My son is engaged to marry a non-Catholic girl whose father is a minister in the Church of the Nazarene. They are going through Catholic preparation for marriage with a local priest. He told them that it will be OK for them to get married at the Nazarene church with her father presiding at the ceremony as long as a Catholic priest is present. I asked if the ceremony would be the Catholic ceremony and he said as long as the marriage scripture reading were done, the rest of the ceremony could be of the Nazarene’s pastor’s choice. The Catholic side of the family is very uncomfortable with this. Isn’t this taking ecumenism a little too far? It seems it would be cause for scandal, by making it seem that all churches are equal and it doesn’t matter where you get married. I was always taught that a Catholic had to get married in the Catholic church for a Catholic wedding to take place. Isn’t it important to profess your vows before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?
The priest is correct. In consideration for the fact that the father is a minister, the Church does allow such a marriage and considers it valid. The Catholic, of course, is still responsible that the children of that marriage be brought up in the Catholic faith.
The presence of the Blessed Sacrament has never been required for Catholic marriages—as good as such presence is. There are instances of Catholics being married in hospital rooms, for example.
I understand how this feels. But be grateful that the marriage will be valid.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.