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A marriage between a Catholic and another Christian is also considered a sacrament.
In fact, the church regards all marriages between baptized Christians as sacramental, as long as there are no impediments.
Both depend in part on whether the non-Catholic spouse is a baptized Christian or a non-baptized person, such as a Jew, Muslim or atheist.
If the non-Catholic is a baptized Christian (not necessarily Catholic), the marriage is valid as long as the Catholic party obtains official permission from the diocese to enter into the marriage and follows all the stipulations for a Catholic wedding.
The Reform branch of Judaism strongly discourages interfaith marriages, but there is no legal prohibition against it as there is in the stricter branches.
Often, a Catholic-Jewish wedding is held at a neutral site – with permission from the bishop – so that neither family will feel uncomfortable. The couple needs to have a dispensation from canonical form for such a wedding to be valid in the Catholic Church.
“On a wedding day, the fact that one-half of the congregation does not belong to the Catholic community [and, hence, does not receive Communion] cannot be a sign of welcome or unity on a couple’s wedding day.” It might be “likened to inviting guests to a celebration and not allowing them to eat,” he adds.
If an ecumenical couple wants to celebrate their wedding within Mass, they must get permission from the bishop, Hater says.
But it’s important to note that, according to canon law, only the priest may officiate at a Catholic wedding.
“Their marriage is rooted in the Christian faith through their baptism,” Hater explains.
In cases where a Catholic is marrying someone who is not a baptized Christian – known as a marriage with disparity of cult – “the church exercises more caution,” Hater says.
Therefore, most ecumenical or interfaith weddings take place outside of Mass: there is a different service for a Catholic marrying a baptized Christian and a Catholic marrying a non-baptized person or catechuman (person preparing for baptism).
“The reception of Communion is a sign of unity with the ecclesial community,” he explains.
“Your pastor could be involved in the wedding by giving a blessing, but in Catholic-Jewish weddings, usually the rabbi will officiate,” writes Father Daniel Jordan, judicial vicar for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Burlington, Vt.