Marrying a Hindu

I am new to these forums and so I apologize if I am not posting this in the correct place: I’m a Catholic woman, engaged to be married to a Hindu. His family does not have a problem with him marrying into a Christian family; however, we have recently brought up the topic of children and he is disappointed to know that his children will be unable to know and share in his beliefs. And so he brought up this question: Can one child be raised Catholic and the other Hindu? This makes me uneasy and I know we have a lot to think about, but first I want to know the Church’s stance on this. Basically what I am asking is, are there any compromises that can be made?

No. You must agree to raise them Catholic. Sorry.

One of the requirements for Catholic marriage is that you must agree that all the children will be raised Catholic.

You might consider talking to him and explaining why your faith is so important and why they must be raised Catholic.

I remember talking to a priest who said several times families would raise one child in one religion and the other in another religion and the result was disastrous. Usually what ends up happening is that the children just get conflicting teachings and eventually reject religion altogether. That’s according to his experience, not mine, but it made sense to me.

Is there a way you could talk to your fiance and explain this clearly? It sounds like maybe he doesn’t fully understand how seriously you take your faith.

this type of situation is why the church discourages mixed marriages between Catholics and Non Believers.

It would be unwise to raise one child Catholic and the other Hindu (what if you had three children…which two would raised Catholic or would they be raised Hindu?)

How is your Catholic marriage preparation going? Surely these questions would come up in your inventory and you would have an opportunity to discuss them with your priest.

My sister is a practicing Catholic married to a Hindu. They have been married for 27 years and have two sons. They married at Mass, followed by a Hindu ceremony at a local resort/hotel. The reception followed the Hindu ceremony. It has required a lot of compromises and sacrifices from both sides over the years and I am sure it isn’t easy. But both the boys are Catholic, know about Hinduism, and the family is happy and intact. I sent you a PM.

Please don’t compromise this. It’s fine for your children to learn about Hinduism later, but they must, must be raised Catholic.

We are seeing the fruit of this in our family with many mixed marriages and most of my nieces and nephews, most of my cousins’ children not living faithful lives today. Just don’t do it.

Blessings,
T

As a clarification, you don’t HAVE TO raise your children as Catholics. The Catholic church recognizes that for certain reasons the Catholic partner may be unable to raise the children in the Roman Catholic Church. For instance, if your fiance had a strong preference, one that could threaten your union, that the children be raised Hindi that would be reason to not raise your children as Catholic.

Although now that I’m thinking about it the fact that he’s not a christian of any denomination may play into this in a way I don’t know.

These questions are near to my heart. I am an Anglican married to a Roman Catholic, I went through all this a few years ago. Good luck with your decisions.

Sometimes men ask really stupid questions. One doesn’t even need to worry about the stance of the Church or the stance of Hinduism to see what a completely rediculous and impossible idea it is to raise one sibling in one religion and another in a completely incompatible and different religion. And just exactly how does he know that you will have exactly two children? And how are you going to choose which one gets the Truth and which one doesn’t? When my husband asks questions like this, I usually just say, “I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear that.”

This is not the stance of the Church for someone who is not yet married. She would be advised not to enter into this marriage at all and if she must, she is required to raise all of her children in the Church. The answer you gave sounds like what would be told to someone who is already married, but through conversion or reversion, wants to be faithful to the teachings of the Church.

A Catholic husband and father models the faith for his children. He kneels in Church and prays, he goes up and receives communion in a respectful manner. He stands in line for confession. He shuts off the tv and has a rosary in his hand. He thanks God for his blessing, and does the sign of the cross on his childrens’ foreheads at bedtime, and before leaving in the morning.

Let’s start with the 4 cardinal virtues. vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm
Prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. These are virtues that as adults, we must know how to put into action, and when we fall short, to take our failings to confession, that we might over come our weaknesses. As a parent, from the earliest time, must instill the virtues into our children that they walk in righteousness with God. Modesty and chastity are unheard of in the world, and are under siege in the media and tv. It takes a united couple to teach their children what modesty and chastity are, and how to see the dignity of the human person. This is your calling if you decide to get married. It gives me chills to think that you are considering that one child could be Catholic, the other Hindu. Please take time to pause and really think what this decision will mean for your children and *grandchildren. *

There will be people who will come on here and say that their aunt married a Hindu man, or their neighbor, and they were married 30 years, or 40 years, or whatever. To be married that long is one thing, to come to the end of your life and have to give an account for your choices, your compromises, and how it affected your children, is another matter. It’s sobering to think of it. This is why the Church in her wisdom have given us saints to be our models. They walked with God in a heroic way, and miracles followed them after their death. We are called to do the same, not to compromise and put Christ the Redeemer to the side, for when we may need Him. May God guide and strengthen you today.

Dear Foreveralone: I am sorry to hear of your struggles with this decision. I would like to offer my thoughts if I may. I am a Catholic mainly because I was born and raised that way. In some manner or another, you came to the same orientation. Your fiancé was probably born and raised Hindu. I would offer that these are cultural differences. We see God in the way we are accustomed to doing so, and such things aren’t easily changed, if they can be changed at all. I think that being Catholic or Hindu are both simply approaches to something that is in truth beyond comprehension on any sort of practical level, and the only way in which we ever really come to know God in this life is perhaps in the way in which we learn to love. Since the two of you are engaged, it seems that you and your fiancé have already worked that part out. And since you have done that so well, I think the two of you can work the rest out together as well. You don’t need me or anyone else on this forum to do that. I think you can do it.

it is unwise to marry someone that doesn’t share your faith. This conflict will only get bigger and if he is already concerned about not having his children being raised as Hindu’s then you need to rethink this situation. Marriage has enough challenges already but when you start out with a major difference in religion and Hindu is not even Christian and believe in a multitude of gods and goddesses, I am not sure how you can can a sacrimental oneness with someone that doesn’t even believe the Jesus is the Son of God. You need to think about the fact that you will be going to Mass alone basically, you will not beable to share your faith and prayer life with him. I am sure he is a very nice guy but religion is such a basic core and Christian and Hindu are not even close in major areas. sorry you really need to rethink this before going forward.

This is my personal opinion. I am very conservative and I really defend our religion which is Catholic. So you are a Catholic and marrying a Hindu? This is beyond extreme. You are on a right track for having Catholic as your religion and yet you mix it up with someone who doesn’t believe Jesus Christ? How will these two reconcile? See before plunging into this marriage you already have this kind of dilemma and how much more when you have kids by then? Why not choose a man who shares the same values, beliefs, motivation, and religion with you to avoid any inconveniences and heartaches in the future? If you are really serious and in love with Catholicism I don’t think you will fall in love with someone whose religion is exactly the opposite of what you believed in. And the scariest part is, (I fervently hope that it will not happen to you) you might convert to his religion. Well why not convince him to join our fold of Catholicism and the Kingdom of God in Heaven will open up for joy and you will receive great indulgences as you brought back a shepherd once lost. I will pray for you. God Bless!!!

You would be incorrect.
The letter of the rules given are that the Catholic must raise their children as Catholic the best they can.And the non-Catholic party is to be given notice of the Catholic’s duties so that they are aware. They are expected to be tolerant of it, but not required to enable it.

All I was asked to do was to take a few months of RCIA to better understand my fiancee’s perspective, which seemed to be more of a formality than anything else.

The dispensation from disparity of cult for my and my Fiancee’s upcoming wedding was signed by the bishop and sent back within a few days. Our marriage workbook has specific chapters on Interfaith marriages (Interestingly, it also considers non-practicing and C&E Catholics with the devout as Interfaith). The Engagement Encounter retreat we went to had 1 Buddhist, 2 Hindus, and 1 Muslim. Our own sponsor couple was interfaith and they even implored us to join the sponsor couple ministry for engagements because there seems to be a need for the interfaith perspective.

And we’re in a fairly conservative discoese so I doubt this is a fluke.

Marriage has enough challenges already but when you start out with a major difference in religion and Hindu is not even Christian and believe in a multitude of gods and goddesses, I am not sure how you can can a sacrimental oneness with someone that doesn’t even believe the Jesus is the Son of God.

-I would think that a marriage would have even more challenges if you marry someone based on sectarian concerns rather than based on who you truly have fallen in love with.

-To my understanding, the Hindu Gods and Goddesses are supposedly expressions of one God, much in the same way as we see the Trinity as being one God.

-I further understand that Hinduism does not preclude accepting Jesus as the Son of God. I have met Hindus who believe in Jesus.

You need to think about the fact that you will be going to Mass alone basically, you will not beable to share your faith and prayer life with him.

Her fiancé didn’t say that he wouldn’t go to mass and that he wouldn’t pray with her or that he wouldn’t raise the children Catholic. My understanding is that he was looking for some middle ground, and insofar as I can see, wasn’t making any demands.

I am sure he is a very nice guy but religion is such a basic core and Christian and Hindu are not even close in major areas. sorry you really need to rethink this before going forward.

I wonder if you and I know enough about Hinduism to make a statement like that. I do not believe that there is any formal or universal Hindu dogma to cause any one particular Hindu to be at odds with Christianity. From what I have read, Christianity could easily be assimilated into Hinduism as a sect like any other Hindu sect.

I am worried that we are giving people advice in areas where we are ill-advised and lacking of information. This is too serious a matter, and from what anyone on this thread has written so far, we don’t appear to have the knowledge, background or qualifications to offer any advice. Although the person from the Catholic/Buddhist marriage sounded rather level-headed.

Forever,

This is from the US Bishops website, link here.

  1. When a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, must the non-Catholic promise to raise the children in the Catholic faith?

The non-Catholic spouse does not have to promise to have the children raised Catholic. The Catholic spouse must promise to do all that he or she can to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith.

and the Catechism speaks to the importance of educating children in faith.

2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.34 A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.

2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

Christ calls the children to him in the gospel. Knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God incarnate, the creator of life and the means of our salvation whereby we will see him face to face for eternity, I would never suggest entering into a marriage risking the education of children into the Christian faith. We were created to love, know and serve The Lord. I can not think of anything greater that a parent is responsible for in educating and raising their children.

PnP

Raising one child as a Catholic and another as a Hindu is a ridiculous idea. I think the children should be taught about both faiths and then they can choose which one is correct for them after they become adults.

Although I understand from the other posts that the Church may insist on the children being brought up as Catholic, but I don’t think it would object to them being taught about Hindu beliefs too would it?

BTW there was an interesting article in the Times about bringing up children in interfaith marriages and subsequent discussion in the letters that may help you: nytimes.com/2013/11/01/opinion/being-partly-jewish.html and nytimes.com/2013/11/06/opinion/raising-children-in-two-faiths.html

In any case, I think all these issues about differences between religious beliefs will be resolved when the Christ returns, so I don’t think you should be too concerned about it. I personally think this event will take place pretty soon in the next 2 or 3 years.

Gary,
I am not sure where you are getting your ideas from but I will tell you that there are very big differences between Catholic and Hinduism, and to compare the trinity to the multiple gods and goddess os Hinduism kinda show an incredible lack of understanding on what the Church teaches and means by the trinity. I work with Hindus and in my post I didn’t say anything bad or disbarring about the religion. As a basic principle, one should not marry outside of one’s faith and that applies to all religions and is taught by many religious leaders in a variety of faiths. One can’t teach their children that their is one God who became a man and died for us and our sins and then turn around and teach reincarnation and that there is a multitude of gods and we are in this endless cycle of life and death. Likewise, there are different expectations, holidays, ideas etc that are not even being addressed here. There are issues over birth control which again would not be against any Hindu teaching. I also said I am sure he is a very nice man but it take much more than very nice to have a happy marriage and oneness in it. Just go over on the prayer requests on CAF and read all the requests by Catholics WHO married non-Catholics and now the holy war they are having and the problems because the other spouse isn’t Catholic. I’ve been married 26 years, I am married to a marriage therapist and my advice since OP did ask is that she needs to rethink this engagement to someone that is outside of the Christian faith. You can’t have it both ways and marriage is challenging enough with the added issues of different religions. In case you think I am making this up, Rabbis and Immans will generally not marry mixed faith couples and encourage same faith marriages within their own respective religions of Judiasm and Islam. This is also true in Mormonism and evangelical Protestantism. The Bible in the OT as well as the NT clearly states not to marry outside of the faith or “not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever”. If he is already expressing concern that future children won’t be raised as Hindus then you already have a red flag here and this will only get bigger as time goes on.

I would recommend the book “Till Faith do us Part” which has extensively studied mixed faith couples. The author who is Jewish and married a JW who didn’t practice his faith found that mixed faith couples are less happy than same faith, that there were problems and issues that most did not expect and children brought up either practicing’s both religions or exposed to both in order to choose on their own ended up choosing no faith. It is pie in the sky to think otherwise or that different religions don’t matter because they do.

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