My Priest Condones Civil Marriage!

Recently one of our pastors (a monsignor) gave a great homily on how it is hard to balance out our obligation to hate the sin and love the sinner. Within his homily he mentioned how he gives permission to Catholics who want to get married outside the church on a beach or something. He said if you took 100 priests, generally 50 of them would say it is okay to perform such a marriage and the other 50 would not. I am appalled that he is actually permitting Catholics to engage in invalid marriages. How should I approach him on this issue? Anything in the catechism that I could use to show him his error?

Are you sure these marriages on the beach aren’t being performed by a Catholic priest? Surely the preferred setting for a Nuptial Mass is a church but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen elsewhere.

I didn’t catch this, but my mother mentioned that he said, “preformed by a justice of the peace.”

Could it be that the actual marriage is being performed in the Church and then latter a bigger public celebration?

IIRC: Only the Bishop may give a dispensation from the norms as outlined in CCC1621and Canon Law.

CCC: 1621 (Vatican link click thru)

1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful **normally **takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

Code Of Cannon Law: CHAPTER V. THE FORM OF THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE (Vatican link click thru)
Can. 1118 §1. **A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor.
§2. The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
(Z’s Comment: local ordinary == the Bishop of the Diocese)

§3. A marriage between a Catholic party and a non-baptized party can be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.

Can. 1119 Outside the case of necessity, the rites prescribed in the liturgical books approved by the Church or received by legitimate customs ar
(there’s a ton more to the above, so please goto the link and read the material in context.

You should first contact Msgr and ask for a clarification. It could be a simple misspoken word or misinterpretation. If this doesn’t settle things for you then this is something that should be brought to the attention of the church Senior Pastor. From there you should contact the Chancery Office.

I suggest you find out for certain, before you accuse a priest of “permitting Catholics to engage in invalid marriages.” That’s a serious accusation.

Maybe he meant that they’d have their big wedding on the beach, etc…and ALSO, they would come in and he’d do a small, “official” one in the church, to make it “valid” etc.


Why don’t you ask him because you have questions about what he said. Meet with him and listen to him. If he is at odds with the Church then you can go to the bishop.

I don’t understand the point about 100 priests. The Church is not a democracy.

Well said.

Alright I just sent off an email to him. I’ll get back to you guys on whether or not this situation turns out to be serious.

Alright he replied to my email and explained that he was talking about the dilemma of whether or not a parent should attend their child’s wedding, knowing that it would be a civil marriage and therefore invalid. He said that they could attend if they like, but they should let their child know that they do not condone the state of marriage.

Wonderful! no body flew off the handle, it was clarified, and everything worked out well. I am sure he appreciates you asking the question rather than writing the Bishop.

If he said this from the pulpit, he needs to be reported to the Bishop.

You’ll notice the OP already got clarification from the priest. There’s nothing to report.

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