Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Moral Theology
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:03 pm
slywakka250 slywakka250 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 13, 2004
Posts: 379
Default Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

I have a friend who is a Catholic who is going to get married to a non-Christian, that is, a non-baptized man. The couple went to a priest for advice, and were told that if they were to be married in the Church, then the marriage would not be "blessed".

They were turned off by this comment and now want to have a marriage ceremony outside of the Church, such as on a beach.

2 questions:

1. What did this priest mean when he said that the marriage would not be blessed? Does this mean the marriage is not valid? not Sacramental? what is the difference??

2. If they get married outside of the Church, since one of them is Catholic, does this mean they need permission from the Church to get married?? and what happens if they don't get the permission from the Church???

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:19 pm
Erich Erich is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: June 23, 2004
Posts: 3,203
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

I'm guessing "blessed" refers to sacramentality not validity. From the Catechism:

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 non-baptized 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.137 In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.138 This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.139

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."140 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.141 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.
__________________
Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:20 pm
Texas Roofer Texas Roofer is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2006
Posts: 4,756
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
I have a friend who is a Catholic who is going to get married to a non-Christian, that is, a non-baptized man. The couple went to a priest for advice, and were told that if they were to be married in the Church, then the marriage would not be "blessed".

They were turned off by this comment and now want to have a marriage ceremony outside of the Church, such as on a beach.

2 questions:

1. What did this priest mean when he said that the marriage would not be blessed? Does this mean the marriage is not valid? not Sacramental? what is the difference??

2. If they get married outside of the Church, since one of them is Catholic, does this mean they need permission from the Church to get married?? and what happens if they don't get the permission from the Church???

Thanks!
When properly prepared Catholics wed the church adds the sacrament of marriage which "leaves an indelible mark on the soul". So if he would convert to Catholicism that would be the plan. Second the Bishop would ask him and her separately if they pledge to raise the children as good Catholics. If a "no" occurs there is a big problem. Last she can get a dispensation to marry outside the church and the church will acknowledge her marriage IF they pledge to raise the children catholic. IF the children are not planned to be raise Catholic then the marriage cannot be given a sacramental mark nor be recognized by the Church in its present state.

Hope that helps
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:24 pm
Joe 5859's Avatar
Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: February 1, 2007
Posts: 16,373
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

From the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 1086 1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act * and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.

2. A person is not to be dispensed from this impediment unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.

3. If at the time the marriage was contracted one party was commonly held to have been baptized or the baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage must be presumed according to the norm of can. 1060 until it is proven with certainty that one party was baptized but the other was not.

Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;

3/ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

Can. 1126 It is for the conference of bishops to establish the method in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, must be made and to define the manner in which they are to be established in the external forum and the non-Catholic party informed about them.

Can. 1127 1. The prescripts of can. 1108 are to be observed for the form to be used in a mixed marriage.

Nevertheless, if a Catholic party contracts marriage with a non-Catholic party of an Eastern rite, the canonical form of the celebration must be observed for liceity only; for validity, however, the presence of a sacred minister is required and the other requirements of law are to be observed.

2. If grave difficulties hinder the observance of canonical form, the local ordinary of the Catholic party has the right of dispensing from the form in individual cases, after having consulted the ordinary of the place in which the marriage is celebrated and with some public form of celebration for validity. It is for the conference of bishops to establish norms by which the aforementioned dispensation is to be granted in a uniform manner.

3. It is forbidden to have another religious celebration of the same marriage to give or renew matrimonial consent before or after the canonical celebration according to the norm of 1. Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the Catholic who is assisting and a non-Catholic minister together, using their own rites, ask for the consent of the parties.

Can. 1128 Local ordinaries and other pastors of souls are to take care that the Catholic spouse and the children born of a mixed marriage do not lack the spiritual help to fulfill their obligations and are to help spouses foster the unity of conjugal and family life.

Can. 1129 The prescripts of cann. 1127 and 1128 must be applied also to marriages which the impediment of disparity of cult mentioned in can. 1086, 1 impedes.
*This line was removed from Canon Law with the promulgation of Pope Benedict's motu proprio Omnium In Mentem on October 26, 2009.
__________________
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)


The Catechesis of the Popes
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, its more than that. Its a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:26 pm
Joe 5859's Avatar
Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: February 1, 2007
Posts: 16,373
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Roofer View Post
When properly prepared Catholics wed the church adds the sacrament of marriage which "leaves an indelible mark on the soul". So if he would convert to Catholicism that would be the plan. Second the Bishop would ask him and her separately if they pledge to raise the children as good Catholics. If a "no" occurs there is a big problem. Last she can get a dispensation to marry outside the church and the church will acknowledge her marriage IF they pledge to raise the children catholic. IF the children are not planned to be raise Catholic then the marriage cannot be given a sacramental mark nor be recognized by the Church in its present state.

Hope that helps
Just a point of clarification, the Sacrament of Marriage does not leave an indellible mark on the soul. Only Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders do.
__________________
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)


The Catechesis of the Popes
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, its more than that. Its a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:29 pm
slywakka250 slywakka250 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 13, 2004
Posts: 379
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Roofer View Post
. IF the children are not planned to be raise Catholic then the marriage cannot be given a sacramental mark nor be recognized by the Church in its present state.

Hope that helps
thanks for the replies. So, let's say that one or both of them does in fact NOT want the kids to be raised Catholic. Does this mean the marriage is not Sacramental?? but still valid???
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:35 pm
Joe 5859's Avatar
Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: February 1, 2007
Posts: 16,373
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

The CCC and Code of Canon Law give the full explanation, but the short answer is that a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian (known as "disparity of cult") is possible only with the approval of the local bishop.

For any Catholic to attempt to get married outside of the Church without the necessary dispensation means that the marriage will be invalid due to lack of form.

Perhaps your friend misunderstood the priest? It is possible for such a marriage to take place with the dispensation of the bishop. If the non-Christian party was never baptized, then the marriage will not be sacramental (because one cannot receive any sacraments without Baptism), but it would still be a valid natural marriage.

But I honestly have no idea what criteria a bishop uses to grant or not grant a dispensation in these cases. Maybe there was something in your friend's particular situation which led the priest to conclude that she would likely be denied the dispensation. In any case, it's worth at least calling the diocesan bishop's office before doing something drastic.
__________________
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)


The Catechesis of the Popes
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, its more than that. Its a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Feb 18, '11, 12:40 pm
Joe 5859's Avatar
Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: February 1, 2007
Posts: 16,373
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
thanks for the replies. So, let's say that one or both of them does in fact NOT want the kids to be raised Catholic. Does this mean the marriage is not Sacramental?? but still valid???
Unless both parties are baptized, the marriage cannot be sacramental. Baptism is the gateway to the sacramental life (in light of it's effects of removing original sin and infusing the recipient with sanctifying grace). Thus, a person cannot receive any sacraments without first being baptized. But the marriage can still be valid if they get the necessary dispensation from the local bishop.

If one or both of them refused to bring up any future kids in the Catholic faith, then I can see why a priest would tell them they couldn't get married. As stated in Canon Law, the Catholic party must make "a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church."
__________________
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)


The Catechesis of the Popes
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, its more than that. Its a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Feb 18, '11, 1:50 pm
Barbkw Barbkw is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: August 18, 2010
Posts: 5,927
Religion: Cradle Catholic - Revert
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Sacramentally speaking, priests do not marry couples, the priest is there only as a witness to the couple's vows.

The man and woman, through their vows to each other and to God, marry one another.

When a Catholic woman marries a man who isn't a Christian, isn't a Catholic, and possibly doesn't believe in God, it creates a unique situation for the vows.

P.S. It is a mortal sin for a Catholic to marry outside of the Sacrament (Justice of the Peace or by a minister of another denomination) without a dispensation.

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Sacrament of Marriage

http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/matri.html

Disparagy of cult = a Catholic marries a non-Christian

"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.

Last edited by Barbkw; Feb 18, '11 at 2:00 pm.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Feb 18, '11, 2:11 pm
Texas Roofer Texas Roofer is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2006
Posts: 4,756
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
thanks for the replies. So, let's say that one or both of them does in fact NOT want the kids to be raised Catholic. Does this mean the marriage is not Sacramental?? but still valid???
The Church Bishop is not to promote in any way the denial of a proper religious training to the children. Since marriage has only two objectives one of which is procreativity in nature, no Church activity can support such an answer. No communion, wedding celebration, etc., etc.


btw - in the Church "valid" means they approached sacrament properly so outside the Church "valid" has a different meaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
Unless both parties are baptized, the marriage cannot be sacramental. Baptism is the gateway to the sacramental life (in light of it's effects of removing original sin and infusing the recipient with sanctifying grace). Thus, a person cannot receive any sacraments without first being baptized. But the marriage can still be valid if they get the necessary dispensation from the local bishop.

If one or both of them refused to bring up any future kids in the Catholic faith, then I can see why a priest would tell them they couldn't get married. As stated in Canon Law, the Catholic party must make "a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church."
The church would not recognize their attempt to marry. They can attempt a Natural Marriage outside the Church which would hold a penalty against the catholic.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Feb 18, '11, 4:04 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 7, 2004
Posts: 37,470
Religion: Catholic no adjectives
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
I have a friend who is a Catholic who is going to get married to a non-Christian, that is, a non-baptized man. The couple went to a priest for advice, and were told that if they were to be married in the Church, then the marriage would not be "blessed".
since you and I were not there we don't know what the priest said, and most likely he said it would not be sacramental, which is true. It would have been a valid natural marriage had the followed Church form and gotten the necessary permissions, but only the baptized can partake in the sacraments

Quote:
They were turned off by this comment and now want to have a marriage ceremony outside of the Church, such as on a beach.
so without seeking any further clarification or advice, the Catholic party promptly rejected the authority of the Church and rejected Christ himself, an eventuality the priest wanted to guard against when he gave his advice. Looks like priest 1, couple 0, that he was right to urge caution.

I don't know how you got involved but it is a simple matter for the Catholic party to simply ASK and get further information relevant to her situation and guidance that keeps her in good grace with God and his church.
__________________
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Feb 18, '11, 4:10 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: May 25, 2004
Posts: 24,157
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
What did this priest mean when he said that the marriage would not be blessed?
You would have to ask the priest that. Maybe they misunderstood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
Does this mean the marriage is not valid?
If they marry in the Catholic form, and she obtains the proper dispensations to marry an unbaptized person-- or if they receive a dispensation from form to be married in a non-religious ceremony-- the marriage will be perfectly valid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
not Sacramental?
It will be a valid natural marriage. It will not be a sacrament.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
what is the difference??
A person must be baptized to receive a sacrament. Because she is marring an unbaptized person, there can be no sacrament. If he decides to become baptized at a later date, the marriage becomes sacramental at the time of his baptism.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
2. If they get married outside of the Church, since one of them is Catholic, does this mean they need permission from the Church to get married??
Yes. She needs a dispensation for disparity of cult (marrying an unbaptized person) and a dispensation from Catholic form (to marry in a non-religious ceremony). However, I think they should go back to talk to the priest with more open ears and hearts, because he may have been trying to distinguish between sacramental and natural marriage and they got in a huff over nothing. It's merely a fact that it will not be a sacrament because one party isn't baptized. That doesn't mean it is invalid. That doesn't mean the Church will not recognize the marriage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
and what happens if they don't get the permission from the Church???
The Catholic will be in an invalid marriage, a state of mortal sin, and will not be able to receive the sacraments (i.e. Eucharist) until they convalidate their marriage-- meaning to make it valid in the Catholic form by the exchange of consent before a priest and two witnesses. So, really, they should go back to the priest, sit down, and do what is necessary to have the marriage be valid in the first place.
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Feb 18, '11, 4:13 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: May 25, 2004
Posts: 24,157
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Quote:
Originally Posted by slywakka250 View Post
thanks for the replies. So, let's say that one or both of them does in fact NOT want the kids to be raised Catholic. Does this mean the marriage is not Sacramental?? but still valid???
To receive permission to marry a non Catholic, the Catholic party makes a promise to raise their children Catholic and promises that they are not in danger of themselves falling away or defecting from the faith.

If the Catholic cannot or will not make such promises, the priest will have to discuss this with the bishop as canon law states the bishop cannot grant dispensations for the marriage to go forward without the promises.
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Feb 18, '11, 6:03 pm
slywakka250 slywakka250 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 13, 2004
Posts: 379
Default Re: Marriage between Catholic and non-Christian

Thanks everyone, I think I understand it now.

[quote=puzzleannie;7573802]
Quote:
I don't know how you got involved but it is a simple matter for the Catholic party to simply ASK and get further information relevant to her situation and guidance that keeps her in good grace with God and his church.
I don't know her very well at all. I am not involved. If somehow this topic comes up in conversation, I may explain to her what the Church requires here. Otherwise, I primarily made this thread just to learn about Church teaching because I have often been confused about this. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Moral Theology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8255Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: janiejnb
5018CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: UpUpAndAway
4345Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: lsbar
4029OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: B79
3833SOLITUDE
Last by: tuscany
3567Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3226Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
3203Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: memphian
3122Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3048For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: tammany



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 5:24 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.