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Jackie Doherty wrote:

Hi, guys —

My sister, a Roman Catholic in good standing, has been refused marriage by a priest in a
non-denominational church.

She is a widow and was previously married in a Catholic Church in our small community.
Her fiancé was raised Pentecostal and has not been previously married. They are 43 and 45 years old, respectively, with no children.

The priest told her he would not marry her nor would her marriage be blessed unless she went to the marriage course offered by the Church (She attended this prior to her first marriage).
My family is active in the Church and attend Mass regularly.

  • If marriage is a sacrament entered into by two people, under the eyes of God, why does it matter where it occurs?
  • If a Baptist minister performs our marriage, is it still not under the eyes of God?
  • Can you point me to the Scripture passage on this?

Jackie

  { If marriage is a sacrament entered into by two people, why does it matter where it occurs? }

John replied:

Hi, Jackie —

Thank you for your question.

If your sister is indeed a Catholic in good standing, she would be willing to go through the course with her fiancé. The fact that she refuses to, tells me that her faith is not all that important to her. I know that sound tough, but when you take away any flowerily language, this is the bottom line.

The priest has a responsibility to make sure (to the best of his ability) that every marriage he performs is valid. While your sister went through the course, her fiancé has not. He is a Protestant and therefore probably has a very different understanding of what a Sacrament is,
let alone the sacramental nature of a marriage.

I was a Pentecostal-Baptist Minister. We did not recognize matrimony as a sacrament.

It is important for the Church to make sure that the marriages she witnesses are between people who understand what a Catholic Marriage is. It is even more so the case when we are dealing with a mixed marriage.

Now should your sister marry outside the Church, she would at the very least be committing an act of schism. If she is a Catholic in good standing, she knows Jesus Christ founded one Church,
not 30,000 denominations and sects. The Church He founded fully subsists in the Roman Catholic Church. For your sister to seek a sacrament in another community, means that she is rejecting her faith.

John
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