When a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Catholic, does the couple need to promise to raise their children Catholic in order to be married in the Church?

The Code of Canon Law states:

A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it . . . and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid (CIC 1086). A marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism . . . and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church (CIC 1124).

That said, the Church does sometimes allow such marriages provided the following conditions are met:

  • The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.
  • The other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises that the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party.
  • Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude. (CIC 1125 §1-3)