FAQs

Getting Married

My fiancée is a catholic and was previously married in a registry office. is it possible for us to marry now in the catholic church?

Your fiancée’s previous civil marriage would have to be investigated for what is called a “lack of canonical form” i.e. when a baptised Catholic marries he/she must marry before a priest and two witnesses. When a Catholic marries in a registry office this “canonical form” is usually missing. However this has to be investigated by the local diocese either through the bishop’s office or the local ecclesiastical tribunal. They must ensure that there was no dispensation given or that the marriage was not sanated or convalidated at a later stage i.e. that the bishop didn’t heal or rectify what was lacking in the civil marriage. This process can vary from diocese to diocese. When the investigation is completed and if the dioceses are satisfied that the marriage was in fact invalid from a catholic point of view it will usually issue a letter to that effect. It is best to talk to your local priest who should be able to put you in touch with the person or office who deals with it in your particular diocese.

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I have lived in a number of different countries since I was 18 years of age, do I have to get a letter of freedom from each parish I lived in?

While the standard way of establishing freedom has been letters of freedom i.e. a letter from any parish you have lived in since you were 18 years old stating that there is no record of you having contracted marriage in their marriage registrar, it is usually acceptable if you have lived in a number of parishes or in different parts of the world to get a signed letter by a parent(s) or brother or sister stating that, to the best of their knowledge you have never been married before in either a religious or civil ceremony in any jurisdiction. Another possibility is to swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths attesting that you have never been married religiously or civilly in any jurisdiction. It is always best to check with your local priest with regard to methods of establishing freedom for marriage as practices vary from place to place See our link Church Documents and Civil Requirements for more information (link)

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Do I have to be confirmed before I get married in the catholic church?

It is envisaged that all Catholics would have received the Sacrament of Confirmation before being married in he Catholic Church. However, if this cannot be done without ‘grave inconvenience’ before you proposed marriage it should not stop you getting married. What is meant by ‘grave inconvenience’ is interpreted differently from diocese to diocese in various parts of the world. It is always best to check this out with the local priest where you are getting married as soon as possible, as some diocese can be quite insistent on confirmation before marriage.

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Is it possible for us to have our marriage on sunday?

The regulations with regard to Sunday Weddings varies from diocese to diocese. It is best to contact your local priest or the local bishop’s office who will be able to inform you of the particular regulations in your diocese.

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My husband and I were married in a registry office, we would like to be married in the eyes of the Church. Is this possible

If you and your husband are free to marry in the eyes of the Church, it is possible to have your civil marriage convalidated in the Church. This takes the form of a normal Church ceremony. The preparation and documentation is the same as any other couple getting married in the Church. If you talk to your local priest he should be able to give you more specific direction.

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I am a catholic and my fiancé is a baptised member of one of the other christian churches, can we get married in the catholic church?

Yes, a Catholic can marry a member of another Christian Church. He/she must write to the local bishop to request this permission. The Catholic party is asked to remain steadfast to their Catholic faith and do their best within the unity of their partnership to have whatever children they may have baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith. The Non-Catholic party is made aware of the promises the Catholic party makes. If you talk to your local priest he should be able to advise you. There are Inter-Church courses run in ACCORD Dublin, Dublin 3 – Phone Number 4784400 or Email marriagepreparation@interchurch.ie and in the North of Ireland – NI Regional Office (028 90233002) .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

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I am a catholic and my fiancé is not baptised in any christian church, can we get married in the catholic church?

In order for a Catholic to marry somebody who is not baptised in any of the Christian Churches he/she has to write to the local bishop seeking a dispensation. In order for the dispensation to be granted the Catholic party is asked to remain steadfast to their catholic faith and do their best within the unity of their partnership to have whatever children they may have baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith. The Non-Catholic party is made aware of the promises the Catholic party makes. If you talk to your local priest he should be able to advise you.

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Can a catholic who is not Irish or living in Ireland get married in the catholic church there?

The normal or proper place for a Catholic to get married is their local parish church. However, if you find a catholic church in Ireland and a priest who is willing to celebrate your marriage there, you can with the permission of your own local parish priest get married there. The preparation and documentation are prepared by your local priest who sends them through your local bishop’s office to the bishop’s office in Ireland in whose diocese the marriage is being celebrated. They will then forward them to the parish church where you are to be married. With regard to the civil requirements you should check these out with the General Registrar’s Office. (Link)

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How much do you pay the church/priest on the day or who to contact in this regard?

It is important to check with the priest if there is a fee for booking the Church. There is no Church policy on payment for a wedding or helping a couple with paperwork, however it is customary to make a financial gift to the church, as this varies from parish to parish it is best to check with your priest.

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Can you advise us of what documents are needed to bring when meeting with our priest to complete the prenuptial enquiry form? (see link)

Baptismal certificate Confirmation certificate A letter of freedom Marriage Registration Form (MRF) – issued by the Civil Registrar (Link) See our link Church Documents and Civil Requirements for more information (link)

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We are thinking of getting married in a civil ceremony and thought about having a church blessing immediately afterwards, is this possible?

Unfortunately, if somebody chooses to get married in a civil ceremony it is not then possible to have a blessing and readings carried out by a priest afterwards as this could lead to the mistaken impression that the priest or Church was in someway being part of one of its members being married in a purely civil ceremony. This is to be distinguished from the practice in certain countries where a couple must marry civilly before their Church marriage to fulfil civil requirements. For a Catholic the place of marriage is the church so if you wish to have your marriage in the Catholic Church you should talk to your local priest.

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