In Christianity, interdenominational marriages are common but there are limits. You may have witnessed protestants marrying Catholics and vice versa, living happily thereafter. However, this is not an outright approval or an endorsement that interdenominational marriages are okay and should be encouraged. It is more of a case-by-case basis.
One of the cases worth looking at is the marriage between a Jehovah Witness and a Catholic. Is it possible? And if not, what are the challenges or doctrinal inhibitions? Read on to learn more on whether can a Jehovah witness marry a Catholic.
What You'll Learn Today
- Are Jehovah Witnesses Christians
- Do Jehovah Witness And Catholics Allow For Intermarriage
- Acceptable Canonical Reasons For Mixed Marriages
- Factors To Bear In Mind Before Marrying From Another Faith
Are Jehovah Witnesses Christians
Jehovah Witnesses consider themselves as Christians. However, looking deep into their beliefs, certain disparities set them apart from the mainstream teaching of Christianity. Here is a quick run of what these teachings and beliefs are.
Belief In Trinity
Jehovah Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Having said that, they do not believe that He is part of the Trinity. As we know, the Trinity is a fundamental pillar in the teachings of Christianity and any opposition to the Trinity is viewed as false teaching.
Much like their belief in Jesus, Jehovah Witnesses do not consider the Holy Spirit as an equal Person of the Trinity. They describe him as impersonal and a force that God applies.
Jehovah Witnesses neither celebrate Christmas nor Easter. They do not see their biblical significance or mention anywhere in the scripture.
Do Jehovah Witness And Catholics Allow For Intermarriage
Jehovah Witnesses do not restrict their members from marrying outside the Jehovah Witness circle. They only encourage that they marry in the Lord which expressly means that they should date and marry within the Jehovah Witness family.
Catholics, on the other hand, allow their members to marry outside the catholic faith if they seek and are granted permission. Usually, the local bishop has the power to permit a wedding outside the catholic church if the reason is justifiable.
This means the bishop could as well say no to the wedding. The permission is granted in the manner of a dispensation from canonical form.
Acceptable Canonical Reasons For Mixed Marriages
According to the revised Code of Canon Law and the Document of Implementation by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, here is a list of the reasons that may be acceptable for mixed marriages.
- Harmony: If the wedding will help to achieve family harmony, then the priest, deacon or bishop will approve it.
- Family alienation: If there is a danger of family alienation unless the catholic marries from another church, the wedding permission can be granted.
- Parental agreement: If it is conditional that parental agreement can only be granted if the catholic faithful marries from another church then the bishop has no option but to grant an exception or dispensation.
- Friendship or relationship with a minister: If a mixed marriage is necessary to establish a friendship or sustain a relationship with a minister, the deacon or priest can grant a dispensation.
- Church of special importance: If the non-Catholic church has a special significance or importance to one of the couples, they can be permitted to go ahead and have a mixed marriage.
It must be noted that even with a dispensation, it is required that all requirements of a mixed marriage be fulfilled and observed including prenuptial investigations.
Factors To Bear In Mind Before Marrying From Another Faith
The church may not restrict you from marrying from another faith such as the Jehovah Witness. However, your need to bear the following issues in mind.
When you marry a Jehovah Witness, converting them to the catholic faith in future may be very difficult. Jehovah Witnesses have strong beliefs many of which are contrary to the catholic church. Instead of marrying in haste, consider this very carefully. As a Catholic, you may be forced by circumstances to give up your faith just to maintain peace in the family.
Imagine raising your children based on the foundations of contradicting faiths. This may set the kids on a very confusing path with some opting for Jehovah Witness while others opting to be Catholics.
You may find yourselves arguing right from baptism, not knowing whether the children should be baptized in a Jehovah Witness church or a Catholic assembly.
Marriage Conflict Resolution
Conflicts arise in marriage and that may require the input of the church to stabilize them. If you belong to totally different faiths and practices, where will you go to have your issues sorted out. What if the wife prefers Jehovah Witness and the husband sticks with Catholic? Won’t that be a conflict on top of another conflict?
Marriage is a very holy institution and those getting into it must be of one mind and conviction. While marrying from another faith or just anyone is permissible, it does not mean that it is encouraged.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the bible reads,
“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”
Also, the Bible warns us that we should not be unequally yoked with non-believers.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Therefore, the ultimate decision is with you. However, if you can avoid it, consider getting married within the Catholic faith. If not for your sake, for the sake of your family, especially your children.