Interfaith couples may wonder if marriage preparation will be different for you. The same requirements for marriage preparation apply when one person is not Catholic. This is so even if you want your ceremony to take place in a non-Catholic Church. You will need approval, called a dispensation, to be married outside of a Catholic parish. During your preparation, you will likely explore the teachings of each others’ faith and how you plan to live out your faith in your marriage. This is especially important because if you are Catholic, you will be asked to promise to do all in your power to have your children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. Catholic couples will also spend time discussing these same issues because many times couples are not at the same place on their journey of faith, or disagree about the role faith will play in their marriage together.
For Further Reflection
- “Faith and Interfaith in Marriage”, a short video by Fr. Charles Cimpl
Youthful marriages are a particular concern because of the statistics of failure. If you are a teen considering marriage, the Church wants to take special measures to enhance the strength of your union. As an extra precaution against a hasty decision with lifetime consequences, diocesan policy requires your priest to consult with the bishop before witnessing the wedding of a minor.
Pregnancy will not rush marriage preparation, but rather suggests that special care be taken so that the couple is prepared for the vows of marriage and parenthood.
Remarriage involves a new relationship and new challenges. If one or both partners has lost a spouse or experienced a divorce, and now desires to remarry, the priest will help you obtain premarital enrichment that meets the special needs of your situation. For remarriage after a divorce, a declaration of nullity (annulment) of any prior marriage is ordinarily required. Please confer with your priest about this, so that he can discuss this process with you and obtain a copy of the declaration before proceeding with marriage preparation.
Convalidation addresses the desire of a man and woman who were married outside of the Church to enter into a valid Catholic marriage. If you desire that your marriage be validated, please consult with your parish priest for assistance appropriate to the circumstances.
All the policies and procedures for marriage preparation in our diocese are designed to benefit you and your future marriage. But if you believe there is a very serious reason for an exception to your case, you have the right to appeal. Your priest will explain how to initiate an appeal through the Chancery Office.