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Esaul wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a problem. I have been raised Catholic but I have been dating a girl that is Pentecostal.

We are very happy with each other and we have a great trust and communication, but since she is Pentecostal, her parents were a little worried that she was dating a Catholic. We are thinking about:

  • our future
  • how we would get married, and
  • how are kids would be raised

without things getting too confused. She gets very upset when these issues are brought up because we really don't have a answer yet.

I would like some advice from my Catholic Church on how I could deal with this and make things work.


  { In planning for our future together, how do I handle her parents and our different faiths? }

Mike replied:

Dear Esaul,

It is good that you are talking about these issues early in your relationship as they are very important. Unless her parents have an anti-Catholic bias against Catholics, I don't understand why they have a problem. Not all Catholics scandalize the faith; there are many faithful Catholics going back to 33 A.D.

Charles Fox founded the Pentecostal church in 1901, that's over 300 years after the Reformation!

  • Are her Pentecostal parents aware of the history of their church?

Share the following with your girl friend:

You said:
I would like some advice from my Catholic Church on how I could deal with this and make things work.

This is the relevant information from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

CCC 1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors.

A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

CCC 1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

CCC 1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1124) In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1086.)

This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1125.)

Due to a lack of catechesis in our Church, not as many parishioners appreciate the Church heritage they have received from their parents. Some parents at the baptism of their children take an attitude:

  • We'll say anything, whether we mean it or not, as long as our baby is baptized."

This is very sad. Scott Hahn, a well-known Biblical scholar has said,

"It's like we are Rockefeller's in the ghettos who don't know how to write out the checks."

Strive to show her the fullness of faith we have inherited as Catholic Christians. She has no obligation herself to become a Catholic, but she can't interfere with your obligation to raise the fruit of both your love, the children, Catholic.

I hope this helps,

[Related Posting]

Esaul replied:

Thank you very much.

I know it's a hard process to get through but I hope we can finally come to an agreement when marriage time comes and we can both be very happy with our life-time decision.


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