Weddings outdoors

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: What is the church’s current position on the Sacrament of Marriage taking place outdoors between two Catholic people. I am aware that if one person in not Catholic a dispensation for an outdoor wedding can be granted for pastoral reasons by a bishop. I am being challenged as to why two Catholics don’t have the same right for honourable reasons including they have long had a deep encounter with the Cosmic Christ via the natural world. Has Laudato si influenced  the thinking of bishops in relation to granting permission for outdoor weddings?


A: The desirable location for Catholic weddings has gone 180 degrees. Prior to the council, weddings between a Catholic and a non-Catholic took place outside the sanctuary or even in the rectory. That was considered a second-class location.

After the council, it became permissible for all Catholic weddings to take place inside the church. That was thought to be a great win. Now, couples think that having a church wedding deprives them of their rights. It’s just a very different way of thinking about weddings.

The Catholic Church believes that marriage is a sacrament, one of the highest designations we have for any ritual. Its place within a church building is honorable. It offers the best we have to a couple.