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Re: waiting period for catholic marriage in 1860 NY?
Posted by: Kathryn Hagel (ID *****2953) Date: August 04, 2011 at 23:47:53
In Reply to: waiting period for catholic marriage in 1860 NY? by Kate of 1134

Dear Kate,
I couldn't find anything about a waiting period in 1860 yet. I looked in the online Catholic Encyclopedia, the Catechism of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and some other Catholic sites. The current waiting period is set by each bishop for his diocese only. Most bishops use a 6 month waiting period, but the waiting periods for the others are from 4 to 12 months, depending on what the bishop thinks is best for his people and the cultural pressures they have to deal with.

The US was a mission country in 1860. There were not very many priests and not even very many churches, especially in rural areas. Rules are sometimes streamlined for areas that have to depend on a priest who comes only once every few months.

Catholic marriages do require some time, even if there wasn't an official waiting period. The couple have to verify that they each were baptized, made their First Communions, and were Confirmed. They have to be taught about the requirements of a Christian marriage and be interviewed to be sure there are no impediments such as prior marriages, whether divorced or not. Then the banns have to be published. Publishing the banns usually means something like announcing from the pulpit on three consecutive Sundays that Mr X and Miss Y are planning to marry and that anyone who knows of an impediment to the marriage should see the pastor.

I knew a priest who served in South America as a missionary, and he met all these requirements for his parishioners as he traveled around from village to village, but the process was greatly streamlined to deal with the realities of his infrequent visits. He was assisted by members of the Legion of Mary that he organized in each village.

I will keep looking to see if I can find more information about the Catholic Church in America in 1860.

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