Catholic Girl marries Baptized-Now Atheist Boy?


I'm looking for answers on what it would be like for my boyfriend (baptized as Christian Reform, now an atheist) and I to have a valid Catholic marriage. I know there is an option for a ceremony without the mass, but are they're other options for a valid Catholic wedding that could happen outside of a Catholic church?

I've heard of getting a petition for a dispensation from canonical form but can't find much about that other than it exists.

Wondering if anyone has been in similar situations.

P.S. I have no doubts that this is the man I will marry. We have discussed many times about raising children in the Catholic faith and how that will work between us. Also well as my mother married an atheist and 10 years after they were married he converted to Catholicism. So please there need be no comment on this.


The dispensations from Canonical form can be for a few different reasons. Sometimes Catholics are allowed to be married in a service of another religion (with a priest or deacon also present.) However, since your fiance is atheist, this cannot apply.

Likewise, you could be married in the ceremony of a protestant church if there was sufficient reason. Good reasons are things like; one spouse wanting to get married with a pastor they have known for years or in a church they grew up in, or say that there would cause serious family problems to get married in a Catholic church.
Again, this doesn't apply to you.

The norm is that you are married in a Catholic ceremony, and the above mentioned examples should be very rare for Catholics. You, however, will need to be married in the "Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside of Mass." Even though your fiance is an atheist, he is still a baptized Christian and any marriage you two enter into would be a sacramental marriage.

You don't really have another option as a Catholic yourself; there is no "Church sanctioned" civil marriage ceremony.

I will, however, make sure to pray for the both of you and your upcoming wedding and future together! :)


As Domnall said, I don’t see how you would be able to get dispensation. You would need a serious reason. Having an atheist fiance isn’t a serious reason. :shrug:


Hey, I know you said no comment and I don’t mean to derail your topic…but do you mind if I ask you a question?
Because I am very interested in the psychology-emotional aspect of the situation, especially since we’ve seen many “mixed” marriages here on CAF and it is a topic of much discussion.

If you do mind, then please, disregard…and excuse me for asking :slight_smile:
If you don’t mind, then here goes:

If someone (you) feels very strongly about her religion–enough that you want to get married in a Catholic wedding and bring your children up in the religion…it doesn’t get in the way for you that your fiance doesn’t think a God exists?
And conversely, it doesn’t bother him that you follow a religion that he thinks is not real or true?

I ask because…I’m curious how you both get around your different beliefs about something that is so, so big and just stick to the very real fact that you love each other despite that difference.
The fact that you can is terrific and I commend you on it.
Love wins.
I was listening to a radio program last week about "believers’ married to “non-believers” and how they make it work, so it’s what made me want to ask you.



Go talk to your pastor.


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