Deacon with non-catholic wife



I have recently been curious about the diaconate and have a few questions.

I am very happily married for almost 5 years now. My wife is not catholic but is supportive of my faith. I am mostly curious about how being a deacon would effect her. Would any deacons/decons wives be able to provide some insight?

Also, i guess it would be important to know; Am i even eligible to become a deacon if my wife is not catholic?

Thank you for your time.


I do not speak from experience, but the Deacon at my parish is married to a non-Catholic and he told me that he didn’t have any issues going through the process. Good luck with this journey.


Not a deacon, but here’s a relevant document:

b) Married

  1. “In the case of married men, care should be taken that only those are promoted to the diaconate who have lived as married men for a number of years and have shown themselves to be capable of running their own homes, and whose wives and children lead a truly Christian life and have good reputations”.(41)

Moreover. In addition to stability of family life, married candidates cannot be admitted unless “their wives not only consent, but also have the Christian moral character and attributes which will neither hinder their husbands’ ministry nor be out of keeping with it”.(42)

Based off of that, I’d say you may have a bit of a time with it, dependent on your diocese.

Similarly, applicants for priestly formation are asked for their parents’ marriage certificate and an attestation as to their marital status, although this isn’t always a disqualifier (I have had secondhand experience), so your mileage may vary. :shrug:

Also, you have to be 35 years old at minimum if married. :smiley:


We have about 99 deacons in my diocese. I am aware that at least two are married to Christian/Non-Catholic women. So . . . it is not prohibited. That being said, I am also aware of two men who applied for the diaconate recently and were not accepted, based they believe, on the fact that their wives are not Catholic. I know the deacon who oversees our diaconate program has said that he doesn’t see how a man could handle this vocation without the support of a Catholic wife.

The answer therefore is “it depends”.


I must ask whether that program director’s thoughts on this matter is based on evidence or on opinion. Of course I am biased on this issue: my mother was president of the women’s club at her Methodist church the year my father was ordained a deacon. She was very supportive of his vocation and ministry (she even sewed his dalmatics and stoles herself) and the bishop assigned my father to minister to other couples in mixed marriages.



I am in my third year of formation for the permanent diaconate and my wife is not Catholic. I am sure that there are differences between programs but I can say that there is no canonical reason to prevent you from being ordained with a non Catholic wife.

My wife is supportive which I feel is a big question to discern, and one that the program will discern about you. Your marriage and children (if any) must come first and those relationships must not be damaged by the time and energy you will spend and the growth you will undergo during formation.

In our program wives are expected to attend all classes for the first year (2 evenings a week) and occasional meetings through out each year of formation (4 years for us). This is a big commitment. Wives also have to submit a handwritten letter to the Bishop each year granting their husbands permission to join or continue in the program.

I am sure it is different for every couple but I can say that the program has been good for us and at the very least engendered many conversations which we would not have had otherwise. No one in the program has ever said anything negative about my having a non Catholic wife.

Feel free to PM me, I’d be pleased to help in any way. Blessings on your journey.


I would say its his opinion based on his observation of some evidence. I have seen, on the other hand, deacons with non-Catholic Christian wives serve admirably.


Evidently it is the case that there are some deacons with non-catholic wives out there. I simply cannot see how it is possible. If children are involved they are to be brought up Catholic.There are too many inconsistencies to mention here. My formation required Masters degree training in theology and during the course of those years (5 years total) my wife was expected to be there studying along side. We had many couples retreats that heavily involved Eucharistic themes including adoration. I can even think back to the day of Ordination where the newly ordained deacons became minister of the cup and the first person each of us offered the cup to was our wives. Holy orders including the deacon who is the sacramental sign of Christ the servant is present during Mass and communion as a sign of unity. The protestant wife sitting in the pew during communion is not a display of unity. As a cleric who is a relatively public figure in the parish and community I couldn’t imagine being married to someone who didn’t believe in the real presence of Christ body blood soul and divinity in the Eucharist. If they did believe this then its time to swim the tiber. but if not I simply see lack of unity of understanding the most important thing in salvation history.


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