I’m a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College, and I am the product of a mixed marriage. My mom is an Irish Catholic, and my dad is an Indian Hindu. This has been tough at times, but has thus far helped my faith grow in unique and incredible ways, such that I wish to become a Dominican priest.
I published a note on Facebook taking some of my schoolmates (not personally, that would be uncharitable) to task regarding a prejudice about mixed marriages, namely, an active discouragement from pursuing one. Of all the people at TAC, I’m pretty familiar with the potential problems, and this let to some very awkward conversations with the upperclassmen, who became somewhat, shall we say, set in their ways regarding how they viewed such unions. I am more ecumenical (for the record, I hate that word, because of the abuses of its use) regarding mixed marriages, because I don’t buy that the Baltimore has the last word on it, tone wise. But just to be explicit, I will give the trend of the conversation resulting from this note.
I argued that while mixed marriages have special difficulties, more so than marriages between two Catholics, we ought not to be discouraged from thinking that one may not be in our calling. The size of the Cross does not exclude God from sending it to someone. I gave references to various examples of extraordinary vocations (like the prophet Amos in today’s reading, David fighting Goliath, and Christ asking Peter to walk on water.) All this was to say “Be not afraid” to those who feared to enter into a relationship with a non-Catholic.
A very good friend of mine, who is more familiar with Canon Law but more dissatisfied, shall we say, with the Novus Ordo and the Second Vatican Council, disagreed with my tone regarding the issue. He is a very good friend of mine, and we agree on a great many things, but this is a bone of contention. He quoted the Baltimore, saying that the priest is not supposed to wear his special vestments (stole, etc.) and that such a service is supposed to be trimmed down. He stated “to marry a non-Catholic is against Church law.”
I recognize that this is the case “as such”, but also that there are dispensations that allow this to happen, and he sees this also. Thus far we agree (both the Balt and the CCC warn against the possible dangers, they only happen under dispensation, and they are not for the faint of heart, so to speak.) The difficulty is that HE says we ought not to encourage Catholics to pursue them under ANY circumstance, whereas I am of the more CCC opinion that, they being a great grace, and besides which, a form of very intimate apostolate, should be recognized as something to which God might call someone and not, as my friend says because “some Catholics are stubborn SOBs and will persist in the will to do it and it is better to keep them in the Church.”
Now, he quoted the Baltimore, and it seems to agree with him in both matter and tone, at least the bits he quoted, which were full, contexted passages. I quoted Catholic Answers’ entire CCC reference on the subject, which appears to agree with me in both matter and tone as well. But I don’t want to discount the Baltimore entirely, just see which is RIGHT here. Or even whether I’m right about the CCC, or he’s right about the Baltimore. Whatever the Church teaches, I’ll submit to it, and think accordingly, but this is an issue, as you may imagine, of some concern to me.