Marrying/Relationship with another faith?


First off, I’m a non practicing Jewish man. I’m 29 and wasn’t looking for the relationship I found. Neither did a woman I now consider my best friend.

I met a Catholic lady who has been divorced against her church elders permission 4 years ago. Her father & Reverend saw her thru her tough time. Her ex had several affairs although she could not prove it and the elders never granted her the permission to divorce thru the church. She has done so legally.

Fast Forward 4 years. I work for her family at their stores and there was amazing energy between us. Neither of us were looking for what we have. I care about her kids, I check on them with her, I have gained her trust, I have her house key, she has mine. We don’t need each other for $ or life things. We’re both adults and established(houses, business) its as pure as anything I’ve ever imagined a relationship could be. We’re both not phone people and I recently went to visit my parents for 4 days and we were on the phone for over an hour each day. I think this is enough back round.

Our relationship progressed quite fast. Basically 3 months in. So fast that for the last month we were engaged. She broke it off, and I tend to agree that its probably for the best for both of us to slow down. We both love each other very much still with the heart ache.

The problem is her parents do not know the extent of our relationship. I came by her house on halloween they were very nice. I setup her father’s computer in his office this week. He practically interviewed me about my business, home, stocks… I think her father is pretty smart and savvy. He knows, he doesn’t know it all though. I get along with her mother as well just fine.

What I ask you all as experts in your religion is this. I’m not practicing religion(no hebrew school, no temple…). I’m tolerant of all religions and I am a life long learner. I would never want to change the way she teaches her children and if we had any I’d not have any objection to raising them in her faith. I just don’t know the catholic faith and I feel that she’s scared of getting kicked out of her church, she was ex communicated for her original divorce. Do churches have some sort of promise that you make if they let you back in to never mess up again?

At the same time I still have a key. I still work for her. I still tell tell her I love her. She still calls me honey. She’s very predictable because I know her so well.

Does your religion allow an open minded tolerant person to accompany a great person on the path of life? Or would I go to hell for marrying a catholic and her guilt of that prevent this?

I’ll be happy to clarify if this rambles too much.
Thank you all,


I am not sure what you are describing, the Catholic Church does not have elders who have to give permission for a civil divorce. Are you sure she is Catholic? A legal separation is permitted if the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and that civil law step is necessary to secure her rights or those of the minor children. In the US at least that usually means a civil divorce. No church permission is necessary although it is always a good thing for a Catholic going through such a troubled time to consult with her pastor, as you say she has done.

What is forbidden is for a Catholic who has been civilly divorced to remarry without first obtaining a decree of nullity from the canon law tribunal of the Catholic Church, in the diocese where she lives, or where the marriage took place. People usually call that “annulment” but it does not mean that a valid marriage was nullified or dissolved, it means that after investigating all the facts, the tribunal determined no valid marriage ever existed, and that she is free to marry.

Church law is that a Catholic must marry only another Catholic. She can get a dispensation from the bishop to marry a non-Catholic with a good reason, and must give assurance that her own faith will not be jeopardized and that she will raise any children of the marriage Catholic, and that the marriage will be open to children. but that rule is binding on her, not you. You must be advised about the promises she must make, and educated on the Catholic teaching on marriage.

However all that is in the future. As a divorced Catholic she cannot even begin to enter into a romantic or dating relationship until the status of her first marriage is resolved. She has to apply for an annulment and go through that process, which is a good thing, as it proves to be a healing experience for most people. There is not much you can do at this point except to support her in this and be a good friend. Romance is not a possibility at this time.

A Catholic is not excommunicated for getting a divorce, at least not in this country. She can receive communion if she is otherwise in a state of grace (not guilty of any other grave sin which needs to be confessed). I am not sure she got good information from her pastor, or that she is giving you good information.


Hi VtGeet.

In the Catholic Church, civil divorce is discouraged but if used not considered a sin; we believe that a married couple sometimes is better off to separate.

An annulment is different from a civil divorce in that the former would determine that no valid (i.e. sacramental) marriage took place. There are a few issues that can cause an annulment (physical coercion, or as we say in the South ‘shotgun’ marriages; being too closely related; conspiring to kill a previous spouse in order to marry) but the most common is the ability to understand marriage is a lasting bond for life at the moment of marriage.

Without an annulment, a Catholic already married cannot marry again unless the first spouse has died.

Your other question is an excellent one and many Catholics are unclear as to rules involving marriage to a person of another religion.

The Code of Canon Law, the law of the Catholic Church (Latin Rite), lists these three special conditions:

"Canon 1125 …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 in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

“2) the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the Catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the Catholic party…”

“3) both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.”

Basically, the engaged couple would have to promise to raise any children as Catholic and abide by Catholic moral teachings (no birth control, open to children, e.g.).

Hope this helps!


interesting replies.

She’s a member of the congregational church if that helps. I don’t know much about catholic law or really anything. I’m not schooled in this topic, which is why I’m here.

I suppose that if the church doesn’t allow her to be remarried because the spouse is still alive that means that she couldn’t marry inside the church to someone else even of the same faith? I suppose this is irrelevant since I wouldn’t want to get married at the church. I’m more a town hall kind of guy.

I have no trouble learning of religion and one of the things I admire about her is the passion she has about it, among other things. Teaching and raising children in the way that she wants is paramount and extremely important to me. I don’t want kids but when someone says, you’re too great to let you go wasted as a dad and I’d love the experience you would be sure to give me thru it is truly an amazing life long compliment. Religion or not, thats pretty enduring for a woman to say that.

I guess the other part of this question is family pressure? Any of you been witness to a non religious person having a serious relationship with a congregational member? Would this be grounds to throw someone out of the church? I have heard that the church she attends has thrown people out for not coming enough.


If she has left the Catholic Church and is attending a Protestant community, the Catholic Church considers her unable to receive the sacrament of marriage. Were she to marry, without receiving an annulment, the Church considers such an action to be a serious sin.

But it sounds like there are deeper issues involved with your friend and her faith if she is no longer attending mass. From the Church’s perspective, one cannot ‘un-Catholic’ himself.

If I have misunderstood something, definitely feel free to correct me.


She attends services weekly.



There is a basic problem with your post that must be cleared up. You say she is Catholic, and then you say she attends a Congregtional Church.

The Catholic Church and the Congregational Church are not the same thing. The Congregational Church is a denomination that descends from the Calvinists (a group that came into existence during the protestant reformation in the 1500s.) This group has no affiliation with the Catholic Church.

Either she:

(a) Is not a Catholic and never was a Catholic
(b) Is a Catholic who left the Catholic Church and is now attending the Congregational Church
© Is a Catholic attending a Catholic Church

Which is it?

The Catholic Church does not have elders to which one must apply for a divorce. There is no such thing as a “divorce through the church” nor elders who give permission for this. The Catholic Church does not excommunicate an individual because they divorce.

Something is very wrong with your description. It seems you are confusing the Catholic Church with another Christian denomination.


I don’t know what country you are in, in the US the Congregational Church is a mainline Protestant denomination, not Catholic, so you would have to find out what their policies are on marriage and interfaith relationships. If she is not Catholic she is not bound by Catholic law, but the Catholic Church does recognize as valid marriages contracted between two non-Catholics unless or until that marriages is proven to be invalid. Invalid means there was something at the time of the actual marriage that made it impossible for them to exchange consent. It does not mean that something that happened after the wedding caused the marriage to go sour. So if a divorced non-Catholic wanted to marry a CAtholic, yes that first marriage would have to be investigated and a decree of nullity granted before the Catholic could marry that person.



I am a Protestant married 19 1/2 yrs to my Catholic wife…my religious life could just as well have ended when we married…The Catholic church want’s the last word on everything…I have all but given up trying to expierience any kind of relationship with my church. ( Reformed Church in America) I would never recomend a mixed marriage to you…if you can believe in the Catholic deal…convert…if not, & you are not willing to simply “Look the otherway” Find a nice Jewish girl…as you age, & life goes on it hurts like crazy to love someone who can not share your faith…we can chat if you like…

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