Getting married in the Catholic Church can be a little trickier than you might think. However, despite all of the complications, at the end of the day it is a fairly straightforward (if time-consuming) process. In this article, I will discuss the basics of being married in the Catholic Church and how it works.
First, be aware that getting married in the Catholic Church is usually a time consuming process. It will usually take about a year from first approaching the parish to the actual wedding, and may take considerably longer if there are complications. The following are the things you should be aware of:
1. At least one of the couple needs to be a practicing Catholic. This does not necessarily mean that the person goes every week, but the person must consider himself or herself Catholic and must attend Church with at least some regularity.
1b. The other member of the couple need not be Catholic at all, nor need be religious at all.
2. The couple must intend to have children, if possible. This, of course, doesn’t apply to couples in their sixties, for example, but couples who can have children must intend to have children.
3. The couple must promise to raise any children born to the marriage as Catholics. Note that this includes the non-Catholic member of the couple as well. If either member will not promise this, the Church won’t perform the wedding.
4. If either of the couple has been married before, the priest must be told. Catholics do not believe that divorce between two baptized people is possible, so the Church needs to sort out whether or not the original marriage was dissoluble and whether or not it was annulable. If either of the couple has been married before, expect a delay at this point.
5. The parish will ask that you go through a marriage preparation class. These classes have various structures, and sometimes run evenings for six weeks, or even in an intensive weekend class.