Mixed agnostic/Catholic marriage


#1

Hi! I’m recently engaged to be married, and I signed up to learn more about the rules surrounding mixed marriages and similar issues. I’m an agnostic/atheist Jew who sometimes impersonates an Evangelical preacher when I’ve had too much to drink; my fiancée is a reasonably devout lifelong Catholic although she disagrees with the Roman Curia on contraception, abortion, ordination of female priests, obligatory priestly celibacy, papal infallibility, laws against divorce and remarriage, denial of open communion to Orthodox Christians, and probably two dozen other issues. Still, it’s important to her and her family that she marry in the Church, and I have no objection to doing so. (I speak for her since she is Peruvian and speaks hardly a word of English.)

I believe that all religions are ways of understanding the universe and the divine, and that all contain much that is true but also much that is false. For that reason I do not claim belief in any particular doctrine or denomination. I am, however, deeply interested in religion and theology, and have previously studied Jewish, Islamic and Mormon theology in an organized setting, and am currently reading the Bhagavad Gita. Although I have no intention of ever converting, we have agreed that I will attend RCIA/theology classes for at least a full year following the marriage (I intend to do the same at some point in both a Protestant and an Orthodox church as well.) I will also wholeheartedly support her should she decide to raise any future children within the Catholic Church. In return, she has agreed to learn more about all the important world religions (which she’s had virtually no exposure to throughout her life), and that any kids should also have such exposure from a young age. She’s also in agreement that she will love and support our potential child equally should he or she turn out to be Catholic, atheist, Muslim, gay, or all of the above.

We have a preliminary meeting with her (very conservative, Opus Dei) priest next week to discuss our plans to marry. All he knows about me at this point is that I’m Jewish but not religious, but he likes me because he sees me at Mass with my fiancée and he’s told her that he sees no reason why we shouldn’t be able to marry. This kind of surprised me because of his Opus Dei connection and because, unlike in the States, Catholic intermarriages with non-Christians are almost unheard of in Peru.

Does anybody have any idea what types of questions are normally asked at such meetings, and the process whereby a dispensation is granted? Or any other comments relating to any other part of my post?

Sorry for the long post, and thank you all for your thoughts!


#2

[quote="A_and_J, post:1, topic:224544"]
reasonably devout lifelong Catholic although she disagrees with the Roman Curia on contraception, abortion, ordination of female priests, obligatory priestly celibacy, papal infallibility, laws against divorce and remarriage, denial of open communion to Orthodox Christians, and probably two dozen other issues. !

[/quote]

I know how she feels. I'm a "reasonably devout" Catholic who disagrees with everything the church teaches, haven't been to church in 20 years, hate everything about it, and am really a pagan.

Come on pal. If this was a serious question-which I doubt-consider phrasing it much differently.

And if it's not serious-get a hobby that doesn't include bothering people on the internet.


#3

If she doesn't believe what the Catholic Church teaches she should not get married in the Church. She would be lying when she made her vows.


#4

OP I am unsure of what you are specifically asking? I don't believe you are a troll but perhaps you could phrase your question a bit differently?

But as above, if your wife doesn't agree with the Church on these issues she needs to sort that out first before marriage.


#5

[quote="A_and_J, post:1, topic:224544"]
Hi! I'm recently engaged to be married, and I signed up to learn more about the rules surrounding mixed marriages and similar issues. *I'm an agnostic/atheist Jew who sometimes impersonates an Evangelical preacher when I've had too much to drink; *

:rotfl:

my fiancée is a reasonably devout lifelong Catholic although she disagrees with the Roman Curia on contraception, abortion, ordination of female priests, obligatory priestly celibacy, papal infallibility, laws against divorce and remarriage, denial of open communion to Orthodox Christians, and probably two dozen other issues. Still, it's important to her and her family that she marry in the Church,

:rotfl::rotfl:

and I have no objection to doing so. (I speak for her since she is Peruvian and speaks hardly a word of English.)

[/quote]


#6

[quote="A_and_J, post:1, topic:224544"]
She's also in agreement that she will love and support our potential child equally should he or she turn out to be Catholic, atheist, Muslim, gay, or all of the above.

[/quote]

You must not have done much in-depth study of Islam, because you can't be a Muslim and be any of the other categories, especially not gay since that is cause for immediate death if discovered. How could you be an atheist Catholic? Or a Catholic Muslim? How ridiculous.


#7

My gosh, people! What are we teenagers?

This is the section of Canon Law that will probably be of most interest to the OP. vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P41.HTM


#8

[quote="violet81, post:3, topic:224544"]
If she doesn't believe what the Catholic Church teaches she should not get married in the Church. She would be lying when she made her vows.

[/quote]

One could fill stadiums with the number of Catholics per year that get married "in the church" simply because they think it will make mom and dad, grandma, auntie, whomever happy and after the wedding they see the inside of a church twice a year. I think one can certainly be two things....A spiritual something and a cultural something. It's certainly possible to a cultural Catholic or Lutheran, or whatever and a spiritual agnostic of atheist.


#9

Just a point of clarification: The Catholic Church does not deny the Eucharist to members of the Orthodox Churches. They have valid Orders and valid Sacraments. The Orthodox prohibit their faithful from receiving the Eucharist in the Catholic Church and also prohibit Catholics from receiving in their Churches, although Canon Law allows Catholics to receive in the Orthodox Churches.

As to the other items above, particularly the one I bolded, it **may **be the case that your fiancee is unable to validly contract marriage in the Catholic Church at this time:

Can. 1101 §1. The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words and signs used in celebrating the marriage.

§2. If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly.

The essential properties of marriage are perpetuity, fidelity, and fecundy. A person who believes divorce and remarriage are viable options for them rejects perpetuity, lifelong marriage until death. Fidelity should be self explanatory, it means the lifelong exclusive conjugal relations. And, fecundy means there is an intention to have children. A permanent intention against children invalidates an attempt at marriage.

Your girlfriend’s extreme views noted above call in to question her understanding of marriage and family. That will be something for the priest to discuss with her.

The particular way in which you will prepare for marriage depends upon the requirements and processes established by her bishop. While there are similarities in marriage preparation across the country and around the world, the details in how it is carried out in any specific place will vary. In some places, it is meetings with a priest. In others, it is a retreat run by lay people. In others, it is a sponsor-couple who does the preparation with the engaged couple. Some places use an instrument called FOCCUS, some do not.

In general, the purpose is to ensure the couple understands the sacramental nature of marriage (or in your case since you are not baptized, that it is a natural marriage only) and the requirements of validly contracting marriage (see above where I mentioned the essential properties of marriage).

To marry an unbaptized person she is required to receive a dispensation from disparity of cult from the Bishop. The priest will complete this paperwork after your meetings, if he does not have reservations regarding her ability to fulfill her obligations as a Catholic, which are:

Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

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.

Can. 1126 It is for the conference of bishops to establish the method in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, must be made and to define the manner in which they are to be established in the external forum and the non-Catholic party informed about them.


#10

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:8, topic:224544"]
One could fill stadiums with the number of Catholics per year that get married "in the church" simply because they think it will make mom and dad, grandma, auntie, whomever happy and after the wedding they see the inside of a church twice a year. I think one can certainly be two things....A spiritual something and a cultural something. It's certainly possible to a cultural Catholic or Lutheran, or whatever and a spiritual agnostic of atheist.

[/quote]

That isn't an impediment to valid marriage if they have valid consent. It is possible to have valid consent even when motivated by superficial social factors as mentioned above.

If, during preparation, the priest discovers that they **truly **exclude, by a positive act of their will, one or more of the essential properties of marriage he cannot marry them:

Can. 1101 §1. The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words and signs used in celebrating the marriage.

§2. If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly.


#11

Calm down, everyone. I'm not a troll -- I realize this is a forum for traditionalist, believing Catholics, but the simple fact is that the majority of people who consider themselves practicing Catholics, and who consider the Church important to them, have issues with each of the examples I gave (possibly excepting abortion, which is only at 45% support or so among Catholics). In the United States 96% of practicing Catholics disagree openly with the Church's teachings on birth control, 75% are in favor of women's ordination, etc. The situation is similar in Peru and throughout the world. I'm not saying the Church should change its teachings, but it doesn't do any good to simply deny the facts of the matter and claim that those people aren't Catholic.

My fiancée has been raised in a Catholic home in a Catholic country since birth, she attends Mass most weeks, she recently graduated from a Catholic university, she's taught catechism to children in her local parish, she has a good relationship with her priest (who as I said is a member of Opus Dei) and she calls herself Catholic. Saying that she needs to "get right with the church" before she can marry as a Catholic may represent your desires for a more orthodox, albeit drastically smaller, faith, but it simply doesn't comport with the realities of how the Catholic Church operates around the world.

As to what I wanted, I simply asked what we might expect in a preliminary interview with the priest on the subject of marriage, and welcomed any other comments you might have.


#12

[quote="A_and_J, post:11, topic:224544"]

As to what I wanted, I simply asked what we might expect in a preliminary interview with the priest on the subject of marriage, and welcomed any other comments you might have.

[/quote]

I think I gave you an accurate explanation of what you might expect. Is there anything unclear?


#13

Thank you especially to 1ke, twoangels and LutheranTeach for your replies!


#14

[quote="A_and_J, post:11, topic:224544"]
Calm down, everyone. I'm not a troll -- I realize this is a forum for traditionalist, believing Catholics,

[/quote]

I apologize if it seemed as though I didn't take you seriously. There are alot of trolls up here, and our defenses can be up sometimes.

And this is a forum for everyone-atheists, Catholics, Christians, liberals, conservatives-you name it.


#15

[quote="A_and_J, post:11, topic:224544"]
Calm down, everyone. I'm not a troll -- I realize this is a forum for traditionalist, believing Catholics, but the simple fact is that the majority of people who consider themselves practicing Catholics, and who consider the Church important to them, have issues with each of the examples I gave (possibly excepting abortion, which is only at 45% support or so among Catholics). **In the United States 96% of practicing Catholics disagree openly with the Church's teachings on birth control, 75% are in favor of women's ordination, etc. **The situation is similar in Peru and throughout the world. I'm not saying the Church should change its teachings, but it doesn't do any good to simply deny the facts of the matter and claim that those people aren't Catholic.

My fiancée has been raised in a Catholic home in a Catholic country since birth, she attends Mass most weeks, she recently graduated from a Catholic university, she's taught catechism to children in her local parish, she has a good relationship with her priest (who as I said is a member of Opus Dei) and she calls herself Catholic. Saying that she needs to "get right with the church" before she can marry as a Catholic may represent your desires for a more orthodox, albeit drastically smaller, faith, but it simply doesn't comport with the realities of how the Catholic Church operates around the world.

As to what I wanted, I simply asked what we might expect in a preliminary interview with the priest on the subject of marriage, and welcomed any other comments you might have.

[/quote]

Where did you get those statistics from? Please cite sources. Thank you. Usually Catholics from Central and South America are more conservative than US Catholics, so it surprises me that you would say your fiancee is so liberal in her thought.


#16

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