Validity of Marriages in "Forgotten" canonical assignment cases
#1
I am somewhat confused by the following issue:
Suppose an Eastern Catholic man, let's say a Melkite, moves to a region with only Latin-rite Catholic Churches, and thus practices as a Latin-rite Catholic. He has his children baptized by the Latin priest without discussing his canonical situation, and the children are not informed of his Melkite assignment. First, I am correct in thinking that the son is canonically Melkite, right?

But since the son doesn't know it, suppose he gets married in the Latin church without the permission of his Melkite bishop (since he doesn't know he is a Melkite). Is this marriage valid? Further, suppose he is married not by a Latin priest but by a deacon?  Then is his marriage automatically invalid

And furthermore, suppose many generations go by in this situation. Is the original man's male-line great-great-great-great grandson still a canonical Melkite if his family has been living as Latins for generations?  And thus subject to the same rules about marriage validity?

And if so, how would a person of mixed ethnicity and potentially doubtful genealogy ever know if his marriage was valid?  (To be clear, while these might seem like "could God create a rock so heavy..." "gotcha" questions, I don't mean them that way at all. I am just trying to understand how the differing rules of the different Catholic Churches work together. And I imagine that often enough, an immigrant from one region to another ends up practicing in a church that is not his canonical church, perhaps without even realizing the importance of what has occurred.
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#2
I'm not sure I'm tracking the question.  I thought the Melkite and Latin Churches were in full communion, so wouldn't the marriage be valid?  Especially as the person in question was baptized in the Latin rite and, I'm assuming, received Holy Communion and Confirmation.  I know the CCC discusses mixed marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, which require a dispensation, but that's something entirely different.
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#3
It's my understanding that one needs permission to be married in a church besides his own. And that this could affect validity. If a person doesn't realize he is not a member of the church he thinks he is, his marriage could be invalid.

Further, since an Eastern Catholic cannot be married by a deacon, if an "unknowing" Eastern Catholic were married by a Latin deacon his marriage would be invalid (I assume.)

I'm trying to get a clear picture of this. Yes, the Melkites are in communion (and I am only using them as an example...I know of two cases like this one, neither of which involve Melkites...) but the difference between Latin and Eastern laws regarding marriage seem to create the possibility of some very tricky situations.

Also, I find the Church's marriage law confusing. The difference in Eastern and Western marriage theology is one issue, the SSPX marriage validity question is another, that make me confused about the meaning and purpose behind the canon laws on marriage.
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#4
I know the dispensation is required to marry someone who's not a baptized Catholic; my mom was Catholic, dad was Baptist (he converted to Catholicism after they were married for a few years).  But I only thought that applied to denominations not in communion with Rome.  Interesting question, and the CCC seems a bit vague on it thus far.

As far as an "unknowing" Eastern Catholic, that's really confusing me.  If one is baptized and catechized Latin rite, wouldn't that make them Latin rite?  Huh?  I ask this because my understanding is that the Sacrament of Confirmation is received of one's own free will, not through heredity.
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#5
I have read that an individual is canonically what his father was. I know someone who was baptized in the Ruthenian church and catechized there, but his parents were Latins and he is thus considered Latin. I also know a Ruthenian Catholic whose father started going to a Latin church, and had him baptized, catechized, and confirmed there. However, he asked priests later on and discovered that he is "legally" a Ruthenian Catholic.  I am wondering when and if that ever "expires."  If a person discovers he has an unbroken male line to an Italo-Albanian Catholic generations ago, is that person Italo-Albanian?

Everything I can find on this topic is quite vague.
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#6
(02-16-2016, 03:16 PM)Optatus Cleary Wrote: I am somewhat confused by the following issue:
Suppose an Eastern Catholic man, let's say a Melkite, moves to a region with only Latin-rite Catholic Churches, and thus practices as a Latin-rite Catholic. He has his children baptized by the Latin priest without discussing his canonical situation, and the children are not informed of his Melkite assignment. First, I am correct in thinking that the son is canonically Melkite, right?

But since the son doesn't know it, suppose he gets married in the Latin church without the permission of his Melkite bishop (since he doesn't know he is a Melkite). Is this marriage valid? Further, suppose he is married not by a Latin priest but by a deacon?  Then is his marriage automatically invalid

And furthermore, suppose many generations go by in this situation. Is the original man's male-line great-great-great-great grandson still a canonical Melkite if his family has been living as Latins for generations?  And thus subject to the same rules about marriage validity?

And if so, how would a person of mixed ethnicity and potentially doubtful genealogy ever know if his marriage was valid?  (To be clear, while these might seem like "could God create a rock so heavy..." "gotcha" questions, I don't mean them that way at all. I am just trying to understand how the differing rules of the different Catholic Churches work together. And I imagine that often enough, an immigrant from one region to another ends up practicing in a church that is not his canonical church, perhaps without even realizing the importance of what has occurred.

If he doesn't know about his irregular rite status then his marriage without dispensation would be valid. This is true if the marriage is witnessed by a deacon or anyone else who the Church would designate as the appropriate witness in such situations. 
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#7
I would assume at some point, common sense would prevail. If the family has been living as Latins for generations, at some point they would be considered Latins.

As for the initial marriage, it got me thinking about my mother-in-law's mother. She grew up Latin, and when it was time to get married they couldn't find her baptismal record. She ended up needing to be conditionally baptized before she could get married in the Church, and she married a non-Catholic (who later converted). When my husband and I undertook doing the family genealogy about 10 or so years ago in hopes of finding a certain grave, we discovered that Grandma was likely baptized Greek Catholic not Roman Catholic, which is why a baptismal record wasn't found at the local Roman Catholic parish. Her birth parents died when she was young and was raised by her step-mother and her new husband, who was Latin Rite. But now you've got me thinking about the implications of her situation!
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