We’re not the only ones who fret about intermarriage

An old friend, who has since gone to glory, used to encourage her children to date only Catholics. When you only date Catholics, you won’t fall in love with a non-Catholic and marry him/her, she reasoned. She and her husband, who totally agreed, also sent their children to Catholic schools K-university to tilt the odds even more favorably to Catholic nuptials. They succeeded in two out of three.

Her view seems a bit old-school these days, but she probably was on to something. Her daughter who married a non-Catholic had three children, all raised Catholic. Her granddaughter followed in her mother’s footsteps and married a non-Catholic. The husband was an evangelical, and, to keep the peace, both became mainline Protestants. I’m sure my old friend rolled over in her grave when that happened.

Mixed marriages — Catholic and non-Catholic — have been happening ever since the Great Schism and certainly since the Reformation. We’ve been fretting about it for centuries. One of the safeguards to keep mayhem at bay was to get the mixed-marriage couple to promise to raise the children Catholic, but that didn’t always work. Today there are so many mixed marriages, that no one knows exactly how many there truly are.

By the way, I am not in any way opposed to mixed marriages. My brothers and I are products of one, and one brother followed in our parents’ footsteps. Twice.

Catholics aren’t the only ones who worry about this. This year, mixed marriages was a big topic in Jewish circles. Though there are different issues in marriages between Jews and non-Jews from Catholic and non-Catholics, many of the issues are the same: religious practice in the household, raising of children, loss of culture and many others. Many rabbis simply won’t perform mixed weddings.

I don’t know of any Catholic priests or deacons who won’t preside at mixed weddings, but I don’t know of any who don’t get the engaged mixed couple to take a hard look at the issues before they take the walk to the altar.

Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation and a former president of the World Jewish Congress, has written a thoughtful piece in The Jewish Daily’s Forward about mixed marriages. He makes the point that Jews’ strategy should be less about prohibiting mixed marriages and more about making Judaism relevant to young people.

Not bad advice for Catholics either.

What are your thoughts on mixed marriages today?

3 Responses

  1. I have been married to an evangelical, non-denominational, God-fearing man for over 20 years ago. And while it has not been a perfect religious road for us, I would say we offer a case study of how churches can co-exist under one roof.

    We see ourselves we as a part of the larger Christian family thus God and the gospels are our ultimate guide in all we do. Our son is challenged each Sunday as we attend both churches but we remain firm in our commitments.

    Would I marry him all over again? Absolutely. First, because I love and admire him deeply and second because God’s view of church is bigger than anything we can imagine.

  2. I think its wrong. Jesus Christ himself started the Catholic Church. No other church has that claim. They were all started by men. Men can be corrputed. I’ve been to non-catholic services (I’m not catholic yet) and got nothing out of it. Certainly not saying there’s nothing there, just that it didn’t work for “me”. That said, look how non-catholics worship. Their services are different, their bibles often are different (omitting a passage or two because they don’t believe it was holy). To omit one word, one period or comma from the Bible is to deny the word of God. We can not pick and choose what we take from the Bible. God gave it to us as a whole to understand him and understand what he wants from us and most importantly, what he wants for us. Maybe it’s just because I’m Irish, but I see anything that isn’t Catholic as not knowing the full truth. And at least for me and my future families sake I wouldn’t dare risking salvation on partial truths and false prophet evangelists selling miracle towels to cure cancer and arthritis and all that hocus pocus blasphemy. That’s just my opinion brothers and sisters, for what it’s worth.

  3. It is up to the individuals. Christ came to save us all. There are problems to work out but it can be done.

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