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Elizabeth wrote:

Hi, guys —

My boyfriend and I are talking very seriously about getting married; he is Catholic, but I am not.
I was raised going to a Baptist church, but stopped going in Junior High School. I am worried that in order to marry him in a Catholic church, I will have to agree to raise our children Catholic.

Although I don't have strong religious beliefs of my own at this moment, I am very uncomfortable agreeing to raise my children a certain way because I don't know what the future will hold. I plan on raising my children to be good, honest, sincere people, no matter what religion (if any) is part of their lives.

With that being said:

  • Is there a way for me to marry him in a Catholic Church without agreeing to raise our children a certain way?

He keeps telling me not to worry about it because he would marry me anywhere, but his grandma and father are very Catholic. His siblings are also very Catholic. His mother, although raised Baptist, teaches at a Catholic junior high school and probably knows more about being Catholic than most other Catholics!

I don't want to upset any of his relatives by not being married in a Catholic Church, but on the other hand, I'm not going to make promises about my children that I may not want to keep, once they are born. It just seems very "Rumpelstiltskin" to me.

Thank you for your help!

Elizabeth

  { We are interested in getting married in the Church, but I don't want raise our children Catholic. }

Mike replied:

Dear Elizabeth,

Thanks for the question.

We receive questions that are very similar to yours. Next time, you may want to consider searching our knowledge base.

You said:

  • Is there a way for me to marry him in a Catholic Church without agreeing to raise our children a certain way?

The Catholic party must commit to raising the children Catholic, and the non-Catholic party must promise not to interfere for a valid, sacramental marriage.

You said:
I plan on raising my children to be good, honest, sincere people, no matter what religion (if any) is part of their lives.

Although this is a good intent, in our secular world, which de-values Christian morals:

  • being good
  • honest, and
  • sincere

can vary from one individual to another.   This is called Moral Relativism. In Moral Relativism, what is good to you, may be different for me. (i.e. You may think killing a person, under specific circumstances, for no good reason is bad but under the same circumstances, I may think killing the person is good.)  The end result is that there is nothing that is objectively good or objectively bad in life. It is all dependent on the individual and makes the individual, man or woman, God. 

Although our secular society tends to de-value objective truths, they still believe in them.

  • If I get in my car to go shopping and go through a red light, if a police officer pulls me over, can I tell him:

      Hello, officer, is there a problem? I decided that it was OK for me to go through that red light, so you don't have to give me a ticket. Have a nice day.

The only way to resolve this confusion is to focus on the foundation for all Truth, Jesus and the Church He founded in 33 A.D., on St. Peter and his successors.

  • Have you studied what the Church and Catholics believe?

If not, you can pick up a cheap copy of the Catechism here. We don't convert people, so the choice is yours, but I think it is only fair to find out what we really believe instead of hearing something from an uncatechized Catholic or Protestant.

If you and your boyfriend are seriously talking about getting married, then serious talks on how you plan to raise your children should accompany this. The children, you and your future husband bring forth, represent the fruit of your love for each other. This love parallels the love Jesus has for his Catholic Church, His Bride. Even if your boyfriend does not take his faith as seriously as the rest of his family, in the long run, consummating a sacramental marriage will ensure that you have a long lasting, life-giving marriage. This is the power of the sacramental life of the Church Jesus established before ascending into Heaven.

Make sure you read these postings as well. I think they will help:

Hope this helps,

Mike

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