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 Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister 
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New post Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
If a Catholic in these times marries a protestant in a protestant ceremony by a protestant minister, should Catholics that know them recognize them as being married?

I understand this may be a sensitive topic to discuss, since we don’t want to sound like we’re making a declaration for the Church in any specific case; but practicality speaking, if we know couple’s like this, at some point we’re forced to either acknowledge or recognize them as being married or not married.

According to Canon 1099, the Catholic in the scenario above would have been bound to observe the Catholic form of marriage, even though the protestant was not bound to observe the form. As I understand it, in normal Catholic times (accessible hierarchy, etc.), a marriage between a Catholic and a protestant that was officiated by a protestant minister would have resulted in an invalid marriage, though I could be wrong about that.

If this occurs today, and we are in full knowledge of it, are we obliged to recognize the couple as a non-married couple, or should we presume they are married until we have a hierarchy that can make a declaration one way or another?

I do have some decent canon law books (and there are many good ones available online), but I haven’t cracked them open in a while. Any knowledge I might have of some of the particulars in this issue is rusty. I’m interested in seeing what others may know or think about it.


Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:51 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
Joe Cupertino wrote:
If a Catholic in these times marries a protestant in a protestant ceremony by a protestant minister, should Catholics that know them recognize them as being married?

According to Canon 1099, the Catholic in the scenario above would have been bound to observe the Catholic form of marriage, even though the protestant was not bound to observe the form. As I understand it, in normal Catholic times (accessible hierarchy, etc.), a marriage between a Catholic and a protestant that was officiated by a protestant minister would have resulted in an invalid marriage, though I could be wrong about that.

Although I will have to look things up in order to be certain about this, I am almost positive that any Catholic who is married before a Protestant minister is excommunicated, and this excommunication is "reserved to the bishop" of the diocese in which the incident takes place.

In point of fact, however, the true ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony are the couple: the priest is simply the official witness of the Church. Nonetheless, I believe you are correct in your assessment that such a marriage is viewed in the eyes of the Church as being invalid, at least since the promulgation of the "Tametsi" decree.

Now, as to how you should act with regard to the couple in question, especially under the present circumstances, I would not know what to say.

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Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:42 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
I think the situation is "illicit but valid". The couple is validly married, but the Catholic is excommunicated and in a state of mortal sin. Correct me if I'm wrong...


Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:02 am
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
It depends on an arguable point, Brendan. The law is that one is required, under pain of invalidity, to have one's parish priest witness the marriage. If he's not available, for a lengthy period (from memory, more than three months, but I'd need to check it), then one may go ahead without his presence, but with other witnesses, of course.

So, if the Novus Ordo clergy are not our parish priests, then our parish priests are not available, and notwithstanding the evil will involved in the act of being married in a park, before a Protestant pretender, or whatever, the absence of the priest is not a cause of invalidity.

Now, you might imagine that sede clergy would argue this way, and non-sede clergy would disagree, but actually most sede clergy seem to agree with the non-sede clergy and hold that any such marriage would be invalid. No, I have no idea why, and I suspect they don't really know either. :)

It's insoluble without a decision of the Church, I think. What a mess!

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Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:29 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
It would seem that the question of whether the marriage is valid or not is not really the concern here. People have married for generations upon generations since the very first marriage between Adam and Eve. Whether or not the act of marriage between a man and a woman give sanctifying grace, something not possible outside the Church, is another question altogether, and, as Mr. Lane pointed out above, even that question is unanswerable without a competent authority to definitive rule on the matter.

Since the couple is living as man and wife, it would seem prudent to treat them as a lawfully married couple.

The real question, I think, is whether or not the Catholic's formal participation in non-Catholic religious ceremony was an act of rejection of the faith and whether that Catholic is still even Catholic.

I remember reading an historical account of priests who would wander the old territories of what is now the south-western United States and northern Mexico searching for Catholics who were living there without the availability of the sacraments. The priest would enter a town or community and, after locating Catholics in the area (who often had not seen a priest in many years) would solemnitize the marriages that had been contracted, would conditionally baptize any children born in these marriages, confirm any Catholics who had not yet been confirmed, and, of course, hear confessions and read Mass while he was in town. When separated from priests under these conditions, Catholics would marry before witnesses (as required by territorial or State law) and record the marriage in a book, bible, or by other means. No one, I think, questioned the validity of their marriages but they did not marry before Protestant ministers.


Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:03 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
I can quote several Canons on this issue, or related to it:

1A) Canon 1014: Marriage enjoys the favor of the law: therefore, in doubt, the validity of marriage is to be upheld until the contrary is proved, with due regard for the prescription of Canon 1127.
1B) Canon 1127: In case of doubt, the privilege of the faith enjoys the favor of the law. (IMHO, this would not apply in this case. Ed.)

2) Canon 1060: Most severely does the Church prohibit everywhere that marriage be entered into by two baptized persons, one of whom is Catholic, and the other belonging to a heretical or schismatical sect; indeed, if there is a danger of perversion to the Catholic spouse and children, that marriage is forbidden even by divine law. (! Ed.)

3) Canon 1098: If the pastor or Ordinary or delegated priest who assists at marriage according to the norm of Canons 1095 and 1096 (these regard the "form of marriage" in normal times: Ed.) cannot be had or cannot be present without grave inconvenience:
1. In danger of death marriage is contracted validly and licitly in the presence only of witnesses; and outside of danger of death provided it is prudently foreseen that this condition will perdure for one month.

So, it would appear (I am most certainly not an expert on this), that the marriage should be regarded as valid, but possibly illicit.

In any case, as John so accurately points out, the Catholic party's pastor is, in fact, not available in any case.

However, another Canon specifies that the witnesses must be Catholics in good standing. I cannot guess how the fact that most of the witnesses in this case are, most probably, not Catholics, would effect this particular case, although it is also likely that one or more of the attendees are/were Catholics and therefore could have been regarded as fulfilling the requirements of Canon Law.

Again, as John so very accurately points out: "What a mess!"!!!!!

At this point, I would suggest that one could regard the subject marriage as valid, but probably illicit. It would all depend on the will and understanding of the Catholic spouse, I would think.

I also think that if I were in the situation described by the original poster (OP), I would regard the marriage as I have stated above, and would register some disapproval of the Catholic spouse, at least in private, to him/her alone.

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Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:57 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
One month it is, thanks Ken.

You mention the knowledge and dispositions of the spouse. I don't think these are relevant. The question is purely whether or not the law has been met.

I should also add that I was only commenting upon one aspect of this, the marriage not being witnessed by the pastor. The disparity of cult is another can of worms, as you have pointed out.

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Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:41 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
Thank you for all your responses.

My question partially stems from something I thought I had read while researching the issue of jurisdiction and marriage. Awhile ago some people that I know had received a home-aloner's writings warning against marriage ceremonies officiated by a priest without jurisdiction. The home-aloner warned that this would make the marriage invalid and that, consequently, only Catholic marriages performed today without a priest and with only two witnesses were valid. Some of the couples, who had been married for years (by a traditional Catholic priest) and read this home-aloner tract, were so afraid that they weren't really married that they peformed another little ceremony in their house with just two witnesses.

That their marriages were invalid simply because the priest lacked jurisdiction in these times seemed ridiculous to me, so I spent some time researching it. I discovered that Canon 1098 prescribes the use of any priest if the normally authorized priest can't be had. The home-aloner writings claimed that "any priest" meant "any priest with jurisdiction." Besides the obvious absurdness in thinking C.1098 is prescribing the use of any priest with jurisdiciton in cases where a priest with jurisdiction can't be had, I also found many Canon Law commentaries on the C.1098 that verified that "any priest" did, indeed, include priests without jurisdiction (coincidently, this is explicitly stated in the quoted selection below). I later discovered that C.1098 is an example of jurisdiction delegated a jure.

In researching this issue, though, I thought I had read that marriages of Catholics officiated by a non-Catholic minister were considered invalid, due to a defect in form or some other reason. I also thought I saw something that said that even under the conditions of Canon 1098, having a non-Catholic minister officiate the marriage would still result in a defect of form and an invalid marriage. I don't remember where, exactly, I thought I had read this, since I wasn't concerned with that specific issue at the time. I haven't had much time to dig back in and find where I thought I saw this, if I really did see this at all.

Though I have recently come across certain passages in various books and articles that strongly imply or allude to the invalidity of a marriage officiated by a non-Catholic minister, I just pasted below one selection that touches on this somewhat. I believe this piece says that Tametsi was never promulgated in the U.S., so marriages of a Catholic officiated by a non-Catholic minister were valid prior to 1908 and the promulgation of Ne Temere, but invalid after 1908.

I do think the principle/law that marriage enjoys the favor of the law and that the validity should be upheld in cases of doubt seems significant in regards to this particular issue. However, is it actually a case of doubt about the validity, if it is known what the Church teaches about the broader question causing the doubt? It seems that the doubt could only exist in so far as the Church teaching on the general question is not known for sure. This is not to say that I think I've necessarily found a good answer that resolves all my doubts at this point.

Anyways, I think the selection below might spark some further discussion on this. I might paste some snippets from other books and articles later on. I'm definitely not out to prove anything one way or another. I'm just trying to come to a solid conclusion on the question, if possible, since I do know people who are, or may at some point be, in this situation.

The quote below is from pages 341-345 of The Externals of the Catholic Church by Rev. John F. Sullivan (1919). You can find this in Google Books (it's probably in Archive.org also). Though I didn't highlight any, there are some key sentences.

Quote:
15. Clandestinity. This means that a marriage ceremony is void unless performed by the parish priest, or the bishop, or the delegate of either. This rule goes back to the Council of Trent, and has been reaffirmed and modified by recent legislation.

The "Tametsi" Decree. This code of rules was put into effect by Pius X to bring about uniformity in marriage laws. The decrees of the Council of Trent were effective only where they had been promulgated; and as in a large part of the world this had not been done, there was a great difference in the marriage regulations and requirements in various countries.

This was especially true in the case of a secret marriage — that is, one not performed by the parish priest or bishop of the parties, and therefore coming under the last-mentioned impediment, clandestinity. Where the legislation of Trent was in force, such a marriage was absolutely void. Where this legislation had not been put into effect, such a marriage was illegal, sometimes sinful, but nevertheless valid, provided that there was no other impediment. Thus, what might be a real marriage in one country might be no marriage at all in another.

Difficulties Under the Old Law. In the greater part of the United States, previous to the decree of Pius X, there had been no promulgation of the laws of the Council of Trent, and hence marriages, even though sinful and unlawful, were valid when they were performed before Protestant ministers, justices or other officials, provided that both of the parties were baptized — that is, both Catholics, or one a Catholic and the other a baptized Protestant.

You can imagine the difficulties that pastors and confessors met with in investigating such cases — in trying to determine whether a certain party was married or not. Take a case like this: A Catholic woman went to a Protestant minister to be married to a Protestant man. Later the man disappeared. The Catholic woman cannot ascertain definitely whether the said Protestant had ever been baptized or not. Having made her peace with God and the Church (for she had incurred excommunication) she wishes to marry a Catholic.

Under the law as it was before 1908, she could marry thus if the Protestant party was unbaptized, for there had been no real marriage with him; she could not if he was a baptized Protestant, for her marriage with him was valid, even though contracted before a minister. And as she cannot find out whether he was baptized or not, she can do nothing.

The Substance of the New Law. All the difficulties, inquiries, delays and disappointments resulting from the old system of law have been removed (for marriages since Easter, 1908) by the new decree, which declares that no marriage is a marriage at all unless it be performed by a parish priest in his own parish, or by a bishop in his own diocese, or by a delegate of either, in the presence of at least two witnesses. If those subject to the Church's law go elsewhere to be married, there is no marriage at all.

This rule, concerning those who can assist at marriages, is a striking feature of the new law. One would think, for instance, that a Catholic priest would be able to marry a couple validly anywhere in his own diocese. He cannot. He may perform the ceremony only in his own parish; and if he should attempt to do so outside of its limits without the permission of the parish priest or bishop of that place, there would be no marriage.

Suppose that a priest in his own parish or a bishop in his own diocese should join in marriage a couple who do not reside therein. It will be a valid marriage, but is illicit if it infringes on the rights of the pastor of the parties.

What is to be said of the right and power of an assistant priest, a curate, to officiate at marriages? He acts only as the pastor's delegate. This delegation, however, is taken for granted from the fact that he is appointed an assistant in the care of souls.

One's Own Parish. What is required that a person shall belong to a certain parish? If he or she has a real "domicile," a residence therein with the intention of remaining, or has dwelt within its limits for at least a month, the party is considered as belonging to that parish.

When the parties reside in different parishes, the marriage is celebrated in the parish of the bride, unless some sufficient reason excuses from the rule.

If the persons have no fixed abode, the parish priest must refer the matter to the bishop, except in case of necessity, and receive permission to officiate at the ceremony. Any pastor in his parish or any bishop in his diocese may give permission to another to perform a marriage.

Marriage Without a Priest. The Sacrament of Matrimony differs from all other Sacraments in one important feature. In all the others, the Sacrament is administered by a person (bishop, priest or layman, as the case may be) to another, and the person who performs the sacramental rite is called the " minister" of the Sacrament. In Matrimony, the parties who marry are themselves the ministers of the Sacrament. By their expressed mutual consent they marry themselves. The officiating priest sanctions their union in the name of the Church and bestows her benediction upon it, but does not marry the parties.

As this sanction and benediction are not essential to the Sacrament, they may be omitted altogether under certain conditions without affecting the validity or lawfulness of the marriage. This is indicated in a striking provision of the new law. If a couple wish to marry in a locality where for a month there will be no priest qualified to join them in matrimony, they may simply express their mutual consent to be man and wife in the presence of two witnesses, and they are thereby validly and lawfully united in Catholic marriage.

It is required that afterwards, if an opportunity presents itself, they shall see that the marriage is properly recorded, and shall have the ritual prayers read over them — without, however, any necessity of renewing their consent. They are also advised to receive the nuptial blessing at a marriage Mass; but their lawful marriage dates from the moment when they stood in the presence of witnesses and took each other as man and wife.

By the new code of Canon Law, the same thing may be done when there is danger of death, even when there is no such expected delay in the coming of the priest who has power to marry the parties. If another priest, even without jurisdiction, can be procured, he may officiate in such a case; but his presence is not necessary for the valid and lawful reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The Registering of Marriages. It is the strict duty of the parish priest to inscribe the record of the marriage immediately in the parish register, giving all essential details. If the parties were baptized in the parish where the marriage takes place, an entry must be made also in the Register of Baptisms, testifying to the marriage; or if either or both were baptized elsewhere, a notification of their marriage must be sent to the parish or parishes where the baptisms occurred, that it may be registered beside the record of each baptism. Hence it is necessary that persons who are to be married shall know where they were baptized.

The Subjects of the Law. The decree of Pius X binds all persons who have! been baptized in the Catholic Church, and all converts from heresy or schism. This includes even those who have fallen away from the Church and no longer call themselves Catholics. It binds also all Catholics who wish to marry nonCatholics, whether these are baptized or unbaptized.

The Church does not exact compliance with these laws from those who are not and have never been Catholics, in regard to marriages which they contract among themselves.

Therefore, the points to be remembered are these:

1. No marriage is valid unless celebrated in the presence of the parish priest or bishop of the place, or the delegate of either — except in the case mentioned above, where no priest is available.

2. No previous engagement, unless made legally before Church authority or solemnly before witnesses, is any barrier to a lawful marriage with another party.

3. Non-Catholics who have never been Catholics are not affected by the law.

These are the essential features, and they reveal in a most eminent degree the wisdom of the Church's legislators and the zeal and vigilance of the Holy See for the safeguarding of the contract which joins a Catholic man and woman in sacramental union "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do them part."


Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:20 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
Joe Cupertino wrote:
My question partially stems from something I thought I had read while researching the issue of jurisdiction and marriage. Awhile ago some people that I know had received a home-aloner's writings warning against marriage ceremonies officiated by a priest without jurisdiction. The home-aloner warned that this would make the marriage invalid and that, consequently, only Catholic marriages performed today without a priest and with only two witnesses were valid. Some of the couples, who had been married for years (by a traditional Catholic priest) and read this home-aloner tract, were so afraid that they weren't really married that they peformed another little ceremony in their house with just two witnesses.

That their marriages were invalid simply because the priest lacked jurisdiction in these times seemed ridiculous to me, so I spent some time researching it. I discovered that Canon 1098 prescribes the use of any priest if the normally authorized priest can't be had. The home-aloner writings claimed that "any priest" meant "any priest with jurisdiction." Besides the obvious absurdness in thinking C.1098 is prescribing the use of any priest with jurisdiciton in cases where a priest with jurisdiction can't be had, I also found many Canon Law commentaries on the C.1098 that verified that "any priest" did, indeed, include priests without jurisdiction (coincidently, this is explicitly stated in the quoted selection below). I later discovered that C.1098 is an example of jurisdiction delegated a jure.

What you ran across there is typical of these self-taught or self-authorized home-aloners. I have fought with them on other matters which they declare, adamantly, are the way they see them, when they are totally wrong. I find their belief that any valid Catholic priest who has EVER said the Novus Ordo "mass" is automatically an apostate to be so just plain stupid as to boggle my mind.

Joe Cupertino wrote:
In researching this issue, though, I thought I had read that marriages of Catholics officiated by a non-Catholic minister were considered invalid,

I believe you are correct. However, the reason I had thought that in the case which began this thread there might be mitigating circumstances; one being that the parish priest of the Catholic party is not available at all. Another being that since the NO is a "new" protestant religion and not Catholic in any way, and since the Catholic party has been living under that NO religion for much of his/her life, that he/she may not understand the true position. This is not to say that what they believe about their present condition changes the fact of the apparent invalidity of their marriage, but it may very well reduce the guilt associated with the act.

As I remember it, the Church has decreed that the attempted marriage of any Catholic with anyone else, whether a Catholic or a non-Catholic, before any "official" other than a Catholic priest is automatically invalid. Further, the Catholic party is excommunicated, and this excommunication is reserved to the bishop. (I will have to dig out the proper references as soon as I can).

What makes this even more difficult is that we have, essentially, no true bishops with jurisdiction, so even if the Catholic party understood what had taken place, there is just about nothing he/she can do about it now, except perhaps to arrange a marriage withOUT any "official" present, but before two witnesses (who must be Catholics in good standing), as the Canon's provide.

As John says, "What a mess..."

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Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:12 am
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
Ken Gordon wrote:
What you ran across there is typical of these self-taught or self-authorized home-aloners. I have fought with them on other matters which they declare, adamantly, are the way they see them, when they are totally wrong. I find their belief that any valid Catholic priest who has EVER said the Novus Ordo "mass" is automatically an apostate to be so just plain stupid as to boggle my mind.


You’re right about that. I’ve had similar experiences with them. If I get started discussing home-aloners, I won’t know when to stop.

Ken Gordon wrote:
I believe you are correct. However, the reason I had thought that in the case which began this thread there might be mitigating circumstances; one being that the parish priest of the Catholic party is not available at all. Another being that since the NO is a "new" protestant religion and not Catholic in any way, and since the Catholic party has been living under that NO religion for much of his/her life, that he/she may not understand the true position. This is not to say that what they believe about their present condition changes the fact of the apparent invalidity of their marriage, but it may very well reduce the guilt associated with the act.


I actually hadn’t even thought about the NO scenarios, simply because, in starting this thresd, I had a couple particular cases in mind that involve traditionally raised Catholics attempting marriage with non-Catholics before either a protestant minister or a judge. The NO scenarios are definitely a more complicate ball-of-wax. Not that that issue isn’t important, but I think we need to have a good grasp on those scenarios that don’t even seem close to a Catholic attempt at marriage (ie. non-Catholic minster, judge) before trying to think through the NO scenarios.

Ken Gordon wrote:
As I remember it, the Church has decreed that the attempted marriage of any Catholic with anyone else, whether a Catholic or a non-Catholic, before any "official" other than a Catholic priest is automatically invalid. Further, the Catholic party is excommunicated, and this excommunication is reserved to the bishop. (I will have to dig out the proper references as soon as I can).


After a little more research, I’m now certain that’s correct. I included some of what I came across below, focusing on the validity, but there is also some reference to the fact that the Catholic party incurs an excommunication latae sententiae when attempting a marriage before a non-Catholic minister.

Ken Gordon wrote:
What makes this even more difficult is that we have, essentially, no true bishops with jurisdiction, so even if the Catholic party understood what had taken place, there is just about nothing he/she can do about it now, except perhaps to arrange a marriage withOUT any "official" present, but before two witnesses (who must be Catholics in good standing), as the Canon's provide.

As John says, "What a mess..."


I’d say “what a mess” is about the best summarization of the situation today; and one that can and should be admitted by all honest Catholics of whatever sede-persuasion.

Here are some references stating that marriages are invalid when performed by a non-Catholic minister. I have some thoughts and questions that come to mind regarding the application of this to today’s circumstances, but I’ll have to follow up with those sometime later. The italics are in the original. I added bold formatting and anything in brackets [].

Quote:
The Casuist, A Collection of Cases in Moral and Pastoral Theology

Vol.II, 1908 - http://archive.org/stream/casuistcollec ... 3/mode/1up
p.137-138
[prior to the Ne Temere] “In Tridentine territory mixed marriages without Catholic parish priest and witnesses were invalid.”

p.138
“After the decree Ne temere the distinction between Tridentine and non-Tridentine territory disappears. The law is now: Marriages between Catholics and Protestants (schismatics), in order to be valid, must be contracted before a (any) Catholic parish priest (or Bishop) and at least two witnesses “

p.156
“Even if in such cases a civil marriage, or a marriage before a Protestant minister are possible, Catholics can nevertheless marry validly and lawfully before merely two witnesses (without an official or clergyman), because the Catholic Church attributes no sacramental effect to the two forms mentioned. A declaration of consent merely between man and woman without witnesses would even in case of emergency be invalid and unlawful.”

Vol.III, 1910 - http://archive.org/stream/casuistcollec ... 8/mode/1up
p.7-8
[from a questioner] “3. Do Catholics who, under the new marriage legislation, contract or attempt to contract marriage before a non-Catholic minister of religion, incur excommunication as formerly? The reason I ask is that since the excommunication was intended to deter Catholics from approaching a non-Catholic minister of worship, and that now a greater penalty being provided to deter them from such a ceremony, namely the invalidity of such unions, it seems to me that the lesser penalty, i. e., the excommunication, serving little or no purpose at present, would become inoperative. For if the nullity of their marriage, when contracted before a non-Catholic minister of the Gospel, will not deter Catholics from such a ceremony, certainly dread of the excommunication incurred by such conduct will have no influence with them.”

p.11
[part of the Casuist’s answer to the above question] “Under the new legislation Catholics who marry before a civil magistrate are no more validly married than if they had been married by a non-Catholic minister of religion.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Visible Church (1922)
by Rt. Rev. John F. Sullivan, D.D.
http://archive.org/stream/visiblechurch ... 3/mode/1up

p.83-84
“The principal features of this decree [Ne Temere] are:

1. No marriage is valid unless performed by a parish priest in his own parish, or [/i]by a bishop in his own diocese, or by a delegate[/i] of either, in the presence of at least two witnesses. (See the exception below, in No. 6.)
Any pastor (for his own parish) or any bishop (for his own diocese) may give permission to another to act as his delegate in performing a marriage.
The witnesses at a Catholic marriage should be Catholics. The marriage would be valid if they were not; but it would not be lawful unless the bishop's permission had been obtained.

2. If a priest or bishop should attempt to perform a marriage outside the limits of their jurisdiction, without permission of the parish priest or bishop of that place, there is no marriage, i. e., it is invalid."
…..
"6. Marriage without a Priest. The blessing of the matrimonial union by a priest is not essential to the sacrament, and may be omitted under certain conditions, as follows:
If a couple wish to marry in a place where for a month there will be no priest qualified to join them in matrimony, they may simply express their mutual consent in the presence of two witnesses, and they are thereby validly and lawfully married. When there is danger of death, the same thing may be done even if there is no such expected delay in the coming of the priest."

Afterwards, if possible, they shall have the marriage recorded and the ritual prayers read (but without a renewal of consent), and they may receive the Nuptial Blessing at a marriage Mass.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The New Church Law on Matrimony (1919)
Rev. Joseph J.C. Petrovits, J.C.L., S.T.D.
http://archive.org/stream/cu31924021869 ... 5/mode/1up

pp.119-120
"194. Though the Church should grant a dispensation from the impediment of mixed religion the contracting parties are nevertheless forbidden to present themselves either personally or by proxy, whether before or after the marriage, before a non-Catholic minister in order to give or to renew their consent while he officiates in his religious capacity. The laws of some countries impose an obligation to give or renew one's consent before a representative of the state as a conditio sine qua non to the gaining of the civil effects of marriage. Should the magistrate of such places be a non-Catholic minister, employed for a purely civil function, the parties would not violate this ecclesiastical law by making use of his services. They would not be permitted, however, either to give or to renew their consent before him should his office as civil functionary and as minister of a sect be inseparable, and should he officiate in both capacities simultaneously, namely, by one and the same act.
If the parish priest is certain that the contracting parties will disregard this law, or that they have already transgressed it, he should abstain from witnessing their marriage, unless a very grave cause urges otherwise, and then he must first consult the Ordinary and remove the scandal. Such a very grave cause would exist in every case where the fear is present that a civil marriage will be attempted or that the already attempted invalid marriage will be consummated. It is to be noted that in case the marriage is attempted before the minister of a sect the parties incur an excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Bishop. Absolution from this censure must precede the celebration of such a marriage."

p.121
"It is sufficient to note that the pastor will not consent to witness a mixed marriage until all his efforts to dissuade the Catholic party from such a step prove abortive. If the latter remains immovable and there is a serious danger that marriage will be contracted outside the Church, provided the parties express a willingness to comply at least with the minimum requirements of the law, the pastor should rather assist at their marriage than allow them to resort to an action which is contrary to the law of God and of the Church, besides being invalid."

pp.186
"Therefore, the Catholic who would attempt marriage before a non-Catholic clergyman incurs only one excommunication. He would not incur another censure because the marriage was attempted with an explicit or implicit understanding that one or all of the children should be brought up outside the Church. The word marriage is to be taken here in its strictly canonical sense, implying a valid contract. In the case given, the marriage being invalid, the understanding with which it is attempted does not occasion another censure."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The American Ecclesiastical Review (Volume 61, 1919, July)
http://archive.org/stream/americaneccle ... 3/mode/1up

p.87-88
“…Under the present law, then, if a marriage is challenged on the ground of clandestinity, because, for example, the priest who assisted at it apparently had neither ordinary nor delegated jurisdiction or did not ask and receive the consent, etc. (Can. 1965), a formal trial is necessary with a twofold sentence.
But the case is altogether different if there has been no marriage before the Church, in facie Ecclesiae, and no intervention of her representative. To such unions, when formed by Catholics who are subject to the law of clandestinity, the Church denies even the appearance of marriage. "In locis ubi viget Tridentinum, si matrimonium initum fuit sine forma substantiali, nec speciem nec formam matrimonii habebit et merus concubinatus dicendus erit ". The S. Congregation of the Council decided, and Leo XIII approved the decision, that merely civil marriages did not produce the impediment of public decency, although it used to arise from invalid marriages even if they were invalid for want of the required form.4 In the decree of the Holy Office, 20 February, 1888, these unions are assimilated to concubinage and in several other official documents they are explicitly spoken of as concubinage.5
Now, a publicly concubinal union can certainly be dissolved and marriage permitted without going through the formalities of a regular trial; and hence it was concluded, even before the decree of 1889, that a marriage contracted without the substantial form in places in which it was necessary, could be declared null without any judicial procedure and without the intervention of the Defensor Matrimonii. Regularly the matter was to be referred to the Ordinary, but rather as a matter of prudence than of strict legal necessity”
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law
Woywod and Smith, Vol.II, 1948

p.561
“A marriage of a Catholic with a baptized non-Catholic, if contracted without the presence of an authorized priest, is ordinarily invalid (cfr. Canon 1094), with the exception of the cases described in Canons 1098-1099.”

p.825
"To validate a marriage which was nullified by a defect in the form it must be contracted again in the legitimate form (Canon 1137).
If the parties were married outside the Church, if the priest who witnessed the marriage was not properly qualified, or if two qualified witnesses were not present, the marriage is null and void, and such a marriage can be validated in no other way than by the observance of the prescribed form of marriage"


Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:52 pm
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
Joe,

Good work. That's a nice set of references. However, note carefully the date of each text or you will be hopelessly confused, because the law changed several times. Also, always refer back to the text of the law when reading commentary texts, because these generally summarise and sometimes this will be misleading - this is because the commentator will be discussing a specific set of circumstances, not the general principles.

Note that there are three factors which operate quite distinctly. The marriage with a non-Catholic. The marriage before a non-Catholic minister or a public civil official. The marriage without the necessary witnesses.

Marriage with a non-Catholic requires a dispensation.

Marriage before a non-Catholic incurs an excommunication, but the penalty is not, in itself, invalidity of the marriage. Indeed, if the priest is not available it is explicitly permitted to marry before a civil official.

A clandestine marriage (i.e. without witnesses) is invalid.

I have no doubt that today, and for some time this has been the case, the lawful pastor is unavailable to nearly all Catholics. Therefore they may marry lawfully and validly without his presence. This factor is at the centre of significant debate amongst traditional clergy about who is married and who isn't.

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Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:03 am
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New post Re: Marriage of a Catholic by a Protestant Minister
John,

Thank you for your reply. I hope you had a blessed Christmas.

I found a thread on here that you had spent some considerable time on in 2007 entitled "Is "civil marriage" between baptized persons valid" http://sedevacantist.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=399&p=4087. This was a very interesting and helpful discussion to read through.

In that thread you supplied a quote from Bouscaren's Canon Law Digest that I found especially helpful and relevant.

Quote:
The following are authoritative interpretations of Canon 1098 reported in Bouscaren's Canon Law Digest, vols I, II, and III. If anybody has access to Vol. IV it would be good to see if there were any reported documents under Canon 1098. All emphases in the below are in the originals.
....

Canon Law Digest, vol. III, pp. 454.

CANON 1098

Mixed Marriage Before Protestant Minister Valid If Conditions of Canon 1098 for Marriage Before Witnesses Only Are Verified (S. C. Sacr., 4 March, 1925) Private.

The following rescript was received by the Bishop of Pinsk in reply to a question concerning mixed marriages.
Reply. If all the conditions which are required by canon 1098 for the validity of marriages before witnesses only are verified, the circumstance that such marriages were blessed in a non-Catholic church is an argument, not against validity, but against licitness.

(Private); S. C. Sacr., 4 March, 1925. Reported by Dalpiaz in Apollinaris, Vol. 10, 1937, p. 277. See also Nevin in The Australasian Catholic Record, Vol. 19, 1942, p. 96.


This really answers my initial question. Considering that I think all the conditions required by canon 1098 for the validity of marriages before witnesses only currently exist, I'd have to believe that the marriage of a Catholic before a Protestant minister would be valid today, though obviously illicit and sinful.

I do believe that prior to our current situation, though, these marriages would have been considered clandestine and invalid. I think clandestinity means more than just an absence of witnesses. At least it seems Fr. Sullivan defined it as more than that on p.341 of The Externals of the Catholic Church by Rev. John F. Sullivan (1919).

Quote:
15. Clandestinity. This means that a marriage ceremony is void unless performed by the parish priest, or the bishop, or the delegate of either. This rule goes back to the Council of Trent, and has been reaffirmed and modified by recent legislation.


Thank you for your help on this, currently and 5-1/2 years ago :D

Thank you also Ken and others who have offered their helpful thoughts on this!


Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:43 pm
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