Becoming (Or at Least Marrying) an Eastern Catholic

Q1:  I find the topic of Eastern Catholic Churches very interesting. So I was wondering, is it possible for a Roman Catholic to become, say, Greek Catholic or Coptic Catholic, and if so, how does that work? –Angelo

Q2:  My girlfriend is Russian and converted to Catholicism last summer.  First question: while converted in a Latin Parish, she is still a Russian Catholic canonically, correct?
Second: We want to get married. Since I am Latin, can my Latin priest marry us?  Does she “automatically” switch Rites when marrying me, or does she remain Russian?  Can she and I marry in the Russian Rite even though I’m Latin? –Matthew Continue reading

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Can a Priest Refuse to Hear Your Confession if He Knows You?

Q1:  I’d like to know if a priest can hear the confession of a Catholic who is married, but not in the Catholic Church?  If not, why not? –Joseph

Q2:  I am an active parish volunteer at my local parish. We recently received a new pastor, and he is very inexperienced…. When I recently went to Confession, he must have recognized my voice, asked me a few questions to ascertain my identity, and turned me away. He said because I volunteer for the parish, he won’t hear my confession.

There are only two priests at our parish and we are in a small town without a lot of other parishes around. It is unpredictable which priest will hear confessions on any given Saturday and if he won’t hear my Confession, I may go weeks without absolution. I have been in the habit of not going more than two weeks or so.

Given Canon 986.1, is it permissible for my pastor to refuse to hear my Confession? –Lisa Continue reading

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Why Can’t These Priests Ever Celebrate a Valid Catholic Wedding?

Q1: Can a laicized Catholic priest ever validly marry a Catholic couple? —Courtney

Q2: My best friend is going to marry a divorced Catholic man, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid… her pastor said that her fiancé would have to obtain an annulment of his first marriage before they could marry in the Church, but then she found this group of Catholic priests who told her it wasn’t necessary.  They said they will marry you without it, in a Catholic ceremony in a hotel or some other place that’s not a church…  This can’t be right, can it?  My friend is insisting that it will be a real Catholic wedding by a priest, but something must be wrong here.  What do you think? –Emma Continue reading

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Mass Intentions and Stipends (Part II)

Q1: I know that concelebrating priests may each have their own intentions for the one concelebrated Mass.  But can each of them receive a separate stipend for the one concelebrated Mass?  So for instance, my pastor and I concelebrate.  He takes the stipend for the announced intention of the Mass.  May I also take a stipend for a different intention?

That’s what I’ve been doing.  But another canon lawyer told me differently. –Father D.

Q2: I’m thinking about starting a website to help priests gain Mass stipends, that could also be an App, but don’t want to give any appearance I’m trafficking in stipends.  But I wouldn’t mind making a very modest stipend for myself for the apostolate.

Do you think it would be appropriate canonically to do a project like this?  And take a stipend too?  I was thinking 10%.  $2 on a $20 stipend.  Me facilitating the transfer of a stipend to priests is a service, and laity can ask for their own stipend in the service they give.  Correct?

(Later update:) My wife suggested not requiring anything for myself, but the priest would have the option to give a little to the website. –Christopher Continue reading

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Can the Pope Validly Marry People on an Airplane?

Q: It would seem that [during his trip to Chile] Pope Francis received and blessed a couple who actually celebrated the sacrament of Holy Matrimony on the Pope’s flight.

At first glance, according to your previous articles about canonical validity regarding the location of the celebration, the pope’s airplane doesn’t seem to be like an ordinary parish. Therefore I wonder: is that sacrament valid?

If so, is it because the pope has the power to derogate from canon law in specific situations?  Or at his own pleasure?  I understand he is the Supreme Legislator, so is this an example of Pope Francis using that liberty? –Brian Continue reading

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