I hope this finds you well! My question: if one is a registered member of a territorial parish in whose geographical boundaries you do not live, is it necessary to receive permission from your “territorial pastor” to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony in some other parish?
This seems to be common practice in my diocese, with an argument made that the “pastor of registration” has the care of that person’s soul, rather than the “territorial pastor,” thus rendering the permission of the pastor in whose geographical boundaries you live unneccesary.
The pastor (parish priest for those of you in England) has the right of marrying his subjects. That means the geographic or territorial pastor, unless the person in question is legitimately a member of a personal parish (by virtue of ethnicity, nationality, language, culture or any other parameters which a bishop establishes for personal parishes, including personal parishes for charismatics, the Extraordinary Form, etc.).
Permission of the (usually geographic) pastor should be sought when one wishes to marry outside of one’s territorial parish.
That said, permission of the geographic pastor is not required for validity!
Can. 1109 in the Code of Canon Law establishes that the local ordinary and the pastor can marry “by virtue of their office and within the confines of their territory… not only their subjects, but also those who are not their subjects, provided that one of them is of the Latin rite.” (If two Ukrainian Catholics come to him, no dice even though they live next door to the parish church.)
Can. 1110 covers personal ordinaries and personal pastors and is more restrictive – these gentlemen “assist validly only at marriages where at least one of the parties is a subject within the confines of their jurisdiction.” Get that difference? Validly? Jurisdiction?
So, if you’re actually present for your wedding (which will hopefully be the case, although proxies are permitted!), then you are “within the confines” of the territory of the pastor – even if he’s not technically your pastor (you are within his parish’s boundaries and he has the right to marry people within his boundaries). No permission, strictly speaking, is required from your geographic pastor.
It is nevertheless good to seek permission from the pastor of the parish in which territory you actually live. There may be particular law in a diocese which requires the permission of the territorial pastor. This could be the case both to remind people of the normal territorial nature of the parish, and to also perhaps jog the conscience of the territorial pastor to remember to pray for all those souls entrusted to his care.
Moreover, such particular laws could also bring to the attention of the chancery certain demographic realities. For example, if, in the course of a year, 50 couples who live in St. Dissentia parish are asking permission to get married at St. Fidelia parish, and no one from St. Fidelia parish to get married at St. Dissentia, that could be a a sign that the pastor of St. Dissentia might not be doing his job. On the other hand, if everyone is going to Fr. Marrying Sam at St. Dissentia…
UPDATE: As a priest commentator adds, below, we must also give due regard to can. 1115, which concerns also liceity, though not validity.