Witness in Civil Ceremony


#1

My best friend is getting married (she is twenty). She has no religious background, and came from a broken home. Her mother is happy to get her out of the house, and both parents have said that they won’t pay for a wedding. So in order to save money, she and her boyfriend are going to a civil ceremony. Is it wrong of me to stand by them as a witness?

What if she was to get married in a protestant church… it’s not wrong of me to be a bridesmaid, is it?

Just a few things I was pondering… thanks =]


#2

As far as I know, as long as neither the bride or groom is Catholic, then you’re okay, no matter where they get married. :thumbsup:


#3

I believe that is generally correct. The Catholic Church requires Cathoilics to marry according to the Church’s laws but does not attempt to regulate where/how people who are not Catholic get married. So unless there is some other impediment (such as a prior marriage) this marriage seems to be valid in the eyes of the Church. Even if there were a reason to belive the marriage would be invalid, the Church does not specifically prohibit one from attending.


#4

Thanks guys!


#5

If she and her fiance were never baptized at all, they are entering a valid, natural marriage. No problem with you witnessing that.

If they were baptized Protestant, most Protestant churches have no problem with a civil marriage and regard it as valid. The Catholic Church would view it as valid also, though not sacramental.

It’s only if either of them is a baptized Catholic that you run into any problems with this.

What an excuse to go buy a cute dress and some new shoes! Get something good! :smiley:


#6

Just to clarify, I believe the Catholic Church does consider marriages between two baptized non-Catholics to be both valid AND a sacrament. It is only if one of the parties is not baptized that it would be a valid natural (but not sacramental) marriage.

Of course, most Protestant denominations do not count marriage as a sacrament (reserving that term only for Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) so the terminology can get rather confusing.


#7

Thomas is correct. If both parties are non-Catholic, validly baptized, and otherwise free to marry, the marriage would be both valid and sacramental. But if this friend has no religious background then there’s a good chance she was never baptized so at best her marriage would be valid, even if her finance is baptized.

There is no problem attending a non-Catholic wedding as either a guest or as an attendant if the couple is free to marry (and you have a reasonable expectation that they plan to uphold the obligations that come with marriage).


#8

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