My Friend's Parents


I was talking to my friend the other day and he said that his parents were married in a non-denominational church because his mom was protestant. She converted later when they had kids but they were told that their marriage was invalid and they would have to go the whole nine yards with a Mass and everything that goes with a wedding. They refused to do it out of principle (they thought it was frivolous). I had thought that all they had to do was renew their vows in the Church and that would be all that is needed. Would anybody be able to clarify this? Thank you!


They would just have to do the Rite of Marriage which can be done outside of Mass or within Mass. It would not need to be a big event either. All that is needed is the groom, wife, 2 witnesses and a priest/deacon to officiate.


Thank you very much! I will tell my friend right away!


If your friend’s father is Catholic, then yes, the marriage would be considered invalid by the Catholic Church, unless his bishop granted permission for them to marry outside the Church.

If neither of the spouses are Catholic, then the marriage would be considered valid, unless one or both were previously married.

If dad is Catholic, they need to convalidate the marriage (make it valid by marrying in the Church). Mass is not required - only the rite of marriage.

If neither were Catholic, no convalidation is necessary, because it’s already valid (assuming neither was previously married).

Your friend’s parents need to talk with a priest for a definitive answer.


That’s who they had spoken to previously, and he told them that the whole nine were necessary; it’s worth noting that the local parish hasn’t gotten the cream of the crop when it comes to priests, so that may have played a role in the whole situation.


They might want to ask what he means by “the whole nine yards,”

I’ve had a Convalitation. We included the Liturgy of the Word, but we didn’t include the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We dressed up in wedding attire and had guests. We had a small reception. I carried flowers.

A friend of mine also had one. They had their two daughters as witnesses with no other guests. They wore their Sunday best. They didn’t have flowers or a reception.

So which one is the “whole nine yards?”


If his parents are sincere about being Catholic, they should be willing to do whatever the Church requires. If the father really didn’t know they were living in sin, I can understand that would be difficult to accept, but *refusing *to accept it is putting himself above the authority of Christ.


To Mary; what I meant by “the whole nine yards” was that they would have to re-do what they did with their previous wedding (replace the “Service” with the Mass, have a reception afterward, and so on); that is what my friend told me that the Pastor said to his parents. Sorry about that :o


And Ad Orientem, you’re right, they didn’t know they were living in sin, but they believe that because they are upholding their “principles” they aren’t doing anything wrong, but they’re only doing that because they were told they had to re-do it with all the formality of a regular wedding.


Could this be like a game of Telephone?

The pastor said one thing to the parents, they said another to your friend and the story got changed again when he told you?

I only ask because there isn’t anything in Church teaching that anyone has to have a reception. Or wearing a wedding dress. Or anything like that. :shrug:

Your friend’s parents need to sit down and find out exactly what they have to do. And if the priest says they have to do everything they did the first time, I would ask him to list what he means.


You are getting this all third hand, your friend is getting it second hand. So you really don’t know what the priest ACTUALLY said.

Yes, they do have to exchange consent in the Cathlic form-- which means they have the full Rite of Marriage, inside or outside of Mass. The would also have to complete premarital preparation and paperwork as required by their diocese.

They can also look into radical sanation, which convalidates the marriage without new exchange of consent.

Bottom line-- they need to make an appointment with the pastor about their options and do as he instructs.


I should explain what I’ve been thinking; I thought it was a little ridiculous that they would be told to re-do everything with the formality of a regular wedding (which is why I came here; I knew I’d get a good solid answer). I just wanted to get a clear answer for my friend, and if it has turned into a game of telephone then I must say that I’m a little embarrassed (I’m very trusting). I wasn’t able to talk to him last night, so I’ll talk to him about it tonight and reassure him that his parents can have the Rite of Marriage outside of Mass with only two witnesses and the priest. Thank you all for your input, it has been quite helpful, and I’ll post about it again when I’ve spoken with him :thumbsup:


Hope it all goes well and he can convince his parents. You are a good friend.:thumbsup:

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