According to Catholic moral theologians, is it more conducive to the unbaptized's possible salvation to marry (other unbaptized) or remain single?

  • Why would the Catholic Church have anything to say about what non-Catholics should or should not do (obviously other than that they should convert to Catholicism)? Or are you using the word "should" in some meaning other than the common one? Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 2:44
  • @RayButterworth The Church does have the authority to judge the validity of natural marriages (marriages among the unbaptized).
    – Geremia
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:02
  • But that's about how Catholics should treat non-Catholics, not about how non-Catholics should behave. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:07
  • @RayButterworth How's my edited question now?
    – Geremia
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:17
  • I still have no answer for it, but the question seems reasonable now. Thanks. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


Better to marry than to burn with passion, as Saint Paul wrote. Marriage, even outside of proper sacramental matrimony, are still real natural marriages. Chastity is demanded of both the married and unmarried; in the unmarried, chastity is expressed through celibacy, and in the married, through fidelity. A faithful marriage between two perfidis Jews may be less prone to moral corruption than the solitude of an unmarried yet unchaste Jew of a similar background and circumstance.

  • Was St. Paul speaking of non-Christian (natural marriages) in 1 Cor. 7?
    – Geremia
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 20:48

The unbaptized have Original Sin and thus lack sanctifying grace. This makes it impossible for them to conquer concupiscence, the "Insubordination of man's desires to the dictates of reason".

Married Christians have two ways to remedy concupiscence:

  1. grace
  2. the marriage act
    by hindering the shameful act, which is done by the very nature of the act because concupiscence, being satisfied by the conjugal act, [one] does not incline so much to other wickedness. For this reason the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:9): "It is better to marry than to burn."
    —St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica suppl. q. 42 a. 3 ad 4

The unmarried unbaptized have neither of these helps, but the married unbaptized have help #2; therefore, it is better for the unbaptized to marry.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .