Marriage Matters

I need my fiancé to become Catholic before we get married

SHE SAYS
I need my fiancé to become Catholic before we get married 

HE SAYS
I don’t think I need to be Catholic before we get married, and I don’t like being pressured to do it

 

Alice Heinzen
Director of the Office for Marriage and Family Life

What do they do?

It is always a blessing when both the bride and groom have a shared faith in God the day they are wed. That being said, it is not necessary to become Catholic before marrying a Catholic.

The Catholic Church has celebrated mixed marriages between a Catholic and non-Catholic for quite some time. These marriages are considered valid by the Catholic Church, as long as a few requirements are met.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “If the non-Catholic is a baptized Christian, the marriage is valid as long as the Catholic party obtains official permission from the diocese to enter into the marriage and follows all the stipulations for a Catholic wedding.

“A marriage between a Catholic and another Christian is also considered a sacrament. In fact, the Church regards all marriages between baptized Christians as sacramental, as long as there are no impediments.”

If a Catholic marries a non-baptized person, however, the Church proceeds a bit more cautiously because more significant differences exist. In this case, a more rigorous permission form would be required from the bishop.

Beyond what is required, an engaged couple should always explore their faith beliefs and the impact they will have on their marriage. Even if they shared the same faith, it is likely that faith differences exist between them. That is why pastoral care and marriage preparation is required before tying the knot.

Spiritual unity makes a marriage stronger. It provides a firm foundation that can withstand common challenges that spouses encounter. The ability to pray, worship and raise children together within the catholic tradition is a worthy goal—one that i hope this couple will achieve either before or after they are husband and wife.

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