OC 097 Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Part Four

Q. I am a Muslim and I wish to marry my girl friend, and she wants to get married in her Catholic church. Is this possible, what do I have to do, and what happens?

A. First, the Catholic Church refers to a marriage between a baptized Catholic and a non-baptized person as a “disparity of cult” and requires a specific dispensation from the local Catholic Bishop. This can be obtained by the Catholic’s parish priest. This dispensation would normally be granted if the following conditions were fulfilled:
1. The Catholic partner is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and make a sincere promise to do all in his or her own power to raise the children Catholic.

2. The other partner is informed of the promises and obligations of the Catholic party

3. Both partners are to be instructed about the properties of sacramental marriage which are not to be excluded by either contractant. (Code of Canon Law: Canon1125)

Second, what you have to do is:
1  Both visit your girlfriend’s parish priest and explain that you wish to get married. He will, no doubt, question you both on your being free to marry, and any other points he needs clarifying. He will explain that he needs to seek your dispensation from his bishop as mentioned above.

2. You will both be required to attend a marriage preparation course, which will explain the Catholic teaching on marriage, as well as giving practical relationship skills.

3. The priest will, at another time, instruct you both regarding the format of the marriage service.

4. During the marriage service itself you will be formally asked your intentions. Basically, that is, the priest will ask you both in turn:
· “Are you ready freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”
· “Are you ready to love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?”
· “Are you ready to accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”
· You will solemnly declare that you know of no lawful impediment to your marriage.
· You will both declare your consent to be married followed by your exchanging your vows.

Q. My fiance and I are both Catholics and we would like to get married in a Catholic church. However, I am a divorcee, previously married in an Anglican church. Is it still possible for us to marry in a Catholic Church?
A. If you were a Catholic at the time of your marriage in the Anglican Church, and you married without the permission of the Catholic Church, and without the presence of a Catholic priest or deacon to witness your exchange of vows, then that marriage was not valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. This means you are probably free to marry in the Catholic Church as you would not be, and have not been, married. Your local catholic priest would need to be satisfied of all the relevant information. If, however, you received permission to marry in an Anglican church, and the appropriate stipulations of the Catholic Church were met then that would have been a valid marriage; and despite a civil divorce, you would not be free to marry again.

Q. I am Catholic and married a non-Catholic; he committed adultery and we divorced. Can I remarry in the Catholic church?
A. The question is dependent on whether your marriage is a sacramentally valid. If you were married in a Catholic church, it is assumed that your marriage is valid, and you are still married and not free to remarry. Has your husband been baptized the marriage would be sacramental. If you were married in a protestant church, and met the requirements of the Catholic Church but without permission of the local Bishop, the marriage is not valid, and the marriage in a registry office is not valid; you are free to marry in a Catholic church. There are other factors which invalidate a marriage such as a spouse refusing to have children. You need to talk to your local priest; their might be grounds for your marriage to be declared not valid by a marriage tribunal and granted an annulment.



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