Not caring whether one marries a Catholic or not?

Or a better way of putting it might be “shouldn’t a Catholic always have a preference for marrying a fellow Catholic?”.

I think so. There is such a thing as disparity of cult, and dispensations are required for a reason. Traditionally, Catholics were strongly urged to marry Catholics, and I believe I read somewhere one time, that having fewer than 2500 potential Catholic partners in one’s locality was a kind of “threshold” for determining whether a dispensation might be granted — it’s not Jone’s Moral Theology, but that sounds like the kind of thing he would have come up with. The rationale there would be “you have more than enough Catholics to choose from, no, you may not marry this non-Catholic”. Needless to say, that kind of thinking would not fly in contemporary society.

If I were choosing a mate, whether she were Catholic or not, would be the absolute number-one consideration — everything else would be trivial by comparison. If I were to marry a non-Catholic (and this is highly premature talk, I have no annulment), I have to think that she would very much have to “strike a chord” with me, that I would see something so unique in her, that I could justify marrying someone with whom I don’t share a common faith. (In all fairness, I have met women a few times in my courting days who fulfilled this criterion, but in the end I married a Catholic.) Not being a fairly serious Christian would be a deal-killer right up front.

Thoughts and experiences to share?

1 Like

I thought you already chose a mate, if you’re a dad. So you had your chance to choose whatever you chose based on whatever criteria you wanted to use.

My reasons for choosing my husband to marry are intensely personal and involve things like a) love and b) him being the best man I ever met apart from my father, and definitely the best husband for me. I had a chance to marry three Catholic men who practiced their faith to varying degrees and none of them could hold a candle to the man I married who just happened to be a Presbyterian because his parents happened to be that faith for reasons of their own.

I really don’t care what you or anyone else think of my choice, especially now that he has passed away after a 23-year happy marriage and a 33-year total relationship. I’m not even sure why you would start such a thread to be honest. Other people’s marital choices are not your business, nor your choice to make.

By the way, our priest was fairly old-school and did not make one objection, funny look, raised eyebrow, or peep about me marrying my husband. So why should some lay person who doesn’t even know us do that?


Plenty of people marry Catholics that don’t practice their faith, or care if their children do. Just because someone is Catholic doesn’t mean they make a good spouse. On the other hand people often meet someone they are attracted to that have many great qualities, except that they aren’t Catholic.

I am happy you choose to marry someone Catholic if you are able. But it does seem insensitive to come on here and preach to others about what they should do. Especially as there are many Catholics that have non-Catholic spouses on CAF, and many that have Catholic spouses that don’t practice their faith.


I did. We are divorced. She chose to “remarry” without the permission of the Church, and she has no annulment. I do not know whether her consort has an annulment from his first marriage or not — his situation may be simply “lack of form” (which strictly speaking, is not an annulment).

I am sorry for your loss. I don’t doubt that your husband was a fine man, and was the right man for you to marry. As I said, I could theoretically consider marrying a non-Catholic, but she would have to strike a very special chord with me, just as your dear husband seems to have done for you.

To share experiences, to raise consciousness as to why the Church strongly encourages us to marry fellow Catholics, and to highlight how, under the right conditions — such as you and your husband had — an interfaith marriage can be the best choice for a certain person. I know you are mindful, as am I, that many mixed marriages result in tragedy, as the Catholic partner grows indifferent and possibly even leaves the Faith, and their children are raised without the Faith, possibly even without being baptized.


Refer to any traditional Catholic catechism (Baltimore et al) and they will tell you the very same thing I said. If my comments are “insensitive”, so are those made by the catechism authors.

1 Like

No, one is in a book, instructing people. Your comments are on a forum where people have come to discuss things, and you have already started the conversation off by stating that everyone should always have a preference for marrying a Catholic.


And the same can be said about two Catholics that marry.


Both my husband and I are Catholic. We were not married in the Church. In fact, it really didn’t matter to either of us at the time what the Church thought or taught.

As I’m sure you know, many marriages where both partners are Catholic also end in tragedy.


You are aware this is not a liberal forum for the “Church of anything goes” correct? Marriage is among the Catholic vocations available to us. It is entirely appropriate to discuss here and particularly to discuss criteria for chosing a spouse.

1 Like

No offense man, but this is detraction.


Yes, I have been a member since 2009. I am pretty sure I know not only how this forum works, but also the Church’s views on marriage. My point is not that it can’t be discussed, but the manner in which it was presented. Which I would have thought you, with the username @Kindnessmatters would have understood.


I really hope you got it convalidated since then, or it isn’t a valid marriage :confused:

It’s not just invalid. The marriage just doesn’t exist. Only acts placed according to the proper form have the presumption of validity.

You didn’t follow the canonical form.

1 Like

The more important issue to me is the continuing education and formation in the Catholic faith of the children of the mixed marriage.


We all grow up with ideals of what we will do and will never do, based on many factors - what we learn from our parents, our schools, our churches, our friends. Life has taught me that life happens and all is subject to change, for whatever reason. I would have bet the farm that I would never be Catholic - now here I am!


This isn’t just a dispassionate discussion of “which criteria would you use in picking a spouse” however. The OP starts with the premise that the prospective spouse must be Catholic and everything else is “trivial” by comparison. Moreover, the premise is presented against the background of the Church previously barely allowing any dispensations, whihc the OP seems to think was a good practice and something that should be followed today. The implication is that those of us who didn’t place Catholicism number one front and center on the list of spouse-picking criteria are somehow falling short in our vocation of marriage.

I find your comment about “This is not a liberal forum” to be ironic in view of your username. That seems very unkind. Neither Irishmom nor myself run around on here advocating “The Church of Anything Goes”, and the use of the word “liberal” as a pejorative is inappropriate.


And I had planned to marry a Catholic, partly because where I came from, almost everybody was Catholic.
Life is like a box of chocolates.



From the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism:

mixed marriages frequently present difficulties for the couples themselves, and for the children born to them, in maintaining their Christian faith and commitment and for the harmony of family life. For all these reasons, marriage between persons of the same ecclesial Community remains the objective to be recommended and encouraged.


My thoughts, you are still married. You should not be discussing

This causes scandal. When we are married in the eyes of the Church, we are married, regardless of civil processes. We are married so we are not thinking about choosing other mates.

First get an annulment, then start thinking and discussing this.

1 Like

Does not the Church herself tell us that we should have this preference? By her traditional catechisms and by having a requirement for dispensation in the first place? If we are to have no such preference, then why doesn’t the Church do away with the requirement, allow Catholics to marry anyone they wish (who is free to marry) without having to get permission first, and only require that the Catholic promise to raise their children in the Faith?

A more elegant way for me to phrase this might have been “one should always have an a priori preference for marrying a Catholic” — in other words, when contemplating marriage, to say to oneself “I certainly hope I do marry a fellow Catholic, but I recognize that, as things unfold and I actually meet someone, that may not happen — I have a preference, but if it doesn’t turn out that way, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, and in any event I will never abandon the Faith nor neglect to pass it on to my children”. That is the idea I was trying to convey. I was not attempting to issue some blanket fatwa against marrying non-Catholics.

That said, I wouldn’t want to lose sight of the fact that marriage is hard enough as it is, and even from a secular standpoint, having a shared set of beliefs is better than not having them. Our Faith informs every aspect of our lives. Catholics and non-Catholics often differ on issues such as the possibility of divorce, birth regulation (this one is a whopper, and that’s all I’m going to say about it in this thread), other issues of sexual morality, the rights of unborn life, and how to resolve moral dilemmas such as “the end justifies the means”, capital punishment, the ethics of lying, and a host of other issues. And what about the upbringing of the children? Is it better to have a spouse who reinforces the Faith we are trying to teach our children, or is either indifferent or has opposing beliefs they want to impart as well?

I am well aware of this. My own marriage came to a bad end. (But at least Mom and I share the same faith and teach our son the same things.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit