Catholic-Hindu Marriage?


#1

Greetings in Our Risen Lord!

I come from an Indian background and I was born and raised in a devout Hindu family, but after much prayer and reflection, I truly felt that God was calling me to become a Catholic Christian. So after going through RCIA, I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church four years ago. Since then, I feel that I have been incredibly blessed to be able to receive the Sacraments and to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nearly three years ago during my time in college, I met an awesome Hindu girl who is absolutely amazing in every respect (beautiful, smart, funny, caring, etc). Given our similar Indian-American backgrounds and shared experiences, our friendship naturally grew into a relationship, and today we are both very much in love. We are now seriously considering marriage. She has a deep respect for the Church’s emphasis on family values and social justice, and she is 100% supportive of my desire to raise any future children Catholic. She agrees that we must raise the children in one faith (to avoid confusion and to provide strong moral values), and she is okay with the kids being baptized, etc. Her parents are also supportive of all of this, and have even said that for the sake of peace/unity of the family (and for the sake of “convenience”), she might need to convert to Catholicism herself later on in life. She has come to Mass a few times with me (work schedules make it difficult for more frequent church visits). She states that the Mass is so different from her Hindu cultural/religious upbringing that as of right now, she does not relate or feel called to convert to Christianity. She states that she would like to learn more about Christianity, since she knows how important my faith is to me, and for the sake of raising any future children Catholic. But, understandably, she does not feel comfortable converting to the Faith herself right now, because she states she does not know much about it, and she feels comfortable with what she knows (i.e. her Hindu beliefs). I love her with all my heart as she is, and if it is in God’s will, I do not want her to convert simply because of convenience (or worse yet… any “pressure” from me) but rather from her own journey of self-discovery guided by the Holy Spirit.

In addition, since we both are Hindus by birth, we both would like to teach the great Hindu epics (Ramayana, Mahabaratha, etc.) to our future children not so much in a religious light, but instead for the moral values they impart, and also because it is part of our ancient culture and heritage. But in all matters of faith, we both have agreed to raise the children as Catholics.

When I talk to a few of my Catholic friends, they mention that I should not go ahead with this marriage because they cite St. Paul’s words that we should not be “unequally yoked with unbelievers,” and that although the Church tolerates disparity of cult marriages, the Church advises her children to seriously AVOID such situations at all costs due to the grave spiritual dangers that such marriages possess. I have been told that I am going against God’s will for my life, and that my soul is in mortal danger if I were to go ahead and marry this girl, since Catholics are not supposed to date (let alone marry) non-Catholics. For obvious reasons, these words bother me tremendously, because I feel like I’m torn by my faith on one hand and my love for this girl on the other, and ultimately, I do not want to do anything that would offend Jesus or that is against His plan for my life. I know that God grants me the free will to choose, but I’m nervous to make that choice because 1) this is such an important decision, and 2) I want to make sure that this is a step in the right direction. Therefore, I was wondering if you all have any advise for me in either direction (to marry or not to marry), and to please explain your thoughts. If you are in an interfaith marriage yourself, please share your experiences as well.

Ultimately, I just want to be a faithful disciple, a good husband, and a good father. I just pray that God grants me light, the ability to hear Him, and the courage to follow.

Thank you very much for your time and for your responses. Blessings to all.


#2

I think it would be more prudent to make this inquiry to your parish priest instead.

May God bless you always


#3

It is permissible to marry if you receive a dispensation from your local bishop. The fact that she is willing to support you in your faith and allow you to raise your children in the Faith for me would be reason enough to be fine with it, as long as she is truly sincere about it. Some people might say that they will, but start to get cold feet later on in life.

If you decide to go through with the wedding, there is no need for her to convert unless she feels called by the Holy Spirit to do so. She shouldn't convert simply because you are Catholic, she should do so only because she believes in what the Church teaches.


#4

I think is very important for you both to make your children aware of your cultural roots so all the Hindu classics should be familiar to them


#5

Oddly enough, I'm the product of a Catholic-Hindu marriage (my dad is Catholic, my mom is Hindu). Everything's working out here so far, so it's a completely possible pairing.

I would advise you not to rush into anything, but three years is hardly rushing. If you truly feel you are called to do this, I don't think there's any Catholic obstacle to it.


#6

There seems to be no real barrier. As long as you made very clear that the epics were not true or presented them in the light of stories then you could intorduce them at an early age, sothat would be no problem. So as long as you get the right permissions and you both truely feel called to this marrige I can see no good reason not to go ahead and get married. indeed youre shared culture makes the mixed marrige much more likely to work as you can understand where she is coming from much better than a "cradle Catholic" or one from another background.


#7

#8

Hello everyone,

Thank you all very much for your responses. I really do appreciate all your input. And more importantly, thank you so much for all for your prayers.

I have a follow up logistical question... Since everyone on both sides of the family are Hindus, a "wedding ceremony" would naturally mean a "Hindu wedding ceremony," since that is what everyone (i.e. cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents) on both sides are culturally accustomed to. My girlfriend has told me that she has dreamed of wearing a red sari and doing the saptapadi (i.e. an important ritual of union) etc, since she was a child, and to her, those are the images that come to mind when she hears the word "marriage." She really wants me to participate in all of these Hindu ceremonies for her sake and for the sake of her family. I have told her too that I would like a Catholic wedding as well, and she certainly agrees to this, knowing how important my faith is to me. I know that our Catholic wedding will not be a Sacramental marriage (since she is not baptized), but nevertheless, it is important to me that the Lord Jesus blesses our union and always leads and guides us. Of course, I will definitely try to get a dispensation from the Bishop in order to marry this girl and remain a Catholic in good standing.

So my question is... Although I truly understand where my girlfriend is coming from, am I as a Catholic allowed to participate in a Hindu wedding ceremony for the sake of both families? Of course, I will not be praying to the Hindu deities during the ceremony and in my heart I'll be praying to Christ. What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you very much, and may Christ and Our Blessed Mother bless you always!

P.S.
@ BDEklof: Thanks Deb for your prayers and for sharing your encounter with that family at your church :)
@ albertus_magnus: Great to hear that your parents are happily married, and that an interfaith union worked!
@ cjforJesus: Thank you so much for your suggestion. I have inquired with my parish priest and with other priests who know me well and who are dear friends, but I hear mixed messages from them (some priests in favor, some against).

Thanks to all for your postings!


#9

Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, but I believe my mom and dad were married in a Hindu ceremony. A Catholic priest was there, and they had a dispensation from the bishop.

I know it made my grandmother on my father’s side (and the Catholic priest) quite uncomfortable, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you given your situation.


#10

Wow, interesting question! You both are in my prayers, and I echo the sentiments of earlier posters who have suggested seeking guidance from a Priest. :slight_smile:

That said, I’m not sure my situation is analogous, but my soon-to-be-husband’s family is of Hindu background, though they have largely converted to Anglican. That said, as I’m sure you know, being a Christian in a largely Hindu culture means that certain aspects of that culture exist even in Christian life in a way that does not occur in the West. Additionally, as Christians are a substantial minority in India, the distinction between the different denominations is not nearly as significant to many as it is in countries where Christianity is more dominant.

Interestingly, because of this, I have noticed that dispensations for disparity seem to be somewhat easier to get in India in the case where the two denominations differ. The denominational issue was more of a stumbling block for my family than his as they see Catholics and Protestants as being essentially the same, when compared to Hindus. In any event, I’ve noticed that even the Catholic weddings in India seem to carry certain elements of the culture (largely influenced, as it is, by Hinduism), and I’ve gotten used to it, and the fact that Catholicism often blends a bit with the local cultures in style, if not in doctrine.

Anyways, my best wishes and prayers go to you both - it sounds like you have clearly stated and understand the issues that may potentially arise with the match. :slight_smile:


#11

well as to the ceramony the problem comes down to the fact you can say no prayer etc that invokes a false God as that breaks the 1st comandment. Normally the church would grant dispensation to marry in a civil or other christian ceramony, a polytheistic ceramony may be a step too far. I do not know the ins and outs of a hindu wedding but if things such as offerings are made to a deity or a fire etc that would not be allowed etc so your best bet may be a civil wedding with indian culturel practices that dont involve direct involvement in heathen worship.


#12

[quote="theyoungmonk, post:11, topic:301034"]
well as to the ceramony the problem comes down to the fact you can say no prayer etc that invokes a false God as that breaks the 1st comandment. Normally the church would grant dispensation to marry in a civil or other christian ceramony, a polytheistic ceramony may be a step too far. I do not know the ins and outs of a hindu wedding but if things such as offerings are made to a deity or a fire etc that would not be allowed etc so your best bet may be a civil wedding with indian culturel practices that dont involve direct involvement in heathen worship.

[/quote]

HEATHEN!!! WOW!! How medieval. Actually Hinduism is Monotheistic with many manifestations of God.


#13

Well from my reading there are both Mono and polythestic forms but even the monotheistic form appears to be Polytheistic in practice. Heathen is a correct word, found in most good dictionaries, to describe all the non-abrahamic faiths and their practices, whats so medieval about that?


#14

[quote="theyoungmonk, post:13, topic:301034"]
Well from my reading there are both Mono and polythestic forms but even the monotheistic form appears to be Polytheistic in practice. Heathen is a correct word, found in most good dictionaries, to describe all the non-abrahamic faiths and their practices, whats so medieval about that?

[/quote]

I suppose 'Romish and Papalist' are dictionary correct definitions of Catholic but they are never the less insulting. You clearly do not aspire for a position in the Diplomatic Corps, but using pejorative words however 'correct' is unacceptable. Pope John Paul met with members of all faiths in Assisi and I'm sure he resisted the temptation to call the 'heathens' because its the 'correct' word. The concept of the Atman is central to Hinduism. I argue it is monotheistic


#15

[quote="Hindu_Catholic, post:8, topic:301034"]
Hello everyone,

Thank you all very much for your responses. I really do appreciate all your input. And more importantly, thank you so much for all for your prayers.

I have a follow up logistical question... Since everyone on both sides of the family are Hindus, a "wedding ceremony" would naturally mean a "Hindu wedding ceremony," since that is what everyone (i.e. cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents) on both sides are culturally accustomed to. My girlfriend has told me that she has dreamed of wearing a red sari and doing the saptapadi (i.e. an important ritual of union) etc, since she was a child, and to her, those are the images that come to mind when she hears the word "marriage." She really wants me to participate in all of these Hindu ceremonies for her sake and for the sake of her family. I have told her too that I would like a Catholic wedding as well, and she certainly agrees to this, knowing how important my faith is to me. I know that our Catholic wedding will not be a Sacramental marriage (since she is not baptized), but nevertheless, it is important to me that the Lord Jesus blesses our union and always leads and guides us. Of course, I will definitely try to get a dispensation from the Bishop in order to marry this girl and remain a Catholic in good standing.

So my question is... Although I truly understand where my girlfriend is coming from, am I as a Catholic allowed to participate in a Hindu wedding ceremony for the sake of both families? Of course, I will not be praying to the Hindu deities during the ceremony and in my heart I'll be praying to Christ. What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you very much, and may Christ and Our Blessed Mother bless you always!

P.S.
@ BDEklof: Thanks Deb for your prayers and for sharing your encounter with that family at your church :)
@ albertus_magnus: Great to hear that your parents are happily married, and that an interfaith union worked!
@ cjforJesus: Thank you so much for your suggestion. I have inquired with my parish priest and with other priests who know me well and who are dear friends, but I hear mixed messages from them (some priests in favor, some against).

Thanks to all for your postings!

[/quote]

The answer is yes with a dispensation.

Normally such disparities of cult are a bad idea, but you are cultural close enough it should help overcome differences.

The epics would be fine if you don't teach them in a religious light

My extended family has several Hindu-Catholic marriages that have worked out fine (I'm Indian too however my family has been Catholic for centuries)


#16

This is just anecdotal and may or may not be helpful. When I was a teenager my parents had friends from our Church (for whose children I would babysit). The husband was Hindu, the wife was Catholic. They always came to Mass together and when she unfortunately died from cancer he continued the commitment and brought the kids to Mass every single Sunday even though he himself wasn't Catholic.

So, what I`m saying, is that sometimes it can work out.


#17

[quote="Jimmygill88, post:12, topic:301034"]
Actually Hinduism is Monotheistic with many manifestations of God.

[/quote]

Dear Jimmy--

Yes, you are correct. A Hindu scholar was a guest "minister" for a service at my late husband's church, and it was very interesting to discover this. I hadn't known this until then.

I have many Hindu co-workers, and they say the same thing. :)

Jala


#18

[quote="grasscutter, post:16, topic:301034"]
This is just anecdotal and may or may not be helpful. When I was a teenager my parents had friends from our Church (for whose children I would babysit). The husband was Hindu, the wife was Catholic. They always came to Mass together and when she unfortunately died from cancer he continued the commitment and brought the kids to Mass every single Sunday even though he himself wasn't Catholic.

So, what I`m saying, is that sometimes it can work out.

[/quote]

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of true love. The world needs more of it. :)

Jala


#19

Hinduism was, is and always will be a demonic religion, worshiping devils, rats, snakes, evil spirits, witchcraft, and makes a mockery of what is "God". Their so called "monotheism", has nothing to do with the God of Israel, the Holy one of Israel, who is Jesus Christ.

It is really disgusting to see, a lot of people here comparing one of the world's most demonic religions, that the Catholic Church had repeatedly condemned for centuries, now cozying up to it.

There are some who come here saying "We got Hindu co workers, they say it is monotheistic". What do you expect them to say to you ? You expect them to admit they worship demons ?

All scripture comes from God, what comes from God is Holy. The scriptures clearly condemn idol worship, it angers God. Yes, God can feel anger, because His scriptures clearly says that.

Here is from the word of God:

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. [Psalms 96:5]

"Tell them this: 'These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.'" Jeremiah 10:11]

Human sacrifices are still present in Hinduism to the goddess Kali,

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. Psalms 106:37] condemns this form of activity

The scriptures clearly say - " The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk." - Revelations 9:20

St paul clearly warns Christians

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 1 Corinthians 10:20]

The Roman Catholic church's starting comes from the apostles, who were martyred, who resisted devil worship, and of countless martyrs who refused to bow to pagan Roman gods

Hinduism is no different, a caste ridden, violent religion within its own concept, where Christains and priests have been murdered, children trapped into cults, sold as sexual slaves in temples to please "gods and goddesses".

Your hindu buddies may speak sweet stuff about Hinduism,

As a Roman Catholic and a trained theologian, my request to some of you here is, please don't drag Hinduism here or defend that religion in this forum, if you are that facinated by your sweet Hindu buddies, please move over to the Hindu religion and spare the Catholic Church further embarassment.

It is because of people like you, more and more Catholics are beginning to depart to protestant churches that are actually teaching the scriptures and making them aware back to the people.

The mass is nothing, if you cannot accept the total absolute divinity of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And whoever claims here, Hinduism is "monotheistic", Hinduism is PANTHEISTIC , anyone who has done comparative study of the collection of Pagan religions collectively termed as "Hindu", possibly should know the answer.

Truth hurts. Yes it does. After all Jesus took a whip and drove away those who corrupted his temple away. Some people really are in the wrong place. A lot of Catholics are already contemplating walking out of the church in droves, because there are certain lot here who are that fascinated by disgusting religions like Hinduism. IF this goes on unchecked, we are going to witness the rapid paganization of the church. No wonder, Islam is rapidly growing, because Islam takes a steadfast position against Hinduism, while Catholicism is rapidly weakening, thanks to people like you.

This so called "love attitude" to Hinduism, will eventually lead to a civil strife within the church. LOVE does not mean compromise with devil and devil worship. Ask your Hindu buddies, to stop killing Christians in their nation (yes, hundreds of examples and news reports are there), stop killing converts (www.persecution.in), stop killing ethnic minorities such as Sikhs (Sikh genocide of 1984 in New Delhi), stop killing Baptist Nagas (Indo-Naga conflict) , stop killing innocent Muslims (Kashmir), low caste people (Maoist rebellion). India is riddled with violence, rape, devil worship, bride burnings, child abuse, temple prostitution everywhere. A religion like Hinduism has destroyed an entire region. It is nothing like Roman Catholic faith. It never was and never will be, no matter how fascinated some people here may be with "India".

Nothing much further to expect from a religion, that worships demons and soaked with devil worship. Now it is out to corrupt the church, sorry to say many Indian Catholics are responsible for dragging this pristine church down the mud of Hinduism. It is better, they stayed in their former religions.


#20

I agree with what you said. But can we blame the Hindus for being born as a Hindus. If I was born a Hindu, I would follow all their practices.

I live among Hindus, most of them are good at heart. They follow their conscience, they forgive their enemies. They believe there is one God. There are some who aren’t aware of what their religion exactly is! :slight_smile:

Yes, there are people who hate Christianity. But all Hindus are not the same. Most of them search for the truth. And through the witnesses of true Christians and their prayers they will come to the truth. Condemning their religion angers them and takes them further away from the truth. And we will be responsible for it.

I too find some of my Hindu buddies sweet :slight_smile: Because they say the God who created us is one. And do not go against their conscience. What reason do I have to tell them they’re wrong?

One of my friend’s relative was told her hospital expenses will be met if she converted to Christianity. And this was the reason they thought our goal was to convert people. They hate us for it. Unfortunately, some of the people who you say teach the scriptures are the ones who did it.

We shouldn’t support their belief’s, but shouldn’t Christians be examples of love? Others should come to Christ looking at our example and through our prayers and sacrifices. Correct me if I’m wrong.


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