Why marry in the Catholic Chuch?


Looking for advice…

Do you have any suggestions as to how I could respond to a friend, a former Catholic, who says “Why marry in the Church instead of by a Justice of the Peace?”

I know there is the argument of sacramental graces that come with marriage in the Church but for someone who has not been involved in the Church for some time, this may not have much weight to it.

How would I answer this in a way that makes sense to someone living in the world? Any analogies I could use?


uh, because you are Catholic? is this a trick question?
“a lot of sacramental graces” is a pretty casual way to assess what Christ did for us in suffering and dying on cross and rising again. For the Catholic who rejects the sacraments of the Church is to reject Christ himself. For the Catholic to live separated from the sacraments is to voluntarily, even cheerfully, separate himself from life in Christ. The tragedy of so doing is unspeakable.

If they are in the world, you can try telling them you marry in the Church because you believe it is proper. From your question, I’m assuming they won’t hear that.

Maybe you can tell them, “dude, I love the ceremony. When I hook up with my love for the rest of my life, I want flowing robes, candles, and golden chalices. Then we’re gonna have a major party and you’re invited.”



Your friend is a “former” Catholic. So she supposedly knows what the Church teaches and believes. Perhaps you could say this to her.

"Why would I marry in the Church? Because I am a Catholic. I will marry in the Church because it is what I believe in. It is my family and my home.

I would no more think about marrying outside of Church than I would getting married and not inviting my family and friends.

Rather, I ask you: why would you choose to be married by a stranger?" :shrug:

May God bless you and guide you.

Hi, there.

In Hollywood, we don’t see many marriages in films and TV that are in front of the Justice of the Peace. Heck, no! They aren’t nearly as immersive as a wedding in an expansive cathedral, with all your friends and family, and the blessing of a church.

Another way to express this is, “If you consider your head to be worth only $10, buy that $10 bicycle helmet.” Worth means something, which means that putting money and energy into a church wedding yields far more results than merely having a civil ceremony.

And church marriages have a better success rate. I wish I could find any study that supports this with an acceptable level of error. This link is the best I can do: One study shows that, while 50% of all marriages fail, the marriages of those in a faith have marriages that fail less. As a Catholic, you increase your chances statistically from one chance in two to four chances in five.

If anything else, impress upon your friend the ***grandeur ***of a church wedding. No cliff, no beach, no staid judge’s office can impress more than the spires and the altar and the Cross and the organ in combination to bring two people together. (And, having a wedding inside a church is also weather-proof!)

I like what the Catechism says here:

1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.

Because she will not be able do the following things until she either goes to Reconciliation and lives as Brother and Sister with her legal husband or convalidates her legal marriage:

  1. Take Eucharist
  2. Be a God parent to family members
  3. Be a Confirmation Sponsor
  4. Some Parishes - Teach CCD

While these things may not be important to her now - they may become really important to her later especially with family pressures.

Why should we get married in some stuffy office by some public official who couldn’t care less about the way we want our wedding, when we can celebrate our big event properly with our family and friends and God? It’s the biggest day of our lives!! Why make it any smaller than it should be??

Why sit alone in a corner when you can party with your family and friends?

Why NOT marry in Church?? :confused:

I would say because I want my marriage blessed by God, who is much larger than just some local J.P.

I had this conversation with my wife’s uncle, who was a priest for 20-plus years who left the priesthood to get married. He says there is no good answer to that question as he saw couples who did everything right, devout Catholic who went through pre cana, pre marriage encounters, etc. who looked to be perfect couples who were miserable and divorced within a year. And he’d seen couples who’d rarely set foot in a church who were madly in love with one another and had wonderful marriages for 30 or 40 years til death did they part.

His opinion:

  1. What marriage is valid, blessed, etc. in God’s eyes is a mystery in many ways

  2. Anyone who thinks their marriage will work out based solely because it was performed “in the church” is fooling themselves.

  3. Anyone who thinks a marriage that takes place outside the church, isn’t valid in God’s eyes, or has a lesser chance of working out is also fooling themselves.

If one feels a need to have the church recognize their marriage, by all means. get married in the church. IF not, then don’t but be aware of whatever possible consequences may be around the corner. (Although I’ve never seen those consequences carried out)

@LT- I just have to ask after reading post after post of yours - you don’t seem to be Catholic or believe, you seem only to be here to undermine believers and disrespect them, and you seem very angry and hateful towards the Church- why are you here on a Catholic Forum?

Good question. I have a couple more…

Do you agree with your uncle? (I assumed your final paragraph was your opinion; was that right?)

Do you feel the same about getting married in the Lutheran church as you do about the Catholic church?


Do I agree with him? Yes. Do I feel the same way about the the Lutheran Church? Yes. Just because you get married in any church doesn’t mean you are home free as it were. Just because you aren’t, doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed.

While the last statement may be true, your first quote (especially #3) is ridiculous. Yes, if a marriage isn’t VALID its not a marriage. so, by definition it isn’t working. If its not valid, then it can’t be sacramental for baptized people, and they don’t get the grace that comes with it so it most certainly absolutely means that it has more of a chance of working out if done with correct form and matter.

Because there are examples of things “working out” when not done correctly does not deserve a blanket statement such as #3 above.

-Just because a marriage “worked out” (stayed togther)does not mean it was blessed by God nor that it was actually “successful”…if the people were miserable and no fruit came of it.

A lack of understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage is here. And if you refer to my previous post and others perhaps you might understand a little better what Marriage in the Catholic Church means to Catholics.

This is not about whether you doom your marriage by marrying by a JP. It indeed dooms a Catholic because the Church which is the bride of Christ does not recognize it; hence they are living in sin. And remain so until it is (their so called marriage) convalidated in the Church. It could be a successful marriage in a couples eyes, and indeed happy as far as they are concerned; but like you they have a wrong thinking. I think you are more interested in following your own path rather than God’s as is the Catholic couple that marries outside the Church.

Thank you for directly answering my questions. :slight_smile:

From your response I conclude you are not Catholic bashing. :cool:

I agree that church marriage is not a guarantee of success on any particular measure you may wish to apply to the marriage. Nor is lack of church wedding a guarantee of failure along most measures (one exception: the “validity” argument). :thumbsup:

That said, do you see any value at all in using a church, other than that it is “proper” for a member to do so? Finally, are you talking statistically, and/or idealogically? That is, do you believe that divorce statistics for church weddings are no better than those for marriages by legal authorities?

For the record, I’ve done it both ways. My wife and I got married by a judge, and that was a wonderful ceremony and we were very happy. Later we got our marriage blessed in our Catholic church with only our parents as witnesses, and that was a wonderful little ceremony and we continued to be happy with it getting better every year. It has now been 23 years since the legal “wedding.” :smiley:


Tough questions. I think those getting married in a church they both attend, etc. are more likely to have given their marriage more thought and explored troublesome issues in more detail than a couple who just decide to get married in Vegas or something of the sort. At the same time, I’ve seen a lot of couples who do the big church wedding because it’s merely part of the fairy tale and part of the “show” their families expect. I find that an awful thing, insulting really, to whatever church one attends and to the faith of those there.

Maybe we’re not so far apart on this issue.


Thanks everyone for your responses - they’ve been very helpful. I know that a marriage blessed by God in the Church is a most beautiful and priceless gift. You’ve helped me to give expression to that when I talk to my friend. God bless!

Hi, I think if I wasn’t looking to have a super-serious conversation about it, I would say:

“Why am I having it in Church? Because God is invited!”

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