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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


Joseph Benedict Cottolengo: In some ways Joseph exemplified St. Francis’ advice, "Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress" (<i>1 Celano, </i>#103). 
<p>Joseph was the eldest of 12 children. Born in Piedmont, he was ordained for the Diocese of Turin in 1811. Frail health and difficulty in school were obstacles he overcame to reach ordination. </p><p>During Joseph’s lifetime Italy was torn by civil war while the poor and the sick suffered from neglect. Inspired by reading the life of St. Vincent de Paul and moved by the human suffering all around him, Joseph rented some rooms to nurse the sick of his parish and recruited local young women to serve as staff. </p><p>In 1832 at Voldocco, Joseph founded the House of Providence which served many different groups (the sick, the elderly, students, the mentally ill, the blind). All of this was financed by contributions. Popularly called "the University of Charity," this testimonial to God’s goodness was serving 8,000 people by the time of Joseph’s beatification in 1917. </p><p>To carry on his work, Joseph organized two religious communities, the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Joseph, who had joined the Secular Franciscans as a young man, was canonized in 1934.</p> American Catholic Blog The image of God! This is what it means to be human! We are not just a bunch of cells randomly thrown together by some impersonal forces. Rather, we reflect an eternal God who knew us from before we were made and purposely called us into being.

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