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Caroline Mullinger wrote:

Hi, guys —

My daughter and her fiancé are both baptized Catholics and have received First Holy Communion. My daughter is not confirmed but her fiancé is.

My daughter does not want a full Catholic Mass and wants to have the ceremony outside instead of inside a church.

Can their marriage be performed by a Catholic priest given that:

  • they want the ceremony outside of a church
  • do not want a full Mass, and
  • my daughter does not want to be confirmed at this time?

Caroline Mullinger

  { Can their marriage be performed by a Catholic priest given these circumstances? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:


There is more than one issue going on here, so I cannot give just a yes or no.

  1. First, I hope that your daughter and her fiancé are working with a priest. From what you have said there sounds like there are some faith issues going on with your daughter. The clues are abundant in your question. She may want to have a frank conversation with her priest about what is going on or to reassure the priest that her wishes are not due to a lack of faith.

  2. Second, a Mass is not a requirement for Catholics. The ceremony should not be an issue with the priest.

  3. Third, Confirmation is highly encouraged by the Code of Canon Law but it is not a requirement for a Catholic Marriage.

  4. Fourth, the code does require two Catholics to be married in a church. For a good reason, the local Bishop could give permission for a marriage outside the Church but it depends on the reason. My Bishop, for example, very seldom gives this permission and only for grave reasons.

The bottom line, encourage your daughter and her fiancé to discuss these issues with the priest.

Fr. Jonathan

Caroline replied:

Fr. Jonathan,

Thank-you for the prompt, very helpful, detailed answer.


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