Pedophile Priests and Sacramental Validity

Q: At a family reunion this summer, we learned that the priest who had married my cousin and her husband has been removed from the parish.  He was accused of pedophilia or some other sexual impropriety… and he admitted it.

When my cousin wasn’t listening, my aunt wondered out loud if the marriage was not celebrated validly?  She said that the priest was living a false life, which would also affect the sacraments he conferred.  I’m sure that this argument is bogus, but I didn’t know how to refute it.  Could you explain this issue so that I’ll be able to discuss it intelligently in the future? –Kelsey Continue reading

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Can a Catholic Priest Ever Officiate at a Non-Catholic Wedding?

Q1: Is it possible for a Catholic priest to assist at non-Catholic weddings? –Father N.

Q2: My fiancé is a Catholic and I was baptized Catholic but raised Lutheran…. We opted to have both our wedding ceremony and reception at a hotel.  Is it permissible for a Catholic deacon to officiate a non-sacramental Catholic wedding?  His willingness would be up to him, I know, but is he able, under the given circumstances? –Kathleen

A:  We’ve seen quite a few times before that as per canon 844.1, the Church’s general rule is that Catholic sacraments are for Catholics.  But we’ve also seen that there are exceptions: in very specific situations, it may be possible for non-Catholics to receive some of the sacraments from Catholic ministers (c.844.3; see “Can a Non-Catholic Receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church?” and “When Can a Non-Catholic Go to Confession?” for more on this).  So how do these two questions fit into this equation? Continue reading

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When Can We Have Our Child Baptized at a Different Parish?

Q1: Can parents have their infant/child baptized in a parish other than the one they regularly attend? –Linda

Q2: For around 20 years we have rented homes at different places within the territory of X parish, and also outside the parish.  We can live in one house for a period of one or two years only.  Sometimes we get a rental home inside the parish territory and sometimes outside.  But it is never more than a mile from X parish.  We are active members in the parish.

But our new priest has refused to allow the baptism of my brother’s son, because we are currently living in the territory of another parish.  The date was fixed for the baptism with the knowledge of the priest.  But at the last minute he said no.  We have no other options… –Joseph Continue reading

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When Can a Non-Catholic Go to Confession?

Q: A close friend of mine was baptized in an evangelical church, but he plans to become a Catholic.  But he has not yet been officially received into the Catholic Church because his evangelical family disapproves.  He’s been through RCIA, and attends daily Mass, though I’ve never seen him receive the Eucharist, and he confirmed to me that he won’t until his official admittance into the Church.

But he goes to confession regularly. He says he believes absolutely all the Church teaches. Is his confession valid? –Ado Continue reading

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Canon Law and the Private Ownership of Relics

Q:  Before my father passed away, he gave me a relic of the Holy Cross surrounded by gems, that he received many years ago from a religious sister, who obtained it from a cardinal.  It has the original seal on the back, and I also have the 1966 document in Latin from the Vicar General of His Holiness the Pope about its authenticity.

My question is, am I permitted to have this relic in my private home, or should this be turned over to someone else in the Church?  I tried to research this online but couldn’t find anything definitive.  I want to transfer this relic to my nephew…  –John Continue reading

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