Mixed marriages and raising of children


#1

Usually when the issue of mixed marriages come up, most people say that one of the requirements is that both spouses agree to raise the children Catholic. But, unless I am misunderstanding the relevant section of Canon Law, this is not the case. Only the Catholic spouse must promise to raise the children the Catholic. The other must merely be informed of this fact.

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 baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

Canon 1125.2 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.

Am I missing something?


#2

The code of canon law prior to the 1983 code treated mixed marriage differently, and the non-Catholic spouse did sign such a promise. Therefore, those who are going by their own lived experience or what their parents told them, or what someone else who may be unaware of the change in the law told them might make such a statement.

However, I would suggest that your description of one “merely” being informed is also not quite accurate. They are not to be “merely” informed, they are to be informed in a way such “that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party.”

IOW, that they really understand what that means, aren’t taking this lightly, or planning to interfere with the Catholic’s obligation.


#3

Thank you. It hadn’t occurred to me that such might be the case

However, I would suggest that your description of one “merely” being informed is also not quite accurate. They are not to be “merely” informed, they are to be informed in a way such “that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party.”

Of course. I didn’t mean to minimize the importance of the matter.


#4

No you are not missing anything.

The presumption is that a married person will not want to ask the spouse to violate his/her conscience. It’s a given that the Catholic is supposed to raise his children as Catholics. The Church does not make assumptions on what the non-Catholic’s faith requires but rather assumes (because the couple is sufficiently well informed) that the couple will only marry if there are no conflicts.


#5

So, must the children be baptised?
And if the other party has a different religion, how could he let his children be baptised?


#6

Must the non-catholic party let the catholic party raise their children catholic?


#7

Well, the problem of how to raise the children is one of the main reasons that marriage between Catholics and non-Catholics is discouraged.

It is certainly reasonable that each party to the marriage would wish to raise the children according to his/her own beliefs. But the Catholic is is expected to try and raise the children as Catholics even if the non-Catholic is less than happy about it.

Why would a couple want to put themselves at odds with each other by marrying and then fighting about the religious upbringing of the children?


#8

Yes, the children are expected to be baptised, brought to Mass, prepared for the sacraments and receive them at the usual ages/intervals.

If the non-Catholic absolutely won’t allow this, the Catholic should not marry that person. What usually happens though is that the couple doesn’t realize what an issue it will be, perhaps the non-Catholic (or the Catholic) is not strong in their faith.

Then *after *they are married and *after *they have children, this becomes a point of contention and can even cause marriages to be damaged beyond repair. The faith of the couple and the children is tested and many lose their faith over this.

After seeing this happen, I am a VERY strong advocate of marriage prep, but also of ordinary people bringing this issue to the attention of family and friends who are dating or engaged to someone who is not Catholic.


#9

Thank you


#10

I agree with what other posters have said. In the past the non-Catholic spouse had to agree to this. Now only the Catholic spouse must make this undertaking. It is very important that the non-Catholic spouse understands this requirement. It is why mixed marriages can have problems. In the past not only did the non-Catholic spouse have to agree to this, mixed marriages were viewed by the Church is a less favourable light than today. My mother and other relatives of her generation have told me about the problems when family members have wanted to marry a non-Catholic. It caused terrible family problems and the priest was involved who tried in earnest to prevent the marriage.


#11

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