Question 106:

Will a Muslim girl, who marries a Christian, be automatically excluded from Islam?


Answer: One could say, this question is rather directed towards the Muslims and their interpretation of Islamic law in such a case.

However, the reader presumably also wants to know whether, from the point of view of the Catholic Church and its canon law, it is possible for an avowed Muslim to live in marriage with a Catholic and whether the Church allows such a ‘mixed’ marriage for a Catholic. Put another way, can a Catholic man marry a Muslim woman and allow her, as his wife, to continue to practice Islam without him, as a Catholic, being condemned for this? Does the Catholic Church recognise such a marriage and accept the underlying option on which it is based as a possibility?

Because of the difficulties that frequently arise when Catholics marry an unbaptised person, the Catholic Church advises against such marriages. Nevertheless, such a marriage is possible from a Catholic perspective. In such a marriage, from a Catholic perspective, both partners must have the freedom to practice their faith.

From a Catholic perspective, the same conditions apply to a marriage between a Catholic man and a Muslim woman as for a marriage between a Catholic woman and a Muslim man. In this regard, there are no legal differences since, from a Catholic perspective, men and women have equal rights in marriage.

Normally, a marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptised person faces the obstacle of disparity of worship under cannon law on marriage. However, if a couple are determined to marry, then a bishop or his representative can remove this obstacle. This removal assumes, however, that certain conditions are met:

- The Catholic partner must promise to firmly adhere to their faith and to make an effort to also ensure that the children are baptised in the Catholic Church and are raised in the Catholic faith.

- The Muslim partner must receive notice of this and must also be informed about the content of a Catholic understanding of marriage.

Having said that, the Catholic partner must be aware that also the Muslim partner is obliged to pass on his or her faith. For that reason, the Church does not ultimately demand that the Catholic faith be preferred when raising the children. From a Catholic perspective, the parents themselves are free to decide in which faith their children are to be raised.

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Prof. Dr. Christian W. Troll,

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