Can a non-religous person marry a Catholic? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread


I am a non-religous person, and my girlfriend is Catholic. She wants to marry in a church, and thinks I need to convert to Catholicism to be able to do so - is this the case?? Please advise on possible solutions and outcomes. Thanks in advance.


-- Ryan (, June 22, 2004


A non-believer cannot simply "convert" to Catholicism. Conversion is a matter of the heart, mind, and spirit, not just adding your name to a membership list. If a person does not believe the teachings of the Catholic Church, he should not, and in fact cannot validly convert.

-- Paul M. (, June 22, 2004.

But can he marry a Catholic person in a church?

-- Ryan (, June 22, 2004.

Yes. She needs to get a dispensation, but that is usually not difficult to do. She should speak to her priest about it.

-- Paul M. (, June 22, 2004.

Sure she can do anything in this world.

But I also used to think Christians can marry non-Christians until someone told me about 'Do not be un-equally yoked with non- believers'. Is there not a danger in marrying someone who does not share your deepest thought and passion?

-- Rocky Balboa (, July 15, 2004.

Ryan, When you sit in the pre-canna class in preparation of marriage in the Catholic Church, please give thought on how are you going to answer the question about raising children in the Catholic faith. At least that question was asked of me before I got married.

(I think the question of children is completely relevant when marriage is discussed. I believe this is not a digression from your question.)

Oh sure, it was an easy answer, "Yes, well of course we will raise them in the faith". But my testimony as a practicing Catholic, who married a practicing Catholic since fallen away, it is hard to raise then children in the faith without support from your spouse. When only one of you is attending Sunday mass, it sends a mixed and harmful signal to the children. If Dad can stay home from mass, then why can't I? How come Dad never says bedtime prayers with me? Why doesn't daddy read the bible? It must be OK to choose not to pray because my dad doesn't and he seems ok. Then the issues intensify as the children grow...why doesn't dad need to go to confession monthly like I do?

It is difficult to explain to your 10 yr old, why he must go to church every Sunday while his best buddy, Jimmy doesn't go to church at all. It would be near impossible for your child to understand why daddy does not go.

Parents need to be defenders and nurturers of children's souls. If only one parent is doing that, I think it leads to confusion and mis-direction that children do not need. Children cannot be left alone to sort this out and decide for their own when they get older - arguements I have heard before regarding the sacraments (baptism, confirmation).

There are many more ramifications to this down the road then just a wedding ceremony.

-- Jennifer (, July 15, 2004.

Amen to that Jennifer!

-- Rocky Balboa (, July 16, 2004.

Thanks for your support Rocky! It's a tough message that few want to hear when a couple is excited about being engaged and planning a wedding. Been there - and I know the emotions and excitement take over. It can become all about "the day".

Marriage is far more than the ceremony on that special day. The child rearing in the faith is critical. When religion is important to only one person, it is easy to think in the beginning(rose colored glasses take over)that the journey will be easy. It can often lead to strain and resentment in the marriage. I do realize this is not always the case, but who needs these kind of challenges in a marriage?

My marriage was annulled for religious reasons - he had fallen away from the church after we were married. Daddy did not come to the children's sacraments, did not find value in mass, was embarrassed to talk of Jesus in the home. And while I did my job to raise them in the faith on the days when I had them, all effort was dashed when they were with their dad. And I have had to answer all those questions I stated in my previous post, plus more. Difficult, heartbreaking ones.

Dad has since moved away - and the blessing that came from this is that my 8 yr old is NOT embarrassed to discus Jesus in public now. We say the family rosary. We attend Eucharistic Adoration as a family. It is not a fight to go to mass, confession, etc.

Is all this relevant to Ryan's question? Absolutely!

God is great!

-- Jennifer (, July 16, 2004.

Hi, Jennifer

" marriage was annulled for relegious reasons-he had fallen away from the Church[AFTER] we were married."

I don't know much about this but your case I don't understand at all. How does your husband "falling away after you were married" have anything to do with being married validly in Gods eyes on your wedding day with this man?

God bless you.

-- - (, July 16, 2004.

-I would guess bad therapy and pastoral counseling maybe?

hmmm... But then again, could possibly be misperception...

I am sure Jennifer can explain what really happened.


-- Daniel Hawkenberry (, July 17, 2004.

Oh, in my situation, my Tribunal determined that my spouse was unable to fulfil his marriage vows through numerous actions. Sort of like - I believed I was getting a Catholic spouse and got something quite different. Actually, after a few years, my spouse did admit that he was not sure he ever believed.

For example, was he going to raise the children according to the faith? He said absolutely!


-- Jennifer (, July 19, 2004.

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