(Closed) Don’t want to cancel wedding, but dont know what else to do.

posted 10 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 17
1580 posts
Bumble bee

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@Interfaith: Just to clarify about the Catholic marriage- he doesn’t have to agree to have the kids baptized. You have to agree to do everything within your power (reasonably) to baptize the kids and raise them Catholic. All the non-Catholic party has to do is acknowledge that you made the promise.

Post # 18
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

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@Jacqi: That’s how it worked for an interfaith couple that I know, but I think overall that it still might depend on the flexibility of the priest.

Post # 19
5887 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

My mother is Catholic and my father is Jewish.  My mother took us to church every Sunday and we crossed ourselves, but we were not baptized when we were babies.  Never heard of not being able to cross yourself if you aren’t baptized.  My sister and I were raised with both religions in our life.  My parents divorced when I was around 9 and one of the main reasons had to do with my mother wanting us to get baptized and my father not wanting us to get baptized.  I now idenfity with Judaism and am actually going to go through a formal conversion (at the age of 26), however, my boyfriend is Catholic, and while neither of us are religious, my paternal grandparents were both Holocaust survivors and I feel it very important to keep the traditions and cultures that they fought so hard to preserve.  I intend on learning from my parents’ mistakes and truly exposing the children to both.  It is a slippery slope, and I think as other posters have mentioned, you have to identify what is really important to you (is making the sign of the cross what’s important- or praying together as a family with your husband?)  Only you can answer this, obviously- but consider the fact that you have to make this work for the both of you, and that may entail a modification of the two religions in their most basic forms.

Post # 20
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Have you thought about the possibility of raising your kids to learn about and explore many religions, not just yours and your fiance’s?  Make it more about exploring the different faiths that exist and thinking about what faith means to them rather than choosing one side or another?  A couple of other people have mentioned waiting until your children are old enough to make their own choice before doing anything to formalize their ties to one religion or another.  I would encourage that as well as going further and letting them decide if they want to be Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Buddhist, something else, or possibly no organized religion at all.

Maybe when they’re five they’ll want a baptism, and at nine they’ll want a bar/bat mitzvah, and at 22 they’ll apprentice at a Buddhist temple.  Teach them everything you can about all faiths.  You can show them what Catholicism means to you and your fiance can expose them to his connection with Judaism, but as part of their own exploration (and most importantly, not as something that is a decision one way or the other).

Post # 21
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I can sort of relate… I am not religious at all and my Fiance is religious although he doesn’t attend church regularly. This discussion came up yesterday when he asked me if I would care if he started taking our son to church (we already have a 2 year old son) I told him that would be okay but any type of baptism would be out of the question. We have decided that when our son is old enough he can make his own decision on what he believes in.and in the event that my son wants to be baptized he can decide on his own. I am allowing my Fiance to take our son to church BC I do want him to be educated on all religions but in the end he will make up his own mind and we will not push him in anyway. Hope this helps and I feel for you! Don’t let it be a deal breaker though!

Post # 22
5 posts
  • Wedding: November 2010

I’m not bound to any faith tradition, and I can’t decide if that makes me more or less suited to comment on this issue.

I don’t want it to sound like I’m against you on this, because I respect that this is important to you, and I realize we’re only getting a brief outline of the overall situation here, but:

“If my child isn’t baptized, we couldn’t even pray together at night, because that involves crossing yourself :(“

This isn’t really completely accurate; you could certainly still pray with your child. You just couldn’t pray explicitly *Catholic* prayers, which would seem to me to be out of bounds anyway, if you’re trying to be respectful of both religious traditions and not privilege Catholicism over Judaism.

It sounds a little from your post and follow-up (and again, I get that we’re only getting a brief snippet of a much larger issue here, so forgive me if I’m reading too much into them) like in your mind you were going to raise Catholic children and sort of politely nod to your FI’s Jewishness. I’m not saying that is definitely what you’re doing, or even that it is intentional if it is.

I would argue that it is *very* difficult, if not impossible, to fully embrace two faiths at the same time, if for no other reason than to fully embrace one faith (esp. in the Christian tradition) means explicitly rejecting others. There are people who manage to balance the *expressions* of two faiths, but in my experience that is tough, and usually means neither is practiced with any fervor.

I understand your FI’s objection to baptism, since the structural (and spiritual) purpose of baptism is to seal a covenant and gather into the fold.

On the other hand, if you have male children, would he be willing to not circumcise, since that is part of the Jewish covenant? I see those two things as roughly equivalent…

Post # 23
321 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

“The traditions that are most important to me are for baptized Catholics. Something as simple as crossing yourself, which is done many times during the course of mass, is for people who have been baptized only. If my child isn’t baptized, we couldn’t even pray together at night, because that involves crossing yourself 🙁 “

Is this a biblical thing or just custom??  It’s obvious that you are quite religious and strict with your religion.  Honestly, I’ve got nothing for you on that front, I cannot relate at all.  As far as your relationship though, I am now fascinated about how you made it this far. 

If you plan on raising kids in an interfaith household, while trying to accomodate both religions equally, you may find that there will be a lot of give and take, a lot of compromise, much like the marriage itself.  You may have to become more flexible with your faith in order to include your kids, which means figuring out how to have your own relationship with your God, and not just follow what your priest says without question.  I’m not here to criticize how you choose to worship, but personally I don’t see how you could successfully manage 2 religions while remaining that way and not alienate your kids and husband in the process. 

I really wish you the best of luck, but I do think you need to re-evaluate what is more important in your life.  also-i second the other bees who recommended counseling.

Post # 24
1091 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2020 - Oakland Manor

I’m not religious, but I guess if Mr.D wanted to do it I’d think, “well it’s just a priest putting water on a baby”. Since I don’t believe in the whole thing…

(on a more serious note – I really second J.grossman on this one)

Post # 25
250 posts
Helper bee

Ok I am trying to figure out how to say this without sounding snarky…

Marriage is all about compromise.  From your post it doesn’t sound like either of your are willing to budge.  In my opinion, if you are considering cancelling the wedding over this you need to either see a counselor and figure this out or call it off until you can come to a decision.  If you can’t learn to compromise now, you won’t magically be able to do it once you say your vows.  Just my $0.02.

Post # 26
1154 posts
Bumble bee

This is weird, because I’m an atheist (and Jewish) and am kind of totally in your camp on this one.

If my Fiance wanted to do a baptism – sure why not?  It doesn’t hurt the child and if you don’t believe in it there are no consequences.

So to me its weird that your Fiance is so against it.  Why is he against it?

Because IMO for it to make sense for him to be against it – he’d have to ‘believe’ in its power. 

But admit to not at all understanding how you could plan to raise your children devoutly in both faiths.

Post # 27
34 posts

Hi, I’m not trying to be snarky either, I just want to understand your situation better.  Why didn’t you and your Fiance discuss this before getting engaged?  Did it never come up?

Post # 28
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I’ll stick my toe in the pool here too, because I’m Catholic and I do understand how you feel. However, you might explain to your Fiance that baptism does not mean a lifetime commitment to being Catholic. There is baptism, there is first communion, and then there is confirmation… that’s the big one, and that is when the teen decides.

You can always baptize a child and then leave it alone until they’re old enough to decide. It sounds like you’re both planning on having your children follow your respective religions, and it could turn out that they won’t be religious at all. It’s a deeply personal thing.

I hope you don’t cancel the wedding. It sounds like you truly love each other, and there are ALWAYS ways to work things out. Does he follow the Jewish religion, or is this more of a cultural thing? Because I know a lot of friends whose parents were in interfaith Catholic/Jewish marriages, and they celebrated Christmas and Hannuka. Please at least speak with a counselor/priest/rabbi, or all three, and don’t  be too black and white on this issue with each other.

Isn’t love the most important part of both of those religions? Just something to think about 🙂 My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Post # 29
8351 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2011

I just have one more thing to add. You stated that you were going to do a civil ceremony. If neither of you are willing to compromise on this, I don’t see you getting married later on in your church. You have also stated that neither of you have a regular church that you are attending, so I don’t understand why you are both so adamant about this. I would have thought that all of this would have been discussed and hashed out long ago.

Post # 31
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I would talk to your rabbi and priest. Our “renewal” rabbis are very cool and they understand Fiance is not Jewish. I think they’d still respect us if we said we wanted to raise our kids in two different traditions. There are a lot of interfaith couples at our synagogue too. My grandfather was a rabbi (reform) and did a lot of weddings together with a priest – obviously those couples wanted elements of both traditions and religions, and it was okay with both officiants. I don’t think a regular counselor would help on this one. Maybe a rabbi wouldn’t have a problem with baptism and could help Fiance understand that. You just have to find the right rabbi that’s good to talk to. Do you know that your children will not be considered Jewish without going through a mikvah and conversion ceremony? Does Fiance know that? It’s something else to consider.

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