SUCH a situation is provided for in Catholic Canon Law by Section 3 of Article 1063. The section declares: "If the civil law so ordains, the spouses are not forbidden to go before a non-Catholic minister acting in his capacity as a civil offi
cial, merely to fulfil the civil act for the sake of the civil effects".
I understand that the asservalore statement offended Anglican circles in Rome. It reduced to a matter of routine administration, they felt, what had been interpreted as a benevolent gesture in the cause of unity. On the other hand, some English Catholics in Rome were alarmed lest the Vatican's approval of the double ceremony should prove an awkward precedent for England.
The situation loses its drama, however, in the light of English Catholic history, and Anglican hopes and disappointments as well as Catholic fears all seem to be equally unfounded.
Up to 1835, apart from Jew's and Quakers, only a marriage performed before a minister of the Church of England was valid in English law. so Rome allowed Catholics a double celebration, comparable to the Athens case in 1962.
When civil marriage becanft optional here in 1835, Rome forbade Catholics to go through the second marriage ceremony before a Church of England minister.