OCM 18-19: Requirements in Sacramentality, Validity, Liceity

Continuing with Duties and Ministries, we read where the confirmation stipulation for married Catholics originates: canon law.

18. Catholics who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation are to receive it to complete their Christian initiation before they are admitted to Marriage if this can be done without grave inconvenience. It is recommended to the engaged couple that in preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony they receive the Sacrament of Penance, if necessary, and that they approach the Most Holy Eucharist, especially within the celebration of Marriage itself.(cf. canon law 1065)

More and more, Catholics come for marriage preparation without having been confirmed. Is there a solution? An earlier age for completing initiation? Making pastors ordinary ministers of confirmation? Pine for an earlier era?

I think the condition, “grave inconvenience” can and should be interpreted generously. My theological belief is that every First Communicant be confirmed, but with the messy situation in the Church today, that’s hardly likely to happen in most places.

19. Before a Marriage is celebrated, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration.(cf. canon law 1066)

Dioceses are especially concerned about this. My parish is too, but I’ve heard crazy stories over the years, and if any of you readers have been around weddings for a tenth as long as I have, you have one or two too.


The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to OCM 18-19: Requirements in Sacramentality, Validity, Liceity

  1. Liam says:

    On the last point, I suspect one of the things that will come up more on the last item in the additional context of a so-called mixed marriage (if memory serves, that’s addressed later in these notes) will be conditional baptisms for those whose ritual for baptism cannot be confidently vouched for as valid. (There’s a reason for baptismal certificates of certain confessions to attest to adherence to ritual form. There’s also a reason that the Catholic church resorts to the baptismal register as its central point of reference for the rest of the life of a Catholic – when a decree of nullity was provided to my closest and dearest friend with respect to a marriage to an abusive person who simply refused to engage the process at all, that decree was noted with prejudice in that person’s baptismal record, so that if that person were to marry in the future, a discussion could be had regarding the findings of the tribunal.)

  2. Kate says:

    In my diocese, Confirmation is done before First Communion, as the meaning of the Eucharist is lost when it comes before Confirmation. Baptism followed by Confirmation was the traditional order until Pope Pius X changed.

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