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Dear Cynthia: Should I Marry a Non-Catholic to Save Her Soul?
I already know your views on marrying non-Catholics; however, I really want to get married and I feel I have a lot to offer to a prospective wife, but, all the girls in my area are liberal Catholics. I feel my chances of converting a devout, non-Catholic are greater.
What if God wants me to marry someone to convert her? Would it be okay to marry a non-Catholic for that reason?
You’re right. I don’t believe in Catholics marrying non-Catholics.
But let’s look at your hypothetical union.
It is true that we are to hunger for souls, which means we should be praying and sacrificing, that souls might come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel.
This is a wonderful and worthy desire to have.
However, I have never seen the Church recommend marrying people to save their souls.
There are two possible outcomes in this scenario:
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Best Outcome of Marrying a Non-Catholic
The best outcome is that the non-Catholic woman you might marry will think Catholicism is wonderful and by your example, she will convert.
Worst Outcome of Marrying a Non-Catholic
The second and worst outcome is that she won’t convert at all.
Let’s take a look at some possible consequences.
- She might stop attending Mass altogether once it’s a done deal and she doesn’t have to impress you anymore.
- She might decide she doesn’t want any kids right away and start taking contraceptives, despite your disapproval.
- If you do have kids, she might refuse to have the kids baptized.
- The kids might be confused because you’ll be teaching them about the faith and the mother will be teaching them to be open about religion.
- She might start to explore the New Age and other man-made religions.
- You might end up losing your faith – yes it can happen!
Of course these are worst-case scenarios, but even if some of these things happen, are you willing and able to deal with these possible consequences?
There is a reason why the Church of old was vehemently against mixed marriages – only giving dispensations as a last measure,
|“In an instruction to the Bishops of England, March 25 1868, the Congregation of the Propaganda declared that the above conditions are exacted by the natural and divine law to remove the intrinsic dangers in mixed marriages, but that in addition there must be some grave necessity, which cannot otherwise be avoided, for allowing the faithful to expose themselves to the grave dangers inherent in these unions, even when the prescribed conditions have been fulfilled.” Source.|
You might marry a non-Catholic and have the most wonderful marriage. In fact, I know one or two couples for which this is the case.
I know a lot more couples, whose disparity of belief ended in much confusion, grief and oftentimes divorce.
I do understand how you feel because I too was tempted to go outside the Church, but God spared me that trial.
Maybe God has a nice Catholic girl for you.
You want to save souls? Go for it. You don’t have to marry them, though.