Post # 1
My Fiance is atheist and I am Catholic. It is so clear to me that he would rather be married outside a Catholic church, but I’ve always thought that I would be married in my hometown church (where I was baptized, received first communion, and confirmed). More importantly, my mom has always imagined me getting married there!
I just started looking into procedures for marrying in the Catholic church, specifically how to marry a non-Catholic in the Catholic church. Fiance was baptized (Protestant) so, I think all we would need to do is get “permission” from the bishop to marry in the church, as well as pre cana work. But, I think in order to go that route, Fiance would have to identify with his Protestant upbringing, rather than his current atheist beliefs. I would never want him to deny what he believes in on my behalf, not to mention lying to a priest! Additionally, no one in his family is Catholic, so a full mass would likely make many of them uncomfortable.
After all this research, I’m feeling a little turned off about getting married in the church at all. I want, more than anything, for my fiance and myself to feel comfortable at our own wedding.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice?
Post # 3
We are the opposite, Fiance is the Catholic and I am the most definately not. If it had been super important to him to get married in the Chirch we would have looked into it more. But honestly it feels wrong to me to participate in Catholic ceremonies when I don’t believe in the religion (like I’m mocking it somehow), and like it would be a ceremony for him and not us. Ultimately it wasn’t that important to him, although I think he is a little disappointed, but we are having a beautiful oceanside ceremony that I think eases his disappointment a bit.
Post # 4
Oh wow.. how important is your religion to you? I bet its hard being with someone who doesnt share your same religious beliefs =[
I didn’t mean that to sound snarky– just a genuine interest. Like is it important for you to go to church with any potential future kiddos? Do you want them raised with your religious beliefs? How does your Fiance feel about that?
Post # 5
I think lying is not an option, I would however go in and speak to the priest. Be honest and they’ll surprise you! That’s my suggestion. I know it seems like a hassle to get married married in the Catholic Church, but if you truly want to and you can find support from your Fiance, I’d do it.
There are many times when I just want to elope to a JOP but it’s important that my fiance and I receive this Sacrament.
Post # 6
@snake: Religion is important to me, both spiritually and culturally (from a large Irish Catholic town). This is something (along with the massive Irish family) that my Fiance has always understood and loved about me…religion is just something that he does not believe in.
In terms of future children, he understands how important it is to me to raise them Catholic, and has agreed to do just that.
Just writing that, I feel even worse about insisting that the ceremony be in the church, since we already decided that such a large part of his future life will be centered around the church.
Post # 7
You’ll have to talk to your church specifically about requirements. My church only requires that A) one member of the couple be Cathoilc and B) that you both agree to raise your children Catholic. It is NOT required that the other member be Catholic, or even religious. Though, a full mass is out if both parties are not Catholic.
Your requirements are in place – but I think I would talk to him about his comfort level. It’s possible he sees the church as nothing more than a pretty building, not the house of God that it is to you. It’s quite possible that it might not be offensive to him. There are plenty of “minimally religious” readings that can be used as well.
I would talk to a priest, and be upfront and honest about your FH being an athiest – they might be much more willing to work with you if you’re honest in the beginning 🙂
Post # 8
As two former catholics marrying as atheists……
I do not agree with lying, especially to the church. As much as I dot not believe in the institution, I do believe that you should not make a mockery of what it is.
My fiances mom is French-Catholic and I’ve told her that we would not get married into something we don’t believe in.
I would be honest about what your situation is and the priest might be receptive. They may see this as an opportunity to welcome a new “family” into their church.
I say be honest, if you can be married there, great, if not, well, it’s a very important moment that may have to be accomodated another way.
Best of luck.
Post # 9
I think the requirements would be the same as any Catholic marrying a non-Catholic; perhaps any Catholic marrying a non-Christian (if they’re different). The rules for a Catholic wedding are here, and the site also has other FAQs that might be useful. If one of you is baptized Catholic, I don’t think you need permission from the bishop. However, you probably don’t want to have a full Mass ceremony- it just might be awkward for your fiancé to be up front and not participating. Instead, you’d just go for the nuptial ceremony itself. This can certainly be done between a Catholic and a non-Catholic. There’s even a term for a Catholic marrying a non-Christian: disparity of cult.
You likely will need the pre-Cana, but that isn’t really always as scary as people make it out to be. Darling Husband and I went to an Engaged Encounter weekend, and this may be a good option for you. The people at ours were friendly, open, non-judgmental about religion, and just great! For religion, we mostly focused on how that would enter into the relationship, and if the couple is of different faiths, how this would be handled. There wasn’t really any “you must convert!!!” sentiment.
I agree with the others. Check with your priest, and be honest. If being married in the church is important to you, and on top of that having an actually valid marriage (in the church), you don’t want to lie to the priest or anything like that. Explain that you’ve had all these discussions about religion, he isn’t going to try to “convert” you, he respects you, your faith, and your commitment to raise your children in that faith, and you’ve really thought through this decision. That should help if your priest is at all reasonable! It may also help to point out that, through your example, maybe someday he will come to see the faith in a different light (I’m not saying you need to convert him or anything, but one never knows what the future holds- and pointing this out to a priest is certainly not lying!).
Post # 10
@hedgeknits: Also, that first link I posted has information in the FAQ’s about the non-Mass ceremony. Probably the most comfortable option for the OP! When I said “not participating” in regards to your fiancé, I meant in the Eucharist. He will certainly be actively participating in the wedding!!
Post # 11
Thanks everyone for your comments and help! I think my Fiance and I are going to have a long conversation about what we each want in a ceremony–and if we decide on the church route, we’ll definitely have to have a truthful talk with the priest.
Post # 12
If you attend mass regularly and plan on taking your children to mass, you may want to keep in mind that if you marry outside the church you should not be taking communion until you have the marriage convalidated.
Post # 13
I’m an atheist marrying a catholic in a catholic church – so far we haven’t run into any real problems. You should be able to do it without any huge problems, but it definitely is a bit of a commitment. Fiance and I are currently meeting 1-on-1 with the Priest at his Parish, taking the pre-cana classes at the Church where we hope to get married, and also trying to attend church at least somewhat regularly together. I guess it depends how unhappy your fiance is about the situation. But personally I’m more than happy to do it since its important to my fiance.
Post # 14
I would just say tell him he is baptised with that denomination(whatever it is)…..
I’m a baptised presbyterian, but I attended Baptist churches too…however, for the longest time I was an agnostic. Since I met my fiance though, I have gotten a bit religious again. I attend masses with him.
I told the priest I was a baptized presbyterian, but when he asked what I am now I responded “Christian” which made him laugh/act surprised. But I think the reason I blurted it out was because I don’t feel protestant anymore if I am attending mass sometimes and getting immersed in the Catholic faith and am even interested in eventually converting, possibly.
If I were you, I wouldn’t admit I was an aethiest. But that’s my personal opinion…….
Post # 15
As an unbaptized atheist/humanist/agnostic (somewhere in that range lol) marrying a Catholic in the Catholic church, I can honestly say that we’ve had no problems so far. I would definitely not recommend lying. I haven’t had to lie once and can’t imagine having to stick to a story for an entire year leading up to the wedding. That would get very uncomfortable.
But, the main reason I wanted to post was to say that an atheist spouse might surprise you. Yes, if my guy didn’t care where we got married, I probably would have preferred a secular ceremony. But the church ceremony was important to him, and therefore it was important to me. His religion is a way bigger part of his life than mine (or lack thereof) is to me, so it was important to me to support his faith. This means that yes, I go to church with him to learn about his religion, and yes we are getting married in the church. I don’t feel that I am mocking anyone’s beliefs because I am going there to learn, and I am honest about not being a Catholic (i.e. I don’t try to take communion or anything like that). In talking to the priest, I am not even required to say the lines about God in my vows. (He said I could if I felt comfortable with it, but it was not a requirement.)
Every couple is different, and I hope your talk goes well 🙂 I hope you both can find what you are looking for out of your ceremony!
Post # 16
atheist- raised christian – I know a few atheists who married into a religious family and they did have the ceremony at a church, but asked the priest not to mention anything about God, or “in the eyes of God” because the SO who was atheist wouldn’t agree with aything spoken being there beliefs, also know a couple who one was Christian one atheist, got married out doors by a ordained minister, no religious mentioned , she(christian) was fine with it, she wore her cross and her family prayed before the ceremony in her room as she got ready,being “God is everywhere” for her she said “God was watching over quietly not to disturb there love. it was cute and sweet that way the guy(atheist) didnt feel pressured into something he didnt believe in in the first place…im sure everything would be fine… 🙂