Wedding outside the Church?


#1

Hello,

I am new to the forum and have come seeking some advice.

My partner is Catholic and although he does not attend church regularly he strongly believes in the sense of faith and community. He comes from a large Catholic family and recently the subject of our 'marriage' has come up. I am 'non religious' and although I agree with (some) and respect his views I do not wish to get married in a Church. We have been together for many years and I would love to start a family with him. I have agreed that our hypothetical children can be brought up Catholic but at present we are at a 'stale mate' on the subject of marriage.

I know it is important to him to get married in Church and part of me feels like I should give in and agree as I love him dearly and want to make him happy however a large part of me is not at all comfortable with the idea of getting married in Church.

I need to find a compromise but I am not sure it is possible. Has anyone any similar experiences?

Thank you.


#2

A Catholic must follow Catholic canon law regarding preparation for and the celebration of marriage.

As the Catholic, he needs to approach his priest and discuss premarital preparation. As a couple, you will need to complete the premarital preparation. This includes an investigation of freedom to marry, meetings with the priest, and other diocesan requirements. First step: me meets with the priest.

You state he is "non practicing". To approach the Church for marriage, he will need to discuss this situation with his priest and his intentions regarding practicing the faith.

When a Catholic marries a non-Catholic who is baptized, this is called a mixed marriage. When a Catholic marries an unbaptized person it is a disparity of cult.

For a mixed marriage, a Catholic requires permission from the bishop. For disparity of cult they need a dispensation from the bishop. The priest will handle this.

A Catholic needs to marry in the Catholic form (i.e. in the Church with the priest and two witnesses) unless they receive a dispensation from Catholic form. If you want to be married elsewhere, he would need to ask for this dispensation.

So, first step: go meet with the priest. He'll explain everything.


#3

[quote="futurethoughts, post:1, topic:212531"]
Hello,

I am new to the forum and have come seeking some advice.

My partner is Catholic and although he does not attend church regularly he strongly believes in the sense of faith and community. He comes from a large Catholic family and recently the subject of our 'marriage' has come up. I am 'non religious' and although I agree with (some) and respect his views I do not wish to get married in a Church. We have been together for many years and I would love to start a family with him. I have agreed that our hypothetical children can be brought up Catholic but at present we are at a 'stale mate' on the subject of marriage.

I know it is important to him to get married in Church and part of me feels like I should give in and agree as I love him dearly and want to make him happy however a large part of me is not at all comfortable with the idea of getting married in Church.

I need to find a compromise but I am not sure it is possible. Has anyone any similar experiences?

Thank you.

[/quote]

Hello, and welcome to the forums.

I'm not quite sure what advice or insight to offer. Other than noting that you are non-religious, you don't really offer much explanation for why you do not wish to be married in a church.

It is possible for a Catholic and a non-Catholic to receive permission to marry somewhere other than a church, and still have the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church. I believe this is called a dispensation from canonical forum. My understanding is that this is normally done when the marriage will take place in the non-Catholic party's church. Since you are non-religious (and seem not to want to be married in any church) I'm not sure quite how it would work. Probably the best thing would be for your finance to talk with the pastor at his parish.


#4

[quote="futurethoughts, post:1, topic:212531"]
Hello,

I am new to the forum and have come seeking some advice.

My partner is Catholic and although he does not attend church regularly he strongly believes in the sense of faith and community. He comes from a large Catholic family and recently the subject of our 'marriage' has come up. I am 'non religious' and although I agree with (some) and respect his views I do not wish to get married in a Church. We have been together for many years and I would love to start a family with him. I have agreed that our hypothetical children can be brought up Catholic but at present we are at a 'stale mate' on the subject of marriage.

I know it is important to him to get married in Church and part of me feels like I should give in and agree as I love him dearly and want to make him happy however a large part of me is not at all comfortable with the idea of getting married in Church.

I need to find a compromise but I am not sure it is possible. Has anyone any similar experiences?

Thank you.

[/quote]

This is a bit off topic, but you say you agree that the children can be brought up Catholic but you do not feel comfortable with the idea of getting married in the Church and I'm wondering if you've fully thought about how that can be a potential problem. If you feel so uncomfortable with getting married in a Church, how are you going to feel with your children being baptised in the Church, or receiving the other sacraments? It doesn't sound to me at least, that you've fully reconciled your own views about the Church and how that will impact how your children are raised in the Catholic faith.


#5

[quote="futurethoughts, post:1, topic:212531"]
Hello,

I am new to the forum and have come seeking some advice.

My partner is Catholic and although he does not attend church regularly he strongly believes in the sense of faith and community. He comes from a large Catholic family and recently the subject of our 'marriage' has come up. I am 'non religious' and although I agree with (some) and respect his views I do not wish to get married in a Church. We have been together for many years and I would love to start a family with him. I have agreed that our hypothetical children can be brought up Catholic but at present we are at a 'stale mate' on the subject of marriage.

I know it is important to him to get married in Church and part of me feels like I should give in and agree as I love him dearly and want to make him happy however a large part of me is not at all comfortable with the idea of getting married in Church.

I need to find a compromise but I am not sure it is possible. Has anyone any similar experiences?

Thank you.

[/quote]

well I don't know why it is important to him to marry in the Catholic Church since he has rejected the other Catholic sacraments particularly the Eucharist, but I am glad his conscience is awakening. If either or both of you are baptized Catholic you must marry according to the laws of the Church. Period. If the Catholic party disregards this he is separated from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, until the situation is rectified. That is the worst thing, short of death in a condition of mortal sin, that can happen to a Catholic. Anyone who loves a Catholic needs to know the seriousness of this and the damage being done to the soul of their loved one who is separated from Christ and his Church. If he asks for this and you can't do it out of love for him, it suggests the relationship needs a lot of work before marriage is contemplated.

I think your instinct, which is to speak out of love for him, is a beautiful sign and the key to resolving this. It does not by the way absolutely have to happen "in the church building" it is quite in order and traditional for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic, with the proper dispensation of course, in the rectory or right outside the church.


#6

[quote="futurethoughts, post:1, topic:212531"]
Hello,

I am new to the forum and have come seeking some advice.

My partner is Catholic and although he does not attend church regularly he strongly believes in the sense of faith and community. He comes from a large Catholic family and recently the subject of our 'marriage' has come up. I am 'non religious' and although I agree with (some) and respect his views I do not wish to get married in a Church. We have been together for many years and I would love to start a family with him. I have agreed that our hypothetical children can be brought up Catholic but at present we are at a 'stale mate' on the subject of marriage.

I know it is important to him to get married in Church and part of me feels like I should give in and agree as I love him dearly and want to make him happy however a large part of me is not at all comfortable with the idea of getting married in Church.

I need to find a compromise but I am not sure it is possible. Has anyone any similar experiences?

Thank you.

[/quote]

Hi.

What 1ke said.

It is pleasing that you have concerns about your partner's faith, while still searching about for meaning in your own. In that, you may be more Catholic than your partner.

Based on what you noted, your beloved may need to attend to the rules of the Church before proceeding in marriage, because, as 1ke noted, a member of the Church must follow the rules set regarding marriage. He cannot marry you in any place than a Catholic church (being Catholic himself, practicing or no) or the marriage will be invalid (against the rules) and cause serious spiritual problems down the road.

Provided the two of you have never married before, it should be a simple matter in getting to a priest, who can tell your friend what is needed to be back in graces with God and the Church (likely, a trip to Confession as well as the dispensation from your diocese for a Catholic/non-Catholic marriage) and then tell you the basics of what is needed to marry (you can have a big Nuptial Mass, as I will have in less than 2 months, or a private exchange with the priest, which will far less expensive).

As for your feelings in marrying in a Church...until you come to an understanding of your faith, see it as like a big TV wedding. A church wedding seems...well, nice-looking, right? And it will go in step with your partner's faith, so it is a service both to aesthetics in a traditional wedding as well as your partner's needs. Don't feel that being in a church obligates you to believe--the Catholic Church doesn't require non-Catholics to believe in order to marry a Catholic, so you should be fine. You could ask to marry elsewhere, but that, too, requires a dispensation, as Catholics have to marry inside a church building normally.

Keep in touch with us on how things go, and best wishes.


#7

God bless You. My humble opinion is that,as far as I did understand Your question You don't realy beleive in God,am I right? My ansver stands on that thought. You know he are catholic,and that he do believe in what the Church teaches,and You have already agree in bringing up Your children,wich I hope You are blessed whit,so in a way You do also agree whit the Church,and if Your children are been brought up according to what the Church teach,You need to know a lot. So I will advise You,hoping I am right,to learn as much as You can about catholic life,You will need it when the children will ask things and You need to explain things to them,and even if You never convert into catholic faith,or even if You never realy will believe,You love the man You will marrie,marrie him in a church. You may not believe,but that do not rule out God,He is as real no matter do You believe or not,so give You comming husband as a wedding gift a marrieage in "his" church. And somehowe I have this feeling that will be the best wedding gifts of all.
Blessings,Totterman


#8

My daughter was in a similar situation several years ago. She was the non-practicing Catholic and her fiance was a non-practicing Morman. She insisted that they be married in the Catholic Church; he refused, and eventually they broke up over the issue. Now, a few years later, she is happy that they did NOT marry. It was a big deal to her, and his unwillingness to see that or even meet with a priest one time, was sign of what the marriage would have have been like and it was for the best, for both of them, that they go their seperate ways. No one is asking you to convert, and it will be his responsibility to see to it that the children are brought up Catholic, all he is asking is for you to go through marriage preparation and be married in a Catholic church, wonderful as he is, if this is truly a problem for you, I think that maybe you should take a closer look at your relationship and identify what is really behind your reason for turning down this request.


#9

Thank you all for the time and thought to respond to my post. I should make it clear we are not engaged, this is based on a recent conversation following a family visit. On the way home I posed the question 'If we were to marry where would we do it?'

1ke - Your response it very informative and I think you are right and should I be lucky enough for him to propose we should visit his priest. I have not been Baptised and I was not aware we would have to gain dispensation.

[quote="Thomas63116, post:3, topic:212531"]

I'm not quite sure what advice or insight to offer. Other than noting that you are non-religious, you don't really offer much explanation for why you do not wish to be married in a church.

Since you are non-religious (and seem not to want to be married in any church) I'm not sure quite how it would work.

[/quote]

Thomas63116 the reason I do not wish to get married in any church is to me it seems hypocritical. It's like turning up at a neighbours house that you don't ever speak to or visit for a party because its a nice looking place for the occasion. I have been to weddings and confirmations for his family members and I don't feel comfortable in taking part in a service I have no belief in. I don't like taking part and not joining in as that feels rude yet joining in feels hypocritical.
I have previously questioned getting married at all as it is a religious ceremony however I love this man with all my heart and I want to make a commitment to him.

[quote="PatriceA, post:4, topic:212531"]
This is a bit off topic, but you say you agree that the children can be brought up Catholic but you do not feel comfortable with the idea of getting married in the Church and I'm wondering if you've fully thought about how that can be a potential problem. If you feel so uncomfortable with getting married in a Church, how are you going to feel with your children being baptised in the Church, or receiving the other sacraments? It doesn't sound to me at least, that you've fully reconciled your own views about the Church and how that will impact how your children are raised in the Catholic faith.

[/quote]

PatriceA I have given this a lot of thought and I am aware of potential problems. If my partner wishes them to be brought up Catholic then it is his responsibility to do so and I will support him and any children in this as much as I am able to within my own beliefs. I don't in anyway think religion to be a 'bad thing' so am happy for my children to be baptised and receive sacraments it is just not a path I choose.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:5, topic:212531"]
well I don't know why it is important to him to marry in the Catholic Church since he has rejected the other Catholic sacraments particularly the Eucharist, but I am glad his conscience is awakening. If either or both of you are baptized Catholic you must marry according to the laws of the Church. Period. If the Catholic party disregards this he is separated from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, until the situation is rectified. That is the worst thing, short of death in a condition of mortal sin, that can happen to a Catholic. Anyone who loves a Catholic needs to know the seriousness of this and the damage being done to the soul of their loved one who is separated from Christ and his Church. If he asks for this and you can't do it out of love for him, it suggests the relationship needs a lot of work before marriage is contemplated.
.

[/quote]

puzzleannie - I don't think the relationship needs a lot more work I think it is my understanding of Catholicism as a whole.

Spencerian I do not question his faith, I think I just don't understand it. I know that he believes the marriage would not be valid if he were to marry anywhere else but a church.

The 'big wedding' also puts me off! I do not like being centre of attention and that seems to come as part of the bride parcel ;)
Best wishes for your future celebration :)

[quote="Totterman, post:7, topic:212531"]
God bless You. My humble opinion is that,as far as I did understand Your question You don't realy beleive in God,am I right? My ansver stands on that thought. You know he are catholic,and that he do believe in what the Church teaches,and You have already agree in bringing up Your children,wich I hope You are blessed whit,so in a way You do also agree whit the Church,and if Your children are been brought up according to what the Church teach,You need to know a lot. So I will advise You,hoping I am right,to learn as much as You can about catholic life,You will need it when the children will ask things and You need to explain things to them,and even if You never convert into catholic faith,or even if You never realy will believe,You love the man You will marrie,marrie him in a church. You may not believe,but that do not rule out God,He is as real no matter do You believe or not,so give You comming husband as a wedding gift a marrieage in "his" church. And somehowe I have this feeling that will be the best wedding gifts of all.
Blessings,Totterman

[/quote]

Totterman I have dwelled on your post the most, I am not sure why this is but it it has given me a warm feeling. Put like that it does seem quite simple.

Catholic1954 He is wonderful and perhaps this is something I just have to 'get over' for him.

Thank you all so much again for your thoughts it has given me a lot to think about. It has also been very educational and highlighted just how little I know about Catholicism.


#10

just another note to help you through this, there is absolutely nothing about the Catholic marriage rite that requires a big wedding, lots of expense, lots of bridesmaids etc. Your point about hypocrisy is also well-taken, and another reason why the relationship needs work if your partner has not explained adequately to you why he wants a church wedding if he rejects church practice in other areas. It makes it very hard for you to understanding what is going on, what his expectations are going to be, and what this will mean for you as a family.


#11

[quote="futurethoughts, post:9, topic:212531"]
Thank you all so much again for your thoughts it has given me a lot to think about. It has also been very educational and highlighted just how little I know about Catholicism.

[/quote]

This is about the time of year that many Catholic parishes start their "inquiry" classes. Many people taking these will be aiming at joining the Church, but some will just want to get a better idea about what the faith is about. You might look into one of those.

In any event, I'd recommend strongly that you find out a great deal more about the Catholic faith before you promise to allow your husband to raise your children to believe in it. That is a process you are probably going to want to either participate in or prevent, once you know more.


#12

Your boyfriend is correct regarding the validity of his marriage if he does not follow Church law. I'm not sure why he cares, if he isn't practicing, but it's a good thing he's thinking about it now. Many people awaken in their faith when they contemplate marriage, children, and what is important to them from a faith/values standpoint.

Following church law does not mean he has to get married in the Catholic Church, as already indicated he could get a dispensation if it important to you.

However, I do want to point out that marrying in the Catholic form does not require a big wedding. The only requirement for validity is a priest and two witnesses.


#13

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