Faith/Spirituality Forum: Interfaith Marriage
Interfaith Marriage QUESTION from Anthony on June 26, 2002 I am a practicing Catholic and am engaged to a practicing Protestant. We have agreed to be married in the Catholic Church. We would like to get married in about six months, however she has not been baptized yet (although she promises to do so). My priest told me that he would need her baptizmal papers. Will the Church accept a promise of baptizm, or are the papers necessary now in order to proceed? Do you feel there is sufficient time to have her baptized and provide the Church proof before our wedding date (12/21/02)? Thanks so much for your help.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 6, 2002 Dear Anthony:
Technically, if your fiance©e is not baptized she is not considered to be a Christian. Thus your marriage to her, if she remains unbaptized is NOT considered a mixed marrriage but is called a Disparity of Worship.
In the case of a mixed marriage (between to baptized persons, one Catholic, the other not) the bishop may give permission; but in a Disparity of Worship (which is considered invalid) the bishop must grant a dispensation.
It is possible to still be validly married in the Church, but it is a different set of circumstances and paperwork if she is not baptized.
I would ask her to ask her pastor to have her baptized as soon as possible. There should be more than enough time unless her denomination has some time restrictions that would prevent her from being baptized in the next couple of months.
Once she is baptized then present that proof to your priest, and as long as you and her agree to the conditions of a mixed marriage (raising kids as Catholics, etc), then you should be set.
Back to Index Page