Faith/Spirituality Forum: Marrying into Catholicism

Marrying into Catholicism QUESTION from Anita September 1, 2001 I am going to be marrying a Catholic. I do not attend church regularly and I have never been baptized in any religion although I do believe in God, very much so actually. In earlier years, my family was Catholic, but this was far before my time. My question is can we be married in the Catholic church? What is everything that I would need to do to convert to Catholicism? I would really like to get married at his church. Please help me with this, please...this is constantly in my mind and we also cannot continue planning until we know. Thank you!!!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 29, 2001 Dear Miss Anita:
Because of the obvious tensions and conflicts that can arise in a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian (unbaptized person) and the difficulty in truly raising the children Catholic when one parent is not Catholic, the Church does not encourage such marriages. In the case of a Catholic and a non-Christian, the marriage is not valid unless a dispensation is given by the bishop. But, being things as they are these days, is possible to get a dispensation from the Bishop which will allow your husband to marry you even though you are not a baptized Christian.
So your husband-to-be needs to contact the Bishop to petition for permission. If permission is given then you and your intended can marry in the Catholic Church with its blessing and your husband can remain a Catholic in good standing.
If you convert before you marry, then there is no problem as you both would be Catholics.
You need to contact the parish priest and tell him of your interest to convert. There should be an RCIA class starting within a few days that you need to attend. You could then be baptized and confirmed in the Church next Easter.
So the first step is to contact the priest and see about attending classes to convert. After being in the class and you come to believe what Catholics believe then you can be baptized into the Catholic Church next Easter and then you can be married as a normal Catholic couple.
However, you should convert ONLY if you truly believe, not just to marry a Catholic. It is better to remain a non-Christian believing in God as you do now than to become a Catholic Christian and be considered a heretic because you don't believe what Catholic's believe. So if you convert, convert because you have really converted.
The RCIA classes give you plenty of time to consider whether or not you really wish to convert. The classes are meant to introduce you to the Church and give you the information you need to truly decide on conversion.
May God be with you in your decision.
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