What are the requirements for marrying a non-Catholic Christian?


Full Question

I am a Catholic who intends to marry a Protestant with the agreement that the children be raised as Catholics (which was non-negotiable for me). I realize I need a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic, but is there anything else required? And can I still be married by a priest?

Answer

Technically, you only need permission, not a dispensation, to marry a Protestant Christian. To obtain permission to marry a non-Catholic baptized Christian, the following conditions must be fulfilled: (1) You declare that you are prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith; (2) you make a sincere promise to do all in your power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church; (3) the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which you are to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and your obligation; and (4) both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

As for being married by a priest, you will be required to be married in the presence of your bishop or pastor (or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them) unless you pursue a dispensation to permit you to have a non-Catholic ceremony. This is known as a "dispensation from form" since it allows you to marry without observing the Catholic form of the marriage ceremony.


Jim Blackburn