The Catholics perform various sacramental ceremonies, each of which serves a particular purpose. Confirmation is one such ceremony where believers mark their growth in Christianity by receiving Christ and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. There is also the marriage sacrament that joins two people in holy matrimony. Given how vital both sacraments are to a Catholic, we wish to find out whether confirmation is a requirement for marriage.
So. can a Catholic marry without confirmation? While the church encourages believers to receive confirmation, it is not necessarily a requirement for one to marry; no rule prohibits marriage before confirmation. For two firm believers, some churches may need to verify records of baptism, communion or confirmation. Still, the church is more lenient with its laws to allow marriage with or without confirmation.
We aim to find out whether the church allows marriage before confirmation. What happens when one of the partners has not gone through with baptism, the Holy Communion or confirmation? Will the church still deem their marriage valid? Read on as we provide answers to these pressing questions.
What Is the Essence of Confirmation To a Christian?
Confirmation is one of the sacred sacraments of the Catholic Church meant to strengthen a Christian’s faith. It ushers in new individuals into Christian adulthood once they become of age to reason in the Christian community of Catholics. After baptism, a believer can get confirmation, but he/she has to be at least seven years old. The ceremony is presided over by the bishop or delegated priest as the final initiation after Baptism and Holy Communion.
The ceremony not only binds a believer to the spiritual seal, but it also professes one’s commitment to the faith. Therefore, it enables a Christian to guard his/ her faith and destiny. The believers perceive that this sacrament helps them receive gifts of the Holy Spirit to guide them in their Christian faith.
Secondly, the Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit that confirmed the apostles on the day of Pentecost also confirms them during this initiation ceremony to provide them with the courage to act according to Christianity.
Through confirmation, the Catholics strengthen their faith in Christ and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts accompany them all through their spiritual life development. They are also essential in their relationship with Christ and help them better recognize the will and love of God. Since the sacrament ushers individuals into a mature Christian life, a believer can make better decisions about his/ her life based on the teachings of Christ.
What Is the Essence of Confirmation To Marriage?
Confirmation is not an absolute requirement for marriage for a Catholic; instead, the church only urges the couple to perform it if they are satisfied and feel that it is necessary. As much as the church does not compel anyone to get confirmation before the wedding, the church still strongly encourages them to do so.
Some churches are more stringent with their rules about weddings and marriages; hence, may require the couple to provide records of baptism, communion or confirmation. Similarly, the couple may have to actively participate in the church’s programs and take up some classes on marriage for up to six months.
On the contrary, some churches have more relaxed rules that allow their believers to marry even without confirmation or baptism of the partners.
Most Catholics believe that confirmation for an unconfirmed spouse is essential for it brings with it the strength and grace one may need to lead a life of Christianity during their married life. Moreover, it helps provide gifts of the Holy Spirit; thus, brings the partners closer to Christ and helps them accordingly practice the Catholic faith.
Receiving this sacrament also means that the Catholic has a more robust standing in Christianity and can incorporate wisdom in making adult decisions such as choosing a life partner. It also lays a foundation for a healthy Christian life and ushers in new individuals into a more mature Christian culture.
What Happens When You Want To Marry Without Confirmation?
A Catholic who has never been confirmed can participate in mass, receive communion, get married and can be buried when they die according to the Catholic faith. However, you cannot become a high-rank leader in the church, for instance, a Priest or a Deacon. Regarding marriage, one can still go ahead with it even without confirmation.
However, each parish has its conditions about performing sacramental ceremonies and the code of Canon Laws provides for exceptions in circumstances that may cause dissatisfaction to the intended bride and groom.
In case a Catholic couple who have never been confirmed decide to get married in the church, and the marriage plans may take longer, the parish priest may convince them to join in any sacramental program and be confirmed. This is ideal as long as it does not cause unnecessary inconveniences to both parties.
On the other hand, if there is less time to prepare for the wedding, or the parish is in a remote area, the wedding may proceed without confirmation. Similarly, if postponing the ceremony may inconvenience the couple, the two can skip the confirmation under the guidance of the priest. Thus, it is upon the spouse to decide whether the sacramental ceremony may be carried out at a later date or not.
Lastly, in the case of inter-religion weddings, the couple can get advice from the priest on the best way forward especially if a conversion is off the table; as long as one of them is a baptized Catholic, they can still go ahead with the wedding.
Can a Catholic Marry Someone Not Baptized?
Contrary to other sacramental ceremonies, marriage involves the union of two people in the presence of God and man. Baptism or Eucharist, being separate entities, do not determine whether the marriage takes place or not. This means that the couple can go ahead with the wedding even when none or one of them is unbaptized.
However, this type of marriage has to meet certain conditions. First, the Catholic spouse should solicit for a dispensation through the wedding minister from the priest or bishop. He/she must also assure that all children born out of this marriage will be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church. Similarly, he/she must avoid anything that may cause deviation from the Catholic faith during this marriage.
Although the church urges for a marriage between individuals who are both Catholic so that it may be easier to perform the sacrament of matrimony, it does not impose any decisions on the believer. The Catholic Church believes that a believer can make his/her decisions unabated as long as he/ she is of legal age.
The Catholic Church is quite flexible when it comes to marriage issues because marriage is a covenant sealed by two adults freely consenting to be with one another for the rest of their lives. The institution of marriage being complex, individuals can only be guided onto the right things to do by a Deacon or Priest. Still, the final decision lies with the intended persons.
For a Catholic spouse(s) to marry, they need to consider the following factors. The parties must be of mature age (male and female) and free to marry and exchange consent without imposition. Secondly, they must have the intention to marry for life and be faithful to each other, and the wedding must take place before two witnesses and a delegated Church minister. Suppose a Catholic is married to an unbaptized person without a dispensation from the priest or bishop. In that case, such a marriage can be considered invalid in the eyes of the Catholic Church.