Mixed Marriage Answer on this Forum Incorrect?


#1

This locked thread, in response to whether a Catholic can marry a Methodist outside the Catholic church:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=362677&highlight=married+outside+church

says flatly:

“For a Catholic to marry outside of the Catholic Church is a sin and the Church does not consider such a marriage to be valid. Further, since the marriage is not considered to be valid, marital relations are considered to be gravely sinful.”

I don’t see how this can be correct when the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on the website for its marriage tribunal has a large online pamphlet devoted to discussing marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics. See here:

txcatholic.org/documents/ecumenical-guidelines-for-the-dioceses-of-texas.pdf

This addresses mixed marriages, and refers to obtaining permission to enter into a mixed marriage from the local bishop, as well as explaining how to obtain a dispensation from the canonical form to be validly and licitly married to a non-Catholic Christian in a ceremony outside the Catholic Church, citing to, among other cites, Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Matrimonia Mixta, March 31, 1970. My understanding is that even the Council of Trent recognized mixed marriages so long as the spouses vowed to raise the children Catholic. Today, such a vow is not necessary, rather the Catholic spouse must promise as follows:

"I reaffirm my faith in Jesus Christ, and with God’s help, intend to continue living that faith in the Catholic Church. I promise to do all in my power to share the faith I have received with our children by having them baptized and reared as Catholics.”

Catholics can even marry non-Christians with permission of the bishop to enter into a marriage with disparity of cult.

In sum, this answer appears very wrong and other threads link to this answer. This seems highly misleading. Can anyone clear this up?


#2

I didn't read the thread in question, but the poster may have been referring to those marriages whereby the Catholic simply marries a nonCatholic outside the Catholic Church w/out permission (known as a "dispensation") from the local Bishop. Those marriages are invalid, and thereby relations w/in considered fornication. A Catholic must get permission to marry outside the Church, and, as you noted, promise to do everything in their power to remain Catholic and raise their children Catholic.

In Christ,

Ellen


#3

Its not clear from the question whether he had obtained permission, only that he was "going to" marry a Methodist in a Lutheran church. What you say, Ellen is correct, and it certainly appears he had not and did not intend to get the required permission.

But the answer didn't tell him to, or suggest it. Furthermore, other threads asking the general question, simply link to this response. The fact that the response simply makes the flat statement that its a sin, without any reference to the well-known and highly-publicized procedures, approved by Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, current Canon Law, and certainly every Catholic diocese in the country, just seems to me to be very misleading, even if the question did specifically ask whether such permission was an option.

I didn't know where to post this, but it just seems like something that should be fixed since many people, Catholic and Protestant, who are in a "mixed dating" or "mixed engagement" situation, may get directed to the thread, as I did, by Googling about mixed marriages, get a curt answer that says "no its a sin" and just throw up their hands and get married (illicitly) when there is a method to licitly enter into a mixed marriage. That's a danger, and someone at the forum site, should clear it up by de-linking the thread or allowing people to post the clarification about the dispensations for mixed marriages that are allowed.


#4

The OP in the referenced thread was also rejecting some Catholic teachings and grossly uninformed about others. His intention was to marry in the Lutheran church without permission from the Catholic church for either the mixed marriage or the irregularity of the ceremony itself. That is what Fr. Serpa correctly called invalid and sinful. The Catholic Church discourages mixed marriages, but does not forbid them, instead insisting on a proper dispensation.

To sum up: the original post was not about mixed marriages in general. It was about Catholics marrying outside the Catholic Church, which is invalid, as evidenced by the large number of annullments granted for just this reason.

Betsy


#5

A person who receives a dispensation from canonical form is not marrying outside the Church.

You have interpreted “outside the Church” to mean “outside the church building.” That is not the way in which Fr. Serpa is using the term “outside the Church” nor is it the typical meaning for that term used by most Catholics on these forums or in “every day” conversation.

He is using the term in its proper sense, which is “outside the Church’s authority” or “with no regard for the Church’s authority.” In this case that would mean ignoring canonical form and dispensation requirements.


#6

[quote="1ke, post:5, topic:195666"]
A person who receives a dispensation from canonical form is not marrying outside the Church.

You have interpreted "outside the Church" to mean "outside the church building." That is not the way in which Fr. Serpa is using the term "outside the Church" nor is it the typical meaning for that term used by most Catholics on these forums or in "every day" conversation.

He is using the term in its proper sense, which is "outside the Church's authority" or "with no regard for the Church's authority." In this case that would mean ignoring canonical form and dispensation requirements.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#7

[quote="1ke, post:5, topic:195666"]
A person who receives a dispensation from canonical form is not marrying outside the Church.

You have interpreted "outside the Church" to mean "outside the church building." That is not the way in which Fr. Serpa is using the term "outside the Church" nor is it the typical meaning for that term used by most Catholics on these forums or in "every day" conversation.

He is using the term in its proper sense, which is "outside the Church's authority" or "with no regard for the Church's authority." In this case that would mean ignoring canonical form and dispensation requirements.

[/quote]

Unfortunately, there appears (at least in my neck of the woods) to be a widespread misunderstanding about this. I don't how many times I've come across Catholics, and nonCatholics married to Catholics, who insist they couldn't get married in the Catholic church b/c the nonCatholic didn't want to convert, and "both have to be Catholic to get married in the Catholic". Then they don't believe me when I try to correct them! I had one (nonCatholic) gal even tell me that my priest must have "broken the rules" when he officiated at my marriage to my then Southern Baptist husband! (dh didn't convert for 5 years after we were married!), b/c her husband was told "in no uncertain terms" by his priest that he couldn't marry a Protestant. I know mixed marriages are discouraged, but I find it hard to believe that there are so many unreasonable, hard nosed priests out there denying people the sacrament (I did encounter one years ago who wouldn't baptize my oldest daughter b/c she was born out of wedlock. He told me so flat out. When I said that wasn't the Church's rule, he replied (nastily) "It's MY rule". I can't imagine he was ok w/ mixed marriages, either :rolleyes:). More likely, the Catholic probably wasn't willing to keep practicing Catholicism (if they even were to start with) or try to raise their children Catholic. The JMHO, though (dang jaded human nature! :D).

In Christ,

Ellen


#8

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