Help with my interfaith marriage

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mmurphy

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I am marrying a lovely jewish girl in new york, and we are having problems finding a priest and rabbi to witness this ceremony. a rabbi also told my fiance that if she marries me, she will have to “give up” her children. we both want to respect our traditions,
any suggestions?
 
Your dificulty is not surprising. The Rabbi and any priest know that you will sooner or later, with the arrival of children, be facing very real issues to which neither of you seem to have given much thought. If all of these issues are not thought out and dealt with before you marry they will be even more difficult.
 
Thank you for your response. we have discussed this at length and feel that respecting our traditions and heritages is possible.
 
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Emmaus:
Your dificulty is not surprising. The Rabbi and any priest know that you will sooner or later, with the arrival of children, be facing very real issues to which neither of you seem to have given much thought. If all of these issues are not thought out and dealt with before you marry they will be even more difficult.
How are you going to explain to your children that ‘mommy doesn’t believe in Jesus’? Especially if you are raising them in the Catholic faith?

It all sounds good in theory, in the abstract (I know you say you have discussed this and think you can respect each other’s heritage)…but when the pressures and stress of marriage and children enter the picture, the reality replaces the abstract…and you are headed down a hard path…will pray for you!

SV
 
This may not help, but I’d try to see if Roselynd Moss has any advice. She may be the best person to talk to about this type of marrage, since she converted from Judaism. Personally, all that I can do is pray for you. Have the two of you together looked at things that are similar between the two faiths? What type of Jew is she (reform, conservative)?
 
Thank you for your responses. my fiance is reformed, although she believes her loyalty to her religion is out of respect for the people who died for their heritage. she also believes that her traditions are good excuses to have family together. my beliefs are much more grounded on god and my faith. to answer about how i teach my kids about god… well… to live a life close to his! that’s how mother theresa did it, by example, and then when mother theresa would ask if they would like to know about jesus, they would say yes, if he’s anything like you, yes!
 
I think that you have the potential for a beautiful, God centered marriage. Judism is the foundation of Catholism. Catholism is the completion of Judism. It would be wonderful if she would convert and you could offer your children such a complete history of our faith. Rosalind Moss has a new tract out called “The Jewish roots to our Catholic Faith” that I think might help you both a lot. She wouldn’t have to give up her Jewish traditions just see them in a more complete way. Personally I would love to know more about the faith of our Lord(In fact when I was watching “The Passion” I found myself wishing I could watch it with a Jew because I knew I was missing so much of the Jewish references.) But if she is dead set against converting I don’t know how it could work out. Pray for her conversion as will I.
 
thank you for your response. i look forward to looking into researching this book by rosalind moss. thank you.
 
If she can be satisfied with social get togethers at Hannukah and Passover you can raise your children Catholic and still be respectful of their Jewish mother, However, make sure how she feels about this and how much “compromise” you are comfortable with. Dr. Laura says one of you should live as the “other side” for a year and then convert before marrying or split up. I would say try the “interfaith engagement” for a year and see how she handles your having to go to Mass every week and holy day and how you handle what she has in mind. That way you are informed before you marry and hopefully prevent any mistakes. Talk talk and try to come up with scenarios before they happen so you can get through a few hypotheticals.

My understanding is that while two guys can have a Jewish wedding no rabbi of any stripe will do a mixed marriage.

lasltly she should re-eaxmine her faith and realize that her ancestors died for a real faith and not ethical or social niceties.
 
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mmurphy:
we both want to respect our traditions,
any suggestions?
What does that phrase mean in the concrete?

Have you agreed on which faith children will be raised?

For a Catholic wedding, you (not she) will have to agree to do everything you can to raise your children in the Catholic faith. Until a few ago, the non-Cattholic party also had to agree to this in writing. That is no longer of them.

It may be that there are similar requirements of her in order to have a Jewish wedding. If so, how can you both keep your promises in good faith?

Would sons be circumcised? As a religious tradition or a matter of routine for most males in this country?

And these are just the most basic questions to be resolved before hand.
 
A Catholic must rear the children in the Church, with all the proper religious training, infant baptism, sacraments, etc. Often this is not a problem in mixed marriages because the other is a lukewarm protestant happy to let the children be brought up in a beautiful religion. However, all my friends who are Jewish are adamant that their children must be reared in the Jewish faith. I do not know if that is actually a “rule” of their religion, as it indeed is with ours, but it’s understandable given the pride they have in their noble religion and how persecuted they are as a minority.

I think your big issue is not how to have a joint ceremony, but getting clear about the children. Also,is your lady “open to life” that is accepts the church’s teaching on contraception? Has she met, along with you, with your priest, for premarital counseling?
 
Over 20 years ago my Catholic cousin married a very nice Jewish girl. Since the priest and rabbi would not agree to marry them, they decided to get married in a backyard with a Justice of the Peace or some such person. They remained happily married, HOWEVER, their compromise sadly resulted in their children having absolutely no faith–not Jewish and not Catholic. I felt so sorry for their son of Italian heritage who spent several months in school in Italy and had absolutely no real appreciation for the depth of his Catholic roots evidenced all throughout Italy and especially in Rome. He didn’t even understand why things were closed on St. Joseph’s feast day. To him, the Sistine Chapel was merely beautiful–he experienced everything on a superficial level. So sad. What I have witnessed with other mixed marriages is that there is usually not a conversion after the marriage. If they do manage to get along, it’s only because neither of them care about their faith. If they do care about their religions, if someone doesn’t compromise and live the other’s faith fully, there is much unhappiness, stress and damage to the children even though the couple loves one another. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT !!! and while a spouse may tolerate the children being raised in the other spouse’s faith, it is not the same as being united, believing and supporting the spouse in the faith. Of all of the mixed marriages that I know of, they all were just as confident as you are that they could compromise, but after the kids came, or after they deepened their faith over the course of time, it was a different story. THINK LONG AND HARD BEFORE YOU PROCEED AND PRAY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO ENLIGHTEN YOU AS TO GOD’S WILL AND THAT YOUR HEART WILL BE DOCILE AND OBEDIENT TO WHATEVER GOD DESIRES OF YOU. God Bless you in a difficult situation either way. My advice to my children is to look for good, faithful Catholics when you are choosing your dates because you never know when you might want to marry them!!!
 
Dearest MMurphy,
I hope that I can offer you a perspective. I married a (non-practicing Hindu), a good man, with a deep love and respect for One God. Since he didn’t believe strongly in his ‘religion’, and agreed to let me live my life/raise my children Catholic, we thought it would be easy. e talked and talked about things, and agreed on everything. (This is very easy to do when you are newly in love and unencumbered with life’s little responsibilities. )We even dated for 4 years because I wanted to make sure that there were no ‘suprises’ concerning his character or behavior.

What I have now is a husband of 14 years who is a loyal and devoted father and husband. He loves his family above all, and has taditional values that I honor. BUT. He does not go to church with us. He spent years ‘silently subverting’ by trying to coax me to stay home with him on Sunday mornings – not overtly, of course. He grumbles about the time I spend taking the children to/teaching RE, and doesn’t see why my oldest has to keep going since he has already made his sacrament of Reconciliation and Communion. He refuses to pray before meals, and tells the kids that it is not necessary because he prays to God always. That God doesn’t care when or how we pray. That following norms and canon laws is ‘cultish’. And of course, he does not believe that Jesus is God.

This causes me to have many many many conversations with my children ‘behind his back’, explaining about Daddy’s circumstances. It is a sword in my heart that we are not united in faith, though my devout parents have said rosaries for his conversion every night for 18 years. (Mom is convinced that he WILL convert, and that he will end up being a fierce warrior for Christ). An even deeper sword in my heart is that, by now knowing yet still rejecting the True Church, his soul is now in danger of eternal Hell. And I feel somewhat responsible for this (ok, MORE than somewhat). I feel guilty for putting him in this position of knowledge/rejection. I feel guilty for somehow not being ‘Cathoic enough’ to show him by example and lead him to the Church and Christ. Though no one knows it, I cannot BEGIN to describe the agony of my soul over this issue that exists in every waking moment. It crushes me moment by moment. I only survive by offering this up to Our Lord and the poor souls on a constant basis.

Thus far, I HAVE been blessed extraordinarily with young children of tremendous faith (ages 5 and 8). They pray for Daddy daily, and never tire in standing tall against his comments and versions of ‘truth’. I even dare to pray for my son to be called to the preisthood, as his spirituality is light years beyond his age (which must be the work of the Holy Spirit.) All his teachers, both religious and secular, speculate on his religious future – it is a kind of blessing/grace in my constant state of grief over my husband.

Do I despair? Sometimes. I’m human. Do I give up? Never. He is a good man, and I am incredibly blessed to have him. And yet with my blessing comes tremendous suffering (which I hope with all my soul is temporary). All this, with one person who was devout and another that wasn’t. I cannot imagine trying this with someone who has an opposing view. I say all this to make you think. Would I do it all again? I can’t tell you that now. If, ultimately, my husband converts, then the answer is an unqualified yes. If my children stray from the church - they who God gave me with the responsibility to raise in love and knowledge of Him - then I have obviously failed, and it ‘would be better had I not been born’. Time will tell, and I walk by faith. LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH. No one ever told me this, and I have suffered much to be able to pass this lesson on.

Ultimately, whatever your choice, my prayers are with you. I suggest that you take time and ponder all this in your heart. Take your time to commit as well, as you have your entire life ahead of you. It is so easy to get swept up in new love, but i think EVERY Catholic has an obligation to take their time to discern the true Will of God. God Bless you – and feel free to write if you ever want to talk!

:gopray: :gopray:
Cricket
 
I thank all of you who have responded, and respect your insight. This website is awesome to ask the tough questions one has in life. I believe in prayer, patience, and hope. you have all given me responses that I can ponder and pray on.

Thank You!!!
 
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