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Truly confused about Catholicism.

I am confused and trying to explain this to my son as part of a school project. Part of my family is Catholic. The other half is Protestant. This is because my grandfather (who was Catholic) married a divorced Methodist with six kids, way back in the 1940's. Their marriage wasn't recognized by the Catholic church until the 1970's, but it was recognized eventually and my grandmother never converted.

Now, in the 1990's my cousin couldn't marry her first husband in the Catholic church she grew up in, because they had a child out of wedlock, however, the Catholic church across town had no problem doing so. They are in the same diocese.

Why are there such discrepancies in beliefs and how they are handled with in the Catholic church, because I am confused. Thanks.

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 2:57 PM on Dec. 21, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • As for your uncle - their marriage wouldn't be recognized as valid by the Catholic Church unless your grandmother had obtained an annulment of her first marriage or her first husband died. So I would assume that one of those things happened in the 1970's when the church recognized your uncle's marriage as valid. The CC assumes that even non-Catholic marriages are valid, so if a Catholic wants to married a divorced non-Catholic, the divorced non-Catholic must first obatain an declaration that his/her first marriage is null/void (aka an annulment). The non-Catholic does not have to convert - Catholics can marry non-Catholics. It's just that for the Catholic church to recognize the marriage as valid both parties have to be free to be married. The church would have viewed your grandmother as not free to be married unless she obtained an annulment or her husband died.
    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 4:29 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • It is all over the place. When I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. It was different from the North side to the South side of town. Even the next town was so different and extremely different in a few states away. It is reduculious. They all need to preach the same thing. It is wrong and they wonder why people really questions there religon.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:01 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • The priest at one parish felt it would be against his better judgment and she went down the street. I seriously doubt the reason the first priest is because there was a baby. The priest does interviews and as with many churches makes a decision to marry or not marry a couple. He is under no obligation to marry any couple and many denominations leave it up to their pastor/priest to make the final choice to marry or not marry.

    At our parish the priest does a private interview with each couple, the parish a few miles away has the couple fill out surveys.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:16 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Like with every other religion, a pastor/priest/reverend is not obligated to marry a couple just because they ask him to. Some religious figures practice their doctrine more "by the book" than others. Same applies to Catholicism. There are some priest who will look past some of the requirements for marriage, baptism, confirmation, etc. Does that make them hypocritical? Probably. But that kind of hypocrisy does not apply to Catholicism alone. It's a little biased to just say that Catholic priest are inconsistent with who they will or will not marry.

    We have had priest in our Catholic church at both end of the spectrum. One would not allow my parents to be remarried at the church, even though my step-mother was granted an annulment from her first marriage. Many years later, a different priest married my best friend and her non-Catholic husband.
    redmoonintexas

    Answer by redmoonintexas at 3:27 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • It is all over the place. When I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. It was different from the North side to the South side of town. Even the next town was so different and extremely different in a few states away. It is reduculious. They all need to preach the same thing. It is wrong and they wonder why people really questions there religon.

    ------------------------------------
    Thats weird about the JW's because you can go to China and the jw's there will be will be preaching the same things even the sunday meetings are the same. I know alot of other jw's from other states and we're all on the same page.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:27 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Thats weird about the JW's because you can go to China and the jw's there will be will be preaching the same things even the sunday meetings are the same. I know alot of other jw's from other states and we're all on the same page.

    You actually can say this about the Catholic Church as well.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:31 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • You actually can say this about the Catholic Church as well.
    --------------------------------

    I didnt say that it didnt, just making a point.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:41 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Its hard to say without knowing all the facts about your cousins interactions with the two churches but  individual priests can decide not to marry a couple.

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 3:48 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • As for your cousin - I don't know about those circumstances. There's nothing in Catholic teachings that say a couple cannot be married if they have a child out of wedlock so I doubt that was the reason. However, if the priest of the first parish felt that the only reason the couple was getting married was because they had a child together and that perhaps they weren't fully ready for the life-long committment that marriage requires he may have said he wouldn't perform the marriage. But the priest of the second parish felt that the couple was prepared and fully understood the commitment they were making and felt he could perform the marriage. As others have said, a priest doesn't have to marry a couple if he feels that the requirements for a valid marriage (the couple is free to marry, understands the commitment and gives consent freely) are not there.
    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 4:34 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • What most of the other moms had to say is correct, an individual priest can refuse to marry a couple if he feels they are not entering into the sacrament for a valid reason, we like marriages to last a lifetime.

    I don't understand why the anon JW thinks this has to do with preaching.
    erdavh

    Answer by erdavh at 5:25 PM on Dec. 21, 2009