5.6.8.1 Selection and Use of Catholic Rites of Marriage

1. The Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass is normally used for the celebration of marriage between two Catholics. [1] However, a pastor or other priest may propose the The Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass when he judges that circumstances (such as a “convalidation”) warrant it. [2] Other than for a "convalidation," this should be extremely rare.

2. The Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass is to be used in the celebration of marriage between a Catholic and a baptized person who is not Catholic. [3] (However, if the priest judges it suitable, he may seek consent to use The Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass from the local ordinary. [4])

3. Only The Order of Celebrating Matrimony Between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian can be used in the celebration of marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person (either a catechumen or a non-Christian). [5]

4. Only those texts, readings and forms of expressing consent (i.e., wedding vows) given in The Order of Celebrating Matrimony are to be used. Secular texts are not to be substituted for the approved scriptural readings.

5. In any celebration of marriage, the provisions regarding the reception of Holy Communion by baptized non-Catholics are to be carefully observed (see #4.1.5 Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick for non-Catholics for a fuller treatment). [6]

6. The other provisions of the diocesan Guidelines for Preparing the Wedding Liturgy, especially regarding music and optional cultural practices, are to be observed. [7]



[1] The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Chapter I, nn. 45-78.

[2] Provincial Guidelines for Marriage Preparation, January 1999, “Guidelines for the Liturgical Celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage,” 7. Choice of Ceremonies; p. 5.  

[3] The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, n. 36, Rite of Marriage, Chapter II, nn. 79-117. 

[4] The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, n. 36. Also see discussion of this in J. Huels, “The Significance of the 1991 Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium,” Studia Canonica 43 [2009] 102: ”Because it is a singular administrative act, the local ordinary’s consent must be obtained on a case-by-case basis.” 

[5] The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, n. 36; The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Chapter III nn. 118143.

[6] Also see Provincial Guidelines for Marriage Preparation, January 1999, Ecumenical Guidelines for Mixed Marriages, IX, Appendix: Canonical and Liturgical Matters, p. 12. 

[7] Diocese of Lansing Guidelines for Preparing the Wedding Liturgy (January 25, 2007). Available at diocesan website.


Date approved by Bishop


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