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Daily Catholic Question

Can a priest bless a non-Catholic wedding?

Who is getting married before the justice of the peace? Two Catholics? A Catholic and a person of another religion? Two non-Catholics? Are both of them free to marry? Why are they being married in a civil ceremony rather than a Catholic or religious ceremony?

All of those things could be relevant. If it is a case of a mixed marriage, a dispensation from the Catholic form (before a priest and two witnesses) is possible for sufficient reason, presuming both parties are free to marry. For example, if one of the parties is closely related to a minister, a Catholic wedding might cause family alienation.

But I suspect you have a different kind of case in mind—when a Catholic or Catholics who are not free to marry are involved. Or perhaps for some reason a Catholic is marrying outside the Church without a dispensation.

In such a case the bishop cannot authorize a priest to offer prayers and blessings. I’m sure you can see the likelihood of grave scandal in such cases.

I have heard of some particular cases where a priest decided that his presence at a civil ceremony or one in another religion would give no scandal—it would not be taken for approval or indifference. But
I find it difficult to see how a priest could offer a prayer or blessing without appearing to approve of what the couple are doing and thus create scandal and dismay for many Catholics.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Daily Catholic Question for 10/3/2012 Daily Catholic Question for 10/5/2012


Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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