What is required for a Catholic to marry a Jehovah's Witness?

I am engaged to a baptized Jehovah’s Witness. His religion prevents him from attending mass with me, being married in a church with a priest or reverend, and it also prevents him from getting a blessing from the priest for our wedding. We are very supportive and understanding of each others religions and respect each others beliefs. He even drops me off at church and attends family holiday dinners. I do not mind this at all. We love each other very much and have been together for almost 7 years with hardly any arguments.

I want to know in I can still obtain a “dispensation of mixed marriage” and approval from the bishop if I see a priest or deacon by myself since my fiance cannot come with me as it is considered a “blessing from the priest” if he comes with me in person. The dispensation essentially involves just me acknowledging that I will not convert to another religion and that I do all in my power to raise our children catholic. This is what I would like to do. I just want to be sure that I can do this by myself and get approval from the bishop without m fiancé being present. I also want to continue receiving communion.

Just as a side note, I have been speaking with a couple priests. One mentioned that I must immediately destroy the marriage because us Catholics cannot tolerate Jehovah’s Witness’ beliefs and if I do end up marrying him I can never receive communion again. I really did not like his advice and I feel it is because of this that some people leave the Catholic faith for wrongly advising others.

Thank you for any help!

Obviously there are some hurdles that will be encountered in a marriage between these two faiths. You need to go into such a marriage with your eyes wide open about those issues. That being said, there are a few things that are needed:

  1. Dispensation from Disparity of Cult. The Catholic Church does not recognize Jehovah Witness baptisms as valid so this is a situation of a baptized Catholic marrying an unbaptized person. As part of this process you will promise to remain Catholic and do your best to raise your children Catholic.

  2. Dispensation from Canonical Form. If your fiance refuses to marry in a Catholic church then you need the Bishop to dispense you from this requirement.

  3. In addition the Church normally requires both parties to prove that they are free to marry and attest they agree to the Catholic understanding of marriage. If your fiancee refuses to do this then the diocese may not grant the dispensations. You will need your parish priest to talk to the Bishop’s office about this and see if there is any way they can work with your situation.

Perhaps you can explain to your fiance that this process in no way represents a “blessing” from the priest or the Church. What this paperwork does is allow the Church to accept the vows you’ll be making as valid. Its no different than the paperwork he’s filling out for the state to allow the state to recognize the vows as legal.

God bless.

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