Dating and Religion


#1

I'm just trying to understand something; basically, I am trying to reconcile my views with the general sentiment of the Church.

I am of the opinion that Catholics should not date non-Catholics. I think this because if Catholicism is at the foundation of a person's identity (as it should be), then I don't think they should date someone who does not share that foundation. I mean, obviously you want to look at how good of a spouse some person would be. And if they are non-Catholic... well, wouldn't run into a whoooole lot of problems? If Catholicism is at the heart of your identity, how can you build a strong relationship with someone who does not share your most important value? I'm just imagining that someone you love has died and you are praying fervently for their soul, but then you turn to your spouse, and they can give you no support because they don't believe in that.

Anyway, the reason I am having a small intellectual conflict is because the Church teaches, of course, that Catholics can marry anybody, and they don't discourage marrying non-Catholics. Why is that? I'm not challenging it, I just want to understand it so that I can have a more informed opinion; one that is guided by Church teachings.

Church documents, etc. appreciated!

Thanks!:thumbsup:

God bless,
Koopa


#2

As far as I know, the Catholic Church doesn't encourage Catholics marrying non-Catholics, there are plenty of warnings against it. And according to the Church, if you are dating, you should be discerning marriage with that person. So putting 1 and 1 together, then you should date Catholics.

Easier said than done! Lol. Finding a decent Catholic is like finding a needle in a field of haystacks, while that field is being taken over by cows. For example, I live in the Seattle area, and my boyfriend lives in Scotland. Ultimate long distance!


#3

I agree with all the reasons you cited for not marrying a non-Catholic.

Nevertheless, many Catholics do date and marry non-Catholics, and the Church accepts this as a reality and addresses it specifically as a lecit option.

The Church doesn’t discourage marrying non-Catholics, but every document I’ve read on the subject, pastoral and canonical, expresses reservations and imposes conditions. The intention is not to prevent such unions, but to assist the spouses, and the children, to have a fruitful marriage, in the face of forseeable problems.

CCC 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.

A particular situation where I would advice against marrying a non-Catholic is where the non-Catholic has a strong anti-Catholic sentiment. This may be theological, as in “The bible clearly says no to infant baptism”, or cultural, in that many apparently ecumenical Christians actually have a contemptious attitude to the Catholic church. They may be optimistic about these differences while they are in love and sharing their hearts and plans, but they won’t be so cheerful when the time comes to baptise their first precious child, or get the children ready for mass.


#4

[quote="Koopa, post:1, topic:205366"]
Anyway, the reason I am having a small intellectual conflict is because the Church teaches, of course, that Catholics can marry anybody, and they don't discourage marrying non-Catholics.

[/quote]

Actually. This is not true.

A Catholic is prohibited by Canon Law from marrying a non-Catholic. They must obtain permission for a mixed marriage. Lack of baptism is an impediment to valid marriage. It requires dispensation. Neither are to be granted unless the Catholic can demonstrate they are in no danger of defecting from the faith, promise to raise their children as Catholics, and both parties understand the essential properties of marriage.

The Church discourages mixed marriage. Unfortunately, there are many priests who do not adequately catechize their parishioner or actively discourage it in their pastoral capacity.

I suggest you read these papal documents:

papalencyclicals.net/Greg16/g16summo.htm

papalencyclicals.net/Greg16/g16quasv.htm

vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121930_casti-connubii_en.html (paragraphs 82-84)

catholicdoors.com/misc/marriage/mixed.htm


#5

The Church does actually officially discourage Catholics marrying non-Catholics not as much as she used to mainly due to people just ignoring her and also the cowardice of priests not wanting to offend anyone but it still requires a Bishop to give you a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic so I believe.


#6

If I hadn't dated a Catholic, I never would have become one. :)

My fiance didn't care if I actually became Catholic or not; we shared the same values and religious views, and I went to Mass with him often. He also accompanied me to several social functions at my church.

I'd say it depends on the people involved. Some people are just more laid-back. :cool:

Miz


#7

[quote="Miserys_Fence, post:6, topic:205366"]
I'd say it depends on the people involved. Some people are just more laid-back

[/quote]

Hey, please don't lighten the tone here - this is a serious topic!

:extrahappy:


#8

But I seriously did become Catholic!

Miz


#9

And if I, a cradle Catholic, hadn’t dated an Eastern Orthodox woman, I never would have learned to appreciate the fullness of truth found in the Catholic Church. :blush: :smiley:


#10

Hmmm . . . All I can offer is personal experience. I am currently dating a non-baptized (and of course non-Catholic) girl whose parent (they divorced and she lives with her mom and two brothers) is rather anti-Catholic, not extremely so, but still. Thus, one might say that this is one of the worst relationships a Catholic -- especially a new convert could be in. However, our relationship has brought my girlfriend into a recognition that 1) the Church is not as bad or wrong as her mom thinks, 2) she recognizes that she needs to be baptized, and 3) she has discovered that other than a few issues which she is struggling with (being communion with saints and the Marian doctrines), she believes all that the Church teaches. Thus, such a relationship MIGHT discover a new sheep lost in the valley. Again, this is just my personal experience.


#11

I am a Catholic woman and have been married forty five years to my Presbyterian husband.Some of the strongest marriages I know are mixed religion.It really bothers me when people not in our situation feel free to criticize us .some of our most vehement opposer's at the start of our marriage married their"own kind"and are now on their second and third "relationships' ,,,, there has to be respect, attraction ,and chemistry to keep a couple together ,same religion is not the only reason,how do you know God didn;t want us to be together ? walk a mile in someone else,s shoes?


#12

The Church does discourage it.

As a Catholic in a mixed marriage (to an Episcopalian-baptized turned Agnostic), I am the last person to tell someone that marrying a non-Catholic is wrong. But I will be the first to tell you that you that it is not something to take lightly. If your marriage is strong, it’s not because your marriage is mixed but rather because God gave you and your spouse the necessary gifts to be strong in spite of it. One should not assume 1.) that your tolerance for each other will keep your marriage strong through the years and 2.) that your spouse will eventually convert. Love can conquer all but no one promised it would be easy.

The Catholic Church has these rules, not because they want to make people miserable, but to protect people. People can, and quite a few do, get hurt when they enter these mixed relationships. So it’s important to keep things in perspective and do not underestimate just how serious this can be.

But everyone has their own story. Interfaith marriages, though difficult, don’t always end up with regret (remember people tend to tell, and focus on, the negative stories more than the positive). For some people it’s a source of great loneliness when they’ve worshiped alone for years. For others it can be a great blessing when a spouse is welcomed into the Church. Because of that I think the Church is also wise in giving some interfaith couples permission to marry rather than banning it no exceptions. These marriages can also bear good fruit.

All marriages get tested sooner or later. Since we’re mixed, one of our tests is blatantly obvious. But on the other hand, we don’t really struggle at all when it comes to less obvious things like NFP or finances or even frank communication. Catholic marriages are not immune to such testing.

And based in my own personal experience…I’m more deeply rooted in my faith (intellectually and spiritually) now than I was before marrying my husband. I can definitely say that without hesitation. I’m happy and grateful to have him in my life…but that’s another topic and another post.


#13

Interesting thread, I have always wondered...

We aren't really supposed to marry or date non-Catholics. But what if God put this girl/boy in our path, that we do date them, and they possibly convert. Or whatever. Know what I mean? I am struggling with this at the moment as I become interested in a non-Catholic girl; the only thing holding me back is that she isn't Catholic, but I know it will be at least a good few years before I am in a place where there is a strong Catholic community and I can meet any Catholic girls. But then I think well, be patient, God knows what you want, just wait. But then I think, what if the non-Catholic is what God wants? Its like a vicious circle :p


#14

i don’t think any marriage should be taken lightly.and yes there have been times through the years I have felt lonely in my faith but then I have Catholic friends and the man is an alcoholic and she is so lonely also all the time , so many outside influences can test a marriage especially long term , kids teenagers ,jobs security ,life in general isn,t always a bed of roses no matter what religion you follow ,I have been fortunate my husband is very accommodating of my faith,if it means anything I emigrated from Scotland to Canada as did many of my friends because of the intolerance and hostility of of family and friends when we married ,to some of them it was as if we had already been sent to hell ,strangely enough we,re all still married and a lot of the naysayers hit the bricks years ago :thumbsup::thumbsup:


#15

[quote="jamanne, post:11, topic:205366"]
I am a Catholic woman and have been married forty five years to my Presbyterian husband.Some of the strongest marriages I know are mixed religion.It really bothers me when people not in our situation feel free to criticize us .some of our most vehement opposer's at the start of our marriage married their"own kind"and are now on their second and third "relationships' ,,,, there has to be respect, attraction ,and chemistry to keep a couple together ,same religion is not the only reason,how do you know God didn;t want us to be together ? walk a mile in someone else,s shoes?

[/quote]

I agree that such marriages can be strong. I am in one as well. However, there have been times when I realized that it would have been much more meaningful to be able to share the joys of Catholicism with my husband. I think Catholics marrying Catholics is preferable, but that is not to say that a "mixed" marriage can't work.


#16

I’ve found Catholic guys to be the same as non catholic guys. It’s finding someone that puts Christ first instead of the secular world and it’s values…now that’s the hard part. I’m sure this problem is the same for the guys as well.


#17

I told myself that I wouldn’t date a non-Catholic because I didn’t want the added stress that it would inevitably happen. In the case with my parents, when they married both of them were protestant but when I became a Catholic in 1999, my dad started to study the faith and he came into the Church in 2001. Ever since then, my parents have clashed. There have been arguments and sadly they have drifted apart. I didn’t want that.

I understand that it can work but I also believe it must be harder as well. Granted, just because somebody is Catholic doesn’t mean it is easier. Oftentimes it is not and I agree that when looking for a spouse, there must be more than just the Faith there. I learned that lesson years ago. It acts as a foundation for a marriage and it is very, very important but there are also other things that are important as well: work ethic, sense of humor, honor, honesty, their personality, etc.


#18

Koopa, I agree with your views about finding a Catholic partner because Catholicism is the heart of who you are.

However, let me just give you my bit of experience.

I met a man in high school and we began dating. In the course of our relationship, we began attending church together. On Saturday evenings, I attended Mass with his family, and on Sunday mornings, he attended services at my Baptist church. Because of my exposure to the Mass and the Church with his family, I was moved to come into full communion with the Church.

I broke up with that man, but while in RCIA in college, I attended Newman Club meetings. It was at one of those meetings I met my husband.

If my high school boyfriend had not been open to dating a non-Catholic, I might never have joined the Church.

Now, I'm not using this to say it's the responsibility of Catholic youth to use dating as an impetus for evangelization, but I think that, in certain instances, dating a non-Catholic can turn out to be a very good thing.


#19

[quote="Sierrah, post:16, topic:205366"]
I've found Catholic guys to be the same as non catholic guys. It's finding someone that puts Christ first instead of the secular world and it's values....now that's the hard part. I'm sure this problem is the same for the guys as well.

[/quote]

Bing bing bing! Winner winner chicken dinner. For hot (instead of luke-warm :D) Catholics, finding someone single and like this = near impossible anyway, but add to that personal circumstances and you've got yourself a pretty non-existent selection. All things possible through God though :)

What I find personally most hard to find is someone who values Catholic/Christian morality/values/lifestyle/thinking over the secular. Nobody out there I have come across is like that. I know 1 other guy in my situation. 1. In all my years and in all 3 countries ive lived in in the past few years. Even my "religious" friends laugh at the idea of waiting for marriage, abortion being evil, modesty, not getting drunk, etc. It just aint fashionable to be a Catholic. Sad part is that I suspect most people bend to the will of the world so that they can find someone. Because hey, we are all so unsatisfied, so lonely with ourselves, so frightened of existing that we neeeeeeed someone else and we neeeeed to feel 'loved' ya know... I know I did it. And I regretted it. It's so true, we can't have two masters. Either you bend your knee at the alter of the World (and enjoy the quick, probably sinful delights) or the Altar of our Lord (and have patience, and delight in Jesus). My daddy told me from a young age, "Boy, the world is gonna call you, and the Lord is gonna call you, and you only have one ear to listen". A bit of a tangent but anyway.

Here is a quote from a Priest, I recently read it, and it explains what I am trying to say in a way (its a great quote) :D

"Sometimes it seems as if we do everything possible to avoid the painful confrontation with our basic human loneliness, and allow ourselves to be trapped by false gods promising immediate satisfaction and quick relief. But perhaps the painful awareness of loneliness is an invitation to transcend our limitations and look beyond the boundaries of our existence. The awareness of loneliness might be a gift we must protect and guard, because our loneliness reveals to us an inner emptiness that can be destructive when misunderstood, but filled with promise for him who can tolerate its sweet pain… We easily relate to our human world with devastating expectations. We ignore what we already know… that no love or friendship, no intimate embrace or tender kiss, no community, commune or collective, no man or woman, will ever be able to satisfy our desire to be released from our lonely condition. This truth is so disconcerting and painful that we are more prone to play games with our fantasies than to face the truth of our existence." Fr Henri Nouwen


#20

[quote="Koopa, post:1, topic:205366"]
I am of the opinion that Catholics should not date non-Catholics. I think this because if Catholicism is at the foundation of a person's identity (as it should be), then I don't think they should date someone who does not share that foundation.

[/quote]

I am inclined to feel the same. Nicely put.

I mean, obviously you want to look at how good of a spouse some person would be. And if they are non-Catholic... well, wouldn't run into a whoooole lot of problems?

Indeed. From issues relating to validity to "trivial" ones concerning certain aspects of child upbringing.

If Catholicism is at the heart of your identity, how can you build a strong relationship with someone who does not share your most important value?

That's difficult indeed, but in the end it all goes to God. That is, God first, the Church Catholic on earth second, there can be a community of life with someone who is not in the Catholich Church, externally, formally.

Anyway, the reason I am having a small intellectual conflict is because the Church teaches, of course, that Catholics can marry anybody, and they don't discourage marrying non-Catholics. Why is that? I'm not challenging it, I just want to understand it so that I can have a more informed opinion; one that is guided by Church teachings.

In fact, that is discouraged. St. Paul talked about unequal yoking (2 Cor., 6, 14), marriage with an unbaptised person without dispensation is invalid (Canon 1086, vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3Y.HTM) and with a baptised non-Catholic--prohibited without consent from the local ordinary (Can. 1124, vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P41.HTM). This is not exactly not discouraging from marrying non-Catholics. ;)


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