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I am baptised Maronite Catholic, and my partner is Chaldean Catholic.

My partner has never been a part of his Chaldean Church, never attended his church and has no involvement in his community. This has been the case since his father died when he was 3 years old in Iraq. Since that time, he fled Iraq with his mother and siblings as refugees and came to Melbourne, Australia. Despite there being Chaldean Churches in Melbourne, his mother would him and his siblings to local (Roman Catholic) churches to pray. Unfortunately, my partner's mother also passed away when he was 15 years old. From that time, he did not attend church at all and started losing his faith.

On the other hand, I am baptised Maronite Catholic and have grown up attended my local Maronite church. Our Maronite priest is very close with my family and we have a strong relationship and bond with our church.

Since my partner and I started dating, he has become heavily involved in the Maronite church and has redeveloped his faith. He considers our Maronite priest to be a strong figure in his life and often reaches out to him for guidance and support.

We are getting married and we both wish to be married in the Maronite church by our Maronite priest. Given my partner was baptised as Chaldean, he is required to obtain 'Permission' from the Chaldean church to marry 'outside' of the Chaldean parish. The Chaldean church is refusing to provide this permission.

According to Msgr. Paul MINGANA from St. Thomas Chaldean Cathedral NSW, from July 2019 Archbishop Amel Nona promulgated a law which stated that no permission will be given to any Chaldean male from that date onwards, to get married in different rite, other than Chaldean Rite.

How is this possible? Is there a way around this? My partner is willing to be baptised as a Maronite if he needs to, but we have been advised that it is not possible to be baptised as a Catholic if you are already a Catholic. He has no involvement or connection with the Chaldean church.

Can he change from the Chaldean rite to Maronite? Can he leave the Chaldean church? What are his options?

Our wedding is only nine weeks away and this is becoming very urgent and causing us both a great deal of anxiety and stress.

Thank you and God bless.

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  • Hello, this sounds like quite the conundrum. You're actually probably far more knowledgeable about the details of what's involved here than anyone on this site, there are very few Maronite or Chaldean Catholics here, and I don't think there are any Aussies from either church. Have you explained all of this to your Maronite priest? If the Chaldeans have no flexibility then it would probably be best to handle it all from the Maronite side. Do the Maronites actually require permission for him to be married, or can they just accept him as a member considering he is already a baptised Catholic?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:50

1 Answer 1

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Transfer from one Eastern Rite (Chaldean) to another Eastern Rite (Maronite)

Get your future husband to make a declaration before a Chaldean minister (signed) that he desires to transfer to the Maronite Rite. This should not be done lightly as it is permanent. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) is on your side.

It complicated, but doable!

Canon 36 The transfer to another Church sui iuris takes effect at the moment a declaration is made before the local hierarch or the proper pastor of the same Church or a priest delegated by either of them and two witnesses, unless the rescript of the Apostolic See provides otherwise.

Canon 37 Every enrollment in a certain Church sui iuris or transfer to another Church sui iuris should be recorded in the baptismal register of the parish where the baptism was celebrated, even, as the case may be, in a Latin parish; if this cannot be done, it is to be kept by the proper pastor in another document in the archive of the parish of the Church sui iuris of enrolment.

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