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Re: Marrying An Atheist?
Question from Don on 11/22/2012:

This is in response to Annonymous' questions about atheists, and especially marrying an atheist. I'd like to quote below, verbatim, from the Baltimore Catechism No. 4. The four paragraphs below are verbatim from the explanation of the answer to its question #289: We know that nothing has so bad an influence upon people as bad company. Now, when a Catholic marries one who is not a Catholic, he or she is continually associated with one who in most cases ignores the true religion, or speaks at least with levity of its devotions and practices. The Catholic party may resist this evil influence for a time, but will, if not very steadfast in the faith, finally yield to it, and, tired of numerous defense of religious rights, will become more and more indifferent, gradually give up the practice of religion, and probably terminate with complete loss of faith or apostacy from the true religion. We know that the children of Seth were good till they married the children of Cain, and then also became wicked; for, remember, there is always more likelihood that the bad will pervert the good, than that the good will convert the bad. Besides, the disputes occasioned between husband and wife by the diversity of their religion, their family and relatives, being also of different religions, will seldom be at peace or on friendly terms with one another. Then the children can scarcely be brought up in the true religion; for the father may wish them to attend one church, and the mother another, and to settle the dispute they will attend neither. Besides, if they have before them the evil example of a father or mother speaking disparagingly of the true religion, or perhaps ridiculing all religion, it is not likely that they will be imbued with great respect and veneration for holy things. There is still another reason why Catholics should dread mixed marriages. If the one who is not Catholic loses regard for his or her obligations, becomes addicted to any vice, and is leading a bad life, the Catholic party has no means of reaching the root of the evil, no hope that the person may take the advise of the priest, or go to confession or do any of those things that could effect a change in the life and heart of a Catholic. For all of these very good reasons and others besides, the Church opposes mixed marriages, as they are called when one of the persons is not a Catholic. Neither does the Church want persons to become converts simply for the sake of marrying a Catholic. Such conversions would not be sincere, and would do no good, but rather make such converts hypocrites, and guilty of a greater sin. Dr. Geraghty, I was a product of a marriage between a devout Catholic mother and a Catholic-hating father. As a middle aged man now, who also married a non-Catholic, I can say that my parents marriage was a disaster, ending in my father's suicide, and mine was a disaster, with my wife leaving and going on to being engaged five times and 'married' three more times after me. My recommendation to anybody who is serious about their Catholicism is this: Marry someone who is equally devout in their Catholicism.

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 11/22/2012:

Dear Don,

Thank you for your note. You certainly have had experience in this matter. Let all parents take heed.

Dr. Geraghty

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