Dear wife and I discussed this thread, and she…well…this is the type of thing she likes to research. So I’ve copied some of her e-mail below:
*According to the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the case of mixed religion was an impediment to marriage. Before the Sacrament of Marriage could be administered, the impediment had to be dispensed with. A dispensation was granted rarely and only in individual cases when the dispensation granted would bring about a lesser evil than the thing to be avoided. Prior to the 20th century, usually the only dispensations that were granted were due to degree of bloodline–marriages between cousins or distant relatives. In the 20th century, dispensations were granted purely on the whims of the priest involved.
According to the law, a dispensation is viewed negatively. It is literally a setting aside of the law in a certain circumstance. The Church recognized the error of this and such dispensations were granted rarely. The Code of Canon Law of 1983 has done away with the term “dispensation.” A dispensation is no longer required to enter into a mixed marriage. Under the revised code, mixed marriages require permission, not dispensation. According the law, permission involves something that is favorable but might contain risks. Permission is given if the parties involved attempt to minimize the risks involved. In this way, the Church views mixed marriages favorably but with risks–and if those risks are removed or minimized in some way or at least some effort is made in that direction, then permission is granted.
Prior to 1970, a Catholic could marry a baptized non-Catholic at a Catholic Church. BUT they could not be married “on the altar” and no Nuptial Mass was offered. More often they were married in the vestibule or another room in the Church. If there was no room available, the couple were married in the Church but in the aisle near the 2nd pew. The non-Catholic had to take a class and sign a document in many cases stating that they understood marriage, recognized that children were a product of said marriage, and that all children would be baptized and raised Catholic.
Under current law, the same couple can have a Nuptial Mass. There are no altars, so this is a non-issue. The couple has to take a class (6 weeks) and no official commitments have to be made. The revised code has done away with the requirement that the Catholic spouse have “moral certainty” that the above promises regarding the marriage would be fulfilled.
Regarding the children, the 1917 code required that all the children be raised Catholic. No provision could be made to raise some children as Catholics and the others as "Episcopal/Baptist/Lutheran, nor could they be baptized in both faiths, nor could they not be baptized until “they could choose for themselves.” This was simply prohibited. If the guarantee could not be made, the dispensation could not be given. Under the current law, the Catholic spouse must agree to do “all that is possible” to ensure that this happens. Permission can still be granted even if it is foreseen that the the non-Catholic spouse will not allow this to happen. As long as the Catholic spouse gives a “good example” at home, then permission will be granted.
According to the Law of 1917, a dispensation had to come from the Holy See. Under the revised law, the episcopal conference determines under what conditions permission can be granted. They can require marriage prep for 6 weeks or 2 weeks. Or nothing.
I checked my 1962 Missal. There is no specific reference under examination of conscience regarding marrying people of differing religions. However, under the 1st Commandment, going to places of worship of other denominations is listed. There are other publishers of 1962 Missals and it may be in one of those.*
Earlier, I cited the 1962 Missal. I know that I read this in the examination of conscience, and I will check this coming Sunday if you are still interested.
For this, dear wife used as a reference for comparisons of *Canon Law: New commentary on the Code of Canon Law By John P. Beal, James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green
As for the person who said their Catholic school’s religious education was provided by a Lutheran, I have only to say, “Wow!” Have you ever heard of meta-communication? It starts with the idea that most of what we communicate is not through verbal communication but through non-verbals. This goes on to what the listener actually hears versus the words that were really said. An example relevant to yours would be a parent who tells his children not to smoke cigarettes as he lights one up himself. If your Lutheran teacher is competent, he merely communicates that he understands Catholic doctrine, but rejects it nonetheless. What kind of example does that set for the children? If your Lutheran teacher is incompetent, then the children receive poor religious instruction. Either way, the children do not get a genuine Catholic message. In my opinion, it would be better if your Lutheran teacher were incompetent.
Back to my original thread. My friend’s wife received a Catholic education, K-16. He in fact, though a Lutheran, received a Catholic education, K-6. They were married in the Catholic church. It is a mutual decision for their children not to be educated in the Catholic church, but primarily hers to not have the children baptized. I am quite sure she is a competent teacher, and frankly a really nice person. Far nicer than I am, in fact. But how is it possible that she is remiss on such a fundamental teaching of the Catholic church, “new” or “old”? And how is it possible that the principal/priest overlook such a basic and important issue?