Article Discussion: A Catholic Priests Perspective on Interfaith Marriage

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This topic has 6 voices, contains 43 replies, and was last updated by  Sherry 2 weeks ago.

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March 24, 2011 at 6:50 am #5638


I am in a similar dilemma. Married 20 years to a a man who is culturally Jewish. When we first got married (in my 20s), I will admit I was a little naive and thought we could raise our children in both faiths. Now I am in my late 40s and I feel very differently. I was raised Catholic but have not attended church regularly for some time. I would like to find a Christian church that my spouse feels comfortable attending. Our child is now 3 and was baptized in the Catholic Church. At the time of the baptism, we agreed that he would be raised Catholic but that we would expose him to both faiths. I have held up my end of the deal. But now he seems to be wavering. I think he feels that I am asking him to abandon his identity. I am not — when he was out of town this year — I ended lighting candles during Chanukah with our child. What I do insist on though is that he support me in raising our child as either a Catholic or a Christian. My husband has told me he really has issues with the Catholic Church over their mishandling of the pedofile cases involving priests. I can understand and appreciate this so I agreed we could raise our son in a Christian church. But now he wants to tell our son he is both a Christian and a Jew. I think we will be asking for trouble if we do this. Children quickly realize what buttons to push to manipulate their parents. Daddy will love me more if I express interest in Judaism, etc. I think we should tell our child he is being raised as a Christian but that as a family we celebrate the major Jewish holidays because they are fundamental tenet of his Christianity. End of story. Not open for negotation. Later on when he becomes an adult he can always choose to become Jewish if that is the direction he wants to take but for now we are the adults and we need to provide structure and direction much in the way we provide for him in other areas of his development. We are currently working through these issues — nothing resolved yet but keeping my fingers crossed that we can reach a meeting of the minds on this matter.

April 1, 2011 at 1:58 am #5674


Please try to explain to your husband that the Catholic CHURCH and the Catholic FAITH are not one in the same. Our FAITH does not condone pedophilia. The CHURCH may not have handled these abuses as they should have but it is a mistake to confuse the two. As far as your husband’s waivering, perhaps he needs to be reassured that even though he has agreed to raise your child Catholic you can still honor his rich Jewish heritage as a family.

April 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm #5726


Thanks for this beautiful article. I am a Muslim and in love with a Catholic girl. She means the world to me and she loves me equally. The connection we have is so strong that we can’t live without each other, but the only issue is my faith. Her parents are not accepting me because of my faith and so she told me she cannot carry on anymore because of that, but again wants me in her life. I want to spend the rest of my life with her and I am working on doing whatever I can to make it work, so I talked to another good Catholic friend of mine and he suggested I become part of the catholic faith while retaining my own faith and pick up what we have in common. I don’t want to give up my own beliefs because thats who I am. We both very much respect each others faiths and so I am willing to do this. I have agreed to have the kids to be raised catholic and I will give them the chance to expose them to my faith at some time. I have also agreed to have her marriage performed in church. So based on these terms do you think I can retain my own faith and also be part of the Catholic faith? Please let me know father, I am in utter desperate need of wise and well thought out advice on this matter. Thank you in advance.

June 27, 2011 at 11:46 am #5908


Hi, I’m Catholilc married to a Jewish man with 3 children who go to Catholic schools but we practice Judaism traditions at home. We welcome the questions it raises from our children and they think it is normal…well it is normal, the world is mixed up just like our home. What I liked about the article is the ending, I truly believe interfaith couples are crossing a new frontier and have their own purpose according to God. I like St Simone Weil as a model of faith especially as a Catholic in an interfaith marriage. She was of a jewish background and refused baptism and yet was made a saint in the Catholic church -this is a good radio program on her

September 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm #6118


We were blessed to find a Catholic priest 41 years ago who was willing to participate in the marriage of a Catholic woman to a Jewish man: Rev. Roberto Balducelli of St. Anthony of Padua in Wilmington, DE. We traveled from MA for the occasion, and went back to him in 2005 to renew our vows for our 35th anniversary. He is always in our orayers.

September 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm #6119


Sorry — the last word in the above comment should be prayers . . .

January 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm #6469


I wish someone opened my eyes 9 years ago when i married a muslem man.
I read some stories here, and i don;t know if to laugh or to cry, as these big words”she means the world to me, bla, bla, bla”i heard a lot.
Unfortunatly the priest who married us was in hurry to marry us as not to live in sin, and nobody explained me and made sure i donnot make a mistake, which i obviously made.
I can only advise catholic women NOT TO MARRY NON CATHOLIC MEN, no matter the love u think u share with ur partner.
When kids come, it is disaster, as not to mention the lies and hidden things muslem men have ( not all, of course).
No any catholic woman who believes in her religion would ever accept her kids to be raised as muslem, this is for sure, so, religion and tradtions are more important than love. Never say the reverse, it is not like that.
I wish Vatican would change the optic about interfaith marriages and donnot allow them anymore, as the experience so far is bad.
Not to mention that a marriage with a muslem IS NOT SACRAMENT, thing which i wasn;t told at the beginning.
Good is that i can get anullment and make a new life, but i strongly advice catholic ladies to be careful when they chose their husband. Nothing is more important than your soul, not even the love u feel for a man, and differences between our beliefs are so high, that in case both are deep connected into their roots, there is absoulty no way out.
Only the couples who are not religious, who donnot care about these aspects can have some chances, as fpr them it is the same if their kids are babtised or not, and it doesn;t matter in which faith they will grow.
So, i don;t know why in my case no preparation was done, but i consider many responsible for this.
I would never, but never remarry a muslem man again, or a non catholic man, better alone.

January 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm #6470


The fact that some sign the papers according to which the kids will be raised in the catholic faith means 0. My husband signed those papers only to make the wedding possible, and never intended to keep this.
You donnot know what is going to happen in few years. People change, this is why it is good to avoid interfaith marriages. They bring nothing but huge problems.

January 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm #6471


To Jason:

You wrote: “(It helped that my wife does not feel a strong connection to the Catholic church in which she was raised and does feel increasingly comfortable in the Jewish context.) This has made all the difference for us.”

YOu see? Exactly my point ( what i wrote before): if one is not strong connected to his/her religion, it is ok, but if both are connected, THERE IS NOT CHANCE!!!!

January 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm #6482

paulette zucker

thank you for this article…I was raised stirct catholic and my sons were baptized and raised catholic..My husband was Jewish…My son now is to marry a jewish girl in orlando florida which I was told I need to get a dispensation form the bishop for his to get his sacramental marriage. . and how is this to be done in church or temple…or do I ask for ameeting with the bishop to start proceedings for the dispensation..

January 25, 2012 at 6:40 am #6518


In response to the comment made on Jan.2 at 4:01:55 I can only say that if you were old enough to get married, you were old enough to take on the responsibility of reading, talking and learning about your future husband’s religion. You cannot blame any one else. Marriage is a sacred vow…whether you are Catholic, Muslim, or of any other faith. So before you take this vow, you owe it to each other, and your future children to figure out which religion will be the one practiced. But remember there is only one God, and he is loving, and forgiving and he created all of us…

January 26, 2012 at 4:58 am #6521


This is a lovely article.  I had no idea that the Church had changed its rules about interfaith marriages.  

I am a bit confused on these marriages, though.  Are they different from Catholic – Catholic marriages?  Are they not a sacrament, as one poster said above?  

If you are a Catholic and marry out of the Church, and get divorced (G-d forbid), do you need your first marriage annulled if you wish to marry again?  Why is that the case if the first marriage was not a Catholic-Catholic one?

This brings me to Gingrich and his three wives.  Is his situation actually kosher with the Catholic Church?  He is currently married to his mistress with whom he committed adultery.  Is that not a problem of some kind?  

Can you simply confess and repent of those sins and then convert to Catholicism and have a full Catholic marriage in the Church?  I am just curious because in Jewish law, you cannot marry someone with whom you committed adultery, by its Jewish definition.

March 2, 2012 at 6:47 am #6623


I am in my 20s, raised catholic and am very much in love with a jewish girl I met in college. She says if we get married and have children we can teach beliefs of both faiths and that the children can decide. I don’t agree with this and am struggling with what to do. I agree with many of the above comments that you don’t know what will happen in the future and I can see if we ever do have children, which i want, that it would be a disaster. I feel so lost…what do I do?

April 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm #6704


I was born on a interfaith marriage, My father and all his family are Catholics, My mother and her family are non-Catholic Christians. They decided to expose me to both religions and I would decided as I grew. When I went to college I had the opportunity to study Catholicism in a more intellectual way and asure my self that that was absolutetly not what I wanted for me. During the same time in my life I was attending to a non-catholic christian church which also aloud me to live and form a personal and intelectual judgement of this religion which led me to believe that was neither for me for many factors that I do not agree with. Therefore I considered my self a spiritual person who believe in God, Jesus and the Holly Spirit but I do not hold a RELIGION DENOMINATION.

Now I am engaged to a wonderful women that comes from a strong catholic background. And while starting to plan the wedding she and her family expect me to be baptism, first communion and confirmation on the catholic church, Which I clarified to her I was not gonna make it because it will go against my personal believes. She seems to be very upset about it, but I hope she will put aside the pressure that her family is giving and will understand me and respect my decision.

In regards to children this article has opened my eyes because I believed that we could raise our children with exposure to both believes, the same way I was raised, however I feel it will be better for my children to don’t have to deal with this at lease while they are small and do not have the capability to fully understand the matters of religion. Therefore we will have to reach an agreement between us, which I still have no idea what the outcome will be. Thank you all for the article and the comments.

September 23, 2012 at 11:07 am #7695


This is such a wonderful article, and a valuable discussion. I am of no faith but that dispensed by my own soul’s wisdom, married to an amazing and ardent Catholic man, and his faith is one of the best things I love about him. Many people are surprised that we chose this path together, but, as has been said before, Love will always find a way, if it is meant to be. That may mean many challenges and learning curves ahead, but I know that God/ The Universe/ our Higher Selves/ Spirit has guided our relationship with all its beautiful mysteries, and at the end of it all we have to have faith in one another 🙂 I pray that for all of you, too, if it is meant to be.

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