Devout Catholics believe they have a lot to gain by following the laws of their religion, namely, entrance into heaven. Sounds pretty good, right? Still, even among believers, not everybody has what it takes to live by a stringent set of religious requirements. The Catholic church takes the sacrament of marriage pretty seriously, for example, so naturally, there are quite a few rules to follow when a Catholic person wants to get hitched.
Catholicism teaches that performing the sacraments (basically rituals assigned by Jesus Christ) is the best way to connect with the grace of God from down here on Earth. And in that vein, the sacrament of matrimony allows a devout couple to enter into a “covenant” or special spiritual agreement with God while they are here on Earth. It's similar to their idea that through baptism, the spirit of God enters the body through holy water. But does that mean just any couple can enter into a true sacramental marriage? Nope!
The church has a very specific set of rules and requirements for couples to follow if they want to have a “valid” or "sacramental" Catholic marriage. So, do you think you know what it takes to gain entry into the sacrament of matrimony? Test your knowledge with these true or false questions to see if you truly know your Catholic marriage facts, or if you could use a little refresher on the rulebook.
Scripture 1603 discusses how "God himself is the author of marriage."
The church requires engaged couples to complete complex coursework before they are admitted to a Catholic marriage.
Catholic law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, though some Catholics hope this will change in time to be more inclusive.
When Giuliani and his first wife found out they were actually related (second cousins), the church granted them an annulment.
The Code of Canon Law 1101, section two says one partner can never deny the other access to the "acts of marriage," meaning reproducing.
Although divorce is almost never allowed under Catholic law, there are several reasons where annulments may be granted, even years after the initial consummation.
Sparks and his wife, Catherine were both raised Catholic from birth.
Canon 1095 covers psychological factors as well as temporary lapses in judgement as grounds for a marriage to be annulled.
Even though divorce is not technically allowed under Catholic law, people who have had a civil divorce are still supposed to be welcome at the church, according to Catholic catechism. However, enforcing that a congregation has a welcoming attitude might be more difficult in some parishes than others.
Even though the very religious have a reputation for marrying young, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the average age is closer to 24.
Even though Pope Francis has famously made many statements about changing Catholic laws he deems to be outdated, he has been direct about his unwillingness to ever consider women for the priesthood.
In 2016 Pope Francis did say "most" Catholic marriages are invalid. But he later clarified that he simply meant "many" Catholic marriages are actually invalid under strict Catholic law because couples enter into them without fully understanding the permanence of their commitment.
Though there is lots of overlap in requirements, the local diocese where the couple lives determines the exact content of the classes.
It's possible. It really depends on the priest, actually. Living together or having sex before marriage is considered a sin, but doing so won't necessarily disqualify you for a Catholic wedding. Your priest might ask you to move out before agreeing to marry the two of you, or might not even ask about it.
The Code of Canon Law says that both parties must be able to have sex, not that they need to be able to reproduce.
Catholic law requires that a marriage be sexually consummated. If one party is unable to consummate, because of permanent impotence or being paralyzed, etc., the marriage can’t take place, unless their condition is treatable.
According to the LA Times, there are around 120 married Catholic priests in the US today. The most common way this happens is when already married priests from a different denomination of Christianity convert to Catholicism.
The operative word here is "relatively." While it's not exactly "easy" for a Catholic marriage to be annulled, there are lots of ways to prove that the initial marriage wasn't fully valid. For example, According to the Vatican, of the 23,302 annulment requests in the US in 2013, 21,079 were approved.
In addition to birth certificates and marriage licenses, a Catholic marriage also requires extras like proof of baptism, certificate of completion of a marriage-prep course, and completion of pre-marital inventory counseling.
Catholics believe marriage is a sacrament between two people and God to help each other get to heaven. And they also believe that in a certain sense, a Catholic church community has a responsibility to help each other live in such a way that they'll make it.
Catholics believe marriage is a way to reproduce and connect with God while humans are on Earth. You may have heard the scripture, '"There is no marriage in heaven." This means that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer necessary in the afterlife. So then, the only marriage after death is the one true relationship with God.
In 2017, Pope Francis shocked some Catholics by telling a German newspaper he is open to the idea of allowing more married Catholics to enter into the priesthood. He reasoned that this would be a good way of recruiting more priests in rural areas where they're sometimes scarce.
Even if same-sex marriage is legal in a church's locality, the Catholic church still states that it's unnatural and impossible for homosexual partners to enter into marriage at any level.
A Catholic follower can only have a “valid Catholic marriage” inside a church if their partner has been baptized. Quakers are a branch of Christianity that doesn’t believe in baptism.
It's also possible if the church has formally annulled the previous marriage, and there are multiple permissible reasons for one.
You might think Catholics frown on sexual activity in general, but in fact, in the case of a married couple, the church not only encourages having sex, they actually require sex to make a “valid” marriage in the eyes of the church. Each sacrament has a physical aspect, and in the case of matrimony, that physical part is good old fashioned doing it.
Catholics believe a married couple has very specific duties to each other and God, and their official marriage vows outline those duties. So you must commit to these precise vows to be married properly.
Catholics don’t need to go all the way up the chain of power to the pope in order to marry outside their sect, but they do need to go over their priest’s head to get permission from their bishop.
At the beginning of Roman Catholicism, the time during the Old-Testament, God had supposedly not yet forbidden his followers from having multiple wives. It's not until Genesis in the New Testament that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman.
Catholics believe that non-Catholic marriages serve "natural" or earthly human purposes, but do not constitute the couple's spiritual bond with God the same way sacramental marriage does.
One of the required Catholic marriage vows stipulates that a couple be willing to accept children if they are given by God.
Although there have been cases where Catholic couples received special permission to wed outside, or in a non-church building, you need the rare special permission of a bishop since the rules still state that true Catholic marriages must be held in a Catholic house of God.
Yes, one of the rules of Catholic marriage is steering clear of anyone too closely related. But since Catholics believe this law came from the church (ecclesiastical law) instead of straight from God (divine law), a bishop may, under rare occasion, decide to permit a marriage between first cousins. It definitely happens sometimes, but isn't exactly encouraged.
A Catholic follower can marry a Christian from a different denomination with special permission from a bishop. But the marriage is considered a “natural” marriage only, and not a sacramental covenant.
An international group of female Catholics, calling themselves the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, are qualified in every way to be Catholic priests, except by their gender. This group of highly educated women were each ordained by a valid Catholic bishop. However, the Vatican and Pope Francis refuse to acknowledge them.