The father's religion is the child's religion - yes? No?

Is this so? If a couple who have had a secular but not sacramental wedding have a child, does the Catholic Church consider the child’s religion to be that of the father’s? What if they have had a sacramental wedding?

I know that the Greek Orthodox used to have a custom whereby the child automatically followed the religion of the father but I don’t know if this is so today.

I don’t think that the Catholic Church thinks this way. A child would be of the religion in which it was baptised initially and later of the religion which he/she practised.

Other faiths may have different rules, but in Catholicism, a child is Catholic if he is baptized in the Catholic Church, regardless of the marriage of his parents, its validity or invalidity or whether or not its sacramental.

The only aspect pending on the father’s religion is what Catholic rite the child automatically belongs to if he is Catholic. The Catholic offspring of a Latin rite man is automatically Latin rite.

Never heard this one, at least not exactly.

In Judiasm, the child’s religion can be inherited from his or her mother. I have seen many a Jewish man enter a mixed marriage expecting his wife to pick up the ball religiously, when she expected him to pick it up religiously.

But Catholics don’t inherit religion, at least not exactly.

If a priest finds that there is “well founded hope” that a child will be raised Catholic, he should baptize the child. if the priest doesn’t see that for a baby, the baptism should be delayed.

If a child comes from a marriage of mixed churches, meaning the Catholic Church as a whole (both parties ARE Catholic, just different varieties), but two separate churches (suich as A Latin Catholic woman marries a Byzantine Catholic man), then the child generally inherits the father’s church no matter what in equally valid Catholic church the child is bapitzed. I have to do the research on this one, because I’m not sure where the cite is located.

But if a child comes from parents where one is Catholic and one is something else, say oh Presbyterian or Anglican or Methodist or even Baptist, the Catholic parent has made a promise that he or she will do everything possible to ensure the child is baptized and brought up Catholic. The non-Catholic partner is made aware of that promise. It doesn’t matter if it is the mother or the father.

A Catholic should not be getting married in only a civil ceremony where those civil ceremonies are required; and where they are not, should ONLY be getting married according to the rites of the Church unless he or she has a dispensation. In any event, it just doesn’t matter. The Catholic should still be doing his or her part to bring any children to the Catholic faith. And children who are baptized in the Catholic Church (capital c) are Catholic, period, no matter their parents’ marital status.

I don’t understand your question? Are you saying that one or both of the parents are not Baptized and both are not Catholic?

That would be the only way you could have a secular / non-sacramental marriage. If either are Catholic there is no valid Marriage or if both are Baptized non-Catholic then it would be a Sacramental Marriage.

The Childs religion would depend on in what Church or religion the child was Baptized or raised?

The holy rabbis tell us that if the person’s mother is Jewish, the person is Jewish. As Christianity is a sect of Judaism, the same should apply.

[Edited by Moderator]


Christianity is not a Jewish sect so pp is wrong.

the explanation has been given about rites as it applies to the Catholic Church, and the question for those who are not Catholic is moot.

Relevant canons from the Eastern and Latin codes

Canon 29

  1. By virtue of baptism, a child who has not yet completed his fourteenth year of age is enrolled in the Church sui iuris of the Catholic father; or the Church sui iuris of the mother if only the mother is Catholic or if both parents by agreement freely request it, with due regard for particular law established by the Apostolic See.
  1. If the child who has not yet completed his fourteenth year is: (1) born of an unwed mother, he is enrolled in the Church sui iuris to which the mother belongs; (2) born of unknown parents, he is to be enrolled in the Church sui iuris of those in whose care he has been legitimately committed are enrolled; if it is a case of an adoptive father and mother, 1 should be applied; (3) born of non-baptized parents, the child is to be a member of the Church sui iuris of the one who is responsible for his education in the Catholic faith.

Canon 30
Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely select any Church sui iuris in which he or she then is enrolled by virtue of baptism received in that same Church, with due regard for particular law established by the Apostolic See.

Can. 111 §1. Through the reception of baptism, the child of parents who belong to the Latin Church is enrolled in it, or, if one or the other does not belong to it, both parents have chosen by mutual agreement to have the offspring baptized in the Latin Church. If there is no mutual agreement, however, the child is enrolled in the ritual Church to which the father belongs.

§2. Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iuris; in that case, the person belongs to the Church which he or she has chosen.

Can. 112 §1. After the reception of baptism, the following are enrolled in another ritual Church sui iuris:

1/ a person who has obtained permission from the Apostolic See;

2/ a spouse who, at the time of or during marriage, has declared that he or she is transferring to the ritual Church sui iuris of the other spouse; when the marriage has ended, however, the person can freely return to the Latin Church;

3/ before the completion of the fourteenth year of age, the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 as well as, in a mixed marriage, the children of the Catholic party who has legitimately transferred to another ritual Church; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they can return to the Latin Church.

§2. The practice, however prolonged, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another ritual Church sui iuris does not entail enrollment in that Church.

Jesus was the end of the old law. He was the telos, the purpose, the satisfaction, the fulfillment of it. We are no longer suffering under the old law. He no longer calls us slaves, but friends.

His birth brought us salvation, and his death brought us everlasting life. We are no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. The law no longer applies to some in one way and to others in another. Jesus brought salvation to us all, and in doing so He established a new covenant.

The Jewish law helps us to understand what Christ brought us out of. It does not bind us, as Jesus has unloosed the knots that bound us to death in the old law.

The first rule is that the child of a Catholic must be raised Catholic, regardless of the religion of the other parent. As an interfaith married Catholic, my priest went over the stance of the church in detail. You cannot agree to raise your children in a non Catholic faith. As far as specific church, it’s probably up to the parents. I’d assume whichever parent has custody on Sundays. Or the child could go to church with each parent on their respective weekend.

As some of the others have said, that’s not Catholic teaching, but it’s a traditional custom in the United States (among some people, not all) that if the couple have different religions the child goes to the father’s church.

When this subject came up when I was younger I had friends who were surprised that I attended Catholic church with my mother when my father wasn’t Catholic; they had heard that you’re “supposed” to go to your father’s church.

Interesting. Every person I knew as a child who was from a mixed marriage went to the mother’s church. I can’t think of a single person who went to the father’s church while the mother went to another.

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