Traditional Catholic pamphlets on mixed marriages

Until recently, the Catholic Church opposed mixed marriages (marriages between a Catholic and a non-Catholic) in the strongest of terms. Typically, the couple needed to request permission to get married, and the non-Catholic couple was required to make a serious of promises in essence renouncing their rights in the spiritual upbringing of future children. Although it was not always enforced, in theory mixed marriages were also forbidden from the church building and the pomp and splendor of sung Masses.

The Code of Canon Law from 1917 said:

  1. The Church does not dispense from the impediment of mixed religion unless:
  1. there are good and serious reasons;

  2. the non-Catholic party promises to remove all danger of perversion of the Catholic party, and both parties promise that all their children shall be baptized and brought up as Catholics;

  3. there is moral certainty that the promises will be kept.

The promises are, as a rule, to be made in writing. (Canon 1061.)

  1. The Catholic party has the obligation to prudently work for the conversion of the non-Catholic. (Canon 1062.)

  2. When the Church has given the dispensation from the impediment of mixed religion, the parties are not allowed, either before or after the Catholic wedding, to approach either in person or through proxies a non-Catholic minister as such, to give or renew the consent in the Protestant Rite. If the pastor knows that the parties will certainly violate or have already violated this law, he shall not assist at their marriage, except for very serious reasons, and only after scandal has been removed, and the Ordinary has been consulted.

Below is a collection of pamphlets of wide circulation for Catholics on the topic of mixed marriage. (One pamphlet is from the perspective of the non-Catholic side.)

Caveats: Some publication information might be incorrect. Pamphlets can be notoriously difficult to catalog. I occasionally link to active listings of these pamphlets, because the sellers have allowed me to reuse their photos.

A Factual Study of Mixed Marriages With Certain Corrolaries (1943)

Bishops’ Committee on Mixed Marriages, and Most Reverend Karl J. Alter. A Factual Study of Mixed Marriages With Certain Corrolaries. Washington, DC, 1943.

I Love You But (1952)

Catholic husband, and Protestant wife. I Love You But. Union City, N.J., 1952.

Six Pre-Marriage Instructions for Catholics and Non-Catholics (1944)

Fathers Rumble and Carty. Six Pre-Marriage Instructions for Catholics and Non-Catholics. Saint Paul, MN, 1944.

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They Made Me Sign (1961)

Heenan, John C. They Made Me Sign. London; New York, 1961.

Tell Her You’re a Catholic (1949)

Jewell, Walter. Tell Her You’re a Catholic. 1949.

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Marry Your Own (1953)

Lord, Daniel A., and Australian Catholic Truth Society. Marry Your Own : A Discussion of Mixed Marriage. Melbourne, 1953.

Mixed Marriages Are Risky! (1954)

Lover, James Francis. Mixed Marriages Are Risky! 1954.

Can Mixed Marriages Be Happy? (1956)

Miller, D. F. Can Mixed Marriages Be Happy? 1956.

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Why Not a “Mixed” Marriage? (1937)

O’Brien, John A. Why Not a “Mixed” Marriage? : A Plain Answer to a Common Question. 1937.

The Truth About Mixed Marriages (1961)

O’Brien, John A. The Truth About Mixed Marriages : What to Do About Them. Huntington, Ind., 1961.

The Forbidden Fruit or Mixed Marriages (1916)

Schlachter, Reverend Godfrey. The Forbidden Fruit or Mixed Marriages. Collegeville, IL, 1916.

The Tragedy of Mixed Marriage (1955)

Ward, C. M. , and Assemblies of God Revivaltime. The Tragedy of Mixed Marriage: What Would Happen to Your Son or Daughter Were He or She to Marry a Roman Catholic? 1955.

Sharon Kabel
Sharon Kabel
Librarian; Nuisance

I like Catholic newspapers, amateur data visualizations, and walls of text.