Marriage question


If one was Catholic (as I) and wanted to marry someone whether they were Catholic or or not and want to be married by a judge. Can someone get a dispensation for that? Can someone go a head and do taht then have the church recognize it?



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I do not believe it is possible to receive a dispensation for a court “wedding.” As a Catholic, a marriage is not just between the spouses, but between the spouses and God. As such, it is important to have the marriage performed by someone who is qualified to do so. While it is possible for protestant ministers to perform a valid marriage ceremony (hence, dispensations to be married in a protestant Church are possible if a priest is present to assure valid form), a court official is not capable of performing a valid wedding ceremony. This means that it is not possible to receive a dispensation to do so.

If you were to do this and then just say you’ll get it convalidated later, that would constitute grave matter because it is knowingly choosing to reject the proper form of the marriage ceremony, compounded by a form of presumption because you assume that you’ll just be able to get it fixed later on. I cannot say that I would -ever- recommend this course of action. If you’re doing it to avoid the pre-cana classes, then perhaps you should consider if you are adequately prepared to enter into the sacrament of marriage. If you’re doing it for some other reason, then what would that be, and why does it constitute rejecting God’s will and design?


You cannot marry a Catholic by a judge. If you did so knowingly, then you most likely would not be able to receive a Radical Sanation in order to recognize it after-wards.

Which means the only way to have the Church recognize your marriage is via a “Con-validation” which is a Catholic marriage ceremony for someone already legally married.

There is NO difference between a con-validation vs. a regular Catholic wedding.

So if there is no difference, why not get married by a priest to begin with.

Also, if you are going to get married by a Judge, chances are that you will only have a few witnesses there anyway. Why not simply do that in the Rectory with a Priest instead?

I’ve been in a Court house watching and witnessed people getting married there. It’s kind of cold and impersonal.

If you want a small wedding, nothing big, etc… do it with the priest in the Rectory. If you want a big fancy Church wedding later, when you can afford it, your priest or Bishop might allow for a blessing or “renewing of your vows” later.

Please feel free to PM me with questions. But there really is no reason for a Catholic to not get married by a priest. Again, it can be small and in the Rectory. If you can’t afford it, the priest can help. If money is the reason you would want to do it in a court house, then a priest would let you have a similar ceremony in the Rectory or Chapel, I’m sure free of charge.

The only reason Catholic Churches charge money for a large “traditional” wedding in the Church is because of the cost for the power, AC/Heat and Church Musicians who are paid hourly by the Parish. But if you have a small wedding in the Rectory, no additional power, heat/AC or musicians are needed.

God Bless.


Please enlighten me. Where is it in the Bible that says you can only be married by a priest, of the catholic persuasion, and not by a civil judge?


A Catholic can only be married by a priest. A Protestant can be married by however he wishes and the Catholic Church will recognize it.

Catholics believe that marriage is a Sacrament between husband, wife, and God. Catholics also believe that a consecrated host becomes the Real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

So based on Catholic understanding, why would one want to have a marriage and not have Christ physically there?

NOTE: personally, I married a Jewish woman when I was away from the Church. So while I’m currently in a valid marriage (I received a Radical Sanation to recognize my marriage), I’m not currently in a sacramental marriage, only a natural one.

Catholics also believe that the Catholic Church is the actual Body of Christ and that the Church teaches His will. Therefore, when you hear the Church, they hear Christ. When they ignore the Church, they ignore Christ. That’s from the Gospel.

God Bless


Phil1 quote: " So based on Catholic understanding, why would one want to have a marriage and not have Christ physically there?"

Maybe I’m confused but isn’t Christ within us as is represented by the Holy Spirit? So I would think it doesn’t matter where or whom marries you (JP or priest).


God the Holy Spirit is everywhere, yes.

But inside a Catholic Church, God the Son is present in the Flesh and Blood.

To make a terrible analogy, if I were to attend a wedding via Skype, it’s much different than physically attending (even if a large projector was set up so everyone saw me and knew I was there). Another terrible analogy, assume you have a close member of the family (a sibling or grandparent) who cannot make your wedding, even though they really wanted to attend. They say they are with you in spirit. Well, a grandmother or sibling being with you spirit is a lot different than physically being there.

Because we believe, know, that Christ is really physically present, in a true sense inside the Eucharist, getting married inside a Catholic Church allows Christ to Physically attend the wedding vs only being present via the Holy Spirit.

I’m sure there are others who can explain this much better than I.

God Bless.


I’m not a biblical scholar by any means, but I don’t think that’s in the Bible. That said, it is not uncommon for a religion - any religion - to impose rules that it’s members must follow in order to be in good standing. This is one of the Catholic rules. Don’t like it? Don’t be Catholic.


No, A Catholic who is marrying a non-Catholic or unbaptized person can, with a dispensation from the Bishop, be married by a minister in a non-Catholic ceremony. A priest does not have to be present, and if both the priest and minister are present, the minister may officiate. Here is an article from one of the apologists with the relevant canons. A Catholic, however, cannot receive a dispensation to be married before a judge.


Spare the attitude! I was just asking a question. I’m sure I’m not the 1st or last person with that question.


The Catholic understanding on the sacrament of matrimony, in the Bible, is from Ephesians 5:22 (and following), John 2:1-12 raising matrimony to a sacrament, and the authority of the Church to bind and loose sin, Matthew 16:19. Also see Mark 10:1-12; Matthew 19:1-12. The Church has the authority to determine what is a valid celebration of marriage, which Christ raised to a sacrament between the baptised (in contrast to a natural marriage).


In the case of two Catholics there is no dispensation from being married in the Church. For a Catholic and a non-christian, dispensation from canonical form would be required to be married outside the Church. I know many (if not all) bishops will not grant a dispensation from canonical form for a purely civil marriage (i.e. judge, magistrate, justice of the peace, other civil authorities).


Thank you.


I don’t know about the Bible either but if that’s Canonical law we have to follow that too. And it doesn’t have to be a priest. If I’m correct a deacon in the church can marry or at least baptize.


Canon law requires that a Catholic marry a Catholic in a Catholic wedding ceremony, either as part of Mass or without one. You can be dispensed from the “marry a Catholic” part (i.e., you can marry a non-Catholic) by your diocesan ordinary; if you marry a non-Catholic without a dispensation, the marriage is invalid if the person is unbaptized and merely unlawful if they are baptized.

You can also be dispensed from the “Catholic wedding ceremony” part for good reason, in which case I imagine a JP wedding would be as good as any other. This dispensation, too, must come from the diocesan ordinary.

The reason for this is is, so far as I can tell, mainly historical. During the Scottish Reformation, in that country, for instance, marriage required no notice, preparation, or record of any kind. As a result, it often happened that a person would go through a public marriage ceremony, have children, etc., and when they die, some stranger would emerge from the woodworks and attempt to claim their estate on the basis of a supposed marriage confected earlier. Since there were no records, their claim was as good as anyone else’s. In most cases, this was simply blackmail. The canonical form requirement was instituted, in part, so that Church records would remove absolutely all doubt about the validity of marriage.

Re: having the Church recognize it, you could, I suppose, marry at the JP with the knowledge that your marriage is absolutely invalid, then exploit the Church’s canonical assumption of validity to demand a convalidation. I suspect young couples do this sometimes to sidestep the canonical six-month waiting period. This would be, to put it lightly, a grave sin in itself, even if the false “marriage” were not consummated, and I don’t see how one could undertake it with an eye toward confessing after without also running afoul of the mortal sin of presumption.

We’re Catholics, not Baptists. “Where in the Bible does it say” isn’t our golden rule. Scripture’s not some positivistic laundry-list of rules to follow to the exclusion of all others.


I don’t understand. I have read these scriptures you mention and it speaks of Jesus talking to the samaritan woman and the fig tree. I see nothing about him raising marriage to a sacrament. If Canon law says this fine but I don’t see it in the Bible.


Yes, thank you. I left that whole part out of my answer. (Which is ironic since I’m validly married to a non-Catholic :blush: )

Also, a Deacon can perform a Catholic Wedding Ceremony (non-Mass) too


Just showing the epistle here:

Ephesians 5:25-3025 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for hert 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,(“”) 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.v 28 So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

Ephesians 5:31-32

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.” x

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. y


I see thanks I shall read and ponder these things.

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