Can a Catholic person marry a non-Catholic person?

By Paul Dion, STL

This is an important topic for Catholics. There are a lot of "street corner" opinions about it. Like everything else it is possible to find a friend of a friend who is an "expert" Catholic and who "knows about these things". Surely there are many of you who wonder about this topic. Please respond. This is an important element of Catholic life in the "trenches"?

Is it permitted for a Catholic person to marry a non-Catholic person in a Catholic church ceremony?

If you want to just say "yes" or "no" you may do so. If you have other comments that you would like to add, you may do that too.

May God bless you all.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )


  1. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Yes, it is possible with much faith. I married 22 years ago and it is a great challenge as well as a great blessing because we are all called to be evangelizers in our time. With much understanding and acceptance, God's love surpasses all the trials we have faced. We continue to live our lives together and look forward with excitement to see what God has planned for us in the future.

  2. Anonymous11:30 AM

    I think it is possible. A couple of weeks ago I read in ParishWorld that Nicole Kidman, a Catholic, was able to marry Keith Urban who is not Catholic. But I am very interested in knowing the true Church teaching on this sybject.

  3. Thank you for your participation in this section of our site. Your loving comments will help many who read them.
    God bless you with continued unity of purpose in your conjugal life.

  4. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Yes. I have been married 17 years to a non-Catholic. When we married, my husband and I went through sessions with the priest and deacon. It was to enlighten my husband to my faith as well as prepare us for the challenges that we might face.

  5. Anonymous5:53 AM


  6. Anonymous10:02 AM

    I don't see anything wrong in it. I have friends that have done so. The only thing I object to is when the non-catholic trys to convert the catholic into his or her religion without respect to the catholic faith.

  7. Anonymous2:01 AM

    In regards to this burning topic, i think theres two issues to be consider.
    One, absolutely a catholic can marry a non catholic or vise versa. There might be a lot of challenges on the way but im sure because of love they will respect each other especially in their own beliefs.
    Second, its really up to the people involved to where are they going to have their marriage be blessed.

  8. Anonymous2:05 PM

    yes, mixed marriages is possible if the underlying basic fundamentals which is LOVE and RESPECT for one another is present in both man and woman. Secondly, the rules regarding their religions must be observed. Easier said than done, but many mixed marriages have succeeded because even in their old age they still respect and love each other.

  9. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Yes, I believe it is ok. However, doesn't the non-Catholic have to promise to raise the children (if any) in the Catholic faith? My husband was a baptized Catholic only and was not catechized at all and we just had to go through the Pre-Cana classes. (Is it still called that now-a-days?) Well, personally speaking, its been too difficult to raise the kids Catholic without the support of the husband in spiritual matters. So, I would advise anyone, to really think hard about that momentous step. I had to go it alone and it was not easy. But we fall in love and think we can change our partner and when it doesn't happen, we are soooo surprised. I guess its a woman thing.

  10. Paul Dion, STL11:17 AM

    July 30, 2006

    Yes, a non-Catholic may marry a Catholic in a full blown Catholic Wedding Ceremony.

    There is a rather practical reason why a marriage in which both people have divergent religious views can be difficult, and that is in the raising and the religious training of the
    children, not to mention the difficulty that each spouse has in growing spiritually in the religious tradition in which he or she was brought up.

    Here is the Church's position:

    In order to be able to understand the reason for the possibility that a Catholic could enter intro the state of Matrimony with a person either of another Christian denomination, or even with a non-baptized person, let’s consider the following:

    A. Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

    B. To name the three essential qualities of marriage, according to the Church, we say, 1) Unity; 2) indissolubility and 3) openness to fertility.

    Now, it is clear from the above statement taken from the Catechism of the Catholic church that:

    1. Matrimony springs from the consent of the spouses. It is not conferred upon them by the Church.
    2. Belief in these three essential qualities is not a monopoly of the Catholic Church nor of its members.
    3. The Church therefore is open to allowing its members to enter into marriage with persons who believe and accept these essential elements.

    The Church does recognize that beyond these truths, there are going to be other human behaviors, beliefs and convictions that will influence the relationship. For that reason, the non-Catholic partner will be required to signify, in writing, the intention of providing a domestic environment in which the Catholic spiritual growth and education of the spouse and of children will be totally unimpeded.

    My comments:

    Thank you for participating in this Burning Question of the week. I figured that the majority of you would know the correct answer to this query. I was correct. Next week’s question will be a little more challenging, although on a related topic.

    Believe it or not, you are members of a quasi elite group that gets to challenge themselves with the basic question, “WHY?” about some rather fundamental Roman Catholic religious truths.
    Please believe me when I tell you that there are massive numbers of Catholics in our midst who do not know the bottom line answers to some of the questions that you deal with because of my persistence in asking them to you.

    One of you engaged me in an offline “give-and-take” and asked, along the way, “Why don’t we hear this from the pulpit?” The short answer is, “The pulpit is not the place for catechetical instruction.” The longer answer is, “There are two major sources of truth with regards the beliefs of the Catholic Church and five collateral sources:
    · Tradition, which includes:
    · The Bible (Sacred Scripture)
    o Official Church decisions in writing
    o Prayer (Official – Liturgy and Personal)
    o Preaching (Homiletics, a part of Liturgy)
    o Canon Law (Church Law)
    o Catechism”

    Now you can’t get all that from the pulpit. The above paragraph is the major reason why I am telling you that persisting in the Catholic religion is not an “intellectual exercise.”

    It is a spiritual effort to drive for moral perfection in the example that was shown us by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is the “born again” exercise of Catholics. It is what Catholics call “conversion”. It lasts a life time, and it is never easy.

    It is amazing that when we live our conversion energetically in God’s company, enough Catholicism “rubs off” on us to “educate” us about the topics that we speak of on the road to baptism and after.

  11. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Yes, a Catholic can marry a non-Catholic in a Catholic church ceremony. The difference is that there would not be a celebration of the Mass. Because a non-Catholic cannot recieve communion in the church, the Mass is not held, so as not to cause any embarrassment to either bridal party.

  12. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Yes, a Catholic can marry a non-Catholic in a Catholic church ceremony. The difference is that there would not be a celebration of the Mass. Because a non-Catholic cannot recieve communion in the church, the Mass is not held, so as not to cause any embarrassment to either bridal party.

  13. Anonymous6:57 PM

    A catholic can marry a non-catholic and have a nuptial Mass. Of course, the non-catholic could not receive communion, but would participate in other respects.
    So where do we get the official answer?

  14. Anonymous11:35 AM

    To Anonymous who asked:
    "So where do we get the official answer?

    Thank you for bringing us to a realization that we could do something better about clarifying where we get our information and making it clear to our participating readers what the bottom line is and where to find it.

    The Requirements for a Mixed Marriage

    "Pastoral experience, which the Catholic Church shares with other
    religious bodies, confirms the fact that marriages of persons of
    different beliefs involve special problems related to the
    continuing religious practice of the concerned persons and to the
    religious education and formation of the children.

    "Pastoral measures to minimize these problems include instruction
    of a non-Catholic party in essentials of the Catholic faith for purposes of understanding. Desirably, some instruction should also be given to the Catholic party regarding his or her partner's beliefs.


    "The Catholic party to a mixed marriage is required to declare his (her) intention of continuing practice of the Catholic faith and
    to promise to do all in his (her) power to share his (her) faith
    with the children born of the marriage by having them baptized and raised as Catholics. No declarations or promises are required of the non-Catholic party, but he (she) must be informed of the declaration and promise made by the Catholic.

    "Notice of the Catholic's declaration and promise is an essential part of the application made to a bishop for (1) permission to marry a baptized non-Catholic or (2) a dispensation to marry an unbaptized non-Catholic.

    "A mixed marriage can take place with a Nuptial Mass. (The [U.S.]
    bishops' statement [on the subject] added this caution: 'To the extent that Eucharistic sharing is not permitted by the general discipline of the Church, this is to be considered when plans are being made to have the mixed marriage at Mass or not.')

    (1995 Catholic Almanac [Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1995],

    The original instruction comes from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (

    Paul Dion, STL
    Theology Editor