First and foremost, I want to say that the Holy Sacrament of Marriage is extremely sacred and the glue that keeps society together. It is a covenant till ‘death do us part’. Jesus clearly spoke of the indissolubility of Marriage:
Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Matthew 19:6
Our three worst enemies, the devil, the world and the flesh, want to break up the Holy bond on Matrimony so that children, families and society can be destroyed and people can have sensual adulterous relationships. The devil especially enjoys seeing the children destroyed by divorce, bad marriages and living together. Seldom are these innocent victims get listened to because they are mere children and have no power over their parents divorce and further messing around with many other partners.
Just recently I have been asked if it is alright for someone to attend a wedding outside of the Catholic Church of a baptized Catholic, who no longer practices the Catholic faith. It depends. For a Catholic to be truly married in the Catholic Church, they need to be Catholic. If they have publicly renounced their Catholic Faith and go to a heretical church, they can get validly get married outside the Catholic Church. All marriages are valid and lifelong for all none Catholics who get married in a heretical church, court or chapel, as long as neither of the parties had been married before.
All ‘marriages’ of baptized Catholics are valid if:
- One is a baptized Catholic,
- they are freely getting married,
- have a priest or deacon witness it,
- have two other witnesses,
- did all the paper work required by the diocese,
- are married in a Catholic Church.
If any of these elements are absent, it is not a valid marriage and the parties can divorce and get remarried in the Catholic Church.
In these cases the Church has a process called ‘lack of form’ that proves that a baptized Catholic, married outside the Catholic Church, was not validly married and is free to get married in the Catholic Church, (after having been married outside the Church and divorced). But this is only so if they are baptized and have never publicly renounced their Catholic faith. Their marriage outside the Church was not valid and therefore they are free to marry another person in the Catholic Church if he or she is also free to be married, (never been married in the Catholic church before or is a widower/widow).
So in the case of an unmarried baptized Catholic, who has publicly renounced the Catholic faith and is marrying an other unmarried non-Catholic person, you can attend this wedding because it will be valid. But I do not know why someone would want to go to a wedding of a Catholic who publicly renounced the faith of Jesus Christ.
Most Catholics wrongly, even conservative ones, go to all marriages, whether the ones who are getting married were married before and are divorced and remarrying again or if it is Catholics getting married in a non Catholic ceremony. They usually do it because they were invited, they do not want the family to be mad at them, they want to be supportive and because they do not want to be judgmental.
Almost all of my baptized nephews and nieces got married outside the Church in a secular weddings. I will not and have not ever attend these ‘weddings’. The ‘Vatican II effect’ has worked well on all my nephews and nieces because they are baptized but do not go the the Catholic Church and very vaguely consider themselves Catholics.
St. John the Baptist lost his head over protecting marriage. Who are we to approve of marriages that God would not approve of.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know that God wants the marriage bond to be permanent to protect the husband, wife, children and society in general.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.