To clarify: “dispensation for disparity of cult” is permission, given to a Catholic, to marry someone who is not a baptized Christian.
I get the impression that it doesn’t take much to obtain this kind of dispensation. Apparently all that is required is a talk with an “investigating” clergyman, during which the non-Catholic party – so I’ve been told – is gently probed as to whether he/she is willing to raise his kids “according to Catholic values” – or some such phraseology. I’ve never attended one of these talks, so I can’t say for sure how things are worded exactly, but I do know several agnostics that passed the test without any problems, got married to their Catholic fiancees, and are now married-with-children. In the cases I personally know, the non-Christian spouse ended up not getting baptized, not getting their children baptized, and basically continuing in their attitude of disinterest toward Christianity. It seems clear therefore that no commitment is obtained from the non-Christian to draw closer to the Faith. It seems rather that these investigative interviews are so amicable, and the questions so vague, that the non-Christian can get through them, obtain the dispensation, and continue on in their irreligious lifestyle, without ever sensing that they’ve broken a promise or agreement. (And the Church doesn’t arrange any follow-up interviews after the marriage to check how things are going.)
I think there is something seriously wrong with this. It seems to me that these dispensations bring about the opposite of what they’re intended to do. Instead of opening the door for the non-Christian to join the RCC, they effectively open the door for the Catholic spouse to lapse (or lapse farther), for the children to grow up without a religion, and basically for the non-Catholic spouse’s disinterest in religion to infect the entire family. In addition, it’s a recipe for problems later on in the marriage. If the lapsed Catholic spouse ends up needing to draw close to the Faith at some point in their life, he or she can get no support from the other spouse or the children. He or she will be the only Catholic in the household, and that will be looked upon by the others as a quaint heritage at best. This can create terrible internal turmoil for the lone Catholic spouse when he/she is going through a rough patch in life. I’ve seen this happen, and it’s tragic, but at that stage there is nothing that can be done except tell the lone Catholic spouse to return to the Church alone regardless of the inevitable awkwardness that creates inside the family.
In summary, I think it’s very unwise of the Church to give these dispensations easily, as She apparently does.