Advice - Family Member's Marriage
#1
Dear friends,

This is a question concerning the morality of attending a Catholic family member's non-Catholic wedding, but it's not as easy as the usual 'no'. I'm unable to come to a conclusion on this matter, and appreciate any and all input, as my knowledge is limited, and I'm struggling to find pertinent resources. Here's the situation:

- My wife's relative is a confirmed Catholic, as is his fiance. They are cohabitating, and long have been; they are largely non-practicing (rarely attend Mass, even on Sundays and Holy Days).
- They intend on having a civil ceremony. The groom has been advised that the better part of the family will not be able to attend if they go this route. The groom's mother, still largely practicing, has been particularly pushy towards a Church wedding (rightly so), and they have conceded, in a way.
- They intend on having a civil ceremony, which they recognise to be their wedding, and a week later, intend on having a Church wedding as a formality and to please the family.

It seems to me that as their intentions are awry, it would not be morally permissible for Catholic family members to attend not only the civil ceremony, but also the show-wedding the following week, but I'm unable to come up with any statements which would confirm this.

Again, all help appreciated.

God bless.
+ J + M + J +

"In te Domine, speravi."
Reply
#2
Whilst this is problematic because of the people involved and their attitudes, the civil ceremony followed by a sacramental Church wedding is not only the custom but civil law, accepted by the Church, in much of Europe and Latin America.
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
Kansan by birth! Albertan by choice! Jayhawk by the Grace of God!
“Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog.)” 
St Bernard of Clairvaux

My Blog 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'
FishEaters Group on MeWe
[-] The following 2 users Like jovan66102's post:
  • IudicaMe, Steven
Reply
#3
(09-23-2019, 04:28 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: Whilst this is problematic because of the people involved and their attitudes, the civil ceremony followed by a sacramental Church wedding is not only the custom but civil law, accepted by the Church, in much of Europe and Latin America.

Thanks for the response, jovan.

Yes, I'm aware of this - the couple in question actually live in a country where Church weddings are not recognised by the state.

The issue here is that the couple in question actually do not recognise the Church wedding as being the wedding; they consider it an expression of cultural affiliation and a ceremony - they consider the signing of the register to be the wedding. They've struggled to find a priest who will agree to 'marry' them, but of course, it's not overly difficult to find a rogue priest willing to do whatever one wants for the sake of supposed 'pastoral needs'.

The question is largely moot now as the decision has been made by the person wondering that they will not attend (as they cannot do so in good conscience), but if anyone has any definitive resources stating that intention must be present before the altar for the marriage to be valid in the eyes of the Church, that would be appreciated.

Pax Christi.
+ J + M + J +

"In te Domine, speravi."
Reply
#4
(09-29-2019, 08:04 AM)Stalwart Wrote: The question is largely moot now as the decision has been made by the person wondering that they will not attend (as they cannot do so in good conscience), but if anyone has any definitive resources stating that intention must be present before the altar for the marriage to be valid in the eyes of the Church, that would be appreciated.

Canon Law requires that a Catholic is bound to marry in the Church before a Church-authorized witness (e.g. the priest) for the marriage to be valid, not just in the eyes of the Church, but in the eyes of God, and thus in reality. A merely civil marriage of a Catholic is a farce.

The references are from the 1983 Canon Law :

Quote:Can. 1059 Even if only one party is Catholic, the marriage of Catholics is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of civil authority concerning the merely civil effects of the same marriage.

...

Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144,  1112, §1, 1116, and
1127, §§1-2.

...

Can. 1117 The form prescribed above must be observed if at least one of the parties contracting the marriage was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1127 § 2.

Can. 1118 §1. A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor.
§2. The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
§3. A marriage between a Catholic party and a non-baptized party can be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.

Regarding Canon 1059, when it comes to the Catholics, the State has only the ability to give civil effects to the marriage (e.g. a joint tax return, etc.). It has no jurisdiction over the marriage contract except where the Church allows this. That means that when Catholic marries civilly he is entering a State-recognized union of fornication, not marriage.

The Canons used to allow those who had formally left the Church to validly marry outside the Church. Since 2009 that has not be the cases. Once someone has been Baptized in the Catholic Church or received into the Catholic Church he is always a Catholic, and is bound to marry only according to the laws of the Church.
Reply
#5
(09-29-2019, 03:24 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The Canons used to allow those who had formally left the Church to validly marry outside the Church. Since 2009 that has not be the cases. Once someone has been Baptized in the Catholic Church or received into the Catholic Church he is always a Catholic, and is bound to marry only according to the laws of the Church.

Why was this changed? Seems to me that someone's who's no longer a practising Catholic isn't going to care about the Church's rules anyway, and saying that his marriage will be invalid will just cause him to think it's yet another stupid rule and drive him further away, plus make him guilty of fornication. I suppose if such a person does come back, it's an easy annulment if things didn't work out in the meantime.
Reply
#6
(09-29-2019, 07:57 PM)Paul Wrote:
(09-29-2019, 03:24 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The Canons used to allow those who had formally left the Church to validly marry outside the Church. Since 2009 that has not be the cases. Once someone has been Baptized in the Catholic Church or received into the Catholic Church he is always a Catholic, and is bound to marry only according to the laws of the Church.

Why was this changed? Seems to me that someone's who's no longer a practising Catholic isn't going to care about the Church's rules anyway, and saying that his marriage will be invalid will just cause him to think it's yet another stupid rule and drive him further away, plus make him guilty of fornication. I suppose if such a person does come back, it's an easy annulment if things didn't work out in the meantime.

Well, if my understanding is correct, the couple can request a “radical sanation”, which is essentially the Church retroactively blessing the invalid marriage from the time of the original exchange of vows, therefore making it valid.

CAN. 1161
RADICAL SANATION (Canons 1161 - 1165)
§1. The radical sanation of an invalid marriage is its convalidation without the renewal of consent, which is granted by competent authority and entails the dispensation from an impediment, if there is one, and from canonical form, if it was not observed, and the retroactivity of canonical effects.
§2. Convalidation occurs at the moment of the granting of the favor. Retroactively, however, it is understood to extend to the moment of the celebration of the marriage unless other provision is expressly made.
§3. A radical sanation is not to be granted unless it is probable that the parties wish to persevere in conjugal life.
Reply
#7
(09-29-2019, 07:57 PM)Paul Wrote:
(09-29-2019, 03:24 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The Canons used to allow those who had formally left the Church to validly marry outside the Church. Since 2009 that has not be the cases. Once someone has been Baptized in the Catholic Church or received into the Catholic Church he is always a Catholic, and is bound to marry only according to the laws of the Church.

Why was this changed? Seems to me that someone's who's no longer a practising Catholic isn't going to care about the Church's rules anyway, and saying that his marriage will be invalid will just cause him to think it's yet another stupid rule and drive him further away, plus make him guilty of fornication. I suppose if such a person does come back, it's an easy annulment if things didn't work out in the meantime.

In fact, it was something added in 1983, but was so confusing that Pope Benedict XVI decided that we needed to return to the traditional discipline.

The Canon allowed valid natural marriages to a Catholic who had left the faith "by a formal act". That was never defined, so there were all kinds of different opinions as to what constituted such an act. If a Catholic left and became a Protestant? If he filed some "formal act" paperwork? If he simply married outside of the Church (and thus the whole law was meaningless)?

Various tribunals took different takes on this. The Irish bishops, for instance, required formal paperwork. American canonists generally thought that regular attendance at a non-Catholic religious service was sufficient, but no one was clear about what was "regular". 

That was explained by Pope Benedict who, Motu Proprio, changed the laws writing : 

Quote:Experience, however, has shown that this new law gave rise to numerous pastoral problems. First, in individual cases the definition and practical configuration of such a formal act of separation from the Church has proved difficult to establish, from both a theological and a canonical standpoint. In addition, many difficulties have surfaced both in pastoral activity and the practice of tribunals. Indeed, the new law appeared, at least indirectly, to facilitate and even in some way to encourage apostasy in places where the Catholic faithful are not numerous or where unjust marriage laws discriminate between citizens on the basis of religion. The new law also made difficult the return of baptized persons who greatly desired to contract a new canonical marriage following the failure of a preceding marriage. Finally, among other things, many of these marriages in effect became, as far as the Church is concerned, "clandestine" marriages.


The rationale for original rule is that once one is a Catholic it is impossible to not be a Catholic anymore. One can leave the Faith, become a heretic or schismatic, or simply stop practicing the Faith, but he still has the mark of Baptism on his soul, and is guilty for his apostasy, heresy, or schism and whatever other sins this leads him to. Thus for the Church to say that his marriage is invalid is not making him commit sin, and in general I don't think many, if any, would say that it was the Church's rejection of the validity of his non-Church marriage that was the impediment to his return. His previous sins are the cause of these sins.

The rational for changing it was poorly described, but most arguments for it centered around that it was somehow unfair to tell someone that the Church did not approved of his marriage outside the Church. That's simply silly. The Church has the duty to help Catholics protect their Faith. Letting people marry outside of the Church facilitates the destruction of their Faith.
[-] The following 1 user Likes MagisterMusicae's post:
  • jovan66102
Reply
#8
MM,
Sorry to repeat myself, but what are your thoughts on a couple that married without form having their marriage blessed without the renewal of consent?

CAN. 1161
RADICAL SANATION (Canons 1161 - 1165)
§1. The radical sanation of an invalid marriage is its convalidation without the renewal of consent, which is granted by competent authority and entails the dispensation from an impediment, if there is one, and from canonical form, if it was not observed, and the retroactivity of canonical effects.
§2. Convalidation occurs at the moment of the granting of the favor. Retroactively, however, it is understood to extend to the moment of the celebration of the marriage unless other provision is expressly made.
§3. A radical sanation is not to be granted unless it is probable that the parties wish to persevere in conjugal life.
Reply
#9
(09-29-2019, 08:55 PM)FultonFan Wrote: MM,
Sorry to repeat myself, but what are your thoughts on a couple that married without form having their marriage blessed without the renewal of consent?

Radical sanation is a legal fiction that makes the marriage valid now, presuming that the consent still exists by removing any impediments, but create a legal fiction which pretends that it was always valid.

Since one is never sure about the original consent in such a case and whether it still exists, it is generally not done except when one party objects or refuses to renew consent before a delegated witness to fix the invalidity.

If it is possible that the parties renew consent before a delegated witness that is preferable and is much simpler, because it involves just a brief ceremony and some paperwork. A radical sanation needs a full canonical case and appeal to at least the Ordinary, if not Rome. Much more complicated and done only when there is a serious reason.
Reply
#10
(09-29-2019, 03:24 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(09-29-2019, 08:04 AM)Stalwart Wrote: The question is largely moot now as the decision has been made by the person wondering that they will not attend (as they cannot do so in good conscience), but if anyone has any definitive resources stating that intention must be present before the altar for the marriage to be valid in the eyes of the Church, that would be appreciated.

Canon Law requires that a Catholic is bound to marry in the Church before a Church-authorized witness (e.g. the priest) for the marriage to be valid, not just in the eyes of the Church, but in the eyes of God, and thus in reality. A merely civil marriage of a Catholic is a farce.

The references are from the 1983 Canon Law :

Quote:Can. 1059 Even if only one party is Catholic, the marriage of Catholics is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of civil authority concerning the merely civil effects of the same marriage.

...

Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144,  1112, §1, 1116, and
1127, §§1-2.

...

Can. 1117 The form prescribed above must be observed if at least one of the parties contracting the marriage was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1127 § 2.

Can. 1118 §1. A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor.
§2. The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
§3. A marriage between a Catholic party and a non-baptized party can be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.

Regarding Canon 1059, when it comes to the Catholics, the State has only the ability to give civil effects to the marriage (e.g. a joint tax return, etc.). It has no jurisdiction over the marriage contract except where the Church allows this. That means that when Catholic marries civilly he is entering a State-recognized union of fornication, not marriage.

The Canons used to allow those who had formally left the Church to validly marry outside the Church. Since 2009 that has not be the cases. Once someone has been Baptized in the Catholic Church or received into the Catholic Church he is always a Catholic, and is bound to marry only according to the laws of the Church.

Thanks, MM. Much appreciated.
+ J + M + J +

"In te Domine, speravi."
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)