American pop star Britney Spears is expressing frustration after reportedly being unable to get married at a Catholic church. But there are four main requirements to have a Catholic church wedding, a priest tells CNA.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Spears reportedly shared a photo Wednesday of another couple’s wedding inside St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles.
“This is where I originally wanted to get married during COVID!!!! I wanted to go every Sunday,” she wrote, commenting on the church’s beauty. “[T]hey said it was temporarily shut down due to COVID!!!! Then 2 years later when I wanted to get married there they said I had to be catholic and go through TEST!!! Isn’t church supposed to be open to all???”
A church representative later told TMZ that there was no record of Spears requesting to be married there. Her post came after she celebrated her wedding with actor Sam Asghari in June.
In response to Spears’ story, Father Matthew P. Schneider, LC, who teaches theology at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, outlined four main requirements for a wedding to take place in a Catholic church.
Either the bride or groom must be Catholic and free from any impediments, such as marriage to another person. Both the bride and groom must “intend what the Church does,” including recognizing marriage as something permanent, exclusive, and open to life.
They must also plan to raise their children Catholic.
Schneider stressed that the Catholic Church welcomes all, even with these requirements.
“The Catholic Church is open to all, but for many to have a wedding in a Catholic church requires becoming Catholic & agreeing to Catholic teaching,” he tweeted. “Many other religions would be similar: for example, I doubt a synagogue would hold a wedding if neither spouse was Jewish.”
He spoke more specifically with CNA about Spears’ faith.
“It is not clear from public information what Britney Spears’ canonical status is,” he said, referring to her status with the Catholic Church. “She was baptized a Baptist; then in 2021 she stated she was Catholic, but now she says she can’t get married in a Catholic church because she is not Catholic.”
In 2021, Spears announced in a since-deleted Instagram post that she is Catholic and attends Mass. Spears has repeatedly posted prayers, including the Hail Mary, on social media. Her Instagram bio reminds people to “Pray Every Day.”
While Spears was raised Baptist, several of her family members are practicing Catholics, including her mother, Lynne Spears, her sister, Jamie Lynn, and her nieces, Maddie Aldridge and Ivey Joan Watson, CNA previously reported.
“Is she a catechumen, formally received into the Catholic Church, or still a Baptist with some interest in Catholicism?” Schneider asked.
He also referenced Spears’ two previous marriages, adding that, “to be married in a Catholic church, she would need to get annulments on those.”