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Part Two

particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of

marriage with

disparity of cult

(between a Catholic and a non-baptized

person) requires even greater circumspection.


Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute

an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in

common what they have received from their respective communities, and

learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But

the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise

from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome.

The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in

the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these

difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but

also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in

marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation

to religious indifference can then arise.


According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed

marriage needs for liceity the

express permission

of ecclesiastical author-



In case of disparity of cult an

express dispensation

from this impedi­

ment is required for the validity of the marriage.


This permission or

dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the

essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catho­

lic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the

non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the

baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.



Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many

regions have been able to put into effect a

common pastoral practice for mixed


Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation

in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple’s obligations

to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the

flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what

separates them.


In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a

particular task: “For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his

wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband.”



is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this “consecra-

tion” should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian



Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the

family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing

spouse to accept the grace of conversion.

137 Cf. CIC, can. 1124.

138 Cf. CIC, can. 1086.

139 Cf. CIC, can. 1125.


1 Cor


141 Cf.

1 Cor