Is it true that before you can get married in the roman catholic church that you have to agree to want kids? If you don’t want kids you don’t have a valid marriage?

It’s not that you have to agree to *want *children; you have to agree to lovingly accept children.

The general expectation is that Catholics who are able to have children WILL have children. There may turn out to be reasons why having children is not a good idea for a certain length of time. (And if having children is dangerous for the woman it may be that the length of time is the entire time the woman is fertile.)

But in general, a person who truly does not want children should consider whether he or she is called to marry.

Ok I see. I think I understand.

A permanent intention against chidlren is an impediment to a valid marriage.

Just a little addition, if a Catholic married a non-Catholic, they agree before to raise the children Catholic.

I always wanted to be married by filling out the civil application or by a judge. After the pre-nuptual investigation says that you can marry and you do it this way will the church then bless and seal the marriage? I’m just curious about these things.


If you are Catholic you are required to marry in the Church unless you are marrying a non-Catholic and the Bishop dispenses you from this requirement. If you marry outside the Church without a dispensation you are in an invalid marriage and guilty of fornication if you have sex with your ‘spouse’. Once you decide to you want a valid marriage you will be required to ‘marry’ in the Church. IOW, you will go through the same ceremony as you would have if you married in the Church in the first place.

The Catholic promises to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic Church. The non-Catholic is simply informed of the promise and what it means but does not need to promise anything.

Just curious–what are some reasons that someone may not want children?

I wonder if sometimes people may be resistant to having children because of their own family experience, maybe in having parents in a poor marriage, and/or having parents who were not very skilled at raising children.

The good news is that there are many resources now available to help people in developing relationship and parenting skills, much more so now than there ever was in the past, through books, seminars, even parent “coaches” that can come into a family’s residence. I imagine there are many readers here who could make recommendations for useful resources.

Please go talk to your priest. A Catholic may only marry civilly if they are marrying a non-Catholic and there is a serious reason that they cannot marry in the Catholic form. This requires a dispensation from the Bishop to do so.

Because I want to is not a reason. You are a Catholic and are therefore bound by Catholic law on marriage.

I know I am bound by canon law but you have to know these things. Maybe I can email my diocese judicial vicar. I just wouldn’t want to go through some big ceremony if I was marrying someone. My parents and the spouses would be enough for me. What are some valid reasons for example that in marrying a non-catholic you would be granted a dispensation?


You don’t need a big ceremony. All you need is you, your bride, the priest or deacon and two witnesses – that could be your parents.

Valid examples for a dispensation? Religious health of the couple, alienation of family if you marry in the Church, her father is a minister in an ecclesial community, etc.

There is no requirement to have a big ceremony. You could be in and out the door in a few minutes if there is no Mass.

Even if you were granted a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic spouse someplace other than your parish church, you would still have to deal with your spouse’s wishes for the wedding. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have to disagree based on our experience, which may be simply what our diocese required at the time, but my non-Catholic husband had to signed papers that he would allow our children to be raised Catholic.

So did my husband back in '75. With the 1983 Code of Canon Law that is no longer required.

The non-Catholic party has freedom of conscience and can not be forced to do something against his/her conscience. He/she may have a very good reason for wanting the children raised in their ecclesial community. Ideally this should all be discussed, resolved and agreed to before the couple ever sets foot in the pastor’s office to discuss getting married.


  1. When, for a just and reasonable cause, permission for a mixed marriage is requested, both parties are to be instructed on the essential ends and properties of marriage which are not to be excluded by either party. Furthermore, the Catholic party will be asked to affirm, in the form established by the particular law of the Eastern Catholic Churches or by the Episcopal Conference, that he or she is prepared to avoid the dangers of abandoning the faith and to promise sincerely to do all in his/her power to see that the children of the marriage be baptized and educated in the Catholic Church. The other partner is to be informed of these promises and responsibilities.142 At the same time, it should be recognized that the non-Catholic partner may feel a like obligation because of his/her own Christian commitment. It is to be noted that no formal written or oral promise is required of this partner in Canon Law. Those who wish to enter into a mixed marriage should, in the course of the contacts that are made in this connection, be invited and encouraged to discuss the Catholic baptism and education of the children they will have, and where possible come to a decision on this question before the marriage.
    In order to judge the existence or otherwise of a “just and reasonable cause” with regard to granting permission for this mixed marriage, the local Ordinary will take account, among other things, of an explicit refusal on the part of the non-Catholic party.
  2. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family. If, notwithstanding the Catholic’s best efforts, the children are not baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church, the Catholic parent does not fall subject to the censure of Canon Law.143 At the same time, hisher obligation to share the Catholic faith with the children does not cease. It continues to make its demands, which could be met, for example, by playing an active part in contributing to the Christian atmosphere of the home; doing all that is possible by word and example to enable the other members of the family to appreciate the specific values of the Catholic tradition; taking whatever steps are necessary to be well informed about hisher own faith so as to be able to explain and discuss it with them; praying with the family for the grace of Christian unity as the Lord wills it.

All that is required for a Catholic to marry in Catholic form is a priest and two witnesses. You do not have to have a big ceremony. I am not sure why you think otherwise.

I think you should refocus yourself on your misconceptions regarding a Catholic marriage/ wedding ceremony. You should not be trying to find a way to marry outside of Catholic form.

You can marry before a priest and two witnesses, or a few people, or a thousand people.

If you married before 1983, the Code of Canon Law had different requirements. This is the current code:

Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1/ 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;

2/ 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;

3/ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

1125.2 requires the non-Catholic be informed of the Catholic’s promise. This often take a written format-- the non-Catholic signs a paper to that effect. The non-Catholic does not promise, nor sign a promise, to raise the children Catholic.

Thanks, that settles that!

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