Someone close to me was recently married.

Both people (heterosexual) were born and raised Catholic, but for whatever reasons, have fallen away from the church.

They were married by a JP, but did have a retired Catholic priest giving the marriage a blessing.

What is the status of the marriage, in the eyes of the church?


no way to answer as we do not know the circumstances under which the priest gave this “blessing” was it a convalidation of a civil ceremony, did they comply with marriage prep rules, dispensations if needed etc. If not my child, or anyone for whom I have responsibility, not my problem.


Hard to say… did they have a dispensation to have the wedding outside a church building?

What is the status of the priest? There are many who have been suspended or laicized who go around offering fake “Catholic” weddings, when they have no capacity or authority to do so according to the Church. Even if he is still a priest authorized to use all his faculties, he has no authority to go above or around the authority of the bishop and the Church.

Unfortunately, if there was no dispensation, the Church likely regards this marriage as invalid. :frowning:


When you say that a retired priest gave a belssing, does that mean he simply blessed the couple, or he had authority to officiate at the wedding from the diocese? When you say “fallen away” do you just don’t practice the Catholic faith any more, or do you mean they formally defected from the Catholic Church? Did the priest act on his own, was invited by the couple (a relative or friend of the family), or did they get a rent-a-priest? Did the couple get a dispensation to have the marriage with a JP?

Without knowing the answers to those questions, you can’t get a good answer.


To answer the posts so far…

The retired priest is an old friend of the groom’s family, and was invited by the families.

They have not formally defected from the CC. They just stopped going to church. I’m pretty certain that they consumated their relatiionship prior to the wedding, for example. However, let’s be realistic and recognize that most Catholics (even divided to fallen away and not fallen away) have sex before marriage.

I doubt that they received a dispensation to have the wedding outside of a church.

I dunno if the priest had any sort of “permission” from the diocese he’s retired to, or the diocese in which the ceremony was held.

If this is an invalid Catholic marriage, what can happen to make it valid?


They would have to go to a parish and ask for convalidation, and go through whatever marriage prep the diocese requires.


What duskyjewel said.


Several things.

They would need to be reconciled with the Church-- meaning a meeting with their priest, the Sacrament of Confession, and then meeting all of the requirements to have the marriage convalidated.

Convalidation requires paperwork determining freedom to marry, sacramental records, marriage preparation classes/meetings with the priest, and then the actual convalidation itself which is the exchange of vows in the Catholic form.


Thanks. That’s what the parish secretary said when I called about 5 minutes ago.

closed #10

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