Jewish-Catholic Relationship

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 8 replies, and was last updated by  PhxMom 485 days ago.

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July 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm #7401

Josh W

I am a 28 year old Jewish man and have been dating a Catholic girl for a year.  As things become more serious between us, I am trying to reconcile our differences.  I am not very religious at all, and neither is she, but it is important for her to have our potential future children be minimally involved in the Catholic church.

This has been hard for me to reconcile with.  I love her and she is an amazing woman, but it is hard for me to think that my children might be baptized or believe in Jesus.  The problem I am having is that while it's unimportant for me to have these things done, it is important to her, and I can't take that away from her.  She is fully supportive of me exerting whatever amount of Jewish influence I want: i.e. circumcision, Passover, Hanukkah, etc.  So, she is more than willing to compromise.  I'm just having trouble compromising on my end.

Does anyone have any advice?  Please don't bother commenting just to tell me it will never work unless you have something constructive to add.

March 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm #10916

Karen

I am going through the same thing, though I am that Catholic girl and my serious boyfriend is Jewish. I have a faith/spirituality that is alive, though not extreme, whereas he has agnostic beliefs, but would like to have his children be raised jewish and for me to convert. I don’t know if I will end up feeling emotionally isolated from him or if he will feel disappointed or frustrated if we have children. There are a lot of unknowns and I would also like to know what advice is out there to make this work.

March 19, 2013 at 8:55 am #10932

Benjamin Maron

Karen, the main advice is usually to talk, talk, and talk some more. Make sure you and your partner communicate about everything: why he wants Jewish children, why you’re feeling hesitant to convert, what faith/spirituality means to you, why the Jewish culture is important to him, etc. Have you celebrated holidays or life cycle events together? What did they look like? Were they marked in a way that you could replicated in future years with kids, or would they need to be celebrated differently? The key is to talk about everything before the scenario comes up in your life together.

If you’re in Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Chicago, we also offer workshops for couples called Love and Religion – Online, which offer helpful tips for talking about spirituality and religion together.

March 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm #11318

PhxMom

Hi, Josh.
My son (who’s also 28) is Jewish, and my DIL is Catholic, and they have 4 kids. The religion “thing” has been an endless source of trouble between us…and it’s not even at the point at which the kids are involved in church. While they were supposed to be brought up with both influences, they celebrate Easter but not Pesach. They have a minimal Chanukah and a big Xmas.
I’m sure some people have worked this out, but there’s something troubling me: you’re not respecting your own boundaries. We have to be true to ourselves first, and if the thought of having your children baptized bothers you, then it bothers you. No excuses need to be made for that. It’s just a shame that the two of you didn’t discuss this from the start.
More interfaith marriages end in divorce than marriages between partners of the same faith. I’m not saying it would never work, but if you try to ignore what’s in your own heart, then that’s what’s going to get you into trouble. You will end up feeling resentful and a sell-out.
Here are your choices: you allow the kids to be baptized, raised as Catholics, and have a Jewish seder and Chanukah in your home; you don’t officially raise the kids as either; you raise them as Jews but let them have secular celebrations of Xmas and Easter. I’m sorry, but there are no other choices. They can’t believe Jesus is divine and is just a man in the same breath.

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