“We realize that this is a major pastoral issue,” says Sheila Garcia, associate director of the U. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth.
Garcia says that while supporting these couples pastorally, the church also is concerned with making sure the Catholic in a mixed-religion marriage continues to practice his or her faith and that the couple takes seriously the Catholic party’s pledge to raise their children Catholic.
Before the revision, the non-Catholic party had to sign a document saying they agreed that their children would be raised Catholic.
Post-revision, the Catholic spouse pledges to maintain his or her faith and “to do all in her or his power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.” The non-Catholic is informed of that pledge.
Despite these challenges, Garcia believes that mixed marriages offer an opportunity for “peace and understanding, and, where possible, unity.” “The Catholic Church is moving towards how to support the interchurch/interfaith couple,” Garcia says.