Healthy Disparity of Rite Marriages

I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on someone who was raised Catholic marrying someone who is Protestant. I have a pretty good feeling that, down the road, I will end up marrying a Protestant rather than a Catholic. I don’t have any individual in mind, but I have a very good feeling about this.

Is it possible for two people of different faiths to live peacefully together?

My husband (non-practicing cradle Protestant) and I (definitely practicing cradle Catholic-revert) have a pretty strong marriage. We’ve been married for a little more than four years now, and while we’ve had a few ups and downs, we’ve gone through a couple of “make or break” marriage issues and have come out on the other side as a stronger couple.

I think part of why faith hasn’t been an issue is because I presented it as a non-negotiable from the get-go. He knew that I came with Catholicism, a package deal, that we would be married in a Catholic church by a priest, and that if we were blessed with children, they would be baptized and raised in the Catholic church. He agreed to all of this and while he hasn’t converted (and doesn’t show much inclination to do so), he has developed a healthy respect for the Church and enjoys associating with the priests and other parishoners at our parish. He’s always been very supportive of my faith practices, never stands in the way when I want to go to Mass (he doesn’t always go), Confession, or something at church. He’s very happy not to use any form of birth control, sides with the Church on the issue of abortion, and agrees that IVF would be wrong and a waste of money that could be better spent on adoption (a hot topic as one of our “make or break” issues is ongoing infertility).

I don’t know how well this arrangement would work if the non-Catholic spouse treated Catholicism derisively, or if he or she was very involved in his or her Protestant church. I would think it would be much more difficult.

My parents were married in the Catholic Church in 1956. My mother is Baptist and my father Catholic. My mother agreed to raise us Catholic, she did, we were. We also went to her church on occasion. My siblings and I knew that our faith was Catholic. When we visited my grandmother in SC…we went to the Catholic church of her neighbors…we also went to my grandmothers Baptist Church on occasion. My parents were married 49 yrs. before my dad passed away last yr. Religion was not a problem for me growing up. I am a Catholic…always will be. I understand the Baptist Church and why they are called to believe the way they do. I do not condemn or belittle or tell other faiths that they are going to hell in a handbasket. It is not for me to say. I am glad that I was exposed to both faiths…and my parents didn’t raise me in a cave or a fishbowl. I learned alot about the Bible from my Baptist grandmother and I enjoyed the hymms at her church…but that is as far as it went.

Religion can be a problem if it is not discussed and worked out before a marriage takes place. My parents handled it well, even though BOTH churches predicted it would be a problem and my siblings and I would be confused.

Best of luck to you…whomever you marry.:slight_smile:

That depends entirely on the two people. If both individuals share a sincere devotion to Christ and each other, they can work through the differences, but it’s not easy! I suspect that if any couple does find it easy, then probably one—or both—don’t take their faith very seriously. Marriage with someone who doesn’t take faith seriously probably brings other challenges beyond the scope of this discussion, which might make marrying someone with a sincere faith of almost any kind preferable to marrying someone with a luke-warm faith. Many Protestants do have a sincere faith and a strong relationship with Christ and those qualities may be very attractive to someone with a strong Catholic faith.

I married a Protestant man. He remained Protestant for the first ten years of our marriage, and mixed faith aspect of our marriage was much more difficult than either of us expected. Imagine the difficulities of healing the division that the Reformation brought to Christianity–that’s what it felt like and it was difficult.

We thought we had it worked out before we got married, but things didn’t work out as we had planned. I compromised more than I ever planned to, even leaving the Catholic Church for a while. When attending his Protestant denomination, I met numerous fallen away Catholic who fell away after they married Protestants. It’s quite common that couples “work out” the difference by one (or both) abandoning their faith.

Eventually I returned to the Catholic Church, and a short while later my husband converted. His family has some issues about our being Catholic now, (as my parents had concerns when I attended his former denomination.) As our children make their sacraments like baptism and first Communion, his side of the family doesn’t really share the joy with us. Even though my husband is now Catholic, the division in Christianity remains in our extended family.

I think it can work, so long as you both understand what it means. There are things you’d have to make clear. How the kids will be raised, what church you would attend, etc. And don’t lose all hope (if there is even someone in the radar screen!) There is always the chance God could be calling that special someone home to the catholic church. My BARELY practicing cradle catholic boyfriend was strengthened in his walk by dating me (a STRONG protestant) and through the course of our relationship, my boyfriend got closer to God in the RCC, and I converted!! We had our catholic wedding 3 weeks ago. While I DO NOT reccomend even in the slightest, dating hoping to convert them, don’t rule it out entirely. I know a lot of people who were brought to their faith through their spouses.

It is not something that you should do unless you are willing to make extreme sacrifices for your spouse. In my marriage both of us suffer deeply because of the division that religion brings into the mix when both are devoutly attempting to serve Christ. When you add on the stress of children or extended family, well, it’s probably something that most marriages can’t tolerate without seeing problems arise. Again, in my case our individual interpretations of what Christ has called each of us to do has led our once thriving marriage to become mundane.

Think hard on this before you do it. There are few good outcomes for such a union.

The only happy “mixed” Catholic/non-Catholic marriages I know are where one spouse is non-practicing or agnostic and the other is a practicing Catholic. In those where the husband is the Catholic, the kids have followed and remained Catholic. In those where the wife is the practicing Catholic, fewer than half of the kids remain in the Church.

So, if you want your kids to remain Catholic - seems you have a far highter chance if dad is a practicing Catholic.

Thank you everyone for your posts. I should have added in my first post that, although I was raised Roman Catholic, I’m not as closely bound to the RCC as I used to be. I’m having difficulties with certain particular Roman Catholic beliefs. I’ve met a few really nice, devout Catholic girls. One was even a traditional Catholic. But things just didn’t click. I wonder if God is trying to tell me that i should marry outside the RCC. I don’t see why I should have any problem with someone who believes in the sola’s, but maybe I just haven’t had the experience yet. My mother was raised Protestant (LCMS, Lutheran), became Catholic when she married my father, but is now Protestant again. Most of my family is Protestant…

Concluding that God doesn’t want you to marry a Catholic because of this seems like quite a stretch. I mean, you said that you don’t have anyone in mind, so it seems like you haven’t met any Protestants that “click” with you either.

Maybe you should just cross this bridge when you come to it.

It is extremely unwise to pursue such a course. I find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to do so, and moreover why someone such as yourself who is not already involved would actively court such a relationship.

Catholics should seek to marry someone who practices the Catholic faith and with whom they can build a Catholic home and raise Catholic children.

In my opinion, the Church should not allow mixed marriages at all.

I, for one am glad…it’s just YOUR opinion. :smiley:

Me too. I wouldn’t be here otherwise, nor would my mother have converted to Catholicism.

It’s tough as nails especially when you and your spouse are crazy about their faiths. Their are many heartaches involved and longing for conversion. While speaking with my brother about it he said something I never thought of. He thought that maybe just for me, that having a protestant wife would keep me closer to Christ through lots of prayer. Very interesting…Perhaps

Originally Posted by ack:

Concluding that God doesn’t want you to marry a Catholic because of this seems like quite a stretch. I mean, you said that you don’t have anyone in mind, so it seems like you haven’t met any Protestants that “click” with you either.

Maybe you should just cross this bridge when you come to it.

I haven’t had nearly as much contact with devout female Protestants. :wink:

The ones I have had contact with (mostly on the internet), I get along with really well. :cool:

I suggest the Papal Encyclical “On Mixed Marriage”.
Thanks I don’t recall ever hearing about that encyclical. I just read it. It was written in 1832 and talks a lot about Bavaria. Anyone know the history on that?

This encyclical begins*…“The Apostolic See has always ensured that the canons forbidding the marriages of Catholics with heretics have been observed religiously. Occasionally such marriages have been tolerated in order to avoid more serious scandals. But, even then, the Roman Pontiffs saw to it that the faithful were taught how deformed these marriages are and what spiritual dangers they present.”*

Having lived in a “mixed marriage” I can personally attest to the spiritual dangers for Catholics and their children. The original poster is the offspring of a “mixed marriage” whose Lutheran-turned Catholic-turned back to Lutheran-mother may be part of the reason why the op finds Protestants attractive; many say men tend to marry women like their mothers.

While I recognize the dangers that Catholics and their children in mixed Protestant-Catholic marriages may loose the faith, I wonder if a marriage to a God fearing Protestant might be safer than marriage to an unfaithful Catholic. There are plenty of “heretics” who call themselves Catholic, (I use the word “heretic” because the encyclical did.) I don’t know what was going on in Bavaria at the time of that encyclical, but I do know what is happening here in America. Many call themselves “Catholic” while dissenting from the Church on major social and theological issues. Serious Catholics should seek out other serious Catholics for marriage, not just someone who calls himself or herself Catholic.

For the original poster, I suspect much of your religious ambiguity stems from your family background. If you don’t want your children to experience such confusion, then look for a good, faithful Catholic girl to marry.

Originally Posted by gardenswithkids:

Having lived in a “mixed marriage” I can personally attest to the spiritual dangers for Catholics and their children.

Just wondering: what kind of spiritual dangers? Is it more than simply having one parent who wants to have the children pray to Mary, and the other who doesn’t?

Kids are very smart, they want the truth.

So, we have Catholic mom who teaches us that the Eucharist is the REAL presence, body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.

We have non-Catholic Christian dad who teaches that it is a ONLY a symbol.

To the kid, either one is true and the other is false - or, they are both false because the teachings are opposed and cannot both be true. Child grows up, and rejects all Christianity - because it must be false or none of it matters because they were exposed to such mixed messages.

This is the second time I will have posted something here. The first time didn’t work obviously because I didn’t get a response. Anyway, My story is VERY long. To make it short, my husband and I will have been married for 4 years in october. We are working on getting him legal residency to the US. Currently, he will have been out of the US for 1year in october. I have thought long and hard. Cried, gotten mad, felt guilty and awhole other mix of emotions have come about that I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. He is an alcoholic and did drugs when he was here. I struggled to get payments and other obligations through. We have 2 beautiful little (2and1) girls and I feel that I can NOT and should NOT expose them to his behavior anymore. I have told him that I do not want to be with him anymore and to please accept the fact that I am NOT “IN LOVE” with him anymore.—He will not accept it and swears up and down that he is changing and he wants me to give him another chance. I CAN’T find it in my heart to give him that chance anymore. Not after 3 years of the same crud we went through. I really would like to email someone to get it all out of me. If there is anyone willing to email back and forth–mainly for advise and support more than anything,I would GREATLY appreciate it.

The other thing that can happen is the child rejects the parent who is no longer in full communion with the truth. If a child has been raised with the truth and sees a parent depart from it, they might not have a close a relationship with that parent any longer. It can be very stressful for all parties involved. Estrangement from one’s spouse or children is a difficult thing for anyone.

Estrangement leads to anger and resentment which leads to more estrangement. It’s a vicious circle that is difficult to break. To the child it can even seem as if the parent is rejecting them because that parent no longer believes like the rest of the family.

Raising children in the Church is difficult enough. Parents are always exposed as frauds and hyprocrits because they are human. To add a change in religion is sometimes enough to drive away the closest children.

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