What Happens when Canon Law Conflicts with Social Custom?

Q:  My boyfriend and I are Catholics, living in [an Asian country].  I am 33 years old.  We have wanted to get married for 8 years.   However, due to strong cultural issues … my parents are against my marriage.  Now I had to make a decision to get married without their consent, and my boyfriend’s family is ready and very supportive.

But my parish church wants approval from my parents for marriage which I do not have.  My boyfriend’s family also approached  their parish priest, he said he needs approval for marriage from my parents.

Please can you help me to know the procedure to find out if there is any other way that I can get a church marriage or does the Church also not approve of us getting married in the church? –Mary Continue reading

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If I Become a Catholic, What Happens to My Marriage? (Part II)

Q: I was married in a civil marriage, and we are still happily married.  At the time, my husband was a baptized protestant (Baptist), and I was not baptized.

Recently I became a Catholic.  When I converted, it was my understanding that our marriage is considered valid by the Church. I was told that my marriage was “elevated to sacramental status” when I was baptized, in an automatic way.  This info was supposedly via the expert in Canon Law at the Archdiocese…. If that’s the case, that’s great!! As long as God is happy and that’s the final word, I’ll let the matter be.

But when I repeated this to my parish priest, he gave me a strange look and said he’d re-inquire, as that sounded confusing to him and he’d never heard of such a thing.

Adult baptisms in this country are fairly rare, and no one seems to know of precedent cases: already civilly married, then one party converts and is baptized. What is the status of our marriage? –Nora Continue reading

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How Does an Excommunicated Catholic Have the Sanction Lifted? (Part II)

Q: A man at our parish took the Eucharist home and [desecrated It], and now refuses to hand the Host over to the priest or even admit that what he did is wrong.  We know that our clergy are actively involved, they have informed him that this is an excommunicable crime … we parishioners are praying for a positive resolution.

We don’t want to pester our priest with questions.  We know his discussions with the man are private, but we are just curious about the law.  Could you explain what, procedurally, the man and/or our priest will need to do to get the excommunication formally removed? … Does the excommunication automatically disappear once he repents and returns the Host, or is there more to it? –Meredith Continue reading

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How Does an Excommunicated Catholic Have the Sanction Lifted? (Part I)

Q: What does an excommunicated Catholic need to do, to return to full communion with the Catholic Church? –Lauren Continue reading

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Can a Priest Ever Reveal What is Said in Confession? (Part II)

Q1: I would like to put before you a question with regards to revealing of confessional substance under the permission granted by the penitent.  My question is “Whether by the penitent’s permission, a priest may reveal to another a sin which he knows under the seal of confession?”  Thank you! –Father R.

Q2: I am studying Canon Law as part of my basic theological studies (I am a religious seminarian). I am reading a Commentary on Canon Law [in another language] about sacraments. In the part speaking about the seal of confession, the author goes into great lengths with regard to everything the priest cannot do with the confession information. He even tells an imaginary story, when a penitent tells the priest that the Mass wine he is about to use for Mass is poisoned and according to the author, the priest cannot change the Mass wine, for that would reveal the evil intent of the penitent! He can only escape or celebrate the Mass nonetheless. I found that example extremely strange and exaggerated…. Can you help me to understand this issue? –Pat Continue reading

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