Why doesn't the Catholic Church recognize marriages of Catholics outside the Church?


I don’t understand why the Catholic Church teaches that a marriage between 2 baptized protestants is sacramental, and a marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic that is not witnessed by priest or deacon is not. It is a violation of the proper form of the Sacrament (all sacraments have matter and form).
I am baffled by this and it makes no sense to me whatsoever. I know this because this is how I was able to receive a decree of nullity for my first marriage. We were not married by a catholic priest or deacon and so this sacrament was not valid becuase it did not have the proper form. (i don’t mean paper form, i mean form as in the proper way in which to confer the Sacrament). HELP?


Hi C Tom,

We are dealing with a matter of authority here. The Catholic Church was given the power to bind and loose by our Lord, Himself. The Church chooses to hold Catholics to a higher standard than non-Catholics. It makes sense when one considers that Catholics hold a much more elevated understanding of marriage than most other Christians do. Protestants do not consider it to be a sacrament, after all.

In today’s liturgy our Lord says: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12: 48)

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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