Surprising History of Holy Matrimony in the Roman Catholic Church
FACT: In the Roman Catholic Church the presence of a priest was not required until the Council of Trent. I point this out so that the reader may see that the requirements for marriage have not always been as they are now. Those marriages were considered quite valid. Once again, the matter and form of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the consent offered and the consent accepted one to the other. The Church is only witness to this.
"If a tree falls down in the forest and there is no one there to hear it crash, does it still make a noise?" This question seems silly. We want to say: "Of course it does!" To say that there is no sound simply because there was no witness is absurd.
Now, to use my analogy: "If a couple gets married outside the sanctuary do they still make a sound, Father?" Are they really married?
Try this: "Did those two Protestants with the indissoluble marriage make a sound, Father? There were no Roman Catholic clergy there, right?"
If you are beginning to feel that there are some contradictions here you are beginning to get the point!
In the Roman Catholic Church, the presence of a priest was not required in many parts of the world (including most of North America) until the 1900's. All of those marriages were considered valid. So why is the church now trying to tell couples that their marriage outside the sanctuary is unacceptable when less than a century ago they did not even require a priest to be there?
I frequently perform marriages outside a sanctuary. I allow the priests under my jurisdiction to do this as well. We certainly want couples to have the blessing of Almighty God invoked by a priest at their wedding. We want couples to be happy and feel the blessing of the Lord upon them at this special moment in their lives.