Why does the Catholic Church marry unbelievers to Catholics?

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sabrinaofmn

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II Cor. 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” I have always heard that this verse refers to unbelievers marrying Christians. Why, then, does the Catholic Church marry unbelivers to Catholics, thereby yoking light with darkness?
 
The Church has traditionally recognized Paul’s prohibition to be disciplinary and provisional, not absolute.

Still, mixed marriages are strongly discouraged, at least in theory.
 
I can’t speak of every situation, but God can still use that “Yoke” to bring unbeleivers to the church, as well as Satan leading them away.

I was a lapsed cradle Catholic in my college and young adult years, and I married a woman whose family felt that you “didn’t need a church to talk to God”. Not long after our son was born, my wife decided that she needed more Organized Religion and less Dis-Organized Religion in her life, so she began her journey. Seeing this, I was intrigued by the calling she felt and wanted to help her out. We spent a few months checking out churches and reading up on beliefs. She was always very defensive of Catholicism, however, because her mother in particular is still very hostile towards the church. She even made my wife promiss never to become Catholic just before we were married! (I didn’t know this at the time.) Eventually, my wife found herself attending a Presbyterian church that a friend of hers attended. I would go with her occasionally, but knew i could never be Presbyterian because of they were officially prochoice. (One thing I’ve never lost or even doubted since my youth was my dedication to protecting unborn children.) I ended up going to a local Catholic church while she was at her Pres. church, but she started coming with me so that we would be together as a family. It has been “growing on her”. Now she has been going through an "unofficial: RCIA program for a few months now and although she is not committed yet, I beleive she will probably join the church fully sometime next year. Part of the reason she is having such a hard time committing to the church is the fear of her family’s reaction. One sister gives her a hard time about it occasionally, but generally nobody brings it up. That would probably change once she joins officially. I have to be very supportive and gentle with her about it and let her go at her own pace, because I know how conflicted she feels, and how sometimes she feels like she is “betraying” her mom. I try to remind her that maybe God is using her to bring her whole family home, just like he let me stray for a while so that I could bring her home.
 
Correct me if I’m wrong, but unless both parties are baptized persons, the marriage can not be sacramental…and if it is not sacramental, then it is not a valid Christian marriage in the eyes of the Church. (No offense intended to anyone). The Church gives dispensations to marry Christians of other creeds…as long as they are baptized persons.

If the Church does recognize certain marriages b/w a Catholic and a non-baptized person…could someone please explain how this is possible and cite an official source?
 
Dear twf,

Check the Code of Canon Law, #1086. Such a marriage would not be sacramental but, provided the bishop dispenses the couple from the impediment, it would be valid.
 
I have a problem when people say stuff like “the prohibition is meant to be provisional and disciplinary”… Is this can be said about a vere that otherwise seems so clear… then you can apply that to any verse you don’t want to believe 100%. If i don’t agree with something I can just say “that was meant to be understood as disciplinary and can be changed”

One thing I would like to note is this was a letter to the Corinithians. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would have been read in written form in their Churches… So they would have read it “as is” knowing nothing of it being just “disciplinary” or “changeable”.

It seems if you look to Church history the Church had understood that in the strict sense… and now it seems to have changed to be more lenient in the interpretation of the verse.

If I am wrong please give me quotations from the fathers or some other valid source in Church history that disputes the point…
 
James_2:24:
If I am wrong please give me quotations from the fathers or some other valid source in Church history that disputes the point…
In the other thread on this issue, I mentioned I had been studying some canon law commentaries on the issue. One of them has a reference to canon 72 from the Council of Trullo:
Canon LXXII.
AN orthodox man is not permitted to marry an heretical woman, nor an orthodox woman to be joined to an heretical man. But if anything of this kind appear to have been done by any [we require them] to consider the marriage null, and that the marriage be dissolved. For it is not fitting to mingle together what should not be mingled, nor is it right that the sheep be joined with the wolf, nor the lot of sinners with the portion of Christ. But if any one shall transgress the things which we have decreed let him be cut off. But if any who up to this time are unbelievers and are not yet numbered in the flock of the orthodox have contracted lawful marriage between themselves, and if then, one choosing the right and coming to the light of truth and the other remaining still detained by tile bond of error and not willing to behold with steady eye the divine rays, the unbelieving woman is pleased to cohabit with the believing man, or the unbelieving man with the believing woman, let them not be separated, according to the divine Apostle, “for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife by her husband.”
Ancient Epitome of Canon LXXII.
A marriage contracted with heretics is void. But if they have made the contract before [conversion] let them remain [united] if they so desire.
Perhaps none of the canons of this synod present greater and more insolvable difficulties than the present. It has been for long centuries the tradition of the Church that the marriage of a baptized Christian with an unbaptized person is null, but this canon seems to say that the same is the case if the one party be a heretic even though baptized. If this is what the canon means it elevates heresy into an impedimentum dirimens. Such is not and never has been the law of the West, and such is not to-day the practice of the Eastern church, which allows the marriage of its people with Lutherans and with Roman CatholiCs and never questions the validity of their marriages. Van Espen thinks “the Greek commentators seem” to think that the heretics referred to are unbaptized; I do not know exactly why he thinks so.
 
Br. Dan:
Dear twf,

Check the Code of Canon Law, #1086. Such a marriage would not be sacramental but, provided the bishop dispenses the couple from the impediment, it would be valid.
Exactly right. And when the two are both in Christ, then the marriage becomes sacramental. In my case, I was validly married 15 years ago, and my marriage became sacramental 3 years ago when I came back to the Church.
 
The quote of Canon law above seems to clear things up. Let me see if my understanding is correct. The Catholic Church recognizes marriages in two forms: civil and sacramental, or in other words, legal v. spiritual. If a Catholic marries an unbeliver in the Catholic Church the marriage is still not sacramental even though it is legal. If the parties decided to split, an annulment would be granted.

I have a real life example. I have a friend who was an unbeliever when she married her Catholic husband. This would be a valid marriage, but not sacramental as neither party was married previously. They have a bit of a rocky marriage, but they have produced one child and she has since become a believer, although not Catholic. She’s also not baptized. Her husband has threatened to divorce her once, but he cooled off and it didn’t happen. His grounds for divorce was that she didn’t convert to Catholicism (he claims she promised to do so, she says she only promised to look into it). She may or may not join the Catholic Church as she is still looking into it. This woman very much wants to stay married. They have a son together, and she wants to remain a family.

I have three questions:
  1. If she is baptized now would her marriage automatically become sacramental?
  2. Would her baptism prevent her husband from obtaining an annulment in the future?
  3. This couple had a Catholic wedding. Based on the above citation from Canon Law, such a union should be impossible. Is this an example of a priest not being in obedience to the law? Does this happen all the time in the Catholic Church, or do most priests refuse to marry a Catholic to an unbeliever.
 
My uncle married a Moslem who was supposed to convert after the wedding. She still hasnt’ but the three children have been baptized. Not old enough yet for CCD so will see how that goes.
 
Dear Sabrinaofmn,

I don’t think the terms “civil” or “legal” quite equal “valid.” A marriage can be very legal/civil but still invalid, as far as the Church is concerned. But, that’s just semantics.

If a couple is validly, yet non-sacramentally, married, it is still as married as they can get and an annulment isn’t automatic.

Regarding your friend, their marriage would not be sacramental not because of their not being married before but because one of them wasn’t a baptized Christian.

If she is now baptized would the marriage become sacramental? I’m not sure.

Her baptism wouldn’t affect future annulment possibities but would make it impossible for him to have the marriage dissolved. (It’s a long story…)

Their marriage is not impossible–if the husband promised to remain Catholic and raise their children Catholic and the priest asked the local bishop for a dispensation from the impediment and it was granted, their marriage is legitimate, in the eyes of the Church.

Marriage is complicated.
 
Let me try:

The Catholic Church recognizes valid marriages in two forms: sacramental marriages, and “good and natural” marriages. If both parties are baptized, the marriage is sacramental; otherwise, it is “good and natural”.

Under certain circumstances, a “good and natural” marriage can be dissolved. That is, a valid marriage once existed, but the bond is now broken. The Pauline and Petrine privileges are used to dissolve these “good and natural” marriages.

If a sacramental marriage has not been consumated, the Pope can dispense the bond. In this case as well, a valid marriage once existed, but the bond no longer binds.

The bond of a consumated, sacramental marriage cannot be broken by the Pope or by any power on Earth.

If there was some problem at the time of the marriage ceremony that prevented a valid marriage from being created, then a decree of nullity (i.e., an “annulment”) can be issued by a Church tribunal. In this case, the marriage was never valid to begin with.
The distinction of sacramental vs. “good and natural” doesn’t enter into it, because there was no valid marriage in the first place.
 
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sabrinaofmn:
His grounds for divorce was that she didn’t convert to Catholicism (he claims she promised to do so, she says she only promised to look into it).
If he had placed a “future condition” on the marriage (e.g., that she convert to Catholicism), then that would be grounds for annulment because it means that he wasn’t fully giving his consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage ceremony. Under current (post-1983) canon law, a “future condition” always invalidates the marriage. Under prior (post-1917 pre-1983) canon law, a “future condition” only invalidated a marriage if it wasn’t met.
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sabrinaofmn:
  1. If she is baptized now would her marriage automatically become sacramental?
Yes, assuming it is a valid marriage.
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sabrinaofmn:
  1. Would her baptism prevent her husband from obtaining an annulment in the future?
No. This would have no affect on any future annulment. Only dissolution via Pauline or Petrine privilege would be affected.
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sabrinaofmn:
  1. This couple had a Catholic wedding. Based on the above citation from Canon Law, such a union should be impossible. Is this an example of a priest not being in obedience to the law?
No, a dispensation from this provision of the law is quite possible.
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sabrinaofmn:
Does this happen all the time in the Catholic Church, or do most priests refuse to marry a Catholic to an unbeliever.
This happens all the time.
 
II Cor. 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” I have always heard that this verse refers to unbelievers marrying Christians. Why, then, does the Catholic Church marry unbelivers to Catholics, thereby yoking light with darkness?
People can fall in love with an unbeliever. 😉
I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you referring to a person who isn’t Catholic or are you referring to an unbeliever?
If one is a member of another christian church I would think it would be okak, but then I’m not familiar with the rules. Does anyone know?

God bless,
jean8
 
Correct me if I’m wrong, but unless both parties are baptized persons, the marriage can not be sacramental…and if it is not sacramental, then it is not a valid Christian marriage in the eyes of the Church. (
this is simply not true
please do not make statements without facts to back them up
 
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