Marriage to noncatholic

If I receive permission from my bishop to marry in a Protestant church under a Protestant pastor will my marriage be valid? What further steps are needed if not? And how quickly could I receive permission to get this done? Lastly, will taking premarital counseling through the Protestant church count or will I still have to do that in the Catholic Church?

I married a Methodist. But we were married by a priest, in a Catholic church, and went through the Catholic pre-Cana program.

I have a relative who married a Baptist. She wanted to get married in her home church, by her home pastor. I want to say they had a priest + the Baptist pastor conduct the ceremony. But later on, the marriage failed. The relative went through the annulment process. And even though they were gathering all sorts of evidence about emotional/psychological stuff, I think the key thing that the annulment went through on was the fact that the marriage hadn’t taken place in the Catholic church building (and was without the Catholic Mass?), and ergo, was not a sacramental marriage.

I could be wrong, and I’m sure someone will point it out. :slight_smile: But that’s the way the situation was explained to me.


Thinking about it, I think one key element was that the priest was from the Diocese of X, where the priest had been assigned to my relative’s campus church, and the Baptist church where the wedding took place was in the Diocese of Y. So it may be that they hadn’t gotten the bishop’s permission, or perhaps the correct bishop’s permission, for the venue.

–edit again–

When you enter into a mixed marriage, you both promise to be open to children, and promise to raise them Catholic. So far, with the wedding plans, it doesn’t seem like the Catholic stuff is taking a very prominent role. :wink: Do you expect that to suddenly change once children become involved?

Good luck figuring things out. :blue_heart: It’s not an easy thing. Hugs.

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My first question: Are you the groom? Second: Why do you have to go through a Protestant community?

I ask the first because I’m old school. The husband is the head of the family. Concurrently with that; either way, your children should be raised Catholic.

I ask the second because my first choice would be a sacramental marriage blessed by the Church. That, and simple curiosity.

The technical term is “dispensation from form” - in other words, being allowed to marry in a non-Catholic ceremony. This isn’t something which happens very often - usually when one partner’s relative is a minister in another faith or where there are very good reasons why the couple (or one partner as the case may be) want their marriage ceremony to be celebrated in a non-Catholic ceremony. That said, provided the bishop grants a dispensation then the marriage is perfectly valid. This is something you would need to talk to a priest about in more detail and well before your intended wedding date.

How long it will take is a difficult question to answer exactly because it depends on a number of things (such as how long it takes to get all of the paperwork together) but let’s just say several weeks at the very least.

This is also something to talk to your priest about - he’ll most likely want to know more detail about what’s the Protestant pre marriage education involves but, regardless, he’ll also want to meet with yourself and your partner before you wedding.

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Whether or not a marriage is sacramental has nothing to do with the wedding and everything to do with the baptismal status of the bride and groom involved. Protestant baptisms that are trinitarian are recognized for the wedding to be sacramental. So a Catholic and a non-Catholic can have a sacramental marriage.


Thanks. The male half was Catholic and was in good standing, etc. The non-Catholic female half was Baptist, so she had been baptized, and after the marriage, had actually gone through RCIA and come into the Catholic church… but the annulment was granted on the grounds of where it had physically taken place. I didn’t dig very far into that conversation… but I thought it was odd.

I could definitely see crossing diocesan lines as causing an issue.

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It’s called a dispensation from form. And, yes Catholics can validly marry non-Catholics in a non-Catholic ceremony with a dispensation from form.

They also need permission for mixed marriage if the other person is a baptized non-Catholic or a dispensation from disparity of cult of the other person is not baptized.

You need to talk to your priest about the timeline. Your priest will petition the bishop, and he does so after a premarital interview with you and your intended.

You will need to talk to your priest.

The premarital investigation needs to be done with your Catholic priest or deacon, and in most cases premarital preparation will need to be done with a Catholic program as it is the sacrament of marriage that you are preparing for.

The US Bishops have provided a good resourcea

Your specific Diocese will have more information on their website.

There will be a need for marriage preparation through the Catholic Church in order for the permission to enter a marriage with a non-Catholic.

Here is an example of the Diocese of Spokanne’s request form:

Would the OP not require a dispensation and a permission? The OP would require a dispensation from canonical form. Would the OP not also require the permission to marry a baptised, non-Catholic Christian or does the dispensation from canonical form imply that permission?

Permission for mixed marriage or dispensation from disparity of cult are separate from dispensation from form. They are usually submitted and granted together but are actually distinct actions of the bishop.

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If the couple has permission to be married in another venue, and both of them are baptized, their marriage will be both sacramental and blessed by the Church.

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