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Dear catholic.com visitors: This Catholic Answers website, with all its free resources, is the world’s largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. We receive no funding from the institutional Church and rely entirely on your generosity to sustain this website with trustworthy, accessible content. If every visitor this month donated $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. If you’ve never made a gift, now is the time. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar this week only. Thanks and God bless.

Can a practicing Catholic officiate at a civil wedding ceremony?

Question:

Can a practicing Catholic officiate at a civil wedding ceremony?

Answer:

Assuming that the couple are either non-Catholics not bound by Catholic marital law, that there are no obvious impediments to their marriage (e.g., previous marriage, close blood relationship), and that the Catholic is authorized by the state to officiate at civil wedding ceremonies (e.g., judge, justice of the peace, other recognized official), yes, a Catholic could preside at a civil wedding ceremony. The only caveat would be that a Catholic could not obtain “ordination” from a mail-order or online “ordination” mill, even if his state recognizes marriages performed by individuals who have obtained such “ordinations.”

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