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Nun presides at wedding in Canadian diocese

July 27, 2017

Sister Pierrette Thiffault, a Sister of Providence, presided at a wedding in the Diocese of Rouryn-Norand, Quebec on July 22, with the approval of her bishop and of the Vatican.

The Code of Canon Law allows for a bishop to designate a lay person to witness Catholic marriages, with approval from the Vatican, in places where there is a shortage of priests. Bishop Dorylas Moreau had nominated Sister Thiffault, who received formal authorization from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

In the Rouryn-Norand diocese, located in northwestern Quebec, only 20 priests are available to cover a territory that spans more than 9,000 square miles. Many priests are responsible for several different parishes in the rural region, where the population is overwhelmingly Catholic.

Sister Thiffault arranged a series of meetings with the couple to provide pre-marital instruction before presiding at the wedding ceremony.

 
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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jul. 29, 2017 5:02 PM ET USA

    When you read the complete article in La Croix, it's quite clear that the nun clearly understands this as "a step forward for women." From the other articles favorably referenced on the same web page, it's clear that La Croix is fully on board with the dissident wing of the church: two articles condemning Cdl. Mueller as delusional and self-indulgent, and one praising Fr. Spadaro's scurrilous essay in La Civilta Cattolica.

  • Posted by: acbsteve - Jul. 28, 2017 1:41 PM ET USA

    Agree with Jim. A little research shows that the parish has a pastor with Sunday and Thursday masses being offered. A manufactured problem done to set precedent and begin to establish a norm.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Jul. 27, 2017 8:02 PM ET USA

    Three months of planning ahead of the ceremony and the priest who says Mass there on Sunday couldn't arrange his schedule to perform the wedding? The couple couldn't be married by the priest on a Saturday night or Sunday when a priest would be there? Hummn... Oh! She has known the groom since he was in High School. Sounds like a "planned emergency" to me. Valid? Sure! A priest is not required for a valid Baptism or Marriage. E.g., during persecution or war, etc. (Not so the 5 other Sacraments.)

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Jul. 27, 2017 6:32 PM ET USA

    Not optimal, lacking Holy Mass, but certainly valid. May the Lord strengthen this couple's sacramental bond and be their Guide throughout their life together. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jul. 27, 2017 5:57 PM ET USA

    The bishop and Rome approved it. The rules allow for it. Sounds like a valid marriage to me. Hopefully at some point the participants will get the marriage blessed by a deacon or priest.