How Do you Fix an Illicit Sacrament?

Q: I recently read your post titled “Can Catholics Marry in any Parish Church They Want?” To my dismay, I learned for the first time that if a wedding takes place outside the parish of residence, permission for the wedding is required not only from the presiding priest but from the priest of the parish where the bride and/or groom live. As such I have learned our marriage is valid but (likely) illicit.

Five months before our wedding, my now-husband suddenly had to move … we booked our wedding at his former parish with the parish priest we knew (and where we were continuing to attend Sunday Mass). We provided this priest our current addresses of residence but he never mentioned the need to gain permission from my husband’s new parish.

… I understand the validity of the sacrament is not in question, and I understand our Lord is merciful and our culpability is reduced by our lack of knowledge and trusting the priest would advise us correctly, but it grieves my husband and myself to be in this position.  Is there anything we should or could do to remedy an illicit status of a sacrament? –Stephanie Continue reading

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Why Can’t an Ex-Catholic Marry Validly Outside the Church?

Q: Over ten years ago, there were two weddings of ex-Catholic friends outside the Church that I decided to attend, because I considered their membership in other Christian denominations to be a formal renunciation of the Church.  I figured that the weddings were valid in the eyes of the Church because an ex-Catholic isn’t a Catholic any more, and so they weren’t obliged to marry in accord with canonical form.

But then Pope Benedict XVI changed the rules regarding the canonical form of marriage in 2009, to remove the exception for ex-Catholics who had formally renounced the Church.  Was this change retroactive?

Since they were married outside the Church prior to 2009, and with “formal renunciation” of their Catholic faith by way of being baptized into another Christian faith, are their marriages valid?  Or do ALL marriages of Catholics and ex-Catholics now require canonical form, binding on ALL baptized Catholics? –Ann Marie Continue reading

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What Makes a Mass Invalid? (Part II)

Q: At Mass, one visiting priest, consistently and with full intention, refuses to elevate the Eucharist at the consecration, rather he offers it to the congregation.  He says this is in line with the theology brought about by Vatican II; the focus should be on the sharing and communing with God as community rather than a sacrificial offering.

As a middle-aged Catholic with some self-education on such things, it seems to me he is missing proper intent and proper form required for a valid sacrament.  The Bishop has been approached on the matter and laughed.

What recourse do the faithful have in such a case? Clear and intentional rejection of the rubrics of the Mass is a sacrilege, or at the very least heretical, isn’t it?  If he does not intend to turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus, then what is it, if not wrong intent?  Again through self study, the rubrics are very specific on the elevation.  He clearly is protesting the form. –Stephen Continue reading

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What Makes a Mass Invalid? (Part I)

Q1: My book-study group started talking about what constitutes a valid Mass.  One person is under the impression that as long as the consecration is completed properly, the Mass would be valid. Another person suggested that even if a part of the order of Mass is omitted, or all the words are not said correctly, Mass is valid as long as intent was pure in the celebrant. Could you help clarify? –Katherine

Q2:  I have a question that I think you have not answered already! During Mass yesterday the priest, instead of using the Gloria used “Angels We Have Heard on High.”  Does this make the Mass invalid? –Luke Continue reading

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Discovering an Impediment Right Before the Wedding

Q:  My sister has an upcoming marriage in our Catholic Church in the USA. She is divorced for about 8 years now from her civil marriage. She did not tell her priest she was civilly married because she did not think it mattered since in the Church’s eyes a civil marriage is invalid (or so we read).

It obviously is too late to cancel her upcoming nuptials since we are a month away, can she get married and tell the priest about her prior marriage after the wedding and go through the annulment process then. There is no way she can get an annulment in a month and right now her focus is seeing that her wedding day goes through smoothly.

Can annulments be done after one’s second marriage? Will she have to let the priest know since he will be sending out her marriage license? Will they now have to get remarried after the annulment comes through so the church considers her marriage valid? –Laura Continue reading

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