(Shortened) Question: I read that some sins like the one to be married in front of a non-Catholic minister cannot be forgiven by any priest but only by a priest authorized to do so by his bishop. Is this the case also within the Ukrainian Catholic rite? 

Answer from: Bishop David Motiuk


In the Church, marriage is a sacrament whereby a man and a woman exchange irrevocable consent between themselves, thereby establishing a partnership of the whole of life. This covenant, blessed by God, is of its very nature ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. 


But marriage is also so much more. 


Christ Our Pascha, the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, adds:  “Christian marriage is not only a natural relationship, a shared life and experience; it is an occasion of sanctification. Marriage is a Holy Mystery (Sacrament) in which by the grace of the Holy Spirit a man and a woman are united into one body and create a domestic Church.  The family union created by marriage is a community of persons which, according to God’s plan, is an icon of the relationship of the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity” (no. 471). 


In other words, a couple enters into a covenant with God, yes, to live together as husband and wife and to have children, but, almost more importantly, to help each other’s to grow in holiness, in the life of Christ, and in communion with God. The couple, in marriage, complements each other, complete one another, in their earthly pilgrimage toward the heavenly realm and salvation. 


So, the Church does not speak of “sin” when someone wishes to marry a non-Catholic or a non-Christian – the couple can receive permission or a dispensation should it be required. Rather, Christian marriage is most fruitful when a husband and wife choose as their partner someone who will help them reach their potential in growing in holiness, into the life of Christ.