Non-Christian friend marrying lukewarm Catholic - What best to help?


I have a friend through work that I have grown closer with over time and she attended my wedding. She isn’t Christian (moved to Canada from China when she was 8).

She is engaged to a guy whose mother is Catholic and practicing, and he was baptised at least. I am not 100% sure if he has received all the sacraments but she seems to think so.

She enquired yesterday about how to get married at the same church that I did and I told her all about it and was very excited. I asked her if they wanted specifically a Catholic wedding or if they just thought the church was pretty. I got the feeling they simply thought the church was pretty.

Then I realized suddenly that she has in fact been married before, about 4 years ago for a two year period and then was divorced. I told her that she would not be allowed to marry in a Catholic church due to the fact that her fiancé is not able to marry someone who is not free to marry. She would likely have to get an annulment and this would take time.

I don’t think her fiancé is interested in his faith anymore ( they are also living together and he never goes to mass ) but I just wish they could still be married in the church and perhaps be brought back through the experience.

I want to guide them back to the Church and bring her in, but I am not sure how, in this situation. Should I just help her find another pretty church that isn’t Catholic?

I suggested she marries outside in a park if she isn’t interested in a Christian church. I don’t think she is anti-Christianity, she just never was exposed to it ( although I know one of her 7 sisters became an evangelical ).

Any advice? Sorry so long!


My friend asked me for advice again. Her and her fiancé have a meeting with the priest on friday. She wanted to know what to expect so I said she should bring up the fact that she has been married. She doesn’t understand why the anullment process would apply to her when she isn’t Catholic. I had a bit of a hard time explaining the church’s stance on divorce and how it is separate from the government.

She did clarify that her and her fiancé don’t really care about having a Catholic wedding. I said it would matter if she wanted to become Catholic ever, or her fiancé wanted to return to his faith.

I said to ask the priest what his suggestions are and to be really honest with him. Maybe they can have a non Catholic wedding in the church? Who knows if that would be allowed…

I also suggested another pretty Protestant church in the same area that doesn’t care what background the couple has.

I just want to guide her to the church but I know she just wants to get married on June 7th (08) and she wants a pretty church. :shrug:


I don’t think it is possible to have a non-Catholic wedding on Catholic Church property; I’m pretty sure that’s forbid by canon law; in any case, it definitely goes against long-established custom.

I also can’t imagine a Catholic priest presiding over your friend’s “wedding.”

Keep in mind that under natural law (not just Church law) she is and will always be the wife of her first husband; it is not possible for anybody, not even a pagan, to marry twice. Marriage is once and for life, no matter who you are, or how you were brought up.


PS: I can fully understand your desire to take advantage of your friend’s desire for a pretty Church to try to evangelize her, but in her case (and probably her fiance’s, too), conversion is going to take a lot longer than the four or five months that you’ve got to work with, here.

It might be best just to step back a bit and make some room for the Holy Spirit. Set the example, but don’t try to get her married in the Catholic Church - it’s not going to happen, unless there is some kind of major miracle.


Thanks for you advice. I think you know which church I am talking about here too :wink:

I don’t think you can rent out that church building for a non denom wedding…

I will step back and as you said, pray and let the Holy Spirit do it’s thing :slight_smile:


Absolutely not. Father E. would throw an absolute fit, if it were even suggested. (And believe me, you do not want to be standing in his way while he is throwing a fit.)

Good God - your friend has an interview with Father E. on Friday, where she is going to tell him that she wants to have a pagan/non-denom wedding in his Church? :eek:

Well - don’t tell her anything that might cause her to be dishonest with him, because if he catches her in a lie, it will be even worse. But she will probably be crying when she comes out of there, so you might want to have some tissues on hand, and some words of comfort worked out.

I will step back and as you said, pray and let the Holy Spirit do it’s thing :slight_smile:

Lift one up for Father E., as well. :wink:


Hehe I always saw Fr. E as a chilled out priest. Maybe I am just in his good books :slight_smile:

It will be very interesting to hear what he has to say to them.

I suggested Knox United instead.


PS: I love Father E. and wouldn’t change him for the world, because he is forthright and honest, and you always know exactly where you stand, with him. He may be a little rough around the edges, but you always know you are going to get the truth, and nothing but the truth, from him. He is very, very orthodox, and is not afraid to stand up for what is right and good.


Really? I have a friend who goes to St. Anthony who thinks otherwise. But she doesn’t REALLY know Fr. E.

When I got married, I asked if my marriage would be sacramental or not as DH is not baptised. ( DH comes to mass with me and isn’t opposed to converting but is just taking time… his sweet time ). Fr. E said yeah, it was HIS church and why wouldn’t it be sacramental. That wasn’t what I read in the catechism but I just sat back and said “okay.” Maybe he misunderstood me or something.


Probably. That happens a lot, with him.

He may have thought you were asking whether the marriage would be valid - which it would be.

Or else he thought you were asking whether the proper rubrics would be followed in the wedding ceremony.

English is something like his fourth language - he comes from a small tribe in the deep bush somewhere, and even the official language of his country is not what he grew up with - that’s his second language, and then Spanish for school, and then English for coming to Canada - so he doesn’t always “get” the nuances of what people are actually asking him.


He does express himself in odd ways, from time to time - and he likes to pretend that he’s a liberal, but if you catch him off-guard and get his real opinions, he’s actually pretty conservative.

(For example, he was all about gay rights until he found out that he had been giving Holy Communion to a lesbian, and then all of a sudden he changed his tune on that one; I think that’s when the penny finally dropped and he figured out what “gay” means.)


OH! Well I do think you sort of have to be somewhat “Liberal” to be at an inner city church :slight_smile:


My friend had her meeting with the priest and it wasn’t with Fr. E like it was supposed to be with, it was with another priest because the main Fr. was away for the weekend unexpectedly.

Anyways, she was forthright with him on having been divorced and the priest went ahead and asked the typical questions when a couple seeks to marry. He also still said they could get their wedding date set tentatively and asked them if they could make a downpayment. They didn’t want to make a downpayment until they knew for sure if they could get married there or not.

He said he didn’t know for sure, and would have to ask the other priest (Fr. E).

What does he mean he doesn’t know?? Maybe there are some circumstances where an annulment is granted quickly? But I don’t think so?? I would be surprised if they were allowed to marry. I am shocked they were given a wedding date…

My friend is supposed to hear back today on what the other priest said. I told her to expect a no… and I didn’t want to crush her but I said she should definitely make backup plans.


This has been known to happen. Perhaps she said something to him that caused him to think that her situation might be one of the quick ones? :shrug:

But I don’t think so?? I would be surprised if they were allowed to marry. I am shocked they were given a wedding date…

Is this the same date that she was originally thinking of?

My friend is supposed to hear back today on what the other priest said. I told her to expect a no… and I didn’t want to crush her but I said she should definitely make backup plans.

That’s astounding. Good news, of course, for your friend - but yeah - astounding. :slight_smile:


Sina… My annulment took an entire 3 weeks start to finish… it depends on the grounds. My dh’s annulment took only 6 months which is pretty short too… It is possible to get an annulment and go through precana in under 6 mos…


PS: I have to assume that she has changed her mind and has asked for a Catholic wedding, or else that she didn’t mention that she wants it to be a pagan wedding?


Interesting Blest One. I don’t know anyone who has gone through an annulment process in this diocese so who knows. I guess nobody ever knows how long it takes.

JMc, yeah June 7th/08 is the scheduled date so far…

It will be interesting to see what Fr. E says. :slight_smile:


Yeah she didn’t try that route! hehe. It sounds as if her fiancé is sincere now about marrying in the Catholic church. He is attending mass again. Maybe there is hope, but I am still very sure the annulment is needed…


I get the impression that they are faster here than in other places. I know someone who got one in less than a week, but in her case, it was obvious even to me that the original “marriage” never actually took place.

JMc, yeah June 7th/08 is the scheduled date so far…

It will be interesting to see what Fr. E says. :slight_smile:

Yep. :slight_smile:


Wow, that’s a hopeful sign! Great news!! :slight_smile:

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