Catholic Weddings
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How hard is it to get a dispensation to marry an unbaptized person?

I am a practicing Catholic who has recently become engaged to a  Jewish man (although he is not especially active in his religion).  We have talked alot about this issue, and he is fine with us having a Catholic ceremony and with raising our children as Catholics.

We will be having our first meeting with a priest next week, and I can't help but be nervous about it.  He is an older priest, and while he seems very kind, I don't really know him well.  Even though I know our situation is fairly common these days, I am still worried about what he will say.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Would a priest refuse to marry us solely based on the fact that one party is not a baptized Christian?  Also, I understand that we will need to get a dispensation from the bishop.  It is my impression that these are not very hard to come by, but I still can't help but worry about it.

I am fully aware that we cannot have a full mass, and I understand the theological implications of our situation (as in ours would be a natural marriage vs. a sacramental marriage).  I am very confident that I am making the right decision, but I'm still nervous about  being met with resistence from the church.

Sorry that this post ended up running long, but I would really appreicate hearing from anyone who has any advice.

Re: How hard is it to get a dispensation to marry an unbaptized person?

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    mica178mica178 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    It's not just up to your priest, it's up to your archdiocese.  If your priest is willing to support your marriage after meeting with you, he will help you apply for the dispensation. 

    When we were having a hard time finding paper proof of my FI's baptism status, at one point, my priest was going to apply for the dispensation for me to marry an unbaptized person.  Luckily, the SF archdiocese was willing to accept my FI's confirmation certificate as proof of baptism.  I do have a feeling that my priest's enthusiastic support of our upcoming nuptials factored in to the ease with which we moved through the paperwork.

    I have heard that in more ... traditional parishes, there are priests and archbishops who are less flexible with people marrying outside of the faith.
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    edited December 2011
    My understanding is that the dispensation is relatively easy to come by, especially if you have the support of your priest. The fact that you've already discussed and planned for a Catholic ceremony and desire to raise your children in the Catholic faith should help with that. I would imagine that the priest might ask some tough questions to make sure that you've thought this through, and might add to your Marriage Prep in some way to make sure that you thoroughly address the situation before you marry.  Like you said, though, it is relatively common and is not technically disallowed.

    I will pray that things go well for you.
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    ev4149ev4149 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I was in a similar situation... my FI is unbaptized (his family are non-practing Muslim), and we agreed to a Catholic ceremony and to raise the kids Catholic.  It was no problem.  I (as the Catholic party) had to sign a form saying that I promised to raise the kids Catholic.  He didn't have to sign anything.  That was it.  The priest was very laid back about it, and didn't make it a big deal (and he is super old school), so I was surprised about how easy it was.  You and your FI still have to do whatever requirements your diocese has for marriage prep (FOCCUS/pre-cana/etc).  No worries though, I am sure your first meeting will be fine!
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    leahrachel521leahrachel521 member
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    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the responses!  Everyone keeps telling me that our meeting will go fine, but I just wanted a little extra reassurance.  : )
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    edited December 2011
    My FI is not baptised, and we had no problems getting married in the church. We did have to sign a contract of sorts promising to raise our kids Catholic, but that was our plan anyway. Do not be nervous, the priest is not their to judge you, only to help facilitate the preparation and the ceremony.
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    edited December 2011

    I have a similar question.  I am not Catholic (raised with no religion by formally Catholic parents), but my FI is and we want a Catholic ceremony and to raise the kids Catholic.  Because I have never been baptized, does that mean we can't have a full mass?   

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