A fun refutation of gay marriage supporters who say on Facebook:

Not too long ago cross-racial marriages were not allowed, supposedly by God.

would be to say, well that's not my church so what do I care, they should have been Catholic to begin with.

However, before I bite off more than is worth chewing and get my apologetic handed back to me in the form of an L on my forehead. Has it ever been the position of the Universal Church, (not just the Honorable Rev. Bigotus) that people from different races should not marry or that racial purity in humans is an end worth pursuing?


2 Answers 2


The answer, in essence, is “no.”

In principle, there is no obstacle to the marriage of any baptized Catholic man to any baptized Catholic woman, regardless of race.

This is a principle at least as old as St. Paul:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-28).

Evidently, St. Paul is addressing baptized Jews and Greeks here, and Baptism removes all of the barriers to communion that man commonly places: race, social status, and sex.

(Since the O.P. mentions the homosexual marriage issue, please note that St. Paul is by no means downplaying the complementarity of the sexes in this passage; he is simply saying that neither men nor women are prevented from enjoying full communion in Christ. All too often—especially in the ancient world—women have endured a status as second-class citizens; St. Paul is saying that there are no second-class citizens in the Church.)

I was unable to find any official Church document that addresses the issue of interracial marriage directly, but Canon Law places no restriction whatsoever on race (neither the current code nor the older code issued in 1917).

There have doubtless been individual parishes that have refused marriages to interracial couples, but in general the Church has never refused such marriages.

Regarding interracial marriage as an argument for homosexual marriage: it is true that many states in the Jim Crow era prohibited interracial marriage (what the Catholic Church would call civil marriage, which is simply the legal contract established by spouses, not the Sacrament of Matrimony). Doubtless many Christian denominations followed suit (however, not the Catholic Church as a body).

However, it is a logical fallacy—a classic non sequitur—to deduce from this fact that therefore opposition to same-sex marriage is based on prejudices similar to those of the Jim Crow era.

In reality, “race” is an artificial concept that has no true basis in human nature. (It is true that human beings from different ethnic origins often have slightly different external characteristics, but these differences are quite superficial.) On the other hand, the complementarity of the sexes is indeed based on reality. Hence, there is no comparison between interracial marriage and homosexual marriage.


Look up Fr. James Edwin Coyle, martyred by the KKK for, wait for it, performing interracial marriages...

Also, read the encyclycal 'Mit Brennender Sorge', and what it says about race and blood purity. (Pope Pius XI, 1937)

And look up the “friend-of-the-court” brief in the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, submitted by two Catholic social services agencies and eleven bishops in the states that still had laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Add to that the example of the majority Catholic Latin American countries, where interracial marriage was very widespread, from the lowest social rungs to the very highest. There are even still living descendents of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II, the ninth Tlatoani, or ruler, of Tenochtitlan. These high-ranking noblemen hold the peerage title Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo.

The Catholic Church never opposed interracial marriage. Individual Catholics might have, but did so against the Church.


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