Busted Halo
googling god
The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Can I Marry in the Church Building if I am Pregnant?

Mike Hayes Answers:

pregnantbride2Question: I was 18 when I married my first husband. The local priest would not let us have the ceremony in the church because I was pregnant. He performed it in the rectory. Is it a Church rule that you cannot marry in the church building if you are pregnant?

It is not. I’m going to assume that the wedding was also small and intimate. Your priest was most likely embarrassed by your pregnancy (or angered by it) and did not want to have the wedding in a more public setting. Likely, he saw this as a failing of his own in having one of his parishioners pregnant out of wedlock.

But let’s not assume, perhaps he had good reason to have the wedding in the rectory. To your question, there is no hard and fast rule about where the wedding of a pregnant bride can take place. That said, if the priest felt that you were being pressured to be married because you were pregnant, he would have the obligation to have you postpone the wedding until you were free to make the choice to be married without the pressure of there “having to be a wedding.”

In short, pregnant brides can be married in the church building and there is not a general reason to have their wedding in another place. I hate to say this but it sounds to me as if your priest was trying to hide you from the rest of his parish so as to avoid approving of your out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

The Author : Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
See more articles by (271).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Linda

    Good thing Mary and Joseph weren’t Catholic. :/

  • Anne-Marie Cottone

    Sounds to me like he was punishing her for having sex out of wedlock.

    • Chelsea Coggins

      It’s not his place to punish her, everyone makes mistakes and that is between her and God. At least she didn’t have an abortion just to be able to hide the fact she had sex out of wedlock. She could have been very remorseful for being sexually active out of wedlock and on top of that a baby will always remain a blessing from God, once someone repents they are just as pure as the next person. That is what the atonement is for.

      • Mike Hayes

        Thanks for the comments, folks. I would agree with all that you cite above as well. But we are making assumptions…so let us pray that this wasn’t the case and that there were important reasons for him doing what he was doing.

      • Peggy Dallmann

        Can you think of a good reason? Or an important reason? I am not Catholic, but I can’t think of any valid reason. Still the writer doesn’t say when her wedding took place. If it was the 1950s or early 1960s, well, let’s face it–times were very different back then. Also, I wonder if there was pressure from the parents to keep the wedding quiet, and this fact wasn’t communicated to the bridal couple.

      • Mom2Teens

        In our diocese there would be no wedding until after the baby was born and both parties were “free” to properly discern whether they wanted to enter into a sacramental marriage.

      • Mike Hayes

        Correct, but that was already discerned here. The priest didn’t find an impediment to marriage, what he did was decided to allow the marriage but only in a “private” ritual.

powered by the Paulists