Before Juliann Richards met Neal Levy, she didn’t doubt that she’d marry a fellow Catholic someday.
After all, Richards was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school, grew up mostly around fellow Catholics, and knew she wanted her children raised with the same faith.
Despite these challenges, Garcia believes that mixed marriages offer an opportunity for “peace and understanding, and, where possible, unity.” “The Catholic Church is moving towards how to support the interchurch/interfaith couple,” Garcia says.
“Mixed religion couples can live out Christ’s call to be one.” One of the landmark changes in how the church approaches interfaith and interchurch engaged couples came with the 1983 revision to the Code of Canon Law, around the same time many of the millennials getting married today were born.
But that was decades ago and now we're living in modern times.
Times when there's a public outcry over a Cheerios ad featuring an interracial couple.
Before the revision, the non-Catholic party had to sign a document saying they agreed that their children would be raised Catholic.
Post-revision, the Catholic spouse pledges to maintain his or her faith and “to do all in her or his power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.” The non-Catholic is informed of that pledge.“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.While Richards’ Ohio hometown has three Catholic churches and a majority Christian populace, once she met Levy all her plans for a “nice Catholic boy” disappeared.As they dated, the two made sure big issues like how their children would be raised or what religious traditions were important to them were discussed respectfully and resolved early on without either forgoing their faith.“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.