Q. I am a Catholic, but I have not been confirmed. I wish to get married, and I have been told that I must be confirmed first, is this so?
A. Yes. Catholic Canon Law states: (Canon 1065 §1) “Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience”. See your local Catholic priest to see what is involved for you. Confirmation strengthens your faith and enables you to lead a more fulfilled Christian life, and will support you in your future sacramental marriage.
Q. What are the rules of Catholic marriage with regards to a marriage between a man and a woman of 16 and 17 respectively? We are concerned that for a purely Catholic marriage ceremony (NOT a civil ceremony) parental consent maybe required.
A. The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church says the following concerning your query:
Canon 1083. A man cannot validly enter marriage before the completion of his sixteenth year of age, nor a woman before the completion of her fourteenth year.
Canon 1072. Pastors of souls are to see to it that they dissuade young people from entering marriage before the age customarily accepted in the region.
Canon 1071.1. … no one is to assist without the permission of the local Ordinary (bishop) at: a marriage of a minor (under 18 years of age), whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably opposed to it. Normally a priest would at least want you to let your parents know about your plans, and would probably insist that they have no reasonable objections to your marriage. It is worth thinking of your parents’ point of view. They are most likely looking forward to their children getting married (even if they are not absolutely happy about the chosen partner, but after all that’s not their decision to make). Give a thought to the future: marriage is difficult enough without having really serious in-law problems: when children come along, grand parents are invaluable. I strongly recommend that you have a friendly talk to your parents, saying why you think it is important to get married soon. I am sure they will listen to your point of view, and if you have their blessing, what a great start to married life.
Q. I am hoping to get married next year to my husband to be. We have never been married previously but my problem is that he is Catholic and I am not. My partner would love to get married in the Catholic Church and I would love this as well for the fact that I respect his wish. I do not have a religion at all. I was never christened or baptized etc. Does this cause us a problem for getting married in the Catholic Church?
A. Based on the information you have given, you should be able to get married in a Catholic church, but a dispensation from the local Catholic bishop is required, and this will only be given if certain conditions are fulfilled. I quote the official ‘rules’ below. In practical terms, I suggest your husband to be, approaches his local Catholic priest as soon as possible, and gives him all the details; he will then arrange for the dispensation from the Bishop and talk about the conditions, etc. The relevant canons from the Code of Canon Law state:
Canon 1086 §1. A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptized.
Canon 1086 §2. This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in canon 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.
Canon 1125. The local ordinary (bishop) can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;
2. The other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the Catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the Catholic part.
3. Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded.
Canon 1126. It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.
(This last canon is saying the Bishop’s Conference in this country decides how the promises etc. are carried out in practice.)
to be continued in Part Three