I am going to marry a Lutheran girl next year, and we would like to have a Tridentine wedding celebrated within mass. However, I was warned that, because of Universae Ecclesiae, some current laws may not apply, and it may not be permissible. However, the 1970 Matrimonia mixta allows wedding to be celebrated within mass with the permission of the bishop. Does this apply on the Tridentine wedding, or do we need to consider 1962 Canon law? What does it say about the case?
I have to be blunt. May I be blunt? I’m going to be really blunt because I must be blunt. Okay… I will be indirectly blunt. Here is some juridical stuff that will blunt my bluntness.
The provisions of current universal (and particular) law apply, even when we use the 1962 rite.
The diocesan bishop can permit the celebration of a Nuptial Mass. However, the marriage rite, according to the 1962 Missal, does not take place within Mass. The marriage rite is celebrated prior to Mass. The alterations pertaining to the Nuptial Mass include the couple being within the sanctuary, the nuptial blessing after the Pater Noster, and the blessing of the couple before to the conclusion of the Mass.
I don’t know if the Ritual permits a non-Catholic bride to receive the nuptial blessing, or sit within the sanctuary. Both, to me, seem … odd.
There are many reasons why a mixed marriage is not normally celebrated within a Mass (EF or OF). The most important reason is that a crowning moment of the Nuptial Mass is the reception of Holy Communion by both spouses.
Do we want this moment of great grace to be a moment of awkwardness? One spouse receives the Blessed Sacrament – THE sacrament of unity – while the other spouse is excluded. This seems contradictory to the unitive dimension of marriage itself.
Moreover, such a division in Communion would underscore the division between the two families. The Catholic family receives. The non-Catholic family does not.
That said. It is possible – with the bishop’s permission.
May I at last be a little blunt?
Were I the bishop, and many thank God each day that I am not, I would be reluctant to give this permission.
“But Father! Er.. Your Excellency! You are mean! They luuuuuv each other! They should be able to do anything they want. You want to keep them in the Church, right? Do what they want!”
Some terrible dilemmas can’t be avoided. In this case we are faced with unpleasant situations.
First, the non-Catholic spouse and her family will feel some sort of pressure to receive the Blessed Sacrament.
Second, they will feel excluded during the celebration of a sacrament which symbolizes, not only the union of the man and the woman, but the union of two families.
The choice between sacrilege or hurt feelings is not one I would want to lay upon a couple on the day of their wedding.
There are so many cases of mixed marriage today, and there is a strong probability that people won’t understand hard decisions. But I think we have to make hard decisions. And I think that if the decisions are explained well, people will respect them.