Can Catholics Marry in Any Parish Church They Want?

Q: My fiancé and I just decided to get married.  The city where we both live is very far from both of our home-towns and our relatives, but we’ll be having the wedding here in our parish, which is also where we first met.

The problem is my fiancé’s mother, who insists we should get married in her parish, where my fiancé was born and raised, because most of his family still lives in that area so it’s easier for them.  Neither of us wants to do that, we just took it for granted that we would get married in our current parish.  But now we’re wondering what canon law says, because it would theoretically be possible to have our wedding in my fiancé’s mother’s parish, wouldn’t it?  Can we get married in any parish church that we please, as long as the pastor agrees?  Could you please explain how that works?  Thank you. –Felicia Continue reading

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Canon Law and Marriage Records

Q: My wife and I have been married for eight years.  We were married in her parish church at that time, but we now live in the same parish where my family lived when I was born, and where I went to parochial school.

My wife was chatting with the parish secretary about various things and somehow they ended up talking about my being baptized there.  The secretary looked in the old parish register and said that yes, I was baptized and made my First Communion and was confirmed, but there’s no record of us ever getting married, and there should be (or so she said)!  What the heck does that mean?  We were married in a different Catholic parish, by my wife’s pastor, so there’s a record of it there, and we have a copy of it.  Why would our current parish have a record of our marriage in a different parish anyway?  My wife is still shaken by this, she said the parish secretary kind of intimated that we’re not really married.  Can you shed any light on this? –Blake Continue reading

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Can Catholics be Prohibited from Marrying in Lent and Advent?

Q: I am engaged to a non-Catholic. We want to have the wedding in December, during the Advent season.  December is the only time when all my relatives are around due to the school holiday…

My parish priest rejected my request, saying church policy forbids any weddings during Advent.  He is known for being stricter with procedure.  The priest told me that it is the DIOCESE which refuses to solemnize marriages in Advent.

But there is another parish…which permits weddings during Advent.  Why does this parish allow weddings but my parish does not?  It’s just unfair, I think.

My last resort would be marrying in my fiancée’s non-Catholic Church.  But a Catholic wedding is really important to me.  I just don’t want to give up.  What should I do to make my wedding valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church? –Henry Continue reading

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Catechetics and the Authority of the Parish Priest

Q: Our pastor implemented a new faith formation program.  It is extremely rigorous and has been met with anger and frustration from all parents. In a nutshell, the program is “taught” by the parents…. There are pages and pages of study material, study questions, articles and also various media requirements, such as movies, book chapters, and audio books.

Can our pastor deny First Penance to those students who he feels have not complied with the new program requirements to his satisfaction?  And, can he ask that parents fill out a form before he hears the confession, which includes information such as name, family number, date and priest’s signature?  Our diocese says that the pastor can do whatever he wants as long as he’s not breaking the law. –Monica Continue reading

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Excommunication and the Authority of the Parish Priest

Q: What course do parishioners have to ask the bishop to correct, reprimand or otherwise relocate a priest who refuses to baptize children of parents that he doesn’t “recognize” as parishioners, even though they are on the parish roll?  He has cut the Mass schedule, making it nearly impossible for shift workers to attend Mass.  And he won’t offer English-language baptism classes, confirmation classes and CCD.

This priest threatened to excommunicate the last person who sat down to try to discuss their “concerns” with him. –Andrea Continue reading

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