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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

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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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