Catholic man Marry Christian woman


Hello all! I’m catholic and have been going out with a baptized Christian woman (by the way acts more catholic than most catholic woman I know) and we are really serious and plan on getting married after college in two years. She has been going to church with me almost every Sunday. We have talked in depth about marriage and she would raise our family catholic and also agrees to put them through private school. She wants to get married in her church by her pastor though and it’s a good Christian church but I know to make it a official catholic marriage you need the bishops approval and a catholic priest present correct? I just need some advice. I was just wondering if you guys have any input or supporting ideas for us to make this a successful happy marriage!


Best advice is to speak to your priest, and find out if you can get a dispensation from canonical form.

Marrying a non-Catholic Christian isn’t an issue if there are no impediments (such as a prior marriage for either of you); I married an Anglican woman. We were married in a civil marriage and later, after returning to the Church, had our marriage convalidated in the Church.

However the only person who can give you accurate advice is your priest, with all your particular facts before him.


If you need advice on marriage, the place to start is with an appointment with your pastor. You and she will need to complete premarital preparation in the Catholic Church.

Yes, you can receive a dispensation from form in order for the wedding to be in her church. It is common, but not required or necessary, that the priest or deacon of the Catholic party attend the cermony when the Catholic is dispensed from form.

Go talk to your pastor.


Thanks all for the advice! My next step was to talk to my pastor. Thanks!


First of all, if you go to speak with your Priest and a woman enters the room, shake her hand and leave quickly, you have been misinformed about which religion she teaches.


She refers to the OP’s fiancee. He and she will need to complete premarital preparation in the Catholic Church.


You will have to check but apparently in some cases it might also be possible to have an ecumenical ceremony where both ministers are present. I don’t know how it would work, but it might be worth while asking your priest about as well.


(of course to note for some readers …what is meant is a Christian man marrying a Christian woman who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church but is of course still Christian).


I am just throwing this out here for thought…

If she does not want to get married in the Catholic Church because her own pastor and church means a lot to her, how can you really know that she can raise your children Catholic? What if she wants the children to follow the teachings of her pastor? What if she wants them baptized by her pastor? What if she wants them to go to her church’s youth group?


That depends upon what you mean by “ecumenical ceremony”. Either the Catholic is married in Catholic form or is dispensed from it.

Can. 1127 §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.

If in Catholic form, the Catholic priest or deacon conducts the marriage rite and receives the exchange of consent and vows. The non-Catholic minister is a lay person who is simply a witness like any other. They cannot participate in any ministerial capacity. They can do a reading (if the Bishop allows such) during the ceremony or say a prayer at the reception.

If dispensed from form, the non-Catholic minister receives the vows and exchange of consent. The Catholic priest or deacon is simply a witness like everyone else. They can read a reading, say a prayer, give a blessing, but cannot conduct any sort of marriage rite nor in any way appear to be “con-celebrating”.


That was my concern when I met the love of my life. She attends Calvary Chapel, a non-denomination church. I am born, devout Catholic. Both of us are devoted to our church and LOVE GOD. I’ve been reassured that my Catholic faith enabled me and my wife to get married in the catholic church. 12 years later we are still in love with each other and continue to respect each other’s religion.


Is she agreeable to bringing up any children you may have in the Catholic faith?


Good question. However, we got married in the later stages of life. I was 44, she was 52. She had children (all adults) from her previous marriage. She was able to get her previous marriage anulled enabling me and her to be married in my catholic parish.

I can only say if we had children of our own, both of us would have worked out a plan to teach our children about GOD without compromising our different beliefs. For my part, I would emphasize the role of Mother Mary played and we do NOT worship her. I would have talked to the priest if my children wanted to attend both churches. Her church, Calvary Chapel are very loving people. They helped my wife in so many ways, so it would be hard to discourage my children if they wanted to attend church with mom instead of me.

I apologize for not providing much insight to your question. I can say me and my wife would first teach our children to LOVE GOD. Whether they wanted to attend my catholic parish or calvary chapel, mom and dad would respect their decision.


Agreed. Red flags here.


I find it interesting that you capitalize “Christian” and not “catholic.” I also find it interesting that you did not mention which Protestant fellowship your girlfriend attends.


“Calvary Chapel” is most certainly a Protestant denomination, even if the brand you attend consists of only your local fellowship Unlike some other Protestant denominations, “Calvary Chapel” fellowships can be fairly anti-Catholic too.

I’m also intrigued that you capitalize “Calvary Chapel” and not “catholic church.”


Apologize for not passing CAF 101:shrug::shrug:


Yep, big red flag here. She feels a strong emotional connection to have the wedding in her church. I can GUARANTEE you that emotional response is going to be infinitely more intense when you are discussing your children, and where they will be baptized, and how they will be raised. It is one thing to say you will raise them Catholic, but when push comes to shove…


That’s also my thoughts as soon as I finished reading the original post.

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