Canon Law and a Convent of Rebellious Sisters

Q:  Several decades ago a new order of sisters was founded in our diocese.  They help us parish priests by teaching the children and also by catechizing the adults.

But in recent years they have gone out of control.  By challenging the Church’s teachings and the authority of the clergy, the sisters have encouraged rebellion in our diocese.  There have been a lot of battles fought between the bishop and the sisters, and finally the bishop told us privately that he intended to close the convent down.

Before he could do that, however, he retired and now we have a new bishop.  He’s being very cautious about the whole situation… the bishop told us priests that he has no authority to shut down the sisters, only the Vatican can do this.  We are skeptical because the institute was founded not by Rome, but by the diocesan bishop.  So why can’t the bishop close the institute himself?   Some priests suspect that he is looking for an excuse to avoid facing the situation himself…  –Father M. Continue reading

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Why Would a Wedding in Our College Chapel be Invalid?

Q:  My girlfriend and I decided to get married next year.  She wants to have the wedding in the chapel at the Catholic college where we both studied.  She already talked to the chaplain in the Campus Ministry Office, and he said we can get married there since we’re alumni of the school.

He sounded like there’s no issue with doing this, but I remember hearing several years ago about marriages in Campus Ministry chapels being declared invalid.  I searched online but now I can’t find any information… I know I’m not imagining this.  Is there a problem under canon law with us getting married there? –Daniel Continue reading

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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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