WHY DOES THE MARRIAGE PREPARATION REQUIRE A YEAR?
Marriage is a life-long commitment. It is the beginning of the rest of your life together! Therefore, you can never be too prepared for it.
In marriage preparation you will get yourself equipped to face most scenarios that life might throw at you but more importantly you will learn how to anchor your marriage in Christ and strengthen your relationship.
This is such a crucial time for your happily ever after that it cannot be taken lightly.
The many different steps that you will be undertaking take time and commitment, hence the year long process.
WHY IS NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NFP) TRAINING REQUIRED?
Through marriage God calls us to the gift of parenthood. It is God’s call to us to cooperate with His love. “It is their (the spouses) duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood.” CCC 2368
NFP helps us to conform to God’s will and to uphold this responsible parenthood. But it needs to be learned.
WHY CAN’T WE HAVE AN OUTDOOR CATHOLIC WEDDING?
Church law requires that marriages take place in the parish church of one of the Catholic parties. The church is obviously the proper venue for such a solemn religious ceremony.
WHAT IF MY FUTURE SPOUSE ISN’T CATHOLIC?
You can still get married in the Catholic Church.
However, because of the deeply spiritual nature of marriage you must get permission from the Church. This is known as a “dispensation.” For further guidance, contact your pastor.
WHY CAN’T MY FIANCÉ(E) AND I BEGIN MARRIAGE PREPARATION UNTIL HIS/HER DECLARATION OF NULLITY IS GRANTED?
This can be a difficult issue for couples in this situation. A person who is legally divorced may petition the Diocesan Tribunal to review the previous marriage and investigate whether a full, free-willed consent was exchanged at the time of the wedding. If the Church determines that a defect in the consent existed at the time of marriage, then a declaration of nullity is given.
Marriage is a covenant between the couple and God. Therefore, no civil institution has the power to dissolve what God has joined. In the case of an invalid marriage, God did not ever completely join the couple.
Declarations of nullity are never guaranteed. Therefore, the previous marriage must be declared null before the persons involved are free to seek a Catholic marriage with someone else. If you believe your previous union to be invalid, contact your pastor. He will direct you to the Diocesan Tribunal.
The bridegroom and bride are to share with the priest, deacon or pastoral minister any of the following circumstances:
- If one or both are under the age of twenty (20)
- If there is a pregnancy involved
- If they are presently cohabiting (living together)
- If one of the engaged is not Catholic
- If one or both have been married before in any type of ceremony or common law union
- If they are now civilly married and wish to have their marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church.
It is a canonical requirement (“canonical form”) that a Catholic be married before a properly delegated priest or deacon and two witnesses.
A Catholic who marries outside the church without a dispensation from the canonical form does so invalidly, i.e., the Church does not recognize the marriage. Some circumstances require special steps to assist the couple in preparing for marriage in the Church.
If any of these special circumstances exist, it does not necessarily mean that one cannot be married in the Church.
However, it does mean that an honest discussion of these circumstances should take place between the couple and the marriage preparation facilitator.