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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


Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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