Catholic Jewish Marriage: Having a Happy Wedding and Joyous Life
A Catholic Jewish marriage is a special union of two people who have found love that goes beyond great differences in religious, and sometimes cultural backgrounds. Here is how to have a great Jewish Catholic wedding and happy life despite naysayers and strict laws that might have kept you apart!
Up to half of all Jewish people are marrying non-Jewish spouses, and many of those spouses are born Catholic, as Catholicism is the largest branch of Christianity in the United States. There might be a few bumps in the road to your union, but you will get there!
Possible Reactions to Your Jewish-Catholic Engagement:
- If you are very lucky, you will have parents and grandparents that are happy you found an upstanding, moral person to marry, and don't think your religious backgrounds should matter.
But for most engaged Jewish-Catholic couples, there are quite a few objections and angry responses to your impending marriage:
- Someone close in your social circle will tell you how Catholics and Jews don't belong together.
- Your parents and grandparents might talk about how religious practices and holidays will no longer be properly observed, and that you are ruining hundreds to thousands of years of tradition.
- Initial acceptance but talk about having "screwed up children" that don't have a real identity."
- The threat of being disowned, which is more common than you think.
Religion makes many passions arise. People have no problems raising objections when they believe you are infringing upon their belief system, yet what is happening is these same people are infringing their beliefs upon your relationship, how you should re-arrange the rest of your life to suit them.
Many of you will have to proceed with your wedding plans despite objections from family and friends. Remember, your spouse is the one who will be staying with you the rest of your life.
Most family members, even if they are close, do not come home to you at night like a spouse does. That tie is severed in adulthood and especially with marriage. Your spouse will be by your side, therefore, they should be your priority.
How to Handle Angry Responses to Your Announced Engagement:
- Let the person speak without interrupting them, unless they start over-reacting. If that is the case, simply excuse yourself and leave the room.
- Despite feeling attacked/disregarded, don't react emotionally. You are about to marry the love of your life. The anger is their issue, not yours.
- State that you respect their feelings. Also state you have considered the religious and cultural differences before you agreed to marriage.
- If your fiancé is willing to convert, then mention this. It could make a difference. If you are the one converting, you might want to hold off this fact if the discussion is getting overly emotional.
- Don't let the person's speech change your mind about marrying your fiancé.
Managing a Jewish-Catholic Wedding
How to Orchestrate a Jewish-Catholic Wedding that Keeps the Bride and Groom Happy:
If one of you is going to convert, then the only steps you will have to go through are classes, and a ceremony, baptism, or sacrament. It could be time-consuming, but the wedding ceremony itself can proceed in a traditional synagogue or church after this. Conversion can cause some rifts with family members, but the religious institution used for marriage will no longer be an issue.
If both of you are dedicated to your own religions, consider getting married in a Unitarian church with a liberal rabbi alongside. Unitarian churches are welcoming to all religions and their doctrines are loosely based around the Bible.
The Unitarian minister can work with the rabbi to come up with a ceremony that pays respect to both of your faiths. For example, both Catholics and Jews have high regard for the Old Testament. You may focus on passages from that, and bring along other passages traditionally spoken in a Catholic or Jewish wedding.
You can still get married in a Catholic church, but you will have to receive a pass from a bishop, which takes extra time and money. A rabbi can be present, but is not authorized to take part in the actual ceremony.
You can get married in a synagogue run by a Reform rabbi or a Jewish Justice of the Peace. A Justice of the Peace has no qualms in customizing vows for interfaith couples.
How to Celebrate Holidays and Raise Children in a Jewish-Catholic Household
There are many households in the United States that celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. You can pay respect to both without getting into deep discussions or arguments. Each spouse can also celebrate their own religion and simply keep quiet if they don't take the other religion that seriously.
Even among fully Christian or fully Jewish couples, there is often one spouse that is religious that goes to services, and one that will stay home. So if your spouse does not want to go to services, don't take issue, just go yourself.
When it comes to children, there are a few options. You can choose to raise them either Jewish or Catholic, or raise them with an understanding of both. There are also synagogues that have high rates of interfaith couples.
Locating one of these for your children might be good. You might want to keep your parents and grandparents out of the discussion of how to raise your children in regards to religion. This can cause some upset. Let it be a decision you and your spouse make together.
With a little preparation and discussion beforehand, your Jewish-Catholic marriage will be a beautiful one, where religion has harmony in your home!