From a reader…
A non-Catholic Christian co-worker has a daughter who is engaged to be married to a young man who was raised in, and still attends, an SSPX chapel in our diocese. The woman does not want to be married in the chapel, but is OK with being married in the Catholic Church. The young man agrees. What is the process for this to happen?
Pretty easy, really. The couple should approach the local Catholic parish where (hopefully) they will be welcomed with open arms.
Since the Society of Pius X is a priestly society (and currently in an irregular state), there is no such thing as a lay “SSPXer”. I know I sometimes refer – loosely – to SSPXers who are lay people who attend SSPX chapels, but, technically, only the bishops, priests are true SSPXers. I digress. We are, in this post, talking about Catholics who currently, regularly attend Mass in a chapel staffed by these validly ordained but nevertheless irregular priests. Such a person remains a Catholic, but he might need to make a good confession to a priest with legitimate faculties (such as a priest of the local diocese). Such a Catholic should not be denied access to the sacraments, including marriage… witnessed by a minister who is duly authorized by the Church.
Bottom line: the Catholic who usually goes to the SSPX chapel is, quite simply, just a Catholic, just like every other Catholic who wants to marry. He is bound, just like every other Catholic, to observe the Church laws concerning marriage. That’s a commandment of the Church which every traditional Catholic has memorized.
The priest or deacon who prepares this couple for marriage will need to obtain permission for a mixed marriage, as the bride is a non-Catholic Christian. Such permission can be obtained from the local diocese.
This is, by the way, a problem for the good men who are, I know, zealous priests of the SSPX. They have every desire to help couples who approach them. However, if a couple needs a dispensation to marry, or there is some question about a previous marriage bond, they have nowhere to turn within their own Society. They have no legitimate authority, alas, such as a tribunal set up by the local bishop who is in union with the See of Peter. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the day when any priest of the SSPX will have unfettered recourse to the resources of dioceses in the same way that diocesan priests do. There is a great deal to accomplish together.
The parish priest or deacon should take pains during the marriage prep to invite the groom back a parish in full communion with Rome. He should invite him to hear Holy Mass at one of the frequent and reverently celebrated Masses in the Extraordinary Form that are surely offered in the diocese. (Please God, there is one.) He should kindly invite him to make a good sacramental confession to a priest who has faculties from proper authority, such as the diocesan bishop or a religious superior.
In any event, this isn’t all that complicated. It happens pretty often these days for a Catholic to need a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic.
Moderation queue is on.