A Christian and A Catholic, Possible Marriage


My boyfriend posed a question (dating 2 and a half years), if we were to get married, what religion would we practice? I have been raised Catholic and he was raised more in the “Non-denomination” Christian church. We’ve been going to both services, alternating weekends for about a year now, and his biggest “issue” with Catholics is he feels we “worship” saints, and I’ve tried to explain that isn’t what we do, but he still isn’t convinced. I think part of this belief comes from his father, who was once Catholic, but is now just Christian, and attends church, but also has the same feelings about Catholics “worshipping” saints being wrong.
Otherwise, he is a great guy, and really is into going to the Non-Denomination church and vocal about praying to God, etc. But in terms of the “future” I’m not sure we can comprimise on this, and if we didn’t, I’m not sure it could even be a possibility. I’d prefer to raise the children catholic, but I’m not sure the saints issue that my boyfriend has, would allow that.
Any suggestions would be appreciated…


If you are a Catholic you are obligated under pain of mortal sin, which means your eternal soul is in jeopardy, if you do not practise the faith yourself and raise your children in the faith. Your faith, your duty to God, should be central to every aspect of your life, especially to your marriage and family, if that is your vocation. Do not even consider linking yourself romantically to someone who holds your salvation so cheaply as to “not allow” you to practice your faith.


I am in a mixed marriage. I am Catholic, my husband is Protestant. It IS possible, but only if it does not compromise your faith.

My husband and I had SERIOUS discussions prior to our enagement. I made for ABSOULTE CERTAIN that I could practice my faith, and raise our children in it as well.

My husband agreed to my practicing my faith, and my children practicing my faith… He did not agree to convert. He did not agree to raise the children catholic. He did not agree that he wouldn’t educate the children about his beliefs too. That is not required. Only for the Catholic to practice their faith, and raise their children Catholic to the best of their ability.

My husband and I are happily married.:yup: He comes with me to church every sunday. One sunday a month, we go to both his church and my church. Neither receives communion in the other’s church. We also pray together every night, read the scriptures together, and share our faiths with one another.

We don’t agree on several points of faith (mary, the saints, the pope, communion, etc.) So, we focus on the similarities, rather than the differences, such as: The Holy Trinity, resting on Sundays, the 10 commandments, pro life issues, love of children, helping the needy, prayers, studying scripture, etc.

It is very possible, and can be a very happy marriage. Ours most certainly is. However, it must be a very special non-catholic to agree to their children being raised in a faith other than their own, and to sit there and watch as you practice and live out your faith under their roof, and not say a word. Human nature alone would tell you this might be difficult. But, like Catholics, there’s good and not so good protestants. Imagine marrying a lapsed catholic, who hates their faith! That would not be good either. :nope:

I suggest that you discuss these things with your parish priest and see if he thinks continuing this relationship is a good idea. :thumbsup:


In my family case - my aunt is Catholic and her husband was not a Christian (he passed away). They had comprised when they got married. However, the result is … 3 kids are Catholic and one is not even a Christian.


As a Catholic this isn’t an issue for you, you need to go to mass and your husband has to agree to raise any children you have as Roman Catholics. Failure to do so on your part is a mortal sin, and as per Catholic teaching would mean your soul is in danger of hell. As I’ve said, interfaith marriages work when one or both spouses are nominal in their religious practice. Outside of that it’s just asking for never ending heated conflicts. The other factor is that as people get older then tend to get even more committed to their religious beliefs. Which will cause even more strain futher down the line. The best solution is simply not to get involved, end the relationship and find yourself a nice Catholic.


Im a non catholic christian and my husband is a lapsed catholic who doesnt go to church–anywhere:(

When we got married our religion wasnt an issue because neither one of us cared. We were married in my episcopal church though.

We have been married 17 years(well in a couple of weeks) and have 2 children. I became saved about 11 years ago and been going to church ever since. Im currently in a non-denom church and hubby will come on Easter and Christmas.:thumbsup:

The children are raised in my faith but because my in-laws are catholic, they do occassionally go to mass with them.

Honestly, the only reason it has worked out so well with us is because hubby doesnt care. If he said he wanted to go to a catholic church–it would be a problem.

Differences can be a huge problem if you let it. I like what Convert said about finding the similarities. You should also discuss how you would raise the children because that too could turn into a huge stumbling block. I will be honest that when we go to mass–I will tell my children afterwards if I felt the CC taught something we dont believe in. I do it in a very positive way though.:wink:

I think convert had the best advice for you so far.:thumbsup:

God Bless


I don’t think the requirement to raise the kids Catholic is still in effect.


You are a Catholic. As such, you are obligated to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day. So, if you attend your boyfriend’s church, you must also still attend Mass.

As to your relationship: Find someone with whom you share your values, beliefs, and practices. Catholicism isn’t something you “do” on Sunday. It is who you are. You are obligated to raise your children in the Catholic faith. A house divided will not stand. Being unequally yoked is adonished against in the Bible. Your faith should be central to who you are, and it should form all of your decisions. It should also guide you in who to date-- not after 2 years where now you are probably convinced you can’t live without him (oh, but you can).

He should find someone who shares his faith and beliefs. You should do likewise. To do otherwise is quite foolish and short sighted on your part.

You need to have a heart-to-heart talk with him. There is no “compromise” on faith.


You are incorrect. A Catholic is obligated to raise their children as Catholics.


yes it is, it is binding on all CAtholics. The non-Catholic partner does not have to sign anything, but they do have to be instructed as to the obligations of the Catholic partner.


You may be right. I was under the impression that this had changed with the new code of Canon Law.

I’ll research it.


Unequally yoked in the Bible is referring to a believer and an unbeliever, not two Christians, correct?


Here is a quick answer from This Rock.

**Q: When a Catholic and a non-Catholic get married, does the non-Catholic have to promise to raise the children of the marriage in the Catholic faith? **

A: No. This used to be the case, but the current Code of Canon Law (1983) does not require the non-Catholic to make this promise. The Code does state that “the Catholic party . . . [must] promise to do all in his or her power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church” (c. 1125), but the non-Catholic party does not have to promise to have the children raised Catholic.

This rule attempts to do justice to the consciences of both the Catholic and the non-Catholic. The non-Catholic party is not asked to violate his conscience if it requires him to refuse to promise to raise the children Catholic, and the Catholic party is asked to live out the belief that Catholicism is true by doing all that is possible to have the children raised in the truth. The final decision about how the children will be raised is to be a joint decision made by both parents. Canon law requires that all of this be understood by both parties before the marriage is contracted.

So it looks like the requirement has been loosened from “The children must be raised Catholic” to “The Catholic party must promise to do all in his or her power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church”


Says who ???


The pertinent Canon Law Article


Says the 1983 Code of Canon Law evidently.


Yes that is what the bible is talking about. I am unequally yoked because I am a believer and my husband is not. Yes he was raised catholic but he is still not a believer.:frowning: Although I see signs of changes:D


See, it used to be that a legal requirement was enjoined upon the non-Catholic party to permit the Catholic party to baptize and raise any children of the union in the Catholic faith. They actually had to sign something.

Refusal by the non-Catholic party to accept this requirement created an insurmountable impediment to the marriage.

This requirement no longer exists although it is expected that there will be frank and open discussion before the marriage of the Catholic party’s intention to baptize and raise the children Catholic. It certainly does not appear that the non-Catholic party’s opposition to this can do anything to necessarily void the possibility of marriage.

Of course, faced with such a refusal by the non-Catholic party, the Ordinary could refuse to grant the dispensation necessary for the marriage to take place in the first place, but that’s another matter.

What all this means, in practical terms, is that the requirement no longer exists to raise the children Catholic though a clear expectation remains.


I only can relay my own experience, which sounds quite similar to what you are going through. Years ago, I dated a young lady for over a year who was non-denominational Christian. In the interest of full disclosure, I was at the time, at best, a lapsed cafeteria Catholic.

Her father was a nice man and friendly to me but had some very strong anti-Catholic sentiments.

When she and I had been together for some time we naturally began to discuss whether marriage was in our future. When we addressed children and religion we found our breaking point. She absolutely refused to attend mass and would not agree to allow any children to be baptized Catholic.

I am embarassed to admit that I considered compromising that issue and attended her worship services a few times. Those experiences are what finally woke me up. I found that her worship services were entertaining, but struck me as more of a “talent show” than a sacred liturgy.

As a result, I began to explore what was “missing” from her church. Ultimately, I fell in love with the Eucharist. It became clear to me that I could not abandon the Church for a place without the Eucharist. I certainly could not deprive that gift to my children.

We ended that relationship – it wasn’t easy – but I am so glad that we did.

Within a few years I met the love of my life. A fantastic Catholic woman who has grown with me in the faith and loves the Church with all her heart. We’ve been married 11 years and have 4 living children (8 others lost during pregnancy that we cannot wait to be reunited with in Heaven – but that is another story).

Here is what I have to offer. Your priorities should be God, spouse, children – in that order. You cannot turn your back on the miracle of the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – for the sake of anyone - even a spouse. To do so is to observe a disordered set of priorites and inevitably will lead to problems.

Trust God. He will not fail you.


My wife is Lutheran as are my children and when we got married I was Presbyterian.

When I returned to the Catholic Church I had to get a special dispensation since not only had I married a Protestant, I had married her in a Protestant church. Since my wife was unwilling to have the wedding done over again I had to petition the tribunal for a* radical sanation* which is a double top-secret extra special dispensation from form.

My children were baptized Lutheran and attend Lutheran Christian day school. I talk to them about Catholicism and my daughter will occasionally attend mass with me and I am working on my wife as well but I am very grateful that the code of Canon Law is merciful in this matter, giving me room to work without burdening me with the fear that I am committing mortal sin.

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