Requirements of Mixed Marriages

Essay by Flynangel2002College, Undergraduate May 2005

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Q: What are the requirements for a mixed marriage?

A: Entering a mixed marriage is highly unadvisable. Speaking as one who has had personal experience with them (having been the then-Protestant member of a marriage with a Catholic), mixed marriages always involve pain for both of the parties unless neither spouse cares about religion. These problems can be very grave, threaten the survival of the marriage, and may not emerge for years (as, for example, when the children reach the age of being religiously educated and one partner changes his or her mind about the agreements that were made about the children at the beginning of the marriage).

For this reason, whenever people ask me about mixed marriages, I always tell them that the non-Catholic party should seriously look at the Catholic faith and the possibility of becoming Catholic. Simply on a human level (quite apart from the benefits to the person's soul), this solves an enormous number of problems that would otherwise plague the marriage.

I therefore invite any non-Catholic who is contemplating a mixed marriage or is in a mixed marriage to email me, and I will be more than happy to help them conduct an investigation of the Catholic faith.

That said, here is what the Catholic Almanac records concerning the requirements for a mixed marriage:

"Pastoral experience, which the Catholic Church shares with other religious bodies, confirms the fact that marriages of persons of different beliefs involve special problems related to the continuing religious practice of the concerned persons and to the religious education and formation of the children.

"Pastoral measures to minimize these problems include instruction of a non-Catholic party in essentials of the Catholic faith for purposes of understanding. Desirably, some instruction should also be given to the Catholic party regarding his or her...