Q. 1. My friend and I want to get married right away. The priest at our Church said that we are required to participate in Marriage Preparation classes prior to getting married. We do not think such is necessary. What are the consequences if we marry before a Justice of the Peace?
A. 1. Catholics who exchange marriage vows in the presence of civic officials (Justice of the Peace) are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
Once you start living together and become sexually active, you will be classified as living in a state of mortal sin. That is because when one is sexually involved with another person without being married, (or in a non-recognized marriage), such behaviour is sinful.
Being in a state of mortal sin because of the sexual involvement outside of the Sacrament of Marriage, you will no longer be permitted to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Those are the consequences of marrying before a Justice of the Peace.