Rite of Marriage 55-66: Marriage Between a Catholic and an Unbaptized Person

Chapter III of the Rite of Marriage looks at the changes and adaptations for a marriage of a Catholic and a non-Christian. An unnumbered introduction states:

If marriage is celebrated between a Catholic and unbaptized person (either a catechumen or a non-Christian), the rite may be performed in the church or some other suitable place and takes the following form.

Such a marriage may take place outside of a church, assuming a sensible suitability. RM 55 essentially repeats the provisions of RM 19 or 39. The words of the rite omit the mention of either the priest’s “friendly manner” and the “joy” of the Church.

Sections 56 gives the option for as few as one reading:

The liturgy of the word takes place in the usual manner. There may be three readings, the first of them from the Old Testament. If circumstances make it more desirable, there may be a single reading. See nos. 67-105.

RM 57 mandates a homily. Sections 58-61, the questions of the couple and their consent to marry, duplicate earlier sections 23-26 and 43-46. RM 62-63 provides for an optional blessing and exchange of rings. If used, the words are given as in previous forms of the rite. The option for silence exists also.

RM 64-65 provides a similar nuptial blessing. This too may be omitted. RM 66 concludes chapter III:

The rite may be concluded with the Lord’s Prayer (or, if the nuptial blessing has been omitted, another prayer by the priest) and a blessing using the customary form, May al­mighty God bless you or another formula from nos. 125-127.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Rite of Marriage, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Rite of Marriage 55-66: Marriage Between a Catholic and an Unbaptized Person

  1. joey says:


    i just want to ask if there are “standard” or “particular” instructions as regards the placing of the veil and the yugal … what part of the liturgy (if the marriage is celebrated within the Mass) should they be done? Should it be during the time when the presentation of the gift song is sung or should it be after the Sanctus is sung or said? I have even attended rites when the rite of placing the veil and the yugal is done right after the communion rite …

    Is there any standard rule as regards this matter? I was taught that the Marriage rites if inclusive in the Eucharist should be completed before the Liturgy of the Eucharist so that there would be continuity of the Rites of the Eucharist … (as in the Rites of of the Sacrament of Holy Orders)…

    Thank you very much.

  2. Todd says:

    Hi joey; thanks for commenting. I’ve only seen these Filipino customs observed at one wedding, and it was done after the exchange of rings, at the time usually reserved for the unity candle.

    If other liturgists have more experience on the matter, feel free to chime in.

    As for the unity of marriage rites, remember the nuptial blessing is placed after the Lord’s Prayer.

  3. beth says:

    hi can u aslo post the suggested readings for the wedding

    thank you

  4. Todd says:

    Hi Beth.

    I believe I can do that, if you wish. I’ll need a bit of time to work that all up, so keep an eye out for it.

  5. Natalie says:

    I was trying to find somewhere whether or not it is necessary to have a responsorial psalm between the two readings. We don’t really have anyone in mind to be a cantor for us, and I really don’t enjoy the voice of our parish’s cantor. I know it can be spoken instead of sung, but that seems weird. I’d rather not have one at all. Is that okay? Please help.

    Thank you.

  6. Todd says:

    Thanks for your inquiry, Natalie.

    Strictly speaking, the psalm is prescribed for the Rite of Marriage liturgy of the word. By the book, you can’t avoid it.

    That said, a local priest may dispense with it in violation of the liturgical prescription without damage to the validity of the liturgy or your marriage.

    One option would be for the entire assembly to sing a through-composed psalm, maybe a hymn setting. A psalmist is not strictly required. Another possibility would be to sing the refrain and recite the verses over silence or background music.

    My suggestion would be to attend Mass at a different time or at another parish to find someone whose voice you do like.

    Hope that helps.

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