Catholic marrying non-Catholic

With this post, I’m mostly just testing the waters. I am Catholic, but without a real home parish. I love the Tridentine mass, and go whenever I can, but I usually attend a different mass at another parish with a different time. I consider the latin mass community my parish, and am registered as such (I think) but I do not know if it is proper to approach the priest there for marriage info. What I mean by this is that it is a small community, and he may recognize me, but does not know me by name. I am a little nervous at this, especially because everyone there is so hard core, I don’t want to cause a scandal or something by having a wedding there.

Anyway, I’m getting a little tangenty. I want to ask what is all involved when you approach your priest to get married. How do you even do that?! What classes do I/we attend, how do I obtain a dispensation? Yes, I am a practicing Catholic, though not perfect. No, he has not been baptized (we both though he had, as his older brothers are, but I just extremeness recently found out that around this time his mother had a falling out and probably baptized him in a bath tub. But she can’t remember. :shrug:) He is willing to convert, for me, and we have had many a long discussion about this. However, I believe that he must come of his own free will, not pressured as requirement to be married to me. I think that in time he will come around; in the mean time I will raise any children Catholic no matter what, which I have let him know, and which he has agreed to.

Thoughts, questions, concerns, helpful hints and guiding hands are all appreciated!



I also married a non-Catholic but he was baptized Episcopalian, currently Agnostic-ish, and has yet to convert to Catholicism so things may be slightly different.

But our experience was like this…

First we scheduled an appointment to meet with the priest through the parish office (he’ll be able to answer your questions better than I can). He got to know us and gave us a bunch of literature. If my parish we had to attend 2 marriage prep classes and the F.O.C.C.U.S. “test”. “Test” is a bad word for it though. You can’t really “fail” it but it does show you where your relationship may need some more work. You may discover things that you never thought to talk about before. One was your standard Pre-Cana and the other was called “God’s Plan For A Joy Filled Marriage”, which was more focused on the role of sexuality within marriage. A class on NFP was strongly encouraged but not mandatory. But we took it and have benefited greatly from it…especially regarding my own reproductive health.

As the ceremony grew closer, the priest requested a copy of the baptismal certificate from the church we were baptized in and not a copy of whatever one was in the house. They explained this as a safety measure to confirm neither of us were actually already married. Whenever you receive a Sacrament, the church where you were baptized is notified and a note is added to the certificate. So the copy in my possession wasn’t going to be good enough. It needed to come all the way from Florida (I live in New Jersey).

The priest asked us some questions to fill out the dispensation request form and he sent it out himself.

My parish ideally wanted to be made aware of weddings at least a year in advance. Yours could be different.

Meet with the pastor where you are registered. Marrige prep varies from Diocese to Diocese, so, we cannot give you exact answers.

You will need permission from your Bishop to marry a non-Christian. Your pastor or deacon will assist witht he paperwork.

Here is the Catechism section on mixed marriages, what you attempt is called a “Disparity of Cult” (bold added to key portions):

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. **But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. *Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise. ***

1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.** In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage. This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.**

1636 Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple’s obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them.
1637 In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: “For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband.” It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this “consecration” should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith. Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion.

Thanks kit! I was pretty much looking for other people’s experiences. I know that marriage prep varies, I’ve heard this before, but I like reading others stories before taking the plunge myself. :slight_smile:

We plan on marrying over a year from now-we are both still in school, and money is tight. The Latin mass parish is a poorer parish, but I’d like to get married there, though I still don’t know if it will cost too much for the priests stipend and renting the church and all of the other stuff. Obviously, I would cut out as much as I could, but I still worry. It’s almost impossible to be poor and marry legitimately with all the fees. :frowning: The parish bulletin says contact the priest six months prior to the date you want, but I will probably do it earlier.

Yes, do it as right away if you are engaged. It doesn’t make sense to worry about things you can easily find out about. So make that appointment and find out how much it really will cost and what your options are.

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