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“For many years, I told myself (and others) that I was going to the nearby Catholic college so I could meet a nice Catholic boy and get married,” Richards recalls.But when she met Levy—who is Jewish—the two quickly became friends and eventually started dating.“If we can get across to people that religion is not getting in the way, that religion is there to help, that makes so much more sense to me,” he says.“Marriage preparation becomes a possible moment of grace.” Despite the rise in interfaith and interchurch marriages, they’re not at an all-time high.Fast-forward several years: Richards and Levy, both 27, are newlyweds who married in a Jewish-Catholic ceremony.Such marriages—interfaith (between a Catholic and a non-Christian) and interchurch (between a Catholic and another Christian)—have been on the rise for the past 30 years.“We’ve changed quite a bit of stuff since Vatican II,” says Claretian Father Greg Kenny.“I don’t think allegiance to one church or one faith should keep you from the most basic command, that you should love one another.” Kenny says the way the Catholic Church should deal with the growing number of interfaith marriages is on a grassroots level, one couple at a time, with parish and diocesan programs.
Of never-married Catholics, only 7 percent said it was “very important” to marry someone of the same faith.
The classes suggested they pick one religion for their future children.
“We chose Judaism early on because it was the root of all Christianity, and there was nothing in my religion that Mike couldn’t understand,” Sarah says.
“It was good to know that the same things were being asked of us,” Richards says.
They plan to raise their children Catholic, but they both say their kids will be well aware of their Jewish heritage, and they were encouraged to raise them as such by Bline.
Before the revision, the non-Catholic party had to sign a document saying they agreed that their children would be raised Catholic.