Wedding must be in a parish church?

This is an offshoot from another thread (about the dogs allowed at a wedding). A post there had said:

“Also, I recall reading on the old Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception website that they didn’t do weddings there, for the Sacrament of Matrimony belongs in a Parish setting. I only wish I could find that reference, but they’ve revamped their website and it’s no longer there.”

Tell me this ain’t true! My wife and I got married in the chapel of the Catholic high school she attended (by the priest from her home parish). It is a very traditional chapel with the Blessed Sacrament reserved in a tabernacle. Technically, that’s not a PARISH church, so egad – were we supposed to have a dispensation? :eek:

No. You do not need a dispensation, you need permission:

Can. 1115 Marriages are to be celebrated in a parish where either of the contracting parties has a domicile, quasidomicile, or month long residence or, if it concerns transients, in the parish where they actually reside. With the permission of the proper ordinary or proper pastor, marriages can be celebrated elsewhere.

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.

The rule at the Bascilica you reference is just that-- their rule. It is not prohibited to marry at a Bascilica, chapel, oratory, etc.

Don’t worry; although I do believe it is normative to have the wedding in the parish church of one of the spouses, your priest would have taken care of any dispensation of that nature, I’m sure.

You just need permission. My husband and I were married at our diocese Cathedral. Many couples marry there. We just needed a letter of permission from our parishes to be married at the Cathedral. It was very simple. The Cathedral office gave us all the information we needed to make it happen, we called our parishes, got the permission letter and all other things that was required, sent it in with our own letter of why we wanted to be married at the Cathedral and then we were granted permission.

The same goes with getting married at school or college chapels and such. My girlfriend wanted to get married at the college chapel where she went to school. Unfortunately, the waiting list is so long, the they couldn’t marry there, but if they were able to get their date, they just would have needed permission - not a dispensation.

Now, I’ve worked with Catholic brides or grooms whose spouse was a Protestant and they needed a dispensation to get married at their Protestant spouse’s church.

OK –

but still – I don’t remember any “permission.” A lot of couples get married at this school’s chapel and perhaps the priest took care of it. At least I don’t have to worry about the validity of our marriage!

No, I don’t think you have to worry about the validity of the marriage. I’m sure your priest took care of everything, otherwise you would not have been able to get married there.

“My wife and I got married in the chapel of the Catholic high school she attended (by the priest from her home parish).”

Her parish priest is the one who married you at the chapel. Therefore, you had his permission to marry at the chapel.

1ke, since you seem to be well informed in Roman Catholic church canon, may I request you to give feedback about a discussion on a similar topic on the thread: Syro Malabar Catholic Church? In that case it was about a Roman Catholic wanting to marry in a Syro Malabar Church. Considering the Syro Malabar Church is a separate church, even if it in full communion with Rome, the Canon Law of RCC does not apply to it. RCC considers itself the mother church.

I’d like to hear your views from the perspective of a Roman Catholic. Tommathew60 I gather from his post attends a Roman Catholic Church in the US. His daughter was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church but would like to have her marriage in a Syro Malabar Church/rite. SMCC requires six months to grant permission.

Ref: posts #123 and # 125 by tommathew60 and my response posts #124 and 126.

Thanks in advance.

I really don’t know what I can add to that thread.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is not a separate Church. It is an automous particular Church. It is governed not by the Canon Law of the Latin Rite but rather by the Canon Law for the Eastern Rites:

I’m not sure what opinion you want me to give.


It’s true—but read on…

The proper place for a wedding is indeed the parish church. HOWEVER, the bishop can give permission for other places; obvious ones like chapels, churches which are no longer parish churches, etc, and not so obvious ones like outdoor locations. The permission might come on an individual basis, where the bishop considers whether or not to give his permission based on a brief petition, OR it might be done as a matter of a blanket policy (particular law for the diocese). Let’s say that we’re talking about a high school chapel. Rather than constantly responding in the affirmative to requests to have weddings there, the bishop can simply say “from now on, you have my permission, and need not ask.” That’s often the case for those “obvious places”

It could be that your own pastor, or the priest who married you asked for the permission, and you simply weren’t aware of it, or it could be that the bishop had already given prior permission.

The National Shrine has their policy, and it might be either their policy or the policy of the Archbishop, or both. I suspect the reason why they have that on their website is because I’m sure their staff is swamped with requests to have weddings there. Yet, they aren’t saying that weddings there aren’t possible, or would not be valid–what they’re saying is more or less to get the idea across that there’s no point in asking because the answer will be no, and also taking the opportunity to remind Catholics that they should be getting married in their own parish churches and not be “church shopping” (politely, of course).

Thanks for that. What I wanted to hear from the perspective of a Latin rite Roman Catholic was whether RCC would allow a member of SMCC to marry in their parish immediately, if the person was not a member of an RCC at all. SMCC requires six months to process the request.

The process would be the same in reverse-- the SMCC would have to get permission from their own Church and I’m sure there would be some sort of paperwork and permission needed in the Latin Rite. I don’t know what. I am not familiar with the laws of the Eastern Rite Churches.

And, the timeline involved would depend on the diocese. In the Latin Rite, in general, it takes about 6 months to attend the required marriage preparation and premarital investigation. But, any particular case would be specific to that couple.

Here’s a spinoff question: what about ethnic parishes, which don’t have territorial boundaries? Can a member of that ethnic group from the other side of the country have a wedding there without special permission? Technically, they’d be as much a member of the parish as someone who lived next door (actually, the person who lived next door might not even be a member of the ethnic parish), right?

No. For one thing, the fact that such a person lives in a different diocese would exclude the possibility of being a member of that parish. But yes, it is possible that one who lives next-door to an ethnic parish might not be a member of that parish, but some other.

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