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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 04, 2012
Daily Catholic Question for 10/3/2012 Daily Catholic Question for 10/5/2012

Bernadette Soubirous: Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11,1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age. 
<p>There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette's initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of "the Lady" brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig. </p><p>According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception." It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was. </p><p>Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862. </p><p>During her life Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35. </p><p>She was canonized in 1933.</p> American Catholic Blog In humility, a woman ultimately forgets 
herself; forgets both her shortcomings and accomplishments equally and 
strives to remain empty of self to make room for Jesus, just as Mary 
did.

 
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