An Alternative for Excluded Catholics

Sometimes what I offer as a Humanist celebrant might not suit a couple planning a wedding, particularly if they are looking for a strong religious theme, and that's okay! If in the course of our initial conversation this becomes clear, I will do what I can to provide tips on how to find the right 'fit' in terms of a wedding officiant. One example would be if one or both of the couple were Catholic and wanted a ceremony along those lines. 

Roman Catholic priests won't officiate beach weddings or really most any other location outside of a church. They also won't officiate for divorced Catholics or same sex couples. The Vatican now even wants to make marriage preparation to be a months-long process of theological indoctrination even when both partners are already Catholic. People unwilling to go through months of doctrinal classes or who are excluded based on prior marriage or sexual orientation can easily go elsewhere, but what if they still want a Catholic ceremony? It's possible!

'Roman' Catholic isn't the only kind of Catholic that exists. There are priests and bishops not in communion with Rome who identify as 'independent' or 'contemporary' Catholics. Independent Catholicism is part of the independent sacramental movement of clergy and laity who self-identify as Catholic and form micro-churches claiming apostolic succession and valid sacraments. In historic orthodox catholic Christianity it has been believed that bishops stand in a line of succession that goes back to the original apostles and Jesus himself. In Roman Catholic interpretation, which is adopted by independent Catholics, the sacraments leave an indelible mark on the soul, meaning that once someone has received holy orders they are forever a priest, even if they 'leave' the priesthood, and the same is true of bishops. 

Adherents of this perspective range from conservative to liberal, orthodox to New Age. Someone attending a parish led by an independent Catholic priest might find a mass identical to that of the Roman Catholic Church down the road, a bit different, or heavily modified. The liturgies vary as do the theologies. Those priests and bishops who identify as 'contemporary' are almost always happy to offer sacraments, including marriage, to lgbtq folks and divorced people. While the Roman Catholic Church won't recognize it, you will be legally wed with a religious ceremony that aligns with your beliefs and values more than, say, a civil ceremony would. In New Jersey I recommend contacting the American National Catholic Church first to see what can be arranged through them. The page linked there has an email address at the bottom. 

I hope this bit of information will prove useful to whoever needs it. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me, letting me know your questions or desire to talk in the form. There's no fee at all for my input on finding the right celebrant for you. My aim is for people to have the best event to celebrate their love and commitment, whether that includes me on their special day or not.