Thursday 18th October 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Mixed Marriages And Disparity Of Cult

February 3, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

Preparation for reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony, as portrayed by Pope St. John Paul II in his landmark apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, encompasses three stages: remote, proximate, and immediate.
As we saw last week, it is a gradual and continuous process that should ideally begin during a child’s formative years “in the heart of their own families [where] young people should be aptly and seasonably instructed in the dignity, duty, and work of married love” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 49 § 4).
“Parents and families have the primary duty to provide this preparation by their example and teaching,” affirms Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ. In today’s society, however, “pastors and the Christian community are especially to help when the marrying people come from broken homes. What young people need is to develop the virtue of chastity in order to make the transition through an honorable engagement at a suitable age” (The Faith, p. 251).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) now transitions to a topic where marriage preparation takes on even greater importance. Not too many decades ago, it was uncommon for a Catholic to marry outside the faith; when such a wedding did take place it was usually in a semi-private ceremony.
In today’s society, Catholics are often being joined in marriage with persons of other religions in mixed marriages or marriages with disparity of cult in public ceremonies (a “mixed marriage” is defined as a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic and “disparity of cult” refers to a marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person).
Mixed marriages “require particular attention on the part of the couples and their pastors . . . [and] marriage with disparity of cult requires even greater circumspection” (CCC, n. 1633). Why is this true? Simply put, the couple is entering into a sacred lifelong union without being fully united in the most important aspect of their lives — their relationship with God.
“Tensions and conflicts in matters of religion, especially with regard to divine worship and the education of children,” explains Fr. Hardon, “may make the practice of the Faith difficult. And so, while acknowledging and respecting the natural right to marry and have children, the Church does all in her power to ensure the faithful observance of the principles of Divine Law regarding marriage” (Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 182).
In his 1970 apostolic letter Matrimonia Mixta (MM), Blessed Paul VI taught that Holy Mother Church “discourages the contracting of mixed marriages, for she is most desirous that Catholics be able in matrimony to attain to perfect union of mind and full communion of life.” Yet, as the Catechism affirms, “difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage” (CCC, n. 1634).
This is precisely where more rigorous preparation and ongoing support becomes indispensable. As Paul VI solemnly proclaimed, the Church vigilantly concerns herself with “preparing for marriage those who intend to contract a mixed marriage and in caring for those who have already contracted such a marriage” (MM).
The 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC) specifies that the liceity of a mixed marriage requires “the express permission of the competent authority” (CIC, canon 1124). Generally given by the diocesan bishop, this permission is necessary because of the inherent obstacle that exists toward full spiritual communion due to differences in religious beliefs. The bishop is only to grant his permission if there is “a just and reasonable cause” and certain conditions are fulfilled:
1) The Catholic party declares his or her intention to remove all dangers of falling away from the faith and sincerely promises to do all in his or her power to ensure all offspring are baptized and raised in the Catholic faith; 2) the non-Catholic party, at an appropriate time, has been made aware of the Catholic party’s promises and obligations; and 3) both parties are instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage (cf. CIC, canon 1125).
In addition to obtaining express permission to marry a non-Catholic Christian, “the Catholic party is bound to the proper canonical form of having the marriage ceremony before an authorized bishop, priest, or deacon and two witnesses [cf. CIC, canon 1108 § 1]” (BCCC, p. 183).
In other words, if a Catholic person attempts marriage in a non-Catholic ceremony without a dispensation from canonical form, the couple does not enter into a valid marriage. On the other hand, if a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic with proper canonical form but for some reason failed to get permission, the marriage would be valid but illicit (unlawful).
“Permission differs from dispensation,” states Fr. John McAreavey, “inasmuch as it is ‘according to the law’ and may be presumed when the competent authority cannot be approached” (The Canon Law of Marriage and the Family [CLMF], p. 157).
Under what circumstances might a diocesan bishop grant a dispensation from canonical form?
Suppose a Catholic man and a Methodist woman wish to marry, they complete preparation as specified by the Catholic Church, and they agree to all the conditions set forth in canon 1125. Furthermore, suppose the uncle of the woman is a minister in the Methodist church and she was close to him as she grew up.
The Catholic man’s pastor, under these conditions, might petition his bishop for a dispensation from canonical form. If approved, the Methodist minister could validly witness the couple’s marriage at the church in which he serves (cf. CIC, canon 1118).
The Church is very clear, however, that “the celebration of marriage before a Catholic priest or deacon and a non-Catholic minister, performing their respective rites together, is forbidden. Nor is it permitted to have another religious marriage ceremony before or after the Catholic ceremony, for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent” (MM, n. 13; cf. CIC, canon 1127 § 3).
In the example given above, “a Catholic priest or deacon may, at the invitation of the minister of the other church or ecclesial community, offer other appropriate prayers, read from the Scriptures, give a brief exhortation, and bless the couple” (CLMF, pp. 162-163).
Interesting to note is that although an intended marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic is considered invalid if proper canonical form is lacking, “the Catholic Church considers marriages conducted among members of other churches or ecclesial communities to be valid and sacramental…since only baptized Catholics are bound by canonical form” (Fr. Paul Haffner, The Sacramental Mystery [TSM], p. 251).
Thus, a marriage between two Lutherans or a marriage between a Methodist and an Anglican would be seen as valid and sacramental. Consequently, if a party in either of these unions separates from his or her spouse and wishes to marry a Catholic, a new union is impeded by the existing bond. Only if a declaration of nullity is declared (based on lack of capacity or defect of consent) can the new union be entered into.
The Church treats marriage with disparity of cult in a more strict way. While “a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority (cf. CIC, canon 1124), . . . [for] disparity of cult, an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage (cf. CIC, canon 1086)” (CCC, n. 1635).

Sources Of Tension

As suggested earlier, disparity of cult can further exacerbate common problems attending married life beyond those experienced by baptized Christians. “Not only differences of faith, and indeed differences in defining the very notion of marriage, but also differences in culture and religious mindset are sources of tension in families, particularly in relation to the education of children,” states Fr. Hardon. “From this arises, in nearly every case, a dangerous tendency to religious indifference” (BCCC, p. 183).
Fr. Hardon goes on to explain that if a dispensation is granted by proper ecclesiastical authority, the union between a Catholic and a non-baptized person “is a non-sacramental legitimate marriage” (ibid).
Or as expressed by Fr. Haffner, the marriage “results in a natural bond only, which nevertheless is to be respected since it has something of a sacred nature” (TSM, p. 253).
The basis for this teaching can be seen in a remark made by Blessed Paul VI in Matrimonia Mixta:
“Neither in doctrine nor in law does the Church place on the same level a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic and one between a Catholic and an unbaptized person. . . . Undoubtedly there exists in a marriage between baptized persons, since such a marriage is a sacrament, a certain communion of spiritual benefits which is lacking in a marriage entered into by a baptized person and one who is not baptized.”
Canon 1126 of the 1983 Code stipulates that it is the duty of the bishops’ conferences to establish the method and manner by which the required declaration and promise that a Catholic who wishes to enter into marriage with a non-Catholic (in either a mixed marriage or a marriage with disparity of cult) is bound to make before marrying.
We close this installment by citing the words put in place in 1970 for the United States by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“I reaffirm my faith in Jesus Christ and, with God’s help, intend to continue living that faith in the Catholic Church” and “I promise to do all in my power to share the faith I have received with our children by having them baptized and reared as Catholics” (Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Letter On Mixed Marriages).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a Consecrated Marian Catechist.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…Continue Reading

Michigan AG seizes Catholic dioceses’ records in sex abuse investigation

(CNN)Michigan authorities have seized records from every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by clergy, the dioceses said in separate statements released Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Detroit, and dioceses in Gaylord, Grand…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal reproves US archbishop for criticizing Youth Synod’s working doc

VATICAN CITY, October 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A second prominent cardinal has publicly rebuked Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput for publishing last week a letter critical of the controversial working document being used at the upcoming Youth Synod in Rome. At a press conference at the Vatican…Continue Reading

Catholic lay leaders: We were wrong about Church, McCarrick on sex abuse crisis

In 2004, Anne Burke went before the City Club of Chicago to say the Catholic Church was beginning “to set things right” by appointing a lay board — which Burke chaired — to address the sex abuse crisis then embroiling…Continue Reading

Protesters demand resignation of Catholic University professor over Kavanaugh tweets

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Demonstrators at the Catholic University of America are calling for the resignation of a dean over tweets he published criticizing a woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. In addition, some demonstrators insisted…Continue Reading

Catholic Magazine Rescinds Endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

America, a weekly Roman Catholic magazine published by members of the Jesuit religious order, on Thursday rescinded its endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh after the Senate hearing on an attempted sexual assault accusation leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford. “Even…Continue Reading

Pedophilia Isn’t The Main Problem With Catholic Priests, Homosexuality Is

The editorial board of the New York Times declared it had identified the source of “The Catholic Church’s Unholy Stain.” It names pedophilia and asks: “How have so many pedophiles been allowed into the priesthood?” The question was purely rhetorical…Continue Reading

A Persecuted Priest Speaks Out

Here is a link to a 10-minute on-camera Church Militant interview with Father Paul Kalchik, the Chicago priest who is now in hiding after being tossed from his parish by Cardinal Blase Cupich. Kalchik lost his position after presiding over…Continue Reading

Cardinal Cupich removes pastor for burning gay flag, wants psych evaluation

September 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Blase Cupich has removed a priest in his archdiocese from his parish in apparent retaliation for his decision to burn a homosexualist “rainbow pride flag” previously used by the parish to promote the homosexual agenda. According…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Youth Synod group calls Church to attend to ‘realities’ of gay ‘marriage’, surrogacy, adoption

VATICAN CITY, October 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group at the Vatican’s Youth Synod has called for the Catholic Church to pay more attention to homosexuals and the “realities” they face, specifically mentioning “marriage,” surrogate pregnancy, and adoption. “[…]There is the issue of what to do and how to act with homosexuals, which cannot remain outside of our pastoral activity and other realities such as marriages between homosexuals, wombs for rent, adoption on the part…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl blasts Viganò testimony as ‘not faithful to the facts’

October 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl had a few choice words to say regarding Archbishop Carlo Viganò when he was interviewed by a liberal Catholic magazine yesterday. In a long and laudatory article published by America magazine today, the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. – and its apostolic administrator until his replacement is named – denied Viganò’s allegation

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. By Christopher Wells Cardinal Wuerl had submitted his resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law (can. 401 §1). In September, the Cardinal met with Pope Francis and requested that his resignation be accepted. At the time, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. said…Continue Reading

Recognition of ‘other forms of family’ called for by Youth Synod small group led by Cdl. Cupich

Vatican City, October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fourteen small groups of members of the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment discussed the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), or working document, guiding the Synod’s deliberations this week. Divided by language groups, there were four English-language conversations, three French, two Spanish, one German, and one Port

San Diego Catholic leaders demand ‘truthful answers’ from Bishop McElroy on sex abuse scandal

SAN DIEGO, California, September 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — “Acting with urgency and with purpose,” local lay leaders have launched Concerned Catholics of San Diego (CCSD), a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a committee of faithful Catholics whose first order of business is to seek “truthful answers” from San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy about the sex-abuse crisis. “The Catholic Church, including here in

Advertisement(2)

After Holy See-China Agreement… Persecution Continues In Wenzhou, Henan, Hubei

ROME (AsiaNews) — The “provisional” agreement between China and the Holy See, signed on September 22, does not seem to have stopped persecution and violence against Catholics. The morning of October 11 in Lingkun, in the district of Yongqiang, the cross that stood on the bell tower of the Catholic church was torn down; the…Continue Reading

Bishops Of Ireland . . . Condemn Lack Of Safeguards In Irish Bill

DUBLIN (CNA/EWTN News) — The Irish bishops on October 5 lamented that the draft bill to legalize abortion in the Republic would require pro-life healthcare professionals to provide abortion referrals, calling the provision “an affront to conscience.” “The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 poses a very real practical and moral dilemma for…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Truth: The Casualties In The Current Controversies

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Setting Things Right

By DONALD DeMARCO An ancient Chinese proverb reads as follows: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. When there is…Continue Reading

Casualty Lists From The Kavanaugh Battle

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN After a 50-year siege, the great strategic fortress of liberalism has fallen. With the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court seems secure for constitutionalism — perhaps for decades. The shrieks from the gallery of the Senate chamber as the vote came in on Saturday, October 4 and the sight…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“St. Michael The Archangel, Pray for Us!”

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on October 8. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able…Continue Reading

Our High Priest Sacrificed Himself

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11 Heb. 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In the second reading St. Paul says we are to hold fast to our confession because we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. In this statement St. Paul summarizes our reason for…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Youth Synod Repeats Old Errors

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are now making things up as we go along. As if the Church had been founded yesterday. This nonsense was already tried in the sixties and found wanting. Paolo Ruffini reported on Twitter that at a press conference for the 2018 Youth Synod now underway in Rome a speaker called for “a liturgy that…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… Indulgences!

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 The “indulgences” of the Catholic Church have acquired a bad name ever since Luther’s Reformation. In Luther’s days, it is true, the Church was going through one of those periods of crisis. Yes, there was a great crisis, almost as bad as today. The crisis was chiefly among the decadent clergy of the…Continue Reading

The Cardinal Virtues — Fortitude

By DON FIER It was with clever astuteness that Jesus responded to the Pharisees when they tried to devise a trap for Him by asking: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt. 22:17). After examining a Roman coin and inquiring whose likeness and inscription was imprinted on it, His ingenious answer was: “Render therefore to Caesar…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alexander Sauli

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church was blessed with many saints including a lesser known but deeply loved man, Fr. Alexander Sauli, who labored in a little-known order, the Barnabites. Alexander was born of a wealthy and highly regarded family of Lombard on February 15, 1534. His father, Dominic, was the Marquis of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Mary Frances Of The Five Wounds Of Christ

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a holy priest was dying of cancer, racked with excruciating pain, he begged for more. He was asking for more suffering to save more souls. Such is the glory of the saints when Christ dispenses His mercy with the grace to embrace more suffering. St. Mary Frances endured more suffering than many saints and she, too,…Continue Reading