Busted Halo
googling god
The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Our readers asked:

What advice can you give me about telling my parents who are VERY Catholic about me dating and possibly marrying a non-Catholic?

Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:

It might end up making you more committed to and active in your Catholic faith than ever. A study was done recently by a Church-related agency on the level of religious commitment among couples. It found that a high incidence of couples who were very engaged in the life of their parish were those in which one of the partners had been a member of another tradition of Christian faith and, over time, had become Catholic.

Why would that be? Perhaps because the fact that there were some differences there made each of the spouses more attentive to their faith and practice. Perhaps because through dialogue and seeking ways to pray together, a shared faith life came to mean all that more to them.

It’s easy to imagine the situation of being an interchurch couple having a very different effect, too. For example, instead of talking about their commonalities and differences, they might just avoid the occasion of possible tension, or, worse yet, they might both became inactive Christians so as to avoid “going there” altogether.

Generally, the Catholic Church sees marrying a member of your own church as the best and easiest way to go simply because, over the long haul, marriage is challenging and you need all the supports that you can possibly have going for you. A shared faith is a very strong source of support and strength. However, it’s not difficult to see either that if a Catholic background is something both parties bring to the relationship that they might just take it for granted and not bring much energy and focus to deepening their faith understanding. They might just spend the rest of their lives on a “plateau”, going through the motions, etc.

All of which may explain those survey results. Maybe those who were once interchurch couples but are now both Catholics are active in their parishes because for them membership in the same church was a positive, conscious choice made at some cost, so they do not take it for granted and work at keeping their faith life alive and active.

So you just never know where your dating and possibly marrying a Christian from another church might take you.

 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
The Author : Thomas Ryan, CSP
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, D.C.
See more articles by (50).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
powered by the Paulists