Does the Church allow interfaith marriage?
Question:Can I marry someone from the Jewish faith? How does the Church view this kind of union?
While the Church is open to this and gives her blessings to her children who find love outside of the Catholic faith, she still does view this with caution. The Church wants all her members to find happiness in this life : through personal fulfillment in this case found in the marital vocation. However, she also wants her children to find eternal happiness in the next life. So, whist she allows her children to marry people of the Jewish faith, the Catholic party is required to remain Catholic. And also, to do everything in their power to raise their children in the Catholic faith (The non-Catholic party must be made aware of these promises). The Church also requires that the other party understand and agree to the Catholic understanding of marriage.
“Acknowledging the difficulties in interreligious marriages, preparation for them should expect each party to know well both religious traditions so as to be cooperative with the religious duties of the spouse. Continuing pastoral care, as several diocesan interreligious guidelines already recognize, is also suggested” USCCB Guidelines for Catholic-Jewish Relations.
Created in the Divine Image: Orthodox Jewish-Catholic Statement on Marriage
September 2, 2008
Many communities within the United States are now engaged in a new conversation on the meaning of the word “marriage”, questioning whether it should describe a union only between a man and a woman. As leaders of our respective faiths, we, as Orthodox Rabbis, communal leaders and representatives of the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States, wish to affirm our shared commitment to the ordinance of God, the Almighty One, who created man and woman in the divine image (Gen. 1:26-27), so that they might share as male and female, as helpmates and equals (Gen. 2:21-24), in the procreation of children (Gen. 1:28) and the building up of society. Created in the Divine Image: Orthodox Jewish-Catholic Statement on Marriage
To marry a non-Catholic special permission is required. In the “old days” this was even stricter, and the non-Catholic party had to promise in writing to allow all children from the marriage to be raised as Catholics. There was no special liturgical rite for the wedding (just exchange of consent in presence of priest and witnesses), which generally was not held in the church but usually in the sacristy or the priest’s office. This may seem strict but it reflects the Church’s traditional rejection of religious indifferentism, as well as the fact that she did not wish to encourage mixed marriages, which so often are a danger to the faith of the Catholic party.