Regarding Christian Marriage
It has come to my attention that there has been confusion among some members of the faithful at our parish regarding marriage in the Catholic Church. Sadly, it seems some of this confusion has been sown by priests with past association to our parish. The following applies to Catholics and those who marry Catholics: A wedding witnessed by a priest or deacon who does not have proper delegation from the local bishop and pastor is INVALID. By invalid, it is meant that this is not a valid marriage in the Catholic Church. Also, one previously married, without a declaration of nullity (annulment) from a diocese tribunal, cannot contract a marriage validly in the Catholic Church, no matter who the priest or deacon is who attempts to witness the marriage or where the wedding takes place. Attempts at marriages in these cases, such as those taking place on a cruise ship, in a private home, or a facility apart from the parish Church, are invalid, even though the priest or deacon who attempts them is validly ordained and in good standing. Clergy in the Church are not free to make up their own laws regarding the sacraments. Such abuses as attempting to perform a marriage ceremony (properly called in the Church “witnessing a marriage”) without delegation, or of persons who are not free to marry due to having been previously married with no declaration of nullity, render such attempts at marriage as invalid. This means the couple IS NOT MARRIED ACCORDING TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. This is not a mere opinion, this is the law of the Church, a law that an individual priest is not at liberty to overlook, and if he does, he fails to witness the couple enter into a valid marriage.
Further, to quote directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities.
Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.” (CCC 1650) Regauging the sacraments, the same would apply to those living in a union simulating marriage (living as husband and wife) apart from a marriage that is VALID in the Catholic Church. Persons in this situation also cannot receive holy communion or hold certain responsibilities in the parish. They also cannot validly receive sacramental absolution unless they resolve to cease the irregular union. This teaching/discipline has not changed. If you are in such a situation, please see me immediately so we can attempt to fix this situation. I long for you to be in full communion with the Church and to be properly disposed to receive Our Lord. Again, what has been explained here is the teaching of the Church, not my personal opinion. As to why another priest would believe differently, I cannot speak. But I can give the same warning St. Paul gives in Sacred Scripture: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3)
Please understand that I am writing this because I have care and concern for each of you. If you are in this situation, you are no less loved by the Lord Jesus, or by me as your pastor. I am writing this as an invitation to correct. I desire to see all in full communion with our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church.
In Christ Jesus,