“Ask a Priest: Not Dating Yet, But Could I Marry a Jewish Guy?”

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Q: I am a young professional working for a large financial institution. There is a young man at this company who graduated from the same university I did, completed an internship as I did, and loves to watch and support university sports. He is very kind and dedicated to his career. I see a lot of similarities between us. We are not dating, but I would be interested if the opportunity came up. He is Jewish, and I am not certain which branch he identifies with since our conversations have only been on less personal topics like sports and work. I really do think he is a handsome and wonderful man. Can interfaith couples experience God’s abundance grace, love and blessings? I am thinking way ahead since we aren’t even dating, but how would such a wedding ceremony take place, assuming neither converts? – M.A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good at least that you are thinking of your faith already.

First, it might be good to take things one day at a time. You aren’t even dating and already you are thinking of marriage. Be careful! It’s not good to rush things.

Second, you mention that you have only spoken about sports and work. These are superficial things in the big scheme of life. Much more important is for a couple to share religious beliefs and values.

Third, the Church in general doesn’t encourage mixed marriages (between a Catholic and non-Catholic Christian) much less those involving disparity of cult (a Catholic and a non-Christian).

Notwithstanding this young man’s notable human qualities, you don’t want to underestimate the big gap in beliefs between Jews and Catholics. It would be good to read the section of the Catechism on “Mixed marriages and disparity of cult” (1633-1637).

To return to the second point above, it is interesting how much emphasis you put on your job and sports.

These certainly can have a place in your life, but it might be good to step back remember your core identity. You are a beloved daughter of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ.

The fact that your mind is already halfway up the wedding aisle might be a sign that you need to get your feet back on the ground.

For perspective and balance, it might be good to try to cultivate a network of Catholic friends. In today’s world marriage is hard enough. Deep religious differences can cause lots of tension in a marriage.

For now, it might be good to cultivate your prayer life and sacramental life and try to get involved with a parish or young adults group. Groups such as Young Catholic Professionals might be a source of support – and help you to integrate your career into your life of faith.

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