Letters | Passing on the Faith, Married Priests

The Challenge Of Intermarriage

Regarding your “Raising Catholic Kids” symposium (December 6, 2013): I am a practicing Catholic father married to a non-Catholic. I am the child of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. I have some knowledge of the results of surveys documenting very high rates (over 50 percent) of intermarriage among non-Orthodox U.S. Jews. There is a negative correlation between levels of observant activity (in Judaism and probably all religions) and rates of intermarriage—those most intensely interested in their faith are less likely to marry outside it.

Forty years ago, I married a Jewish woman. The ceremony had to be conducted on “neutral territory” by both a priest and a rabbi, under multiple dispensations. Partly because of my own experience, I’d hoped to educate my children as Catholics, but I underestimated both the strength of my wife’s commitment to her faith and the depth of her hostility to most things Catholic. We ultimately agreed that the children would be sent to a Reform Jewish Sunday school—I would drop them off on my way to church and pick them up afterward. I naïvely hoped that they would thereby acquire a belief in “the God of the Book,” and I would have opportunities to advance their religious education by eventually informing them...

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