Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 10, 1964

When A Christian Marries A Catholic

Donald R. Givens

A non-Catholic who wishes to marry a Catholic must enter the marriage relationship not as an equal, but as a lowly subordinate to the Catholic. Catholics must marry Catholics; that is the general rule of the Catholic Church. Of course there are exceptions. And concerning these exceptions the Catholics have made many laws and rules for the non-Catholic and the Catholic who are about to be married. It is not merely an error for the Catholic to marry a non-Catholic; it is a sin they say. Any Catholic who marries either a Protestant or Jew without special dispensation and written promises to rear an exclusively Catholic family commits a mortal sin and is subject to immediate excommunication.

So consequently it is a very serious thing when one who is a non-Catholic contemplates marrying a Catholic. The thing that makes it so serious is the pledge that a non-Catholic must sign before he can contract marriage with a Catholic. The official pledge required of the non-Catholic reads:

I, the undersigned, not a member of the Catholic Church, wishing to contract marriage with _____ , a member of the Catholic Church, intend to do so with the understanding that the marriage tie cannot be dissolved except by death, and promise her on my word of honor that she shall enjoy free exercise of her Catholic religion, and that all the children of either sex born of this marriage shall be baptized and educated in the faith and according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

That is the oath one must sign in order to marry a Catholic in the presence of the priest. In addition to this pledge, signed in varying forms by both the Catholic and the non-Catholic, another pledge must be signed by the Catholic party "to prudently work for the conversion of the non-Catholic" and CANON 1062 makes this pledge compulsory. Also the non-Catholic party must not strive to convert the Catholic to his religion.

This doctrine is very clearly made known to the non-Catholic party when he marries a Catholic. It can also be enforced in many civil courts of the land. Quoting the canon itself from Bouscaren and Ellis it says:

CANON 1061 1. The Church does not dispense from the impediment of mixed religion unless:

1. There are just and grave reasons therefore;

2. The non-Catholic party shall have given a guarantee to remove all danger of perversion from the Catholic party, and both parties shall have given guarantees to baptize and educate all the children in the Catholic faith alone;

3. There exists moral certainty that the guarantees will be fulfilled II. The guarantees are as a rule to be required in writing.

Now this a Christian cannot do and be justified in the sight of the Lord Jesus. A true and faithful Christian cannot sign such a pledge as the Catholics require him to.

We, as children of God, have a responsibility to teach our children the truth and not error. Catholic doctrine is error and for us to sign a pledge that we will see that our children are taught this doctrine is to send our own souls to hell and also the souls of our children. Also we cannot sign this pledge because we would have to have our children "baptized" when they were born. Infant baptism is wrong and for a Christian to practice it is wholly unscriptural.

A Christian husband or wife could not sign this pledge because we must always do whatever we can to convert an individual to the Lord. For us to sign a pledge that we will "not strive for the conversion" of the other partner is a sin. I Corinthians 7:16 says, "For how knowest thou, 0 wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, 0 husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" Also in the light of I Peter 3:1-2, I simply do not see how any Christian could sign this pledge with a good conscience. It says, "In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear." This is what the Lord has said, how can any true Christian sign such a pledge as the Catholics require him to when he marries a Catholic, in the light of these verses, and also many other verses in the Bible?

No, rather we MUST teach our children the truth, and we MUST strive for the conversion of our companion if he or she is not a Christian. These things one could not do under the Catholic oath of mixed marriage. Therefore a Christian cannot sign this oath without sinning in God's sight.

— 241 Grant Street Coalinga, California