Dating a Non-Catholic?


#1

In a previous topic, it was mentioned that a Catholic should not date a Non-Catholic.

I find this to be dumb, and almost to the point of offensive. My dad was a non-Catholic before marrying my mom. If you agree to raise your children Catholic, and your spouse is fine with you being Catholic, (which if he isn’t you probably wouldn’t want not marry them), then why is is bad to marry a Non-Catholic?


#2

There’s no need to be offended; notice his language. He said that it’s usually a bad idea, not that it always is one. And, usually, it is; there is nothing worse for the faith of a practicing Catholic than the influence of a non-Catholic significant other. Most of the time, it ends up badly, with the Catholic losing his/her faith and then ceasing to be a good Catholic example for his/her loved one.

It’s not always a bad idea, and oftentimes can be what leads the other person to the Church. In a roundabout way, that’s what happened to me and my wife; to be honest, we had it both ways. When we started getting close to each other, she was a Lutheran who was losing her faith and leaning towards paganism. I was still Catholic and practicing, but my faith was weakened after a personal disaster, and as she was led astray by some of her pagan friends, so she ended up leading me astray.

Fast forward a few years and each of us are fed up with paganism and its lack of meaning. We end up starting to rethink Christianity, and I of course begin to re-explore Catholicism, and lead her towards the Church (an easy task, as she had an old interest in it). So, as I returned to being Catholic, I led my non-Catholic wife to the Church - but when we first started out, the bad examples she was being taught ended up leading me away from the Church when I needed just the opposite. See what I mean?

Sure, most folks only go one way or the other, but in general, it’s always best to stick with one’s own - that ensures a smoother relationship as well as averting any possible leading-away of a Catholic from the Church.


#3

[quote="Redratfish, post:1, topic:200499"]
In a previous topic, it was mentioned that a Catholic should not date a Non-Catholic.

I find this to be dumb, and almost to the point of offensive. My dad was a non-Catholic before marrying my mom. If you agree to raise your children Catholic, and your spouse is fine with you being Catholic, (which if he isn't you probably wouldn't want not marry them), then why is is bad to marry a Non-Catholic?

[/quote]

While his view may be a bit overstated, he is correct that in many, and probably most, cases it isnt a good thing to marry outside the faith. This is because frequently there is conflict over how to raise the children but also conflict over the practice of the faith. Read through these threads here yourself for some evidence to my point. Ive seen many threads where women normally but also men complain that their spouse doesnt support them in their faith and refuses to have children or doesnt pray with them or doesnt actively raise their children as Catholic. Another reason why dating outside the faith is difficult is that other faith traditions and non-believers do not have the same teaching on divorce. While Catholics can turn out bad in marriage and also get divorced, there is a prudence in trying to find a Catholic that seems to have the same life goals and marriage values as well as religious philosophy.

It is possible to have a good marriage with a non-Catholic. However, in mixed marriages I have seen many times the kids, or at least some of them, catch onto the lack of belief of one parent and tend to choose sides as life goes on. Mixed marriages are tough in that the non-believer has to do more than just "agree to raise kids Catholic". He/she has to be active in going to church and teaching the faith. Kids tend to wonder why their mom/dad doesnt have to go and put up a fight about it. The "because I said so" routine only works for so long. I dont want to say there should never be mixed marriages but it is not easy and it frequently ends in hardship. You say it should be encouraged on the chance that the other spouse will convert with time. This is not true most of the time. I had a professor once who was Mormon. Some advice he gave in a class was that many people hope when they get married their spouse will change after but that they normally dont change or change for the bad. He said dont bank on your spouse changing. This is true in many ways and I think this is good advice for dealing with dating. Dont date outside the faith unless you are confident that the person you are dating is open to raising the kids Catholic and will be actively involved in the faith. In a way, some Catholics see it pointless to date outside the faith because you are taking a gamble that from the beginning is not likely to pay off.


#4

[quote="Redratfish, post:1, topic:200499"]
In a previous topic, it was mentioned that a Catholic should not date a Non-Catholic.

I find this to be dumb, and almost to the point of offensive. My dad was a non-Catholic before marrying my mom. If you agree to raise your children Catholic, and your spouse is fine with you being Catholic, (which if he isn't you probably wouldn't want not marry them), then why is is bad to marry a Non-Catholic?

[/quote]

I have to agree.

I am married to a non- Catholic; agreed our child(ren) would be raised Catholic. We're happy 13 years later.

My mom married my Southern Baptist dad who agreed kids would be raised Catholic. Married happily until my mom passed on their 46th wedding anniversary.

My grandpa married a Lutheran who agreed to raise kids Catholic. Married 60 plus years, happily.

Mixed marriages do work but you definitely have to agree what faith the kids will be brought up in.


#5

The Church takes this very serious. Mixed marriage is not to be encouraged.

A Catholic is forbidden from marrying a non-Catholic in canon law. It requires permission from the Bishop for a mixed marriage with a non-Catholic Christian and a dispensation to marry a non-baptized person.

Before giving this permission, the bishop must be assured that the Catholic will not be inhibited from practicing the faith nor in danger of defecting from the faith. And, the Catholic must promise to baptized and raise the children Catholic.

Lastly, this issue is so serious that numerous popes have written on the topic. See for example Casti Connubii, paragraphs 81-82 and Quas Vestro, and Matrimonia Mixta.


#6

Love transcends religions.

Religions believe things that contradict each other.

If the two can deal with that and have a plan, then I would not get in the way. If they had not closely examined what the religious differences consist of and how they plan to resolve them in their day-to-day lives, then I’d say they are probably not ready to make that commitment.

This is just how I feel about it, not intended to be in line with Church teachings – based purely on my speculation. I married a Catholic; that made things simple for me.

Alan


#7

A link to an old thread on the topic follows.

Would you date/marry a non-Catholic?
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=254407


#8

[quote="Redratfish, post:1, topic:200499"]
In a previous topic, it was mentioned that a Catholic should not date a Non-Catholic.

I find this to be dumb, and almost to the point of offensive. My dad was a non-Catholic before marrying my mom. If you agree to raise your children Catholic, and your spouse is fine with you being Catholic, (which if he isn't you probably wouldn't want not marry them), then why is is bad to marry a Non-Catholic?

[/quote]

You'd be surprised how ingrained the contraceptive mentality is among bible believing protestants. Virtually none get married without it.

That could pose a problem.


#9

just make sure that their religious beliefs to not conflict your own. when i was dating i don’t mind Protestants. what i do mind is this sect in the Philippines called the Iglesia ni Cristo, which does not allow inter-marriage and would force you to their religion. luring one out of their faith is near impossible because the ministers would employ emotional (and religious) blackmail on the family and the family in turn would apply the same pressure to the girl (or boy)

so if you’re faced with something like that, run away, fast
but otherwise, there are many other faiths who are open minded. just make sure that your beliefs will not lead to conflict and an unhappy marriage


#10

While there are always exceptions (I personally know a very devout Catholic woman who married a non-practicing Muslim, they are very happy, the kids are Catholic, and are in Catholic schools. Her husband took his pledge to raise the children Catholic VERY seriously), I think it is generally a bad idea to marry out of one’s faith.

The biggest problems I have seen personally are:

  1. People often think their religion isn’t that important to them – they were raised Anglican or Lutheran and are not really practicing – until the children come. It’s even true of many Catholics – they fall away and then when the babies come, they see the importance of their fatih and return. So although many people mean it when they say it’s OK to raise hypothetical kids as Catholic, they have a change of heart when faced with an actual baby!

  2. Problems with in-laws. All you have to do is read some threads here to see the difficulties faced by a Catholic with non-Catholic in-laws. They often face a lot of resistance and resentment. There is a recent thread by a CAF member who is pregnant and is already facing difficulties with a MIL who is refusing to attend her baby’s Catholic baptism. The baby hasn’t even arrived yet, and there are already major problems. :frowning:

  3. I think marriage is hard enough without this additional hurdle. Of course, there are plenty of problems that Catholic couples face, but I think if you are looking for a spouse and haven’t gotten serious with anyone, it might be better to look for a Catholic.


#11

My husband is ELCA. I am a cradle Catholic.

It has never been an issue for US (although I know couples who have had problems). As soon as I thought marriage was a possibility (we started dating in college years ago) I began bringing up religion in marriage as a discussion topic. We discussed where we would be married (Catholic Church), how potential children would be raised (Catholic), and the role of religion in the household (Bible studies would be Catholic).

It is not always an easy thing to discuss. People’s feelings get hurt. My husband took some time before we were engaged to speak with his Lutheran pastor (who happens to be married to a Catholic woman with all Catholic kids!) about how he could be the religious head of the household and raise his kids in another faith. The pastor said “Being the religious head of the household is so much more than the religion.” My husband took those words to heart.

He comes with me to Mass every week. We were married in the Catholic Church. Our baby who is due any day now will be raised Catholic as will all future children.

My husband does not have the disdain or hatred for the Catholic Church that some people have, so it makes it much easier. He prefers Catholic Mass to Lutheran service, and he loves the structure and Rome’s role. He just doesn’t always understand certain things like praying to saints & Mary or not letting priests marry.

I should also mention that he is firmly against artificial birth control, and we used NFP until we were ready to try for a baby.

It isn’t impossible to marry outside the faith, but you have to be ready & willing to have some very serious conversations that can get very emotional. Thankfully, we’ve both grown closer to God & each other through this examination, but there are still days after Mass where he’ll say “I don’t understand how you can pray to a saint!” :shrug: Usually it ends with us laughing and carrying on about where to go get brunch. We have learned to not get upset with each other when we don’t understand the intricacies of the other’s faith.

I should add that my MIL has a HUGE problem with me being Catholic. The other side of that is that my very devout Catholic parents have no problem with my husband being Lutheran. Unlike my MIL, my husband has NO problem with the Catholic Church. My MIL just doesn’t understand Catholicism so she doesn’t like it. She has a lot of misconceptions.


#12

Or it could come in mighty handy. :whistle:


#13

Uh, by definition a non-Catholic’s religious beliefs conflict with Catholic beliefs. Which is the heart of the issue with mixed marriages.


#14

Everyone has pretty much said everything that I would have.

Let me add my own 2 cents. For me, I wont ever date a non-Christian. If she is Christian, then I would consider it (weigh it all up, ya know? She would have to be open to converting I guess), but 'secular' not a chance. Never again. In fact, even if she was Catholic by baptism but secular by thought and action I would have to think twice. I'll tell you why, and why sometimes we can have the pleasure of sitting back and believing dating someone outside the faith is okay until it gets to the point that its not.

I dated a secular girl. In fact, she was a New Ager, really. Crystals, Angels cards, lighting candles to the "power". All that. The first few months are okay, in fact they are great. Of course! I thought, "pshht, non-Catholic whatever she's cool!". But then...

Things start to pop up. Their views on sex, sexuality, modesty, abortion, religion, God, Jesus, love, what is appropriate. All these things are different than yours. And these are some big things. BIG things. But the problem is that, you are so far into the relationship that you become torn, well I did anyway. I loved the girl, but I knew it was never gonna work. And, it didn't work. It wont ever work. If you're Catholic, it just doesn't work with a secular person in this day and age AND/OR unless they have been brought up with "Catholic" values but just aren't Catholic. Otherwise, hey in my experience it just causes a ton of pain suffering and a tough lesson to learn!


#15

I tell my kids all the time not to date a non-catholic. Does that mean that non-catholics are bad? no. Does that mean that mixed marriages never work? no. But it is a matter of odds and expectations. My sister married a non-catholic and he was willing to practise NFP, let her take the kdis to mass, go with her often, etc. He is a great guy. Most non-catholics that I know of would not be so accomidating. And even that is not ideal, their boys will always see religion as a "woman thing". And are not spouses supposed to be focused on helping each other get to heaven? This will work better with a good catholic spouse.
Date a good catholic so you end up marrying a good catholic. Easy rule-of-thumb. Stick to it.


#16

Actually, this isn’t true, simply because of the shocking number of people (both Catholic and not, I am afraid) who are raised without* any* beliefs, or who abandon whatever beliefs their parents tried to instill. Some are simply not taught any religious facts at all. I had a friend, a baptised Catholic, who had to tell a date asked about his faith that he’d need to ask his mom and get back to her!! His mother was shocked that he didn’t know, but he defended himself by pointing out that he hadn’t taken her to church since the family moved to a new town when he was five or six. He never made his First Communion, and he didn’t have even a rudimentary knowledge of the persons in the Bible. His utter lack of religious knowledge shocked me, but it shouldn’t have shocked his mom.

It is true that it is important to date only those who facilitate the exercise of your faith. Usually, that means Catholics only, but not always. What people don’t realize is that it rules out an awful lot of Catholics, too. I would hate to try to raise kids Catholic with a lukewarm or religiously-bitter spouse as “help.”

I married a non-Catholic, but he has always gone to Mass with me and has always wanted our children to have what he didn’t get: a religious education and upbringing. He hasn’t converted yet, but he teaches our boys not “this is what the Church teaches” but “this is the truth.”


#17

First off, I have a few question:

1, Remember that I am talking about dating. As in highschool dating.

2 after reading some of these posts, here and on a previous topic, people mentioned it was against Church teaching to marry a Non- Catholic. Can someone point this out to me in the Catechism?

3 , "You'd be surprised how ingrained the contraceptive mentality is among bible believing protestants. Virtually none get married without it.

That could pose a problem." Quote from graceandglory.

I find this to be a HUGE blanket statement. My father, even before he converted was taught against contraception. He was taught that the Bible teaches that messing with God's gift of life artificially was not right.

3 "Problems with in-laws. All you have to do is read some threads here to see the difficulties faced by a Catholic with non-Catholic in-laws. They often face a lot of resistance and resentment. There is a recent thread by a CAF member who is pregnant and is already facing difficulties with a MIL who is refusing to attend her baby's Catholic baptism. The baby hasn't even arrived yet, and there are already major problems. " -Quote from StJudePray4Me

Yes, there can be problems with in laws, my dad's own brother talks to him about the Catholic faith. However, that is why it is important to meet the parents and have an actual discussion with them on faith. Not so much as to convert them, but to see where they stand on your faith. Obviously if they don't even want you in their house, chances are you do not want to date this person, because they might harbor the same feelings.

4 "I tell my kids all the time not to date a non-catholic. Does that mean that non-catholics are bad? no. Does that mean that mixed marriages never work? no. But it is a matter of odds and expectations. My sister married a non-catholic and he was willing to practise NFP, let her take the kdis to mass, go with her often, etc. He is a great guy. Most non-catholics that I know of would not be so accomidating. And even that is not ideal, their boys will always see religion as a "woman thing". And are not spouses supposed to be focused on helping each other get to heaven? This will work better with a good catholic spouse. _quote from tafan

Most non-catholic you know of would not be so accomidating? I don't know where you live, but here in Texas, most (with the exception of 2) of my non-catholic friends (and there are a lot of them in the Bible belt) do not believe in artificial birth control, would be open to discussion about which faith to raise kids.

From what I can understand, most people on this topic are worried that their date would be against their religion, so the Catholic might lose their faith. Obviously you guys don't feel the same I do. I find that when confronted by others on my faith, it is an oppurtunity to grow, and teach others about my faith. If I did not see, and get to know other Christians, what is the point of being Catholic? I would have no reason to believe as I do. I can also tell most of you come from both parents are Catholic marriages. Like I said before, my dad was fundamentalist before he converted to Catholicism soon after the wedding. However, his faith did not stop my mom from loving him. They set perimeters, talked about difficult issues, and communicated. Sure, its not as easy as dating a Catholic, but it sure as heck isn't bad.


#18

[quote="Redratfish, post:17, topic:200499"]
First off, I have a few question:

1, Remember that I am talking about dating. As in highschool dating.

[/quote]

ALL dating should be discerning marriage. If you are not looking for a potential marriage partner, then you should not be dating. As in serious. Hang out together, OK sure, but not dating.

[quote="Redratfish, post:17, topic:200499"]
#2 after reading some of these posts, here and on a previous topic, people mentioned it was against Church teaching to marry a Non- Catholic. Can someone point this out to me in the Catechism?

[/quote]

It's actually against Canon Law. Canon 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.

[quote="Redratfish, post:17, topic:200499"]

3 , "You'd be surprised how ingrained the contraceptive mentality is among bible believing protestants. Virtually none get married without it.

That could pose a problem." Quote from graceandglory.

I find this to be a HUGE blanket statement. My father, even before he converted was taught against contraception. He was taught that the Bible teaches that messing with God's gift of life artificially was not right.

[/quote]

How old are you? Your dad? Just curious because this is pretty uncommon. Most protestant denominations USED to teach that contraception is sinful, but that is not the case now.

[quote="Redratfish, post:17, topic:200499"]

4 "I tell my kids all the time not to date a non-catholic. Does that mean that non-catholics are bad? no. Does that mean that mixed marriages never work? no. But it is a matter of odds and expectations. My sister married a non-catholic and he was willing to practise NFP, let her take the kdis to mass, go with her often, etc. He is a great guy. Most non-catholics that I know of would not be so accomidating. And even that is not ideal, their boys will always see religion as a "woman thing". And are not spouses supposed to be focused on helping each other get to heaven? This will work better with a good catholic spouse. _quote from tafan

Most non-catholic you know of would not be so accomidating? I don't know where you live, but here in Texas, most (with the exception of 2) of my non-catholic friends (and there are a lot of them in the Bible belt) do not believe in artificial birth control, would be open to discussion about which faith to raise kids.

[/quote]

I think, like an earlier poster said, this is something people are fine with discussing before there are actual children. But often you hear of people who's spouses decided after they had kids that they were not OK with raising the kids Catholic after all. And this may not be due to lying per se, but more about not realizing how important it can become when you have ACTUAL kids.

[quote="Redratfish, post:17, topic:200499"]
From what I can understand, most people on this topic are worried that their date would be against their religion, so the Catholic might lose their faith. Obviously you guys don't feel the same I do. I find that when confronted by others on my faith, it is an oppurtunity to grow, and teach others about my faith. If I did not see, and get to know other Christians, what is the point of being Catholic? I would have no reason to believe as I do. I can also tell most of you come from both parents are Catholic marriages. Like I said before, my dad was fundamentalist before he converted to Catholicism soon after the wedding. However, his faith did not stop my mom from loving him. They set perimeters, talked about difficult issues, and communicated. Sure, its not as easy as dating a Catholic, but it sure as heck isn't bad.

[/quote]

It's not so much about a date, or "dating" how you mean it. When most people you come across on this forum are talking about "dating" they mean discerning marriage. That is very different than casual dating that is so common these days. I think that all those that have replied so far are not against discussing their faith. But if you have those constant attacks, it is hard not to get down trodden about it. It seems as though your dad converted fairly early in the marriage, maybe he was more open than many are.


#19

[quote="Jea9, post:18, topic:200499"]
ALL dating should be discerning marriage. If you are not looking for a potential marriage partner, then you should not be dating. As in serious. Hang out together, OK sure, but not dating.

It's actually against Canon Law. Canon 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.

How old are you? Your dad? Just curious because this is pretty uncommon. Most protestant denominations USED to teach that contraception is sinful, but that is not the case now.

I think, like an earlier poster said, this is something people are fine with discussing before there are actual children. But often you hear of people who's spouses decided after they had kids that they were not OK with raising the kids Catholic after all. And this may not be due to lying per se, but more about not realizing how important it can become when you have ACTUAL kids.

It's not so much about a date, or "dating" how you mean it. When most people you come across on this forum are talking about "dating" they mean discerning marriage. That is very different than casual dating that is so common these days. I think that all those that have replied so far are not against discussing their faith. But if you have those constant attacks, it is hard not to get down trodden about it. It seems as though your dad converted fairly early in the marriage, maybe he was more open than many are.

[/quote]

First I want to thank you for responding, I was worried my long post would scare people off.

So I should call what i'm talking about "hanging out with my girlfriend"? Or do you mean just in the context of this forum?

Thank you for the quote. I wasn't able to find it online, or looking through the catechism quickly.

16, My dad is 56. He married my mom when he was 24. Would this have fit into the time frame you mentioned? If not, I know that my grandmother is very conservative, and taught him against it herself.

I guess I don't know much about this because it worked out for me.

I guess it would be difficult after many years. I guess since I talk with my friends so much about faith, it doesn't bother me as much.

Thanks for responding


#20

[quote="Redratfish, post:19, topic:200499"]
First I want to thank you for responding, I was worried my long post would scare people off.

So I should call what i'm talking about "hanging out with my girlfriend"? Or do you mean just in the context of this forum?

[/quote]

I think you can call it what you want, but I think most people here would agree that dating is for discerning marriage. If you have no intent to marry this girl then what is the point of dating? Does that make sense?

[quote="Redratfish, post:19, topic:200499"]
Thank you for the quote. I wasn't able to find it online, or looking through the catechism quickly.

[/quote]

No problem!

[quote="Redratfish, post:19, topic:200499"]
16, My dad is 56. He married my mom when he was 24. Would this have fit into the time frame you mentioned? If not, I know that my grandmother is very conservative, and taught him against it herself.

[/quote]

I'm really not sure, but I doubt it actually. They may just be some of the protestants who surprise you, it happens from time to time. ;)

[quote="Redratfish, post:19, topic:200499"]
I guess I don't know much about this because it worked out for me.

I guess it would be difficult after many years. I guess since I talk with my friends so much about faith, it doesn't bother me as much.

Thanks for responding

[/quote]

Well, I think that we all take our own experiences and use them to form our opinions. Sometimes to the exclusion of other people's experiences and opinions. Just because it has worked out for you does not mean that this is the majority of how these types of relationships work; likewise when people are giving their experiences they are not saying that it NEVER works out. And, since I don't know anyone in this situation I can't add my own experiences; but, based on the numerous threads that you see here, and in the Moral Theology/Liturgy and Sacraments sections where people are dealing with these problems, I'd say it's more common than you think.


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