Interfaith Family


I am wondering how other catholics feel about interfaith families. Is it okay to raise children in a mulitfaith environment? Will children who are raised in another faith (such as hinduism, judaism, islam) along with catholicism be accepted as catholic as well? How does the Catholic church view this?


the Catholic Church requires that the Catholic partner agree and promise to raise the children of the marriage as Catholic, including their sacraments of initiation, and the non-Catholic partner must be informed of this obligation. Canon law forbids a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic or a non-Christian. A dispensation to marry a non-Catholic is usually not hard to obtain, but a wise bishop or pastor will do some good hard premarital counseling before granting a dispensation to marry a non-Christian. Most of those religions feel equally strongly about their adherents marrying Christians, that it is a danger to their faith and family integrity.

To raise children to think that either religion is equally valid or truthful is to raise them with no truth at all.


Like Gandhi, I believe that all religions have some truth and some falsity in them. The hard part is knowing what is true and what is false. I feel that only God knows the truth. Who am I to say what is true. I follow my heart and hope it will lead me to the truth and to God. I feel that bringing children up in an interfaith environment only enriches their spiritual lives because there is so much we can gain from the other great religions.


I was raised in an “interfaith” family (my mother is Catholic and my father was Protestant, he has since converted). We attended my grandmother’s Baptist church when we visited, but would also attend Mass at the local parish.
My sister and I were raised Catholic, and as far as I know, my father was very open to this. When he wasn’t TDY, he would attend Mass with my mother, sister and I. He, and my cousin, came into the church about 10 or so years ago.
I am marrying a young man who was raised baptist, and we are raising my daughter, and our subequent children, as Catholics. He has been attending a Catholic University, and (at the very least) repects the traditions and longevity of the Church and it’s teachings.
I personally, see no problem with Inter-faith couples, as long as the non-Catholic is open to raising the children Catholic and teaching them the faith.


You’re mostly right and I agree with your last statement, however the Church does not require that the Catholic partner promise to raise any children as Catholics absolutely. What the Catholic must promise is to do all in his/her power to share the faith with any children. If despite his or her best efforts, the children are not raised formally Catholic, the Catholic party has incurred no sin. This is the promise I was asked to make for my dispensation. I have since run it by several very orthodox priests who all confirmed that this is correct. Articles put out by the USCCB also confirm this.

What must be understood, however, is that this is by no means a free pass to give in and raise children in another faith. You are still required to do everything you can, whether it be dialogue with you spouse or simply prayer and example, to see that your Children are Catholic. My guess is that someone who enters a mixed marriage with the intention of raising non-Catholic children is probably guilty of sin, but the person who tries and fails (spouse ultimately deciding that they are not OK with it and refusing to go along, etc…) is not. What was explained to me is that in this scenario the Catholic partner would still be obligated to teach his/her children about the faith and lead by example (and prayer) in the hope that they will accept the faith on their own.


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