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Kayleigh wrote:

Hi, guys —

My boyfriend and I have known each other since middle school and have recently started talking about marriage sometime in the next few years, probably when I graduate from college.

It's all wonderful: — We share views on many key topics and he has no issues raising the children Catholic. The problem is that he is from a very Lutheran family and I've been Catholic all my life.
I don't want his family to feel left out, and just as we would like to come together and walk side
by side towards God, I would like to respect where we come from and how it has brought us to where we are today.

  • Is it possible to have a joint ceremony at my parish, where his pastor would celebrate along side my priest and we would have two communion lines?

    One for those who believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, and one for those who believe that it's more of a symbol?

I'm probably not communicating this very well, but my vision is our two families being actively involved, celebrating our differences instead of being alienated by them.

It is very important to me that, even though I'm the more religious, that his religious beliefs be respected and celebrated as more the same, than different, and just as valid, and that the pastor who helped form his beliefs be actively involved in the ceremony.

Thank you.

Kayleigh

  { Is it possible to have a joint ceremony, where his pastor would celebrate along side my priest? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Kayleigh,

You've asked two things:

  • Can there be a combined ceremony that respects both traditions?

The answer is “yes”.

  • Can it include both versions of Eucharist?

The answer is “no”

Let me elaborate on the second question first:

No Catholic priest would be allowed to participate in a service like that and if they did the priest would be in serious trouble. Joint participation is what is called “communication in sacris” and there are two relevant canons. Canon 908 which states that this is forbidden of Catholic priests and Canon 1365 which explains that the priest should be punished for such an act. So she should not attempt to do this as it will get the priest in serious trouble if he was dumb enough to agree.

Now let me elaborate to the first question:

The Catholic Church agrees with you that we would want to respect both faith traditions in a Mixed Marriage such as yours. Therefore it should not be a Mass but a ceremony. Both Churches have the same theology of Marriage (as opposed to contrary theologies of Eucharist). As long as you do the ritual of one of the Churches (either Lutheran or Catholic) and not a hybrid ceremony (some made-up combination) both priests can participate in a ceremony. What cannot be broken up however is the actual vows and ring ceremony. For example you could not have the Catholic priest take the vows of the Catholic and the Lutheran take the vows of the Lutheran or one do the vows and the other the rings.

To accomplish this your priest would have to get a “permission for Mixed Marriage” and if the Lutheran Priest is taking the vows a “Dispensation from Form”.

You should follow the guidance of her own diocese where the wedding is to take place.

It is quite common and usual for a Marriage to be a ceremony and not a Mass for a variety of reasons.

Fr. Jonathan

Mike replied:

Hi, Kayleigh —

I just wanted to add to what Fr. Jonathan has said.

You said:
It is very important to me that, even though I'm the more religious, that his religious beliefs be respected and celebrated as more the same, than different, and just as valid, and that the pastor who helped form his beliefs be actively involved in the ceremony.

I am having a hard time understanding how you can be the more religious one, when you are willing to say your set of beliefs are the same as your boyfriends set of beliefs; they aren't!

In many areas, there are big differences.

While I applaud that you want to make him feel comfortable about faith issues, when there is a difference, you can't deny them. Faith issues will arise in the future, if not between the two of you, among your families.

If your boyfriend is interested in learning more about what Catholics believe, encourage him to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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