Protestant wedding then convalidation?

Hi everyone,

I’m new here and have joined in order to get some clarity on a few things. My boyfriend is a practicing Catholic and I’m a baptised practicing Protestant. We both put Christ at the centre of our lives and so far the difference has caused very few problems.

We’re talking about getting married, but apparently it’s far more complicated than I would have expected. I really want to be married in the church I grew up in (protestant), and he’s happy with that as long as we can get the marriage recognised by the catholic church somehow.

What would be the best way to go about this? I’ve been looking into convalidation, but it seems to be about admitting that you weren’t properly married in the first place, and living celibate until we get it done, even after the protestant wedding ceremony. I’m not completely comfortable with that, for obvious reasons. Would someone mind clarifying exactly what convalidation is and what I would be expected to admit/promise during the ceremony?

Another thing I’ve heard about is to get permission from the church to marry each other. Would that include permission to marry in my protestant church, and a recognition of that ceremony (so we would only need to have one ceremony)?

I’m really confused about all of this and what is required of us by the church. Any help/explanation would be really appreciated!

Thanks.

It’s really not complicated. A Catholic is required to follow the laws of the Church on marriage.

You and he need to meet with his priest. There is a premarital process to go through, typically about 6 months. Each diocese has its own premarital program, so it varies but will basically include some meetings with the priest, a retreat or other preparation program, possibly a communication assessment such as FOCCUS, etc.

Additionally there is the premarital invetigation, which is simply some questions and forms. The priest need to verify both of your freedom to marry, baptismal status, etc. During this process, the Catholic party will apply for permission for a mixed marriage. In order to receive permission, he will need to promise to raise the children Catholic and ensure the Bishop he is not in danger of defecting from the faith.

If you want to be married in your church, the Catholic can receive what’s called a dispensation from form.

I really want to be married in the church I grew up in (protestant), and he’s happy with that as long as we can get the marriage recognised by the catholic church somehow.

Go see his priest before you set a date, put down deposits or otherwise begin preparation.

A Catholic who does not follow Church law on marriage is indeed in an invalid marriage. A convalidation makes it valid.

I don’t know who put you on that path, but it’s the wrong one. There is no need for the Catholic party to marry invalidly and have to approach the Church later to correct the situation.

He can marry validly in the first place by receiving the dispensation from form I mentioned above.

It is an exchange of consent and vows in the Catholic form before a priest and at least two witnesses. It is a marriage ceremony as you would not be recognized as married unless the Catholic follows Catholic law on the matter.

Yes. A Catholic requires permission to marry a baptized non-Catholic. And a dispensation from form to marry in your church. The priest will take care of this for you. Go see the priest.

But, remember, the Catholic party must raise the children Catholic and you must be informed of this promise and indicate that you understand his obligation to do so.

Please make an appointment with his priest. There is a lot of misinformation out there, even on these boards sometimes. So, the first step for any Catholic desiring marriage is an appointment with the priest.

" But, remember, the Catholic party must raise the children Catholic and you must be informed of this promise and indicate that you understand his obligation to do so."

You must also state that you are willing for the Children to be raised Catholic.

This isn’t accurate. The non-Catholic party must be informed and acknowledge understanding of what that promise means. It is a serious promise and therefore it certainly does need to be discussed beforehand and agreement reached between the parties regarding the rearing of children. But, the non-Catholic makes no promise themselves to raise the children Catholic.

From canon law:

Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;

3/ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

Our diocese will not consider convalidation for at least a year after the attempted marriage.

Not a bad rule since so many marriages fail.

A lot of US archdiocesan websites include paperwork to download for the dispensation of form, even. (Though you’ve still got to include your fiance’s parish priest; don’t try to do it all by yourself.) :slight_smile:

The Church has every interest in getting you two married right and tight. Don’t fear the paperwork and the process; it is meant to protect both your rights.

Also, if you see anything in the paperwork that you don’t understand or that the parish priest can’t answer, there are a good few laypeople online who can help you understand the rationales behind canon law terms (Jimmy Akin, Ed Peters, etc.) But probably you’ll understand it all just fine.

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