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Diana wrote:

Hi, guys —

My question is about the Sacrament of Marriage. I am a practicing Catholic but my boyfriend is an unbaptized Christian.

We know we want to get married someday but there are a couple of things I am very worried about.

  • It's my understanding that the wedding ceremony doesn't have to take place inside of a Church, but if a priest doesn't perform the ceremony, how is this marriage still valid in the eyes of the Church?
  • Is it possible for the husband and wife to just get the blessing from the priest and have the ceremony held somewhere else?

I am so confused and worried! My boyfriend is not dead set against us being married in a church, however, since he is not Catholic, we are trying to see how we can accommodate each other.


  { How do I plan my future marriage to a non-Catholic boyfriend while ensuring its validity? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Diana,

Because this is not a Sacramental Marriage the bishop will probably give you a dispensation to be married some place other than a Church and by someone who is not a priest.

To understand this you should know that it is not the minister that performs the marriage but the couple themselves when they consent to be married to each other.

Although it is not a Sacrament it is still an action from God and is holy.

Go talk to your parish priest and it will work out fine.

Fr. Jonathan

Mike replied:

Hi, Diana —

I would encourage your boyfriend to seriously consider getting baptized as Jesus said was needed for salvation. (Mark 16:16)

I used to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

Encourage him to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics. He doesn't have to join the Church, unless he wants to, but reading the Catechism will give him insight as to where you are coming from as a faithful Catholic.

I hope this helps,


Diana replied:

Hi Fr. Jonathan and Mike,

Thanks for the reply!

I am just so curious about so much!

  • So, technically, for this to be a sacrament, he would have to be baptized (by any church)?

My mother said that if the marriage is not on Church grounds and performed by a priest, then it is not seen as a legitimate union in the eyes of God and so many sins would come with that.

I guess I do not really understand how it can be holy, yet not a sacrament.



Mike replied:

Hi Diana,

Marriage issues can be confusing but we are very fortunate to have a priest that does marriage tribunal work. Your situation, if what you told us was exact, addresses your specific situation.

What makes a marriage a sacramental marriage are two validly baptized Christians.

Your boyfriend has not been baptized so even though I'm sure he is a fine person, in order to become part of the Body of Christ and have a sacramental marriage, he needs to be baptized.

In this posting Fr. Jonathan gives you a list of other non-Catholic Christian churches that administer a valid Trinitarian baptism but from my, yeah, bias view, why join a man-made church when you can join The Only Church God, Jesus-Incarnate founded?

Your mother may be thinking about a similar situation, like when two baptized Catholics marry or when a Catholic and a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian marries.

These two posts below should help.

  • Read them yourself — especially what Fr. Jonathan says at the very end of the second posting and
  • print them out for your mother to read.

  1. Does the Church accept non-religious marriages and can you get married during Advent or Lent?
  2. If I convert, wouldn't the Church be putting me in a marital conundrum?

You can and should talk to a local priest or pastor who is faithful to the Church in order to clarify any nuances of your particular situation. You may have to make an appointment.

I hope this helps,


Diana replied:

Thanks guys!

This is a huge help!


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