Marrying outside the faith is not uncommon these days. Many couples wonder if it’s possible for a Catholic and a Baptist to get married. So I looked up some information about this to give couples the answers they seek.
Can a Catholic and a Baptist Get Married? The good news for couples who have one spouse who is Catholic and one who is Baptist is the answer is yes. It is possible for a Baptist person and a Catholic person to be married. However, there are steps that the Catholic person has to take in order to go through with the marriage.
With so many people finding their special someone online and the lines being blurred sometimes when it comes to religion, it’s not uncommon for couples Christian couples to have one spouse in a different church than another. With Catholicism being a large part of the Christian faith, this often comes up couples who have one spouse who is Catholic and one who is Baptist.
The person who is Catholic has to get permission from their local bishop in order to marry a Christian if the person is baptized. If the person isn’t baptized or they are from a religion that is non-Christian, for example Jewish, they have to obtain something called a dispensation. This also comes from the bishop. The person who is guiding the marriage preparations can help with this process.
There are three conditions that need to be met for this permission to be granted, based on Canon Law 1125.
- The Catholic partner has to declare they are going to remain Catholic and that any children are going to be baptized and raised as Catholic.
- The partner who is non-Catholic will be completely informed of the promises made by their partner and the obligations that are related.
- Both partners have to be instructed regarding the essential properties and purposes which will apply to both of the parties.
Once the permission has been received by the couple to marry, there are a few options that you can go over with the person who is going to preside at the wedding. In the next section, we’re going to look at some of the options that you can discuss with the person who’s presiding at the wedding.
Options for Your Catholic/Baptist Wedding
After you have gotten the bishop’s permission to marry your soon to be spouse, there are a few options that you have.
- You can celebrate the matrimony without Mass, which is preferred.
- You can celebrate the matrimony with mass, though the non-Catholic spouse can’t receive communion.
- Your marriage may be witnessed by a Catholic deacon or priest without or with mass and you can invite a different Christian minister to take part in the wedding by offering blessings or prayers, or by reading scriptures. The Catholic presider has to get permission from their bishop to extend this invitation.
- Your marriage may be witnessed by the Christian minister with the Catholic minister assisting such as by offering blessings/prayers or reading scriptures. Before this is done, however, the bishop has to dispense with the requirement that you’re being married through the Rite of Marriage.
It’s also important to note that for Catholics, a marriage isn’t just a family or social event. It’s an event that’s recognized by the church. Because of this, it’s preferred by the church that the marriages taking place between two Catholics or between a Catholic and a Christian from another church to take place in a church where one of the spouses attends. This can be overridden, but only by a local bishop.
One thing to remember about weddings which involve Catholic people is that if there isn’t permission obtained beforehand to be married somewhere outside the church, such as outside in a park, it can make it difficult for the couple later on, especially if they have children. It’s best to have it done beforehand and it will save a lot of problems.
Marriage Preparation Programs
It’s usually encouraged for an engaged couple to go through a program for marriage preparation. This helps with addressing the common issues that couples face and helping them understand what marriage means, particularly for those who are young and marrying for the first time.
Based on the parish and diocese, there may be a few available to the couple. These could include a program that takes place over the weekend where they meet with some other couples who are also engaged. They of the programs address certain circumstances, like children who are brought into the marriage, remarriage, and marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, the preparation often will include premarital inventory that the couple completes to identify the issues to discuss further.
These programs help the couple with understanding the human and Christian aspects in marriage. The typical topics are things such as: what marriage means in the term of sacrament; prayer, faith & the church; marriage roles; conflict resolution and communication; the way to plan for children naturally, parenthood and children; and finances.
The majority of these programs will charge a fee to cover material costs. If there’s an overnight stay included, there will also be a fee for meals and rooms. There is frequently financial assistance available for those couples who wouldn’t be able to participate otherwise.
Although they may seem like a hassle, these types of programs can be very helpful to the couple. They help them with developing better understandings of Christian marriages, for evaluating and deepening their readiness for married life and for gaining insights into both as individual people as well as the pair of them. These programs are very effective to help a couple to deal with their marriage in the early years.
What If There’s Been Divorce?
No one wants to think about divorce, but sadly, it’s become more commonplace these days. So, what if one or both of you have been married before?
The thing to know about the Catholic Church’s beliefs on marriage is that divorce isn’t permitted when it comes to a valid sacramental marriage. It’s impossible to dissolve these marriages so divorce isn’t possible if the marriage was a sacramental one.
Based on Mark 10:8, the two people in a marriage become a single flesh that’s joined by God. In Mark 10:9, Jesus says, What God’s joined together let no man put asunder. Therefore, divorce isn’t possible. In the Church’s eyes, those who have been married before and divorced are still married.
However, there is something called annulment, and this is the process that determines the validity of a marriage. If it’s found that the marriage wasn’t valid and didn’t meet the sacramental requirements, an annulment is possible.
Therefore, if one or both partners have been previously married and divorced, in order to be remarried in the Catholic church an annulment must have been granted. This means that your prior marriage wasn’t thought to be valid.
If you divorced civilly without an annulment, this means that the Church considers you to still be married and that you will be committing adultery if you get remarried. Therefore, before you get married, you’ll have to see about getting an annulment before you can be married in the Catholic church.
If you are in love with a Catholic as a Baptist, or you are in love with a Baptist as a Catholic, it’s still possible for you to get married. However, there are many decisions to be made and things to consider on your road to your wedding. But with a lot of love, commitment and faith, you can have a long and happy marriage and life together.