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Renewing Vows at Catholic Church

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#1 User is offline   Mrssanchez

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Hello everyone :) I am new to this site and I need some help. My husband and I got married this last June in a courthouse. I want to renew our vows in a catholic church. He is Roman Catholic but I am not. (but he has not been to church since he was little). What is the process we go through to renew our vows at the church even though I'm not roman catholic? I read something about how our marriage has to be blessed. I would greatly appreciate it if i can get any information. Thank you so much.

#2 User is offline   the_admin

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You're talking about several different issues here. Let's clarify.

First, the vow renewal isn't always a religious experience, although it can be. However, I would think the priest (diocese) would insist on performing that service only when the couple is both of the Catholic faith. I'll let our expert on Catholisim speak to that. But, the vow renewal is usually done for couples on a benchmark anniversary or after some years of adversity. Please see our page on vow renewal ceremonies and vow renewal etiquette for more information.

A blessing of the marriage, or convalidation ceremony in the catholic church sounds more like what you want, but you'll have to convert to catholism to do that.

My more important question is why do you want this service? Once you/we have the answer to that question maybe we can help guide you further.
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#3 User is offline   startingover

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The site administrator is correct that what you are seeking is a convalidation ceremony rather than a vow renewal. There is an article explaining convalidation on the left hand side of this site.

As for whether or not you need to convert to Catholicism, that is not as clear. There are some points of canon (Church) law that are left up to each diocesan bishop to interpret. It would be wise to have a heart-to-heart talk with a priest to find out your diocese's policy is on convalidation of marriage for interchurch couples.

We are an interchurch couple who married in a Protestant church with dispensation acquired from the priest and with the full blessing of the Catholic Church. It can be done, so please talk with a priest who will be able to advise you. He will also ask whether either of you have been married before. If so, an annulment will need to be granted before the Church can convalidate and bless your present marriage.

It would also be wise to consider the reason why you wish to be married in the Catholic Church, as the site administrator suggested. If you are being pressured, that is one thing. If you want to show support for your husband's faith tradition, that is commendable.

God bless and guide you.
Kay and Dennis Flowers
Authors of Catholic Annulment, Spiritual Healing

#4 User is offline   RevSusanna

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It would be best to speak with a few priests, as I have heard varying stories from my couples. The Catholic Church may not recognize the civil ceremony and may treat it as a first time marriage. Secondly, if you were baptized as as Christian, you may be able to marry in the church with some stipulations. I would check with a few parishes.
Reverend Susanna
Joining Hands and Hearts: Interfaith, Intercultural Wedding Celebrations : A Practical Guide for Couples

#5 User is offline   startingover

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Just some further clarification.

In a civil service, the couple is already married in the eyes of the state, but not in the eyes of the Church, if one or both spouses are Catholic, so the only wedding ceremony they could have in the Church would be a marriage convalidation.

In a courthouse wedding, the Catholic spouse will have married outside the Church, which is considered sin and for which he/she will need to go to confession.

Here's where it starts to get sticky. Normally, the Church views this type ofmarriage as valid but not sacramentally binding and therefore the marriage must be annulled by filing for an annulment under the "defect of form" process.

This is definitely the case in a divorce but not when a couple is still married and wishes to remain so. All marriages are considered valid, unless proven otherwise by a tribunal.

In addition, since many points of canon (church) law are left up the interpretation of each diocesan bishop, there may be variations to this rule, especially if the non-Catholic spouse wishes to convert to Catholicism. Then the couple will need to start proceedings for the convalidation. There should be no sexual relations between the spouses until after the convalidation ceremony and they will have to fill out some paperwork for the diocese.

As Rev. Susanna has so wisely advised, you need to talk to a few priests and find out what the diocesan policy is and proceed from there. Sometimes you need a canon lawyer to explain this more clearly!
Kay and Dennis Flowers
Authors of Catholic Annulment, Spiritual Healing

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