If a Catholic and non-Catholic want to get married, but the non-Catholic doesn’t really think it’s needed (why should it be so that their love doesn’t really count until official marriage), but they’re willing to go along with it to please the other, then can they get married in the Catholic Church?


The Catholic should detatch his or herself from their feelings about the other and step back and rationally think about what they are getting into. Marriage is in a state of crisis because many people only follow their hearts and not their minds. Remember part of Marriage is an establishment of a healthy home to raise children. Choosing a qualified spouse that can do this is the first step.

I wouldn’tmarry someone who does’nt believe in marriage oir doesn’t respect/learn the Catholic Faith.


Try to remember that marital happiness hinges mostly on mutual understanding and outlook, whether the parties are Catholic or not. Mutual intellectual and emotional harmony are more crucial to long-term devotion than anything else, and the RCC is quite wise in its advancement of such, even though many adherents focus more on the letter than the spirit intended. Even a non-theist such as I can see that. Taking the time to know one’s own mind and each others’ is always time well-spent.


It sounds harsh, but I have to agree with this post. To me, my Catholic faith is so important that I wanted (and have) someone who would share those values. In this case, they do not share those values, nor do they respect them. This will cause problems in the future as it relates to children, NFP, Church, etc.

It is a time to step back and take a look at what marriage actually is to them and where their values lie, regardless of their feelings that they are “so in love and want to get married.”

Can a Catholic and non-Catholic get married? The answer is yes. I would say that if they go into the marriage with the wrong intention, that is disrespectful to the sacrament given to us by Jesus Christ. I would hope that the priest that they have to talk to about this would be able to counsel them and give them the guidance about the sacrament that they seem to be taking so lightly.


Not only disresectful but probably non-valid: lacking proper intent and destined for annulment. Like you said it sounds harsh but someone has to lay it on the line. Marriage deserves that much.


It is amazing to me that so many couples take marriage so lightly. I know that a lot of that comes with spiritual maturity, but it still shocks me. The sacrament of marriage is the same as Christ taking the Church as His bride. We are joined in that…WOW, how amazing it is.

Yeah it would be grounds for an annulment, how sad to enter into a marriage that way.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Ask Jesus.


I think this could be a canonical impediment regarding the goods and requirements of marriage. I would think someone who doesn’t view marriage as necessary might not be able to form the requisite consent/intent.

It’s best to consult someone who is more familiar with canon law and a priest.

And, on a practical level the Catholic is VERY unwise to marry a non-Catholic. The Encyclical “On Mixed Marriage” is very clear.


If a Catholic and non-Catholic want to get married, but the non-Catholic doesn’t really think it’s needed (why should it be so that their love doesn’t really count until official marriage), but they’re willing to go along with it to please the other, then can they get married in the Catholic Church?

What do they mean by love? What part of “until death do we part” isn’t needed?

I realize that there’s a certain romance to the “you and me against the world” love story. But the really cool thing is that if you want to make your life just such a love story - go Catholic all the way.

Stay within every article of the Catholic Church and you will turn heads, drop jaws, and generally flip people out.

You want to really show the world how strong your love is? Do something culturally unnacceptable - stand in front of the altar of God and put the word “obey” into your vows.


First, a little background. I am in the opposite situation as is mentioned here. I am not a catholic, thoug I do admire those who follow its teachings. I’m in a serious relationship with a strict catholic, and love her dearly, partly due to her acceptance of my views on religion and God (two seperate things to me, though that is a topic for another time). As such , I am dismayed to see people saying that any marriage that goes on between us would not count.

There seem to be two contrasting points here.

The first made seemed to be (and I may have misinterpreted) that Love in marriage is secondary to love of God…am I correct in that?

The second is that love is based on trust and full understanding and agreement on religion, and thus anyone marrying a catholic must be catholic as well.

While these are…interesting…points, they all seem to suggest that no Love I feel can be valid unless I am willing to submit to following a God I am not certain exists. Am I right so far? It just seems somehow unfair, especially since I always understood the bible to be about loving your neighbour, and doing the quintissential “right thing” even if it means sacrificing your rightousness. God will understand a man killing in his name and breaking a sin, but will not understand how someone with no love for him can love another?

I would appreciate any criticisms, or corrections here.



Again, what version of the term “love” are you using? When you use the phrase “love that I feel” that indicates that we may have a misunderstanding on the definition of the term. So some of your dismay could be resulting from that.

If you are getting the impression that your marriage “doesn’t count” in terms of the Catholic understanding, you are getting the wrong message. Your marriage would indeed be every bit as valid as any other marriage.

The problem is your marriage would count. Your love would be real. It is that Catholics are suspicious that anyone who does not believe in God won’t have what it takes to live up to their vows.

There are lots of real marriages out there that have been abandoned by one or both spouses who have taken up artificial love-lives with other people. And that’s the problem.

Now, perhaps you’ll prove us wrong. Perhaps you can live a life of self-sacrificing love for your bride and not believe in God. I’ll believe you when death parts you and the fruits of your marriage sing your praise.

If on the other hand, you find yourself in a very real marriage, but you don’t think you can stick it out until the last round - come on back here. There will be a ton of folks who’ve tried to prove that love could be done without God, but found otherwise.


Jwlynas, Love is always “valid”, assuming of course that it is genuine and is not lust disguised as love. But the subject was marriage, which is not the same thing. We presume that those who marry love one another (in fact, husbands are explicitly commanded in the Bible to love their wives), but those who genuinely love each other do not necessarily marry, for many possible reasons.

It is certainly possible for a Catholic and a non-Catholic to enter into a valid marrige. There are several conditions, one of which is that they must have the intention of marriage, which implies that they understand what marriage is and honestly take a vow of perpetual committment until death. Even if the conditions are met however, it may be inadvisable for a Caholic and non-Catholic to marry.

I have a daughter, and I would strongly advise her not to consider marriage to anyone who is not Catholic. There are many challenges in a life-long marriage, and a core of shared faith is extremely helpful to a couple. Nevertheless, I am aware that there have been some stable marriages of those of different faiths. In my experience however, such relationships usually eventually lead to the conversion of one or the other spouse, in practice if not in name.

God certainly understands that you have strong feelings for another person, while you may have little feeling for Him – this is understandable if you know the other person quite well but are not aquainted with God.


My Thanks to you Black Jaque. All entirely valid points, though I will hasten to point out that marriage works thanks to the people in it, not the Lord above. Catholic marriages end in divorce too, albeit not as often.

That post did help in many ways, but there was a slight undertone of self-righteousness. I apologise if this statement is unfounded of course. It may just be how I read it.
The thing is, Catholism does not guarantee love in marriage, nor can it guarantee a perfect life, as some seem to claim. It is open to fault as much as any other lifestyle.

As for my definiton of love, in this case it is a love that would make me defy the wishes of my family and my God to be with her, not through lust, but through a knowledge that whatever else happens, we will both be there for one another, and the love felt is strong enough to sustain me even through torture.

That has yet to be tested to the full, but I hope to prove it true.

(A thankyou must also go to Sam88, whose post I was unable to read before posting this. You make some good points, though I would hope your trust in your daughters judgement would be enough to choose a true love through her own ideals, before worrying about what other people think. Far more important that you yourself like your spouse, rather than your spouse being liked by the family)


I must interupt in that I believe some of you understood my question incorrectly. I wished to know if someone that believes in marriage could enter a Sacramental marriage to someone that doesn’t believe marriage may be needed.

But the topic of Catholics and non-Catholics marrying is just as valid to the conversation.

And as long as we’re being honest here, I am the Catholic in question in the Original Post.


No one has said this. It is not their non-Catholic status that is the primary issue here. The issue is their view that “marriage isn’t necessary”. This would have to be probed more with the priest, but if through discussion it was determined that the other party lacked the proper intent and/or ability to give consent, then no they could not be married.

You have not stated your religious affiliation, nor your view on marriage. So, no one would make any presumption about your relationship with your girlfriend.

everything else is secondary to Love of God , not just to marriage and marital love. What’s the problem with that?

Love is not relevant. Marriage is a vocation, in the Catholic understanding. Marriage is a Sacrament in the Catholic Church.

Yes, marriage should be founded on mutual purpose, faith, and belief because the purpose of marriage is to live out your vocation to God through the begetting and raising up of future Saints, to get yourself to heaven and your spouse, too.

The purpose of marriage is not self-fulfillment, it is self-donation.

No. You are talking about the “feeling” of love. That is not the primary purpose or end of marriage.

Your feelings are not what make the marriage valid or invalid.

Nor has anyone said that a marriage to a non-Catholic is automatically invalid.

Uh, sacrifice your righteousness? No, I don’t think so.

Of course we are to love our fellow man-- love meaning charity, not “love” meaning romantic love, or “I love pizza”, etc.

The “right thing” is to unite in marriage as Christ intended, BTW.

Of course God understands our love of others. That does not mean we are called to marry them, necessarily.

I think you should spend some time reading what the Church teaches the purpose of marriage to be, what a Sacrament is, and what the requirements of marriage are.

It is not a “you do your thing and I’ll do mine” arrangement-- it is two people becoming one flesh in Christ and co-creating new souls to be raised up in Christ.

If you aren’t Catholic, and aren’t even Christian, how do you ever expect to do that?


It is possible to have a valid marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic. If the non-Catholic is a baptized Christian, you could even have a sacramental marriage.

But, in order to have a valid marriage in either case, it is required, to believe the vows you will take. (“I, name, take you, name, to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”)

Does your loved-one believe in that vow? Can he/she honestly say that? It sounds like that is not the case. How can someone make such a vow while not believing in marriage?

May God bless you during this time.


No, I understood your question, and that is the question I answered.

I believe that this would require serious discernment with the priest because the person that doesn’t “believe” in marriage may lack the proper intent and ability to give consent to the requirements of marriage.

In other words: I doubt it.
And, why on earth would a Catholic want to even contemplate such a marriage?**


Pro-life teen,

I have much admired your previous posts on CAF… so I have to say:
Have you lost your mind?*


As for my definiton of love, in this case it is a love that would make me defy the wishes of my family and my God to be with her, not through lust, but through a knowledge that whatever else happens, we will both be there for one another, and the love felt is strong enough to sustain me even through torture.

…and what if one day you wake up and she’s not there for you. What if one day she’s more concerned about the children or her own vanity than she is about you? Do you have a love strong enough to endure torture even while she takes you and your agony entirely for granted?

Sorry if I sounded self-righteous. I guess my tone comes from having been in the very situation you describe. I choked on my share of the humble pie. I loved my wife with every ounce of my being and found that it was not enough. Everything you say about your love, I would have said 13 years ago about my love for my wife. I couldn’t hack it. But rather than letting it end in divorce I decided to getting my happiness by loving God instead of loving my wife. When I put God ahead of my wife, it changed the nature of our spats.


The marriage bond blesses you both that the two now become one in the sacrement of matrimony. If one doesn’t believe that marriage is even “necessary” the bond is not complete, the two are not now, or ever will be one, and the blessed sacrament is not present or conferred to either of you.

Please carefully consider what this means to you and your faith. Half a matrimonial bond is not a bond at all. The sacred vows and oaths taken mean a spiritual connection that is blessed and unbroken. Both man and woman must make them freely to each other and mean it in their hearts. In that way, the gift is shared by both and enjoyed by the whole community of witnesses.

God Bless you and your betrothed and may God’s plan for you both unfold for you through much prayer and reflection.


Jwlynas seems imply that a person should choose a spouse based on “liking them” – this is of course true to a degree, but far short of the full truth. One morning I might wake up and find that I don’t feel a “liking” for my wife at all. Perhaps there was a bitter argument, mental or physical illness, a conversion to a strange cult, or some other drastic change that I cannot understand and have trouble dealing with. But she would still be my wife, whom I am commanded to love, regardless of how my emotions of the moment drift over the years. That kind of commitment is probably impossible if my approach to marriage is based on my feelings, but not if it is based on my commitment to God and his plan for my life.

Pro-Life_Teen, I think your original question has been answered correctly several times already. It doesn’t sound to me like this person you describe is ready for marriage – they may be willing to go through a ceremony, but what good is that if they are not ready to enter into the substance of what the ceremony expresses, because they do not truly understand it?

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