Matrimony by a minister

Can a practicing Catholic man become a minister and marry a couple in a civil ceremony?

What do you mean “become a minister”?

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Are you referring to some kind of non-Catholic “minister” such as mail order minister or Protestant minister?
If that’s what you mean, the answer is No, the Practicing Catholic Man cannot become a “minister” of some other denomination.


If by civil ceremony, you mean such as a judge or ship captain or the like might be permitted to do (the laws vary by state in the US), then any Catholic may act in that capacity if they have that civil role. They cannot do so in a religious connotation, unless it’s a Catholic wedding by special exception - but then they’re not technically a “minister”. See Canon 1112.

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Actually, I’m not EXACTLY sure what this means! I was told a friends daughter is getting married and she has a family friend who has “become” a minister to perform weddings. I have heard of this becoming a minister on the internet and am shocked that a practicing Catholic would take on this role. Tell me it isn’t OK for this person to marry this couple.

It sounds like some kind of bogus ordination. Either way, I’d care to bet this is not okay.

Becoming a legally authorised civil marriage celebrant? Not sure., maybe OK.

Getting a religious or quasi-religious “ordination” and so making a mockery of the sacrament of Holy Orders? Absolutely not.

I know two people who have become licensed by the state to perform marriages. They are not Catholic and they are not ordained ministers in any denomination.

I was just at a wedding in September where a Catholic relative received a one-time license to perform a civil ceremony. It’s totally legal.

Depending on where you are… there’s no such thing as a one-time license in my state. (And we aren’t supposed to advise about what is/isn’t “legal” on the forums, I don’t believe.)


Is the practicing catholic a Deacon?

This wedding was in Vermont. I was as surprised as anyone that this couple did not have a church wedding. The officiant was “ordained” for the day by the state of Vermont to perform that wedding. We were all told it was a legal union. That’s all I know.

Not only is it not ok but there is an excommunicatioin involved.

It may be legal in htat state, but it is not ok in the Catholic Church.

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Be careful you are not using confusing terminology.

“Ordained” is a word that is almost always only used to refer to someone becoming a minister of religion. Of course the state never makes someone a minister of religion.

They may authorise or deputise people to celebrate non-religious wedding ceremonies. Is this what you mean?

We just saw upthread that Catholics who happen to be judges or captains of ships, for example, and so are authorised to celebrate civil marriage ceremonies, are permitted to do so. It does not mean they are conferring or attempting to confer a sacrament, nor would anyone think they are doing so, so there is no reason to think it not OK.

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