Wedding Entourage


I'm wondering if it is acceptable to have a Baptist (Born Again) Christian to be Bridesmaid or Groomsman in a Catholic Wedding? The candidates are were baptized catholics, but they are no longer practising catholics.

In my experience the couple is not asked the religion of their witnesses.

I was told the witnesses, the maid of honor and best man had to be catholic and practicing. the rest of the party could be different.

I am not aware of any requirements. None of the men in my the bridal party at my sister's wedding were Catholic, nor was my wife's Maid of Honor.

Your parish, on the other hand, or diocese may have some such requirements. I would in this case, however, employ the "easier to get forgiveness than permission" approach.

It may well be that your diocese had that rule but in 12 years of dealing with marriage documents I’ve never seen the witnesses’ religion listed anywhere. Certainly Canon Law doesn’t mention their religion and neither does the Marriage Rite. And of the myriad questions in the prenuptial investigation none is about that.

The witnesses have no role to play other than be there and watch. You could pull them off the street and they could be perfect strangers. In fact, it’s not unknown in one of the communities I deal with to have a change of witness at the last minute. And sometimes I don’t find out who the witnesses are until a day before the wedding – either the priest hasn’t asked or the couple hadn’t chosen them yet at the time of the pre-nup investigation. I’ve had to call the couple for the names and addresses as I’m filling out th paperwork.

Not in my experience; the best man at my daughter’s wedding was not Catholic, and there was no problem at all. Just check with your priest or the chancery of your diocese.

I have never heard of such a requirement, be if you were told there was, were you told what would be the reason for requiring any or all members of the wedding party be Catholic?

I don’t believe that is necessary. Any non- Catholics present, of course, should refrain from receiving Communion, if you have a Mass.

Thanks for the replies!

I was a Bridesmaid for my friend 2 years ago and I recall the Priest asking us during rehearsal if anyone was not a Catholic. The Priest said that if there was a Non-Catholic there, that individual is not required to “bow” at the altar. Of course, come communion, the Non-Catholic will not be able to receive the Eucharist.

The issue here isn’t one of being a bridesmade or groomsman (which are traditional cultural roles, but not liturgical ones), but of being the official witnesses. It’s customary for the official witnesses to be the best man and maid of honor, but there’s no such requirement. The 2 official witnesses could be 2 people who are sitting in the pews (or for that matter, in the choir loft). Some dioceses have policies on who can or cannot be the official witnesses, and if they exist, of course, they should be followed.

Policies-shmolicies. We don’t need those restrictive policies, FrDavid96! Freedom, man, freedom! And then maybe we can all wear cool Bp. Jefferts-Schori party hats to the weddings too.

(OK, sorry, just needed to exude some massive sarcasm. It’s been a day). :smiley:

Out of respect, these non-practicing Catholics should genuflect before the Tabernacle (one only bows to the altar when Christ is not present in the Tabernacle). If there is no reserved Eucharist, a bow to the altar would be fitting and reverent for anyone - practicing Catholic or not.

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