It wasn’t until after they were married and the topic of children came up that Mike’s parents voiced their disagreement with how their grandchildren would be raised.
They also complained that the Jewish traditions had overshadowed the Catholic traditions at the Miles’ wedding.
The classes suggested they pick one religion for their future children.
“We realize that this is a major pastoral issue,” says Sheila Garcia, associate director of the U. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth.
Garcia says that while supporting these couples pastorally, the church also is concerned with making sure the Catholic in a mixed-religion marriage continues to practice his or her faith and that the couple takes seriously the Catholic party’s pledge to raise their children Catholic.
Mike was raised Catholic, in what he calls a “very religious family.” He went to a Catholic school and attends Mass regularly.
“When I started dating and when I met Sarah, religion wasn’t a factor,” he says.
When the two decided to get married, the prospect of planning for a Jewish-Catholic ceremony and, more importantly, a marriage got easier when they found an understanding priest, Father David Bline, pastor of St. Bline had worked with Rabbi Susan Stone on another interfaith marriage and put the couple in touch with her.
Richards and Levy went through both Catholic and Jewish pre-marital counseling and were surprised at how “refreshingly similar” the advice they received from both sides was.
“I wasn’t marrying someone because of her religion.
I was marrying Sarah because she was who she was.” When they got engaged, both Sarah and Mike took interfaith marriage preparation classes, which helped with tough discussions they had about raising kids, celebrating holidays, and dealing with family dynamics.
In fact, a 2007 survey on marriage by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) revealed that marrying another Catholic is a low priority for young Catholics.