Do I have an obligation to raise my children Catholic?

I know that as Catholic I have obligations and responsibilities. One of those is to educate my children in the faith of the Catholic Church. This is one of the issues I face with my girlfriend: she wants to do the same, but with her faith and beliefs with which she was raised. We want to be together but this important issue is dividing us. Will I sin or disobey the Church and God if we get married, have children, we let them grow, we let them know about the 2 faiths, and we let them decide by themselves whether they want to be Catholic or Evangelical (Pentecostal)?

Mixed marriages can be very difficult, especially when both parties are strong in their respective faiths. The Church recognizes this and, therefore, obligates the Catholic party to make certain promises. As a Catholic, if you enter into a mixed marriage you must promise to do all that you can to raise your children as Catholics.

Code of Canon Law states, “the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church” (CIC 1125.2).

Your future wife must also be informed of your promise: “the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party” (CIC 1125.3).

If you don’t believe you can fulfill your promise, you may want to reconsider the marriage.

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