Can a Catholic marry a non-Catholic in the Church? : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

Will the Church allow a catholic to marry a non-catholic in the catholic church? An if so do they have to be baptised, christian etc...? Any help in this regard would be most appreciated. Many thanks

-- Anonymous, May 03, 1998


Response to marriage to non-catholics


In the past the Church discouraged marriages between Catholics and Non-Catholics. However, they do allow them. As a Catholic you are required to marry in the Catholic Church. To marry in a Church other than a Catholic one you must ask the ordinary (the bishop of your diocese)for permission.

I will quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on regards to marriages of mixed Christian Denominations:

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a nonbaptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.[135] In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.[136] This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage and the obligations assumed by the Catholic party concerning the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.[137]

1636 Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple's obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them.

1637 In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: "For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband."[138] It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this "consecration" should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith.[139] Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion.

Now comes the personal stuff. Please please please make sure that you and your spouse to be get into a program of premarriage counciling. There are some very good programs, and some pretty bad ones. There are now programs in many diocese where the couple will meet over the course of a year.

The reason why I am pleading you to do this is that in the eyes of the Church marriage is forever. Yes there are decrees of nulity that say that the marriage never existed, but you must realize the gravity of the sacrament that you are about to partake in.

In our culture too many times marriages are rushed to the point where couples marry after knowing each other for short periods of time and when the relationship starts to change (believe me I know, I have been married 10 years) this will put pressure on the marriage. Children will also change the dynamics of the marriage relationship.

Children are one of the factors that will cause many points pressure. When people of two different denominations marry they rarely think about the question of children beyond "yes we will have them" I have seen marriages ripped apart when the arguments over which church will they be baptised in, or what faith they will be brought up in come into full flower.

Please, realize that I am speaking from the voice of experience. My wife was catholic, I was not, we married outside the Church without permission. When I was converted to the Catholic Church, I submitted to the Authority of the Church, and my wife and I ceased martial relations until our marriage was validated. This was a long and hard 8 months.

I also speak on the knowledge of the mixed marriage. I know where the arguments will come from for my wife and I had them too.

Please be assured that you will be in my family's prayers

Your brother in Christ

John Gibson

-- Anonymous, May 03, 1998

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