they return to the Faith and get married for real.


Also remember, Catholic and Christian are not different things. All Catholics are Christians.


Is it stated in the Bible specifically that a Catholic has to be married through Catholic church no matter what? So this Christian and Catholic couple have an invalid marriage even though a preacher/pastor married them through their church and blessed them through GOD?

I mean they both wanted GOD's blessing but neither wanted to convert, and they received it but they are living in sin?


There is a difference between 'perception' and actuality. I mean, I can feel, perceive etc. all kinds of things to be right even though they are in actuality wrong. Look at how many people sin and think that they can't possibly be sinning because "it feels right'", "I'm happy so I must be blessed", etc.

Catholics are required to marry according to the Catholic faith--and that means in a Catholic Church unless they are 'dispensed'. And Catholics are also required to do all in their power to raise their children as Catholics.

Yes, Catholics are Christians too.

If he is 'fallen away' he might not (now at this point) really care. Sounds as if he has become indifferent to religion (not meaning he doesn't CARE indifferent but rather that he feels that any old "Christian' religion is just as good as another. And that is, frankly, wrong.)

You know I'm sure that just because a church was 'willing' to marry persons doesn't necessarily mean that they were 'right' to marry the persons. Not that I'm saying this couple needs to divorce or anything, but I think the young man really needs to 'relearn' his faith (sounds like he never really knew it) and then he needs to make a decision. If he's going to be Catholic he needs to be a practicing Catholic and he needs to make some changes. If he isn't going to be Catholic in practice, that is both very sad for him and will make his life more difficult on the whole, but again, he needs to truly KNOW his faith because right now he is making a lot of mistakes which (had he known his faith and practiced) he would not have made.


We are Catholics. Catholics are not “sola scriptura” - that is Protestant thinking.

Jesus started a Church and told us to obey Him by obeying the Church (“whom ever hears you hears me”).

Catholics are bound by the Catholic Church’s laws on marriage.

Look up Catechism beginning at 1601, and the text will link you to the appropriate Canon Law citations:


1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

1622 "Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful."123 It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.

1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125

1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God’s grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.126 The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.137 In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.138 This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.139


Now I am confused…OK, no matter what a Catholic needs to marry through the Catholic church even if the other person is a different religion?


First of all, please remember and emphasize to all that (as that_name stated) all Catholics are Christians. This gets lost on a lot of people, mostly outside our church, but with some Catholics as well.

The issue is with authority. Your brother, being Catholic, is bound by the teachings of the magisterium. Remember, the church came first and then the Bible. The church teaches us that when Catholics marry, it must be witnessed by a member of the Catholic clergy - bishop, priest, or deacon. An exception can be made by appealing to the local bishop for dispensation.

When two baptized non-Catholics marry, the marriage is considered valid and even sacramental. However, Catholics are bound by the teaching authority of the church. As the Bible states in 1 Tim 3:15, the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. In this role, the church gave us the Bible. We need to look to the church for the truth, which works in harmony (never in opposition) with the written word.

Like that_name stated, in the eyes of the church, your brother is not married. :( However, this can be easily corrected if he will visit with his parish priest. He should guide him on what he needs to do to get back in good graces with the church. BTW, he should not be receiving the Eucharist until this matter is settled. (1 Cor 11:26-29).

I myself am married to a non-Catholic. We were married in a Protestant church, but a Catholic priest was there to validate the marriage within church laws. We raised our children in both faiths. They are twins and 22 years old now. One is Catholic, one is Protestant. It can be done, but if you ask them today they would rather of been in a household on only one faith tradition.

I know this all sounds "legalistic", but remember the primary role of the church is to lead the faithful to Heaven. The church, since 33 AD, has always looked over the flock and given guidance to achieve that goal. It received this authority directly from Christ himself (see John 20:21) who promised He would never abandon them (Matthew 28:19-20).

Therefore, as faithful Catholics we are obliged to follow the church's teachings. This is not to say we are to act like mind-numbed robots. If the church ever teaches something directly in opposition to sacred scripture or sacred tradition, we are to humbly object while respecting the teaching authority and praying for guidance. More importantly, we are to always look to deepen our understanding of sacred scripture (Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ - St. Jerome) and our church. This is a life long duty and a wonderful journey for those willing to embark on it!



[quote="iluvmybabies, post:7, topic:182658"]
Now I am confused...OK, no matter what a Catholic needs to marry through the Catholic church even if the other person is a different religion?


Well there are some times when the Church will allow someone to be married in another church. But all Catholics have to get permission from the Church in order to be married. Catholics are accountable to the Church... The guy could easily get his marriage blessed by the Church.

Look Catholics are accountable to the Church. Marriage comes with it serious responsibilities and obligation.. Some of these rules are actually for the protection of its people. As a Protestant seminarian I knew people who were getting married after knowing people for only six weeks. (not good).. Sometimes when couples are in love and hormones are involved people aren't thinking straight. The Church serves as the force that basically says Stop! Think! And I think people need that at times. Catholics in order to be married have to go through Classes and also agree to follow Church teaching on things like being open to children. Also the guy has an obligation to do his best to raise his children Catholic.


[quote="iluvmybabies, post:7, topic:182658"]
Now I am confused...OK, no matter what a Catholic needs to marry through the Catholic church even if the other person is a different religion?


Every Catholic must marry under the permission of the Church.

The wedding can take place in the Church or a side Chapel, even at times in the Priest's office. Officiated by a Catholoic Priest, Bishop or Catholic Deacon.

A Catholic who is going to marry a protestant or a non-Christian may request permission from the Bishop to marry in a place other than a Catholic Church.

This is all very basic stuff, it is what every Catholic learns as a child in CCD or Religious Ed - you know, the precepts of the Church? "Obey the Church teachings on marriage".


Right. Now if this young man and his now-wife had wanted to be married in her protestant church, (especially if she had strong ties to that church, like a parent who was the pastor), they could have gone to the priest and asked for a dispensation to be married in that church. This is usually granted, again with the Catholic agreeing to do the best he can to have the children brought up as Catholic. So it’s not as though (had she absolutely refused to get married in a Catholic church) that they couldn’t have gotten the dispensation; they are usually given without difficulty. And it’s not as if this stuff is ‘hidden’ and that it’s hard for Catholics to know. Simply going to the priest and telling the priest that he wanted to get married to a Protestant would have elicited all the information, not that he would ‘need to change churches’ but that he would need a dispensation, and very likely an immediate dispensation given then and there. It sounds though as if this young man didn’t really understand, made some incorrect assumptions about what he could and couldn’t do, etc.

But it’s really very simple. If neither one has been married before, their marriage can be convalidated in the church. In fact, if the young woman is still adamant about not being Catholic or doing anything Catholic, she doesn’t even have to go to the church herself. The young man needs to go to the priest and tell him that he married outside the Church and wishes to do the paperwork to convalidate the marriage. . .and it should be relatively simple. Then HE will be in conformity with the Church AND they can still go on just as they do now.


Exactly. Its not like the Catholic Church wouldn’t have accepted their marriage. He just needed to get a little permission that’s all. And if she truly respects him and his religious background she’d be willing to do what she can to make sure he was in good standing with his church.


So if two Catholics get married outside the church it’s a sin, but if a Catholic and Non-Catholic get married outside the church as long as the Catholic can promise to raise his/her future children as Catholic (even if other partner disagrees) and asks for permission from Bishop or priest to have their marriage convalidated by the Church, then it becomes valid and no longer living in sin? Even though they were legally married and married through GOD’s blessing just from a different church?


God does not bless sin. For the Catholic to marry outside the Church without dispensation is a serious sin.

God will bless the person when they repent of the sin and make amends to stop sinning.


Catholics have an obligation to marry in a Catholic Church.

Being ‘blessed’ in a Protestant church does not equal the obligation to marry in a Catholic Church.

You know, it’s not like this is something new, or that it’s ONLY directed at Protestants.

It is a law of the Church --and the Church has the right, and the authority, to make laws.

The fact that other churches don’t have the same laws doesn’t release a Catholic from the obligation to obey his laws. The fact that the other churches don’t have the same laws doesn’t make the Catholic law stupid, unfair, or discriminatory. The fact that the other churches don’t have the same laws doesn’t mean that their marriages aren’t valid (for two Protestants marrying in a protestant church that is quite valid, because Protestants are following the law for THEIR churches.)

There really shouldn’t be a problem insisting that Catholics should be responsible for obeying what is required of them as Catholics. We ask for the very same thing with everybody else, don’t we? We’re not asking Protestants to do something ‘more’, we’re asking for the CATHOLIC to do what his faith requests.


As a Catholic, would you feel that John (who was divorced but not annuled) from Nancy, then went ahead and married Sue, was in a valid marriage? The state would consider that a valid marriage, and plenty of churches would ‘allow it’. . .but is it a valid marriage??

No, because John already had a wife (Nancy).

It’s the same thing for this argument. The validity of the marriage according to the state, or according to an individual Protestant church, doesn’t make a non-sacramental marriage which does not obey the Catholic teaching into a ‘valid’ one.


Very interesting discussion…I appreciate your teachings, references and help! thank you very much to everyone…


wondering how do you advise people whom think they are living properly and always brag about their great and happy marriage through GOD’s blessing, if they aren’t really blessed from GOD?


[quote="iluvmybabies, post:18, topic:182658"]
wondering how do you advise people whom think they are living properly and always brag about their great and happy marriage through GOD's blessing, if they aren't really blessed from GOD?


As Scripture says... the rain falls on the just and the unjust.


[quote="iluvmybabies, post:18, topic:182658"]
wondering how do you advise people whom think they are living properly and always brag about their great and happy marriage through GOD's blessing, if they aren't really blessed from GOD?


Whether or not something is blessed or not blessed by God is not up to us. Just because a Catholic and a non Catholic marry outside the church doesn't mean that God hasn't blessed their marriage. It only means that the Catholic Church has not blessed it and doesn't recognize it.

Here is how my husband's priest explained it to us. Before our radical sanation documents were approved, our marriage was not sanctioned by the Catholic Church because my husband had not follow the canon on getting permission ahead of time. However, GOD still recognized our marriage and it was still a valid marriage in his eyes.

I would give careful thought to what you are doing before you tell your brother his marriage is not blessed by GOD.

Side note: No where in the Bible is marriage between denominations even mentioned, that is strictly a function of Catholic Cannon Law not Scripture.

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