Casey Cates wrote:
Thank you guys for your insight. Rose hit it on the head. Her boyfriend is Muslim. I know from her ex-boyfriend, who is also Muslim, that in this religion they're not concerned with whether she converts but definitely any children would be raised Muslim. This is what I fear if she marries a Muslim as this is her 2nd boyfriend. They have not been dating very long but they have known each other a few years. I was also told that the children could observe but not participate in the Church. She is very strong in her faith so my hope is that that she will hold on to that.
But does the Church approve of this kind of relationship or would a marriage be blessed? I would not think so since the children would not be allowed to become Catholic.
Does the Church approve of such marriages between a Catholic and a person who is not baptized? Well, the law is clear that such marriages are invalid. In other words, they are de facto
not recognized. In order for this marriage to be valid, a dispensation for disparity of cult would have to be obtained from the bishop and the marriage would have to take place according to the Catholic form, unless a dispensation from the Catholic form of marriage is also obtained from the bishop. Otherwise the marriage would not be valid.
Since the Muslim is not baptized, this marriage would not be sacramental, even if it was valid and therefore recognized by the Church. If proper dispensations were obtained, the marriage would be termed as a good and natural marriage, but it would not enjoy the sacramental graces that flow from a marriage between 2 validly baptized people of whatever Christian sect.
You won't find any documents on the web, but I do recall in my marriage law class at the seminary the instructor (who is the moderator of the Curia in our diocese and the second most powerful man behind the bishop) discussing with us that the Church is concerned (and the concern is growing) about marriage between Catholic women and a Muslim men. He read from a letter that some Spanish bishops had written regarding this concern.
These are their concerns:
Apart from the problem that disparity of cult and extreme religious difference introduces to such marriages (and the Church has history to show that these marriages end badly at higher rates than marriages between Catholics and Protestants or Catholics and Catholics), there is also the particular problem with Muslims, where Muslim men, under pressure from their families, may move their families back to the country of origin where the women endure terrible pressure and hostility until they convert to Islam. Worse yet, Muslim men have been known to kidnap their children, taking them against the will of the mother, back to their home countries in order to force the women to convert to Islam to get their children back.
The pastor of the Catholic spouse according to law is to be concerned for the spiritual well-being of the Catholic spouse. Since the law stipulates this, it is obvious the Church sees grave difficulties in such marriages for the Catholic.
Finally, unless the children from this marriage were baptized (and there would have to be some level of hope they would be brought up Catholic for them to be baptized), they would not be able to participate in any of the sacraments of the Church.
What is a mother to do? Unfortunately, by the time a child has decided to get married to someone, there isn't much that can be done. As my pastor says, when a couple meets with him to get married, the decision has already been made. It's a little late to start counseling them on the qualities they should be looking for in a spouse. By that point, they aren't open to counsel and are just looking to set a date and move forward.
All a parent could do at this point is speak her piece and peace in charity about the difficulties such a marriage could and would present, attempt to ensure that the children get the proper dispensations and validly marry according to the Church, and then pray fervently for the well-being of the marriage.
For parents of younger children who have not yet reached this point, NOW is the time to constantly and consistently have talks with your children about the importance of marrying within their faith and about the qualities they should be looking for in a spouse. You may get a "whatever" reaction from them, they may think you're crazy for bringing it up when they aren't even thinking about marriage, but repetition and rational explanation, separated from raging hormones and sexual involvment, tends to sink in and hold firm. Don't wait until your children are on the precipice of making such an important decision to attempt to influence them.
I'm not saying this happened in Casey's case. Children will still go astray despite the wise, life-long counsel of parents; despite having the best parents in the world. But it does happen very often that parents are silent on the major questions of life because they believe their children aren't at the point where those questions are answered. If parents wait until the questions are to be answered and choices made, their chance at influencing the decision, at bringing their wisdom gained from living past mistakes and triumphs to bear on the question, has waned considerably.