Marriage Sponsors

I am aware of all the rules set out in Canon Law regarding baptism sponsors but I can find nothing about sponsors at a marriage.
Are there any rules for marriage sponsors, and if so where can I find them?

There are no marriage sponsors - just witnesses.

I have heard of specific dioceses or parishes that put requirements on marriage witnesses. But to the best of my knowledge the only real requirements are that someone is old enough and of sound enough mind to be capable of being a witness.

I know plenty of people (including my brother) who have had Catholic marriages and had unbaptized witnesses. Many years ago there was a couple at my old parish who was having their marriage convalidated in a simple afternoon ceremony. I was a seventeen year old high school student at the time and was helping in the CCD office after school. The couple had no witnesses so the priest asked me and another person to come over to the Church and observe the exchange of vows.

Here in the Philippines marriage sponsors or witnesses have to sign Church documents after the ceremony.
If there are officially no sponsors but only witnesses what are the rules regarding witnesses?

As a previous poster noted, the Church says only that 2 witnesses are required but has no rules about who those witnesses can be. In Canada and the US, where the Church acts as an agent of the State, the witnesses also sign legal documents.

They have to be old enough and responsible enough to do that but, unlike for Baptism, they can be non-Catholic or even non-Christian and two men or two women or one of each. Their only responsibility is to ‘witness’ the exchange of vows and be able to state that it, in fact, happened.

In my parish we have married couples that have volunteered to meet with engaged couples. They are couples that have been ‘vetted’ or are known to have a strong and loving marriage. They are given a book that brakes down the Church’s teachings to use as a guide. The ‘sponsor’ couples are assigned by the parish - not chosen by the engaged couple.

But that’s something specific to your parish and perhaps your diocese, not a requirement of the Church. The OP wants to know about the witnesses at the wedding. The Church’s only requirement is that there be two. Nowhere in the questions asked of the couple does the religion of their witnesses come up. We ask only their names and addresses.

I would guess that in places where the Church wedding is also going to be recognized by the state there might be legal requirements for witnesses as far as age or residency. But those would not be Church requirements. (Hence I was allowed to witness a convalidation when I was not yet eighteen.)

Here in the Philippines couples getting married tend to have many “witnesses” who sign the documents after the ceremony. The tagalog word ninong is used for sponsors at baptisms, confirmations and marriages.

Cann. 1105, 1108, 1116, and 1121 all make reference to two witnesses. As far as I can tell, they do not provide any qualifications for those witnesses. I cannot find elsewhere in Canon Law any specific references to the qualifications of witnesses in general. I would presume that they had to be at least adults, i.e. reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction; or, they may have to be a least 16. They may also need to meet the local requirements of civil law; most, if not all, countries have a legal requirement for two witnesses. I have tried to find he legal requirements for England but have been unsuccessful in my search.

in our Mexican tradition down here many couples want their cultural customs such as the lazo, coins etc, and for each of those presentations their is a padrino, madrina or a couple, so the word padrino connotes persons other than the sponsor required by the rite of the sacrament. There are no requirements for any of those persons who present the bible, rosary, flowers etc. My guess is this sensible custom arose as a way of sharing expense of a wedding among family and friends.

there are also padrinos for first communion, which are not required by canon law, so there are no requirements as such, but in general those should be the baptismal godparents in any case. If they are not some pastors set the same requirement as baptismal or confirmation sponsors, but they are exceeding the demands of canon law in so doing.

formerly the witnesses to a marriage were also those who testified to the parties’ freedom to marry so there was probably a requirement regarding their legal ability to do so. Now that is taken care of in the marriage preparation with the affidavits of free status.

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