Marriage and the rite of reception

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Thank you for your great insights and all that you do for the Church.  If I were to convalidate the marriage of a Catholic and a baptized Christian, and receive that Christian into the Church at the same Mass, which would you do first?  Witness the marriage, then Profession of Faith and Confirmation? Or vice versa?

Or does it really matter?  Thank you.


A: I generally think it’s better to keep these celebrations separate, if possible. That allows them to be celebrated with their full integrity—especially with the appropriate readings and presidential prayers.

But if there is a need, then you have to do something. It happens often enough in mission territories. But the Vatican doesn’t give us a template for combining these two ceremonies, so people are on their own.

I would conduct the rite of reception first, complete with confirmation. Then I would begin the wedding.

If the day you select for the celebration does not rank at levels 1-4 on the Table of Liturgical Days, then I’d celebrate all this within the Ritual Mass for Marriage with the appropriate readings.

Conducting the reception of the Christian into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church before the marriage eases a canonical concern—there’s more paperwork when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic.