The Sacrament of Matrimony
Q: What is Matrimony?
A: The Church stipulates that only a union between a man and a woman following the Catholic faith can be solemnized without any dispensation from the Bishop, provided that the proposed union is free from impediments. As such, the Church does not acknowledge any union contrary to these tenets.
Q: What are Marriage Vows?
A: Marriage vows are the supreme expression of the Sacrament of Matrimony uniting a man and a woman of Catholic faith.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the above?
A: Yes, the Church will allow a union between a baptized Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic.
Under very exceptional circumstances, the Church will also permit a union where one partner is a baptized Catholic and the other not baptized, on the condition that the other partner take an oath to follow certain regulations laid down by the Catholic Church. In this type of marriage, known as a Disparity of Cult union, a dispensation from the ecclesiastical authorities is needed before solemnizing the marriage. More detail can be obtained from the Church Office.
Q: What are Banns?
A: Banns are oral announcements of the proposed marriage of the future bride and bridegroom, made by each of their parishes, inviting the general public to submit any objections to the proposed marriage. If there are any impediments to marriage between the couple, the congregation has the right and duty to bring these to the notice of the Parish Priest who will be deal with the matter in confidence. The Banns are read out on the three consecutive Sundays preceding the marriage date. Banns are only read out after all the formalities have been completed at the parish level. (See formalities below)
Q: What are these formalities?
A: These formalities are as follows: –
Each partner is required to submit a valid copy of his or her Baptism Certificate, with a record of the Sacrament of Confirmation duly entered therein.
Both partners are required to have attended the Marriage Preparation Course conducted by the archdiocese, and
o Must submit a Certificate to that effect.
The Couple intending to be joined in Holy Matrimony will fill in the Parish Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form (PNE) in the presence of the Parish Priest / Assistant Parish Priest. (In case the couple finds it difficult to understand the questions contained therein, the Parish priest will assist the candidates in filling in the form.)
Those staying abroad must bring a letter of Free State (Clearly spelling out their marital status), and an authorization from his/her Parish Priest or Pastor giving permission for the Parish Priest of the particular diocese in South Africa to prepare the papers and conduct the marriage.
Q: Whom do I contact to arrange my Marriage?
A: When you present yourself with your proposed marriage partner in the Parish Office, the Parish Priest will guide you in this regard.