**2.6.10 Marriage to a Member of Another Christian Church **
Marriages between a Catholic and a baptized Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church (e.g., Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, etc.) are called mixed marriages. Where the two Christians are both validly baptized, the Catholic Church considers such marriages to be sacramental.
Marriages between Roman (Latin) Catholics and Eastern Catholics are NOT mixed marriages. See section 184.108.40.206 for information about Roman Catholic-Eastern Catholic marriages.
The difficulties of mixed marriage must not be underestimated. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1634).
If possible, the Catholic minister should take steps to establish contacts with the minister of the other church or ecclesial community. In general, mutual consultation between Christian pastors for supporting such marriages can be a fruitful field of ecumenical collaboration.
Since for validity where one or both partners are Catholic, the marriage has to be contracted in the presence of the Ordinary, parish pastor, the priest, or deacon delegated by either of them (Canon 1108), the Catholic canonical form is to be observed also for mixed marriages (Canon 1127). However the Ordinary of the place for grave reasons, and without prejudice to the law of the Eastern Churches, can dispense the Catholic partner from the observance of the canonical form in individual cases. See The Ecumenical Directory, 153, 154 (the reasons to justify such a dispensation are listed), and 155. If a dispensation from the canonical form has been given, it is still required for validity that there be some form of public celebration. (See Canon 1127, 2)
If a dispensation from the canonical form has been obtained and if invited to do so, a Catholic priest a Catholic priest or deacon may attend or participate in the celebration of a mixed marriage at another Christian church by offering prayers, reading from Scripture, or giving a brief exhortation. Alternately, if the Catholic priest or deacon will be presiding, he may, upon the request of the couple, invite the minister of the non-Catholic party to participate in the marriage ceremony. In any case there may be only one ceremony in which the presiding person receives the marriage vows.
Mixed marriages ordinarily follow The Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass. The Eucharist is a symbol of unity, and celebrating a Christian marriage at Mass may make the celebration awkward for both parties by highlighting their differences in faith. If circumstances justify it and the non-Catholic party agrees to their having a Mass, The Rite for Celebrating Marriage within Mass may be used. However, it must be stressed that should there be a Mass, directives of The Ecumenical Directory (159/160) and the Code of Canon Law (Canon 844) concerning reception of the Eucharist are to be observed. Couples should consult with their priest about this delicate matter.
In all mixed marriages, permission for a mixed marriage must be requested. The parish priest will assist in this simple procedure. To obtain permission, the Catholic party will be asked to affirm in some way (verbally or in writing) that he or she will do all in his/her power to see that the children of the marriage are baptized and educated in the Catholic faith. The other partner is to be informed of these promises and responsibilities; the non-Catholic partner may feel a similar obligation because of his/her own Christian commitment. No formal written or oral promise is required of the non-Catholic partner. In carrying out this duty of transmitting the Catholic faith to the children, the Catholic parent will do so with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent and with due regard for the unity and permanence of the marriage and for the maintenance of the communion of the family. It is important that during the marriage preparation, both partners together discuss the Catholic baptism and education of the children they will have, and, where possible, come to a decision on this question before marriage (The Ecumenical Directory, 150).