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I have an unusual question that I hope someone can answer for me. My fianc�e and I are getting married within the year. We are both Catholics and very devout in our faith. However, I was baptized and confirmed in the Byzantine rite and my fianc�e is of the Roman rite. I am technically a convert to the faith being my father is Roman Catholic my Mother is Protestant and my parents decided early on to let me choice my fath when I got older. In college I fell in love with the Eastern Catholic Church and converted. Sadly, because of where I went to school and where I live now I haven�t been able to attend a Byzantine Liturgy in years. She wants to be married in her church which I am fine with. I am curious how this will work. Are we allowed to be married in her church or should it be in my rite? Would I have to change rites when we marry? Is that even possible? We want our children to be raised in all what the Catholic Church offers and we want them to understand the faith. I have expressed interests in becoming a deacon after we are married. However, deacons in Eastern Rite vs. Western one have very different roles� I have also thought about lay orders and other ministries. I love my Byzantine rite and feel deprived of not having it to attend. I miss liturgy and the feeling I use to have every Sunday. I love my future wife and I want to have a God filled relationship with her until death unites us forever. So if someone could answer some of these questions� I would very grateful�

Thank you,

Anthony

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Hello Anthony,

Since your location falls within the Passaic Eparchy, you should be in touch with them about your questions. See the URL below.

https://www.byzcath.org/pas/passaic.htm


The website also has information about the deaconate, the Vocations Director is

Rev. Edward G. Cimbala, D.Min.
St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church
1900 Brooks Blvd.
Hillsborough, NJ 08876

I wish you every blessing in your pursuit of spiritual growth through marriage and the deaconate!

Be assured of my prayers for you and your fiancee!

Glory to Jesus Christ!
A student




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Hi Anthony, first off there are others more knowledgeable on this forum than I am about the canons governing this but I can tell you of my own personal experience with a "mixed-Catholic" marriage. My husband, Latin Catholic, and myself Byzantine Catholic had to get special permission to get married in my Byzantine parish because my Byzantine parish priest said canon law dictated we get married in the Church of the husband; however by getting permission from my husband`s Latin bishop we were able to get married in the Byzantine Church. Not sure of the details as my parish priest initiated the process but it took a couple of months or so and I think it involved both my Eastern bishop and my husband`s Latin bishop actually giving permission. This was in the late seventies so canons governing this might be a little different now. In your case since you the groom are Byzantine it might work the other way around but you`d have to start by speaking to your fiancee`s parish priest where you would like the wedding ceremony I would think. Congratulations and I hope this helps a little.

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Always hate this answer...but these are definitely ask your priest questions...I can tell you when I was married I was Byzantine Catholic and I married a Roman Catholic girl in her church...I have however heard of situations where this wasn't permitted...

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The canons still state that children automatically become the rite of the father. Thus, insofar as is possible the children should be raised in the Eastern Rite that you belong to. As for ordination, you would have to officially switch rites if you wished to be made a deacon in the Latin Rite. In theory, you could receive Holy Orders from the Eastern Rite Church and be allowed to function as a deacon in a Latin Rite parish if there is no Eastern Rite parish near you.

As for everything else, I would do some research on the matter. I hate to say it, but most of our Latin Rite priests are somewhat ignorant (I mean this is the dictionary denotation sense, not the �ber-modern pejorative connotation) when it comes to the Eastern Rites. Or simply try an Eastern Rite priest. Here is something that may help:

http://www.intratext.com/X/ENG1199.HTM

God Bless.

-MJE

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Originally Posted by DrAnt82
Sadly, because of where I went to school and where I live now I haven�t been able to attend a Byzantine Liturgy in years.

Anthony,

Firstly, congratulations to you - and best wishes to your bride-to-be (remembering that Emily Post and my Mom, of blessed memory, always said to make that distinction wink )

Not your principal concern, but an aside - as you list your location as Boston, please know that you can and would be most welcomed to worship in any of the three Byzantine Rite churches (Ukrainian, Romanian, and Melkite Greek-Catholics) which have parishes in the city or nearby. I'll be more than happy to direct you to info on these.

Quote
She wants to be married in her church which I am fine with. I am curious how this will work. Are we allowed to be married in her church or should it be in my rite? Would I have to change rites when we marry? Is that even possible?

Canonical tradition in the Eastern Churches provides that marriage be celebrated in the Church, at the parish, and according to the Rite of the groom. In the event that it is desired to celebrate it in the parish of a (Latin Catholic) bride, the (Eastern Catholic) groom should seek dispensation from his Eparch. It's routinely granted with the caveat that the wedding must be celebrated before a priest - not a deacon. (The Latin Church permits deacons to officiate weddings, the Eastern Churches do not.)

As to "changing Rites" - actually changing canonical enrollment in a Church sui iuris - you are not required to do so and, in fact, the Eastern Code of Canon Law, while not prohibiting it, does not encourage it on the part of the groom.

Under Canon 33 (CCEO), a wife may transfer to the Church sui iuris of the husband at the time of marriage or at any time during tthe marriage, without formally petitioning to do so. On cessation of the marriage, by annulment or death, (or otherwise - such as by a civil divorce), she can (but is not required to) return to the Church sui iuris in which she was originally enrolled. There is no corresponding provision as to the husband (although the Latin Code accords the same rights to both spouses).

As a matter of practicality, a petition by an Eastern Catholic husband to make such a transfer (at or during marriage) is invariably approved and it is conceivable that some eparchial chanceries would consider such a petition superfluous. (Would he would have the same right of reversion afforded a wife, without any requirement of petition? In all likelihood, yes.)

Btw, your wife - who, as a Latin Catholic, is subject to the Latin Code - has precisely the same rights under Canon 112 of that Code, which provides:

Quote
�1 ..., the following become members of another autonomous ritual Church:

1� ...;

2� a spouse who, on entering marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is transferring to the autonomous ritual Church of the other spouse;

Quote
We want our children to be raised in all what the Catholic Church offers and we want them to understand the faith. I have expressed interests in becoming a deacon after we are married. However, deacons in Eastern Rite vs. Western one have very different roles� I have also thought about lay orders and other ministries. I love my Byzantine rite and feel deprived of not having it to attend. I miss liturgy and the feeling I use to have every Sunday. I love my future wife and I want to have a God filled relationship with her until death unites us forever. So if someone could answer some of these questions� I would very grateful�

As to your future children, regardless of whether your marriage is conducted in a Latin or Eastern parish, the following provisions apply under Canon Law:

At baptism, a child below 14 years is ascribed to the Church sui iuris of:

  • its parents, if both are of the same Church sui iuris
  • its father, if the parents are of different Churches sui iuris
  • its mother, if the parents are of different Churches sui iuris and both parents express the desire that it be ascribed to that of the mother


So, unless you transfer your canonical enrollment to the Latin Church, they will be Byzantine except if both of you express the intent, at the time of Baptism, for them to be of the Latin Church. Such assent must be made known to the baptizing priest and be recorded in the baptismal record. (For the record, absent such assent, they would be baptized into the Byzantine Church even if the baptism were performed in a Latin church.)

Hope that info helps.

Many years,

Neil

Last edited by Irish Melkite; 12/02/07 12:07 PM.

"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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I am also in a Latin/Byzantine marriage. The only think I might add to what has been said is I believe it is required that in order for a Byzantine Catholic to marry in a Latin Rite church, and vice versa, the presiding bishops involved must approve. This is usually a simple formality.

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Originally Posted by soxfan59
I am also in a Latin/Byzantine marriage. The only think I might add to what has been said is I believe it is required that in order for a Byzantine Catholic to marry in a Latin Rite church, and vice versa, the presiding bishops involved must approve. This is usually a simple formality.

I, too, am a Ruthenian Byzantine who was married in a Latin Catholic ceremony (30+ years ago). I did solicit and receive the prior formal permission of my BC bishop to do so. As far as I know, the corresponding Latin bishop was not even notified.

Sidebar: My bishop's formal written permission included the "friendly reminder" that, despite the Latin ceremony, I remained a canonical Byzantine Catholic and that any children of our union would be Byzantine Catholics as well.

Al (a pilgrim)

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DrAnt82 Offline OP
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Thank you everyone for your help!

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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
[quote=DrAnt82]Canonical tradition in the Eastern Churches provides that marriage be celebrated in the Church, at the parish, and according to the Rite of the groom. In the event that it is desired to celebrate it in the parish of a (Latin Catholic) bride, the (Eastern Catholic) groom should seek dispensation from his Eparch. It's routinely granted with the caveat that the wedding must be celebrated before a priest - not a deacon. (The Latin Church permits deacons to officiate weddings, the Eastern Churches do not.)

I've always wondered about this distinction. Why is it that in the Latin rite, the presence of a priest is not required for validity, but for Eastern rite marriages the presence of a priest IS required for validity? If this were a matter of doctrine (and some Latin catechisms do categorically declare that marriages need not be celebrated in front of a priest for these to have validity), then surely the Eastern and Western Churches in the Catholic communion cannot differ?

I recall that Louis Bouyer referred to this in his Dictionary of Theology as a particularly difficult point in Catholic theology regarding matrinomy.

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Hey, I can answer that one!

In western theology, the sacrament is between the Bride and Groom; the priest is a witness. In eastern theology, the priest confers. Thus an eastern who marries before a deacon has entered a null marriage.

As an undergraduate, I attended a special lecture by Fr. Ted Mackin, S.J., one of the top couple of authorities on matrimony in the (Roman) Catholic church. He included a history. Early on, a priest would likely be invited to the wedding--as a guest, and he would probably offer a blessing. The exchange of vows was was what mattered. While marriage in the church became the norm, there was a problem of young couples wandering off and then returning with different accounts of whether or not they had exchanged vows. Thus, around 1200 (?), it became a requirement that a priest witness the vows.

This in turn led to a new problem--young over-excited couples (lacking parental approval) rushing into the rectory, waking the priest, and immediately exchanging in front of the still-groggy cleric. This loophole was indeed plugged--in the 1970's (?). [The exact dates are escaping me, but it was a 700 year gap that I learned of, err, 20 years ago].

As I mentioned, Fr. Mackin was one of the top couple of authorities on the sacrament of matrimony. A couple of years ago, I read in my alumni newsletter that he had left the order after fifty years of service, over forty of that as a priest--to marry!

hawk

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Excellent book on the this. If I remember correctly the introduction covers this topic.

On Marriage and Family Life
http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Fami...mp;s=books&qid=1196953920&sr=1-1

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Originally Posted by dochawk
Hey, I can answer that one!

In western theology, the sacrament is between the Bride and Groom; the priest is a witness. In eastern theology, the priest confers. Thus an eastern who marries before a deacon has entered a null marriage.

Precisely my question. The difference is not merely one of discipline, but one of doctrine as well. What I have a hard time understanding is how such a grave and fundamental difference in theology -- not just in liturgical practice! -- could exist between two bodies of churches (the Eastern and the Latin) that are supposedly in complete doctrinal concord with each other. The fact is that Eastern Catholic teaching in this respect implies that whole lot of Latin marriages are either invalid or, at the very least, questionable.

I don't think that "it's true for Easterners but doesn't apply to Latins" (and vice versa) would wash. And, last time I checked, Catholicism supposedly teaches that the teaching of the Magisterium on what constitutes the form and matter of each of the seven sacraments applies across the board to ALL the rites / sui juris Churches, despite the diversity of praxis. Indeed, many Catholic theology books would tell you and me that the official teaching of the Magisterium since the time of (at least) Pius IX is that the form of matrimony is the exchange of vows.

It is really the small, hidden and unremarked cases like this of apparent doctrinal inconsistency that get me thinking hard the most! (Another would be the historic flip-flopping on the number of the Ecumenical Councils, as brilliantly explained by Francis Dvornik)

And I'd like to point out that this difference in teaching has major implications as well for the teaching on divorce. It is my understanding that where the sacrament is considered as being bestowed by the priest, divorce (not merely annulment) can theoretically be approved. And so it is in the teaching of the Orthodox Churches as well as in the writings of some Melkites.


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