I've recently learned that the Catholic church does not recognize two Catholics as married unless they were married in the church by a priest. They may have been married in a civil ceremony or even in another church by another minister, but they will not recognize Catholics married in this way at all. Their marriages simply don't exist.
So, as I've come to learn this, I began to wonder if Coptic churches shared the same rules. Realizing that they are two totally separate churches, I also realize that they do have a few things in common. So, I asked my cousin (a Coptic Christian married to Mr. Free's Pentecostal cousin) if this was the case and, sure nuff, it is.
She also told me that, since she was divorced from her first husband, she is no longer able to sit in the first several pews of church, nor is she able to partake in some of the activities that go on during the service (I think she said communion, but she told me this a long time ago and I'll have to double check the details) because she is now hellbound according to them.
I'm not sure about Coptics, but any Catholics married outside of church can have their marriages convalidated by having a second ceremony in church and officiated by a priest. Unless and until they do, their marriages are not valid and they are seen as living in sin. Now, I don't mean to pass judgment or anything, but I can't help but to think of how wild this is. To me, this is a classic example of a church adding to the word of Yahweh. For nowhere in scripture does it say that a ceremony is even required, much less does it say where one must take place and that any man (priest or otherwise) must preside over a ceremony in order for it to be valid.
To their credit, however, they don't seem to put all of the emphasis on the existence of marriage on a contract like other churches do (except the Quakers and Amish, who we'll get to later).
Until I was about 12 years old, I was raised in the Catholic church. Went to Catholic school, mass, took communion...the whole nine. However, as I was thinking about this last night...and I'll have to verify this with my mother...I began to think about my own parent's marriage. I don't think they were married in a church. If I'm recalling correctly, I was told they were married in a civil ceremony while my father was in the service. If this is the case, then I'm actually a bastard (according to the Catholic church of which I am no longer a member) since my civilly married parents were just living in sin according to the church. At 40 years old, I'm just now figuring this out, lol.
Seriously, I don't mean to make light of this, but I just cannot understand how mankind has taken something so basic and pure, and managed to turn it into something so complicated and tainted. Marriage has been totally taken out of its purest realm and man has placed so many stipulations and false conditions on it until it's no longer even recognizable in its original form.
NOTE: To any Catholics or Coptic Christians reading this: I don't mean to bash...I just don't understand, nor do I agree. If you can explain this to me, using scripture, please feel free to comment or email me at LaLaLives@Yahoo.com.