April 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm #2290
So my good friend and I were discussing the Church’s beliefs in the sacrament of marriage. This was my thinking on the issue: The Church does not recognize a marriage outside of the Church. Therefore, if two people went down to the courthouse and got legally married, the Church would still consider them unmarried, but living together in sin. In order for their marriage to be valid, they would have to go through the process of having it blessed in the Catholic Church. However…
My friend thinks that the Church WOULD recognize a marriage if two people went down to the courthouse and got married. The Church would consider their marriage valid. Their marriage would be recognized by the Church and they would not be considered living in sin.
Does anyone have the answer to this or some links that could let me know what the Church’s true definition of a valid, legal, binding marriage is? Thanks!
But then I started thinking, if the Church only recognizes marriages that take place within the Catholic Church, then there are a lot of “unmarried” people living together right now
Or am I confusing what the Church sees as a “legal” marriage versus a “valid” marriage? Is it just semantics?
(Just for the record, my friend and I both married our spouses in the Catholic Church so there is no tension between us about that, we were more just curious what the Church really stands for)
~HeatherApril 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm #4026
I would love to know the answer of this one too. My husband and I had to get married in the court to meet the deadline of my fiance visa processing and later received the sacrament in the Church a couple months later.August 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm #4027
1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament
Directly from the CCC paragraph 1660.
If a marriage happens at the courthouse with a justice of the peace it is not a sacrament. And marriage for us Catholics is a Sacrament as well as a Covenant.
Hope this helps!November 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm #4028
There are actually a few factors involved in whether the Church recognizes a marriage as valid or not. Now, I know I have links to support what I am about to say but I can not locate them right now. I was able to find some info in the Code of Canon Law but it takes a bit to research. :/ So, this is going off of memory… Please forgive me if I have mis-stated anything, but this should give you a better idea as this is pretty general.
As Valerie stated above with the quote from the Catechism, in paragraph 1660 is says “marriage between the baptized” meaning for a non-baptized individual certain things may not apply. She is correct in stating that a JoP is NOT a sacrament.
For marriages between 2 practicing Catholics, it must be performed by a priest. A JoP (Justice of Peace) is considered invalid.
For 2 non-Catholics, it is recognizable but if they become Catholic they should have the Church bless it.
For non-practicing Catholics, if they have turned away from the Church and refuse its teachings, a JoP marriage can be valid. There are certain things pertaining to this to meet the requirements for “non-practicing.”
If one party is Catholic and practicing, a JoP marriage is considered invalid and illicit.
For Catholics marrying non-Catholics, it is possible to have a non-Catholic wedding but a dispensation must be obtained prior and permission from you parish priest. A JoP alone, even with a dispensation, is invalid; there must be a religious component to the ceremony (not 100% on this last part though).
I hope this helps. I am really sorry that I couldn’t remember the links to quote but I know it is possible to find them. It will just take a bit of web searching on your part.
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