Catholic marrying a Berean

I got engaged just over a year ago, right before I started graduate school school. However, we decided that it was best for us to wait until I finish school before getting married, so that when we actually do get married, we can start our married life together right away and not be living 4 hours apart from each other while I finish school. As of right now the plan is to get married in October of 2014.
I don’t want to rant, but I need some guidance. My fiance is Berean ( We have thoroughly discussed what religion we would be getting married (and what this would mean for our future children), and he had finally agreed to get married in the Catholic Church, as long as we do not do the Eucharistic Rite (he does not like how he and his family would be excluded from our communion, despite my attempts of explaining the reason to him), which I can live with if it makes him happy and our marriage would still be considered valid. It’s not like I’m telling him to convert to please me.
We were considering getting married in a Catholic church kind of in the middle of our two hometowns. However, when I called the parish to see if I could arrange a meeting time with the pastor, I found out that non-parish members essentially rent out the church for the wedding and must provide their own priest as none of them will perform the marriage. This was a bit discouraging to me as that was another reason I was opting to not have the wedding back home in my home parish (our priest tried to close our local church rather than help save it, which the parish community was able to save, but he is still stationed there). When I talked to the priest at the church we were considering he said he would allow one of their priests to do it, if it was okay with my parish preist, and that he would check and get back to me. Well he hasn’t gotten back to me and in the mean time, my fiance feels that they are essentially “refusing” to marry us (among his other discretions against the Church), and that he no longer agrees to getting married in the Catholic Church.
We have discussed this so thoroughly, but we continually agree to disagree. I love him very much, and we both feel that God brought us together, and that He has a plan for us – I don’t feel that separating would be the answer. I guess this whole rant is just to see if you have any suggestions on how we should approach this matter further, or if there is an option that we are missing (I’ve read about dispensation and convalidation, but I just don’t know much about them).
I don’t know how much you know about Bereans, but it is very Bible based Christian faith. Do you think it would be unfair or confusing to our future children if we exposed them to both, like alternate weekends for which church we would attend (going as a family is important to the both of us). He thinks that it would be confusing to the children, but I don’t think it necessarily would be, as they could learn about both faiths (and others) and then when they are old enough, they could make an informed decision. He thinks the best compromise is for us both to convert to different, but agreed upon, Christian faith, this way we are both changing and not just one of us is bending over backwards for the other. Anyways, in summary, I just want to know if you have any guidance to share with me.

Honey, you are barking up the wrong tree thinking you can marry a Berean and raise your children Catholic with one moment of peace in your household. It will just never end.

He is not comfortable inside a Catholic Church, is not comfortable with the Mass. Does your fiance clearly understand that raising children Catholic means: baptizing them as an infant in the CC. You and the children attending Mass at the CC every Sunday and Holy Day. Attending CC religious education. First Communion and Reconciliation around age 8 and Confirmation between about 8th and 12th grade.

You reallyl need to rethink this.

Regarding marriage-- Canon law gives jursidiction over you in this matter to your parish pastor. To marry elsewhere does require his permission. You need to start with your parish pastor, not a parish somewhere else. You have gone about this in the wrong way. One does not just pick any Catholic church and get married there. You need to do marriage preparation in your parish and marry in your parish with your pastor or his delegate unless he gives permission to do it elsewhere.

You have two issues here. A fiance hostile to the faith and a lack of understanding of your own obligations as a Catholic as it pertains to marriage.

I suggest you mak an appointment with your pastor to talk about your marriage. Put aside your feeling regarding the parish closing situation-- there may have been some very good reasons you are not aware of that went into the priest’s recommendation.

The larger problem as I see it is how you propose to marry someone who disagrees so fundamentally with your faith. This is a very unwise course.

Yes, you can get a dispensation from form to marry in his church. BUT you must still complete premarital preparation with your pastor and receive permission for mixed marriage and a dispensation from form from your bishop (through your pastor).

GO TALK TO YOUR PASTOR. I suggest you first talk to him without your fiance, explain your situation, and listen to his counsel.

Yes, it would be confusing for the children.

I wrote a whole long emotional reply to explain why what you suggest is actually a cruelty, but you can just take a look at my religious status update in my profile to maybe get an idea where I am coming from.

My parents were cordial about it all and so were their parents and families. It was still a very bad idea. And I say that I love and respect my parents very much.

Best to start your children off with one solid faith at the center of their lives. They can choose later if they want it or not, but you want a real solid faith for them to lean on while growing up and making decisions about how they should direct their lives… not just some really nice sayings and maxims to go by. It doesn’t work that way.

I want to ask you, do you really believe in your faith? Either decide to become a Berean like your husband or have him become Catholic… really believe that is. Don’t mix it up. Don’t be unequally yolked. Imagine how much of God’s work gets done when one steer wants to go one way and the other another way. Don’t make things harder on yourself… or your children or a husband of a another faith. From what I have heard marriage is hard enough.

I am sorry that you are in this predicament. I can only agree with the above posters - to marry this man you will be compromising your Catholic faith, and setting up a lifetime of marriage difficulties.

I married a woman who became Catholic shortly before we married, but had second thoughts very soon afterwards. Even though we agreed on most of the Catholic faith, the things we didn’t agree on became points of contention in our marriage, which just got worse and worse, and came between us - most seriously. One of the Catholic teachings she didn’t agree with was Sunday obligation. She felt that attending once or twice a month, when it was convenient, was good enough, and violently resisted any attempt on my part to attend every Sunday. Her attitude on this was not just laziness, but was “conscientious”, in that she believed that treating Mass as a a weekly obligation undervalued it, and that it was more Christian to attend by free choice. Thus our children were raised with the same attitude to Mass as her.

It is impossible for the practising Catholic to raise the children Catholic if the other partner actively resists - because otherwise you have a major fight every Sunday, every time you try to say prayers, etc.

When others have asked similar questions to yours in this forum, most of the advice has been similar to mine and 1ke’s, often with sad personal stories behind it.

e.g. Engaged to a non-believer

It’s very hard for you, I know, and you’ll be in my prayers.

~ Edmundus

I just want to bring out this point a bit more.

Don’t forget that your spouse has their own religious conviction and sentiments, and that these may well change over time. He may agree on some practical points for the moment, but in time his own convictions may be more important to him than any previous agreement, or maintaining peace in the marriage.

I know of a Catholic woman who married a non-Catholic, and they had a Catholic wedding. By the time the first child was to be baptised he had become fiercely opposed to infant baptism…

I agree. Why should he not, after marriage, use scripture to say that you are his wife and you must submit to him as unto God? That he is the head of of the family and of the wife, and therefore your children AND you cannot belong to the Catholic Church, the “whore of babylon”. Seriously.

Your fiance’s compromise sounds reasonable to him. If he’s in a bible-based church, then why not pick another bible-based church that shares a similar interpretation? But it’s very different for Catholics and he should understand why you are unable to meet him “in the middle” on this issue. Catholics believe that Christ founded one true Church and entrusted to her the deposit of faith. Only the Catholic Church has the Eucharist, the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. To leave it for the sake of compromise to one’s future husband would really be a great tragedy. It’s not a matter of forcing the other to do anything; it’s only a statement of faith that when one has found Christ in the Eucharist, one can not abandon him for any reason.

In order to get permission to marry a non-Catholic, your pastor will need to be reasonably sure that you’re not in danger of leaving the faith. Since you’ve discussed alternating weekends of Church attendance, I think your pastor will be worried that you won’t be taking your responsibility to attend Mass as seriously if you marry this young man. Catholics are required to attend Mass every Sunday and every Holy Day of Obligation. There are certain circumstances under which you may also attend a protestant service, but that would be in addition to your required Mass attendance and not in place of it.

I second the opinion that it is confusing to children to be exposed to two faiths. If neither faith is “right” why choose either? Also, how will you and your husband answer questions when they arise? Why can’t dad receive Communion at mom’s church? Why can’t mom receive communion at dad’s church? Who interprets the bible when there are disagreements over a meaning of the passage? Is it up to individual interpretation or can the Church guide us? Personally, I think marriage is hard enough without throwing conflicting messages about faith into the mix.

Pray about this. You have time. I think it is wise for you to wait to get married.

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