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Author Topic: Mixed Marriage  (Read 1923 times) Average Rating: 0
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johnso41
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« on: August 19, 2004, 05:30:15 AM »

Greetings,

I always feel the need to go into detail about my life story when I talk to people about religion, but I'll try to give just a summery.

I fell in love with Orthodoxy (was Lutheran), then in love with a woman who is a devout Roman Catholic.  We are now married with a baby due soon, and I'm stuck in my decision to become Orthodox.

I don't see how I could turn my back on Orthodoxy when it seems, and feels so right.

I guess I'm just wondering about what it means to have a mixed family in the Orthodox Church, and if you have any advice from those of you who may be in mixed marriages.

In an effort to make things easier, my wife and I have been attending a Byzantine church, and plan to raise our children Eastern Catholic.  As stated earlier, I don't feel like I could resolve issues I have with the RC, and still would like to become Orthodox in the future.  It's just a very difficult decision to make, because it would mean a split family.

This has been tearing at my soul for a long time and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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spartacus
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2004, 05:12:36 PM »

Greetings,

I always feel the need to go into detail about my life story when I talk to people about religion, but I'll try to give just a summery.

I fell in love with Orthodoxy (was Lutheran), then in love with a woman who is a devout Roman Catholic.  We are now married with a baby due soon, and I'm stuck in my decision to become Orthodox.

I don't see how I could turn my back on Orthodoxy when it seems, and feels so right.

I guess I'm just wondering about what it means to have a mixed family in the Orthodox Church, and if you have any advice from those of you who may be in mixed marriages.

In an effort to make things easier, my wife and I have been attending a Byzantine church, and plan to raise our children Eastern Catholic.  As stated earlier, I don't feel like I could resolve issues I have with the RC, and still would like to become Orthodox in the future.  It's just a very difficult decision to make, because it would mean a split family.

This has been tearing at my soul for a long time and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Well I think some more information is needed:

Are your Orthodox? Are you in communion with the Orthodox Church? Do you belong to an Orthodox parish and are you active?

How were you and your wife married? Catholic, Orthodox. civil, etc?

What is it your wife loves about the Catholic Church? Is hse a cradle Catholic or a convert? Has she ever attended Orthodox services? What is her objection to the Orthodox Christian Church?


I will answer further when you have supplied more information. Suffice it say that "mixed marrigaes" in our parishe usually eventually result in the one spouse converting to Orthodoxy. From my own perspective -- converting from the RCC with 3 kids ages 5,8 and 12 -- the kids are much happier being Orthodox.
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johnso41
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2004, 07:07:53 PM »

I am not Orthodox, I was attending services regularly before I was married, and now am attending services twice a month, and the other Sundays I'm at RC (we go to church together).

We were married in a Lutheran Ceremony, then had it blessed by a Catholic priest.

My wife is a cradle Catholic.

Basically the problem is that I want to become Orthodox, but worry about the complications it will bring to my family.
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spartacus
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2004, 11:36:44 PM »

I am not Orthodox, I was attending services regularly before I was married, and now am attending services twice a month, and the other Sundays I'm at RC (we go to church together).

We were married in a Lutheran Ceremony, then had it blessed by a Catholic priest.

My wife is a cradle Catholic.

Basically the problem is that I want to become Orthodox, but worry about the complications it will bring to my family.  

Given that your wife agreed to marry in a Lutheran Service, I would assume she is not very strict about her adherence to the RCC Dogma and might be more inclined to identify herself as a Catholic more out of habit and family tradition than any deep belief in theh Dogma. This is how it is for most Roman Catholics. Since she has agreed to attend and Eastern Rite Church, I would also assume she does not mind things like icons, incense, candles,etc and in fact might find such things appealing in her overall worship and prayer practices?

I know I am assuming a lot here.....

Have you and your wife ever discussed attending Divine Liturgy together? What is her opinion? Is she concerned, given your track record, that a few years from now you might want to explore another Church and she wants to insure her children are raised in one Church only?

If I were you I would try to get my wife and child to a Divine Liturgy at a very family friendly parish. See what she thinks. If she is agreeable to attending DL with you regularly...perhaps suggest that when the child is old enough in that Parish that the child attend Sunday School there......

You though really need to decide:

IS it important enough for you to convert without your family joining you? FOr me that is something I could have never done.

Is your wife even open to the possibility of exploring Orthodoxy with you as a family?

My wife was hesitant at first...when it came to actually converting. When it got down to brass tacs she did not want the kids to miss the "parties" associated with First Communion, Confirmation, etc.....eventually she found this to be as silly a reason as I ...but do not discount the importance a woman and mother raised RC will put on these things....don't trivialize them....there is much emotion attached to these things.

What finally convinced my wife to convert was the fact that:
A RC who converts to Orthodoxy ...and then wants to return to the RCC need only go to confession in a RC parish if they ever want to get back in....becoming Orthodox is not burning any bridges. An Orthodox who who was never RC can become RC through confession only as well, but the diocese might want to chrismate a cradle Orthodox....although I am personally unaware of any Orthodox ever converting to the RCC...and I was involved with cathecising converts when I was RC....

If you can find a parish your wife will be comfortable in with parishioners who will be friendly and warm...just keep showing up and trust in the Holy Spirit. If your wife is like mine...the real forces holding her back are habit and family tradition. Change the habit...incorporate new traditions and she should be less hesitant...be patient though. This could take years.

If your wife is like mine...after about three Divine Liturgies....she could not even imagine wanting to back to the RCC.
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2004, 12:28:09 PM »

An Orthodox who who was never RC can become RC through confession only as well, but the diocese might want to chrismate a cradle Orthodox....

I don't think so, since Catholics regard Chrismation as a sacrament that is unrepeatable, like Baptism.  When my cousin was considering becoming Catholic in order to marry her Catholic fiance, the priest told her she'd have to receive Confirmation.  I told her to call the local bishop's office and explain the situation; she was told (as I suspected) she didn't have to convert at all, and they'd let her as an Orthodox marry a Catholic in a Catholic ceremony, and that is what's being done.  It's a crazy story with a few more twists and turns, but I don't think Catholics will ever require Chrismation of cradle Orthodox, and if they do, it's because of ignorance that can usually easily be alleviated by a call to the local bishop.
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2004, 09:45:36 PM »

I don't think so, since Catholics regard Chrismation as a sacrament that is unrepeatable, like Baptism.  When my cousin was considering becoming Catholic in order to marry her Catholic fiance, the priest told her she'd have to receive Confirmation.  I told her to call the local bishop's office and explain the situation; she was told (as I suspected) she didn't have to convert at all, and they'd let her as an Orthodox marry a Catholic in a Catholic ceremony, and that is what's being done.  It's a crazy story with a few more twists and turns, but I don't think Catholics will ever require Chrismation of cradle Orthodox, and if they do, it's because of ignorance that can usually easily be alleviated by a call to the local bishop.

OK -- through confession only then....that is what I suspected...Again, I have never even heard of An Orthodox wanting to convert. in more than 37 years active in the RCC.

There is this belief among very many Roman Catholics that Rome is in fact in communion with the Orthodox Churches. I had to explain to my Franciscan Grandmother that becoming Orthodox meant we would no longer be "Roman" Catholic. I again had to explain when she attended Divine Liturgy that she could not receive.  When I discussed my conversion to Orthodoxy among some members of my Catholic men's study group -- there were many who took it like I was just switching parishes. Out of 18 only three really understood what it meant. One was a deacon, one had a minor in theology from Loyola and the third was a convert from a "Bible-based" Evangelical Church.

It just went right over everybody else's heads......
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