Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Woman to Woman: Interfaith Couples With Children
The government might be able to get away with separation of church and state -- but when it comes to marriage, couples have to deal with the issue of religion -- and in some cases, two religions. What's an interfaith couple to do and what about the kids? We'll show you in this Woman To Woman report.
(WSVN) -- "I have something a bit shocking to say."
It was an unexpected decision for one of the ladies on Sex In The City.
"I'm becoming a Jew."
But for thousands of others, it's not a choice.
Jan Perrone says, "It was never a question of he converting for me or me converting for him."
Instead...couples, like Jan and Guido Perrone of Margate, are living and raising their children with two religions.
Jan says, "He's Catholic and I'm Jewish and we just decided to keep both. We celebrate both sets of holidays."
Jan and Guido were not only married by a rabbi and priest, they're daughter, Gianna, was baptized Ghristian and baby named Jewish.
They plan to do have a dual religious ceremony for their son, Devan too.
Guido says, "It's teaching them a good value system. Exactly. I think that's the most important aspect of religion not the exclusion of others."
Great in theory... But on one hand, Christians believe in Jesus.
While Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.
So can being an interfaith couple be confusing, especially for the children?
Depends on who you talk to.
Rabbi, Loring Frank says, "The best way to raise the children is the way that both parents agree to. Some parents agree to raise them Jewish, some raise them another religion, some say we can raise them both."
Rabbi Loring Frank has married thousands of interfaith couples.
He says the number one mistake is not discussing the issue.
Rabbi Frank says, "I recommend highly that you make a decision or make a choice before you get married."
But for Catholics married by the church, there isn't a choice.
Part of their vows include a promise.
Mark Reeves from the Archdiocese of Miami says, "We expect fully that the child will be brought up in the Catholic faith, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion."
But Father Reeves says families can share traditions.
He says, "It's going to be important for the child to understand the faith of his non-Catholic parent or her non-Catholic parent."
Do that by explaining religious holidays to your children.
And, when in doubt, talk to an expert.
That's what Jan and Guido are doing.
They're advice for other parents.
Guido says, "Follow your own instincts, don't listen to others who would try to keep you apart."
Jan says, "Two people really have to want to do it and care about each other enough to make it work."
Remember coping with religious differences can be overwhelming, so seek expert advice if necessary and talk it through with your spouse.
We're talking woman to woman, but men, remember if it's about women, its bound to affect you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rabbi Loring Frank
7465 Collins Avenue, Suite 201
Miami Beach, FL 33141
Rabbinic Center For Research And Counseling