Dear Catholic Exchange:
My son is going to be married in 3 weeks by a non-Catholic clergy. His fiancée is not Catholic. What is the status of him being able to remain practicing his faith and receiving sacraments?
Peace in Christ!
Christ’s esteem for the natural institution of marriage is evident in His blessing of the wedding at Cana with a miracle (Jn. 2:1-11). Later in His ministry, when the Pharisees asked Him about the practice of divorce, He declared that God Himself establishes the marriage bond, and that no human being has the power to break it (Mt. 19:3-9; Lk. 16:18). Marriage for Christians was elevated to a supernatural source of grace for the couple. The Church’s concern is to protect the essential ends and properties of marriage. She does this through various regulations, from which a Catholic can be dispensed for good reason.
If your son is Catholic but leaves the Church to marry, without receiving dispensations from his bishop, then he will have to reconcile himself with the Church before he receives Holy Communion. He will need to approach a priest for the sacrament of reconciliation and to regularize his marriage.
A positive approach to this problem is based on the fundamental belief that God has a plan for salvation and marriage is part of His plan. Your son and his fiancée can have a richer life together when it’s oriented toward God. Please see our Faith Fact, Marriage in God’s Plan — Discovering the Power of Marital Love.
United in the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
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Steubenville, OH 43952