Expert Answer Forum

Deacon witness at mixed marriage QUESTION from Larry Lottier November 24, 2000 I think I know the answer to this but I'll ask just to support my thinking.
Can a deacon witness, with a Protestant clergyman, a mixed marriage between a Catholic and an Lutheran done in a secular location?
My nephew asked me if I would bless his marriage. I clarified the question by saying, You want me to witness your marriage. He said yes but that he was marrying a Lutheran and she wanted the service done by her pastor. I said it could be done but he had to get permission through his parish from the bishop. Then he added that the ceremony would be at the Art Museum. My response was that this then left me out of the picture as the ceremony has to take place in the church.
Continued blessings on your work,
Deacon Larry
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on December 4, 2000 Dear Deacon Larry,
A consultation with your Tribunal is a must in such cases.
Can. 1118 §1 A marriage between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory. §2 The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
§3 A marriage between a catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.
Can. 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.
Can. 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1° the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;
2° the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party.
3° both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.
Can. 1126 It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.
In Christ,
John Miskell
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