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Their Loss, Your Gain

With some ongoing family resistance over Catholic teaching about having a marriage irregularly blessed, I'm sharing the following Canonical statements needed to clarify what the Church actually says and remains obliging to the faithful. (I'm just the messenger.)

Texts from the Code of Canon Law Annotated, 1983 English Translation, that apply to my niece's upcoming wedding, and why that wedding cannot be sacramentally valid. Without the validity, I sincerely wonder how other Catholics can participate. Please patiently attend to what the Church makes clear below with her universal canonical laws.

Canon 1063.1

"Pastors of souls are obliged to provide the faithful with catechetical instruction."

(Translation: I’m obliged by Church law to speak up because no one seems to be aware of Church law and teaching. See too, canon 1069 which says that the faithful are bound to tell the local Ordinary [i.e. Bishop] impediments they know about.)

Canon 1059

"The marriage of Catholics, even if only one party is baptized, is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of the civil authority in respect of the merely civil effects of the marriage."

Canon 1078:

“The Local Ordinary can dispense his own subjects wherever they are residing and all who are actually present in his territory, from all impediments of ecclesiastical law, except those whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See.”)

FYI: A Diriment Impediment in canon law is one that cannot be dispensed save by the local Ordinary.

Canon 1086:

“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 is not baptized.”

“This [diriment] impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.”

(Those two canons acknowledge the local Ordinary as the one who can dispense of this impediment, and 1126 notes it is up to the manner in which these prescriptions are to be carried out. Canon 134.2: “The term local Ordinary means all those enumerated in 134.1 except superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life.” 134.3: “Whatever in the canons, in the context of executive power, is attributed to the diocesan Bishop, is understood to belong only to the diocesan Bishop and to those others in can. 381.2 who are equivalent to him.”

Canon 381:

“In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office…”)

(In effect, planning to enter an invalid marriage carries with it according to St. Thomas certain penalties of scandal against the sacrament itself in his discussion of the nature of scandal and its various kinds.)

A priest is necessary for a sacramental marriage.

Canon 1108.1:

"Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local Ordinary or parish priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who, in the presence of two witnesses, assists, in accordance however with the rules set out in the following canons, and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144, 1112.1, 1116 and 1127.2-3."

Finally, Catholic weddings must take place in a Catholic Church!

“Catholics must marry in accord with canonical form. This means that they are required to have a Catholic wedding ceremony, conducted by either the pastor or another priest deputed by him (c. 1108). If a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Catholic in a non-Catholic wedding ceremony, which obviously would not be held inside a Catholic church, he must obtain permission from the diocesan bishop in advance. In order to receive such permission, however, it must be shown that having a regular Catholic wedding, held in a Catholic church by the pastor or another deputed priest, will present grave difficulties (c. 1127.2).”

For these reasons, I remain unable to attend my niece's wedding without taking part in scandal myself. Canon law is pretty clear with all the above points. Many priests and bishops will have differing opinions about what the Church teaches, so please educate yourselves and share our truths. Ignorance is no excuse.

Uncle Father Jon

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Sean Murray
Sean Murray
Aug 13, 2022

Father, this must be so difficult for you. I'm going to offer a Hail Mary for your niece. Us holding true to the faith are seen as backward, and dinosaurs, as being unreasonable. It is exactly because we love our fellow man we must speak that hard truths.

Aug 13, 2022
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