In a mixed marriage, does the couple have to promise to raise their children Catholic to be married in the Church?


Full Question

When a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Catholic, does the couple need to promise to raise their children as Catholic in order to be married by a priest in the Church?

Answer

The Code of Canon Law states:

A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it . . . and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid. (CIC 1086)A marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism . . . and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church. (CIC 1124)

That said, the Church does allow bishops to grant permission for such marriages provided the following conditions are met:

  • The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.
  • The other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises that the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party.
  • Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude. (CIC 1125)

Jim Blackburn