For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Catholic Wedding Q&A

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

If one of us is Catholic and one is not, what are our options for a wedding ceremony that will be recognized as valid by the Catholic Church?

The Church provides range of options for celebrating your wedding. First, the Catholic person must obtain (a) permission from the local bishop to marry a baptized Christian of another faith, or (b) a dispensation from the bishop to marry an unbaptized person, including a person of a non-Christian religion. The person guiding your marriage preparation will be able to help you with this process. According to Canon Law 1125, three conditions are need for granting this permission: 1) The Catholic party must declare he or she intends to remain Catholic and promises to baptize and raise all offspring in the Catholic Church; 2) the non-Catholic party is fully informed of the promises made by the Catholic party and the related obligations; and 3) both parties are instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which apply to both parties.

Once you receive permission, you can discuss the following options with your pastor or the person presiding at your wedding:

  • • You may celebrate the Catholic Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass (preferred form).*You may celebrate the Catholic Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass, although the person who is not Catholic will not be able to receive communion.
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Catholic priest or deacon with or without Mass and invite another Christian minister to participate in the wedding by reading one of the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings. Your Catholic presider will need to obtain permission from his bishop to extend such an invitation.
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Christian minister, with a Catholic minister assisting (for instance, by reading from the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings). Before doing so, your bishop must provide you with a "dispensation from canonical form" (in other words, your bishop must dispense with the requirement for Catholics to be married through a celebration of the Rite of Marriage).

If the party is formally recognized by the Church as preparing for baptism (a catechumen) or a non-Christian:

  • • You may use the Order for Celebrating Matrimony between a Catechumen or a non-Christian (preferred form).
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a minister of the religion of the non-Catholic person, if the Catholic person first obtains a dispensation from canonical form from his or her bishop.
  • • You may celebrate the Catholic Rite of Marriage with a Mass (although the person who is not Catholic will not be able to receive communion).
  • • You may celebrate the Catholic Rite of Marriage outside of Mass.
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Catholic minister, and invite another Christian minister to participate in the wedding (for instance, by reading from the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings). Your Catholic minister will need to obtain permission from his bishop to extend such an invitation.
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Christian minister, with a Catholic minister assisting (for instance, by reading from the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings). Before doing so, your bishop must provide you with a "dispensation from canonical form" (in other words, your bishop must dispense with the requirement for Catholics to be married through a celebration of the Rite of Marriage).
  • • You may have your marriage witnessed by a minister of the faith of the non-Catholic person, if the Catholic person first obtains a dispensation from canonical form from his or her bishop.

For more information

What are the rules and requirements for a valid Catholic wedding?

FacebookFacebook PinterestPinterest

advertisements
advertisements