I started attending my local parish and RCIA in the fall of 2011. I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then Confirmation and Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil in 2012. I have attended Sunday Mass and kept Holy Days from the beginning, and happily find myself doing so out of my own desire and benefit rather than that of obligation. I enjoy my church and Pastor, and love the friends I've made there. I also became engaged to a wonderful "Cradle Catholic" this past spring, and we look forward to growing old together. He has obligations that prevent his attending church with me on Sundays, but about once a month we go together to his church for Saturday Mass. [He does not feel the obligation to attend every week, and I maintain that is between him and God.] I even still attend my own church the Sunday following our Saturdays, I love it that much!
I have told him that I want to attend marriage prep classes, and he has agreed to do so through my church. We're both in our mid 40's, and neither have the desire nor inclination to have a big wedding ceremony. Our families are spread throughout the US, and to try to plan even a reception that included the most remote of possible attendees would cause more stress for me than it would joy, in the long run. My fiance expressed some time ago that he'd be happiest getting married on a boat, just the two of us with witnesses, and I liked the idea, as long as God would be there as represented by a Priest. [At the time, I didn't know the Catholic church doesn't really allow for the Sacrament of Marriage outside of the church.] After RCIA, a married couple that had also received Sacraments went on to have their marriage Blessed by our Pastor in a private ceremony at my church. It was then that I asked him about my now fiance's idea. He said that was a Destination Wedding, and that I could do that, and then have him hear the vows and Bless our union as he had done for my friends [their having been married prior to conversion].
I've been reading the forums here for some time now, and really appreciate the ability to learn about the Catholic faith in this way. In doing so, it has become quite clear to me that my Pastor is rather uncustomary when it comes to following the rules of the church. By example, he has expressed that an average sinner really only needs to reconcile once or twice in their lifetime, that most sins are forgiven during the Penitential Rite at Mass. While I appreciate the ease of reconciling with this confessor [his usual lack of assigning penance aside], I often seek Reconciliation elsewhere so that I'm not left feeling like I've wasted his time. I also feel that without penance, I'm at risk of not fulfilling my part of the Sacrament. I have read many questions and answers here regarding Sacraments, most recently that of Marriage and a Destination Wedding. Many of you have great advice regarding the Church and her teachings, and most suggest that individuals ask their priest so they are sure to receive a Sacrament in the right way.
So what do I do? Is it ok to get married by the captain of a boat and have it blessed later, simply because my Pastor is willing to do so? Or am I at risk of not receiving the Sacrament properly, in the same way that causes me to seek Reconciliation elsewhere? I am so involved at my parish, I don't want to consider changing churches, but how else does one cope with an unconventional, albeit charismatic, Pastor with his own not-so-in-line-with-the-Church ideas?
Thank you in advance for your kind thoughts and prayers!