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U.S. Norms for Marriage Preparation

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November 29, 2011

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of Canon 1067 and with due regard for Canon 1068, hereby decrees that the following norms shall be observed in preparation of a couple for marriage:

  1. The couple should receive appropriate education and pastoral preparation through participation in a marriage preparation program approved by the diocesan bishop;

  2. Parties should be questioned as to their freedom to marry;

  3. Baptized Catholics should present a recently issued annotated baptismal certificate;

  4. Where necessary, additional documentation (such as affidavits of parents) attesting to a Catholic party's freedom to marry should be presented;

  5. Baptized non-Catholics should present satisfactory proof of baptism and freedom to marry;

  6. Unbaptized persons should present satisfactory proof of freedom to marry;

  7. Preparation for marriage should be in conformity with the prescriptions of canon 1063 (regarding what must precede marriage) and canons 1064, 1071, 1072, 1086§2 and 1125, which entrust certain situations to the special care of local ordinaries;

  8. Preparation for marriage should be in compliance with appropriate civil laws.