Two religions under one roof? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

I am engaged to someone who is Catholic and whose family are very strict Catholics but I am Buddhist. Recently, a conflict has developed in which I am told that I will not be allowed to have any Buddhist items in the house (after we marry) because they see it as worshiping two gods under the same roof. If I do have Buddhist items such as an incense burner for meditation, scriptures or even an alter, it would be in a private study that will serve as my private retreat. I have no objections to having any Catholic icons such as the Crucifix or the Bible in the house and have no objections of my fiance being Catholic. I feel that religion is a very personal choice that is sacred to each individual and that I should have the right to practice my faith in the place the is most dear and filled with love--my home. And, I feel that the proper and fair thing to do is to either allow the freedom for both of us to possess whatever religious items we choose or eliminate all religious items in the house. My fiance feels that to do either one is a compromise of the Catholic faith. Is this true? Any suggestions to resolve this issue? I have already made many personal religious concessions but this conflict is the bound of my limit based upon principles. The alternative to no compromise on my fiance's part is to walk away from the relationship. This is the last thing I want. Is there a passage in the Bible or Vatican document that would allow a compromise?

Thanks in advance...

-- V (, October 03, 2001



Hello, "V".

The first thing I want to say, lest I be misunderstood, is that I am 100% Catholic. I am not a believer in "religious indifference" (the idea that one religion is as good as another). I do believe that God desires that you will some day receive the gift of Christian faith and become a Catholic.

Having said that, I must go on to say that I believe that your fiance is wrong. I see that you are at Berkeley, California. As residents of the United States, you enjoy the Consitution's promise of "freedom of religion." Even without it, your fiance has no right to infringe upon your liberty to practice the religion that you believe to be the correct one -- as long as the practice of your religion does not infringe on anyone else's freedom. Obviously, your practice of Buddhism should not infringe on a Catholic's rights. There may not exist a more cordial interreligious friendship than that between the Catholic pope and the Buddhist Dalai Lama. The pope, however, is not shy about stating that Buddhism is a man-made religion, rather than one founded by God -- though he acknowledges that Buddhism has elements that are good and seem holy.

In the 1960s, the 3,000 bishops of the Catholic Church met periodically over a three-year period in what is called the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (Vatican II, for short). Two of the sixteen documents that the Council's bishops published were "Nostra Aetate" (the Declaration On the Relation Of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) and Dignitatis Humanae (the Declaration On Religious Freedom).

I recommend that you copy, print, and read through these short 1965 documents, because I think that you may find just what you are seeking -- passages that you can show your fiance to help you get through the difficulties you are experiencing.

If, after showing him the passages, the conflict remains, I would advise you to separate from each other.

God bless you.

-- (, October 03, 2001.

Dear V,
I'm not an expert on eastern religions. But I always understood Buddhism is not really a religion, but a philosophy, a ''path''. Correct me if I'm wrong. You are a grown woman; and nobody has a right to order you around in your own house.

I know you have the honesty and seriousness to be converted to the Catholic faith if and when you actually have an opportunity to know it better. It may seem unthinkable now. But in your marriage with a practicing Catholic (NOT a lukewarm one), it might still happen for you. In the meantime, no one should force it on you. But I don't see it as ''two religions'' under the same roof. One religion, Catholicism, is truer. Together with your own spiritual understanding; which I hope is not ''static'', but capable of receiving God's grace. We shall pray for you and your fiance. Have faith; you'll be very happy!

-- eugene c. chavez (, October 03, 2001.

Ask your friend where in scriptures does it say being a catholic is anything to the LOrd? Where in the word of God does it say go to mass, indulgences, have crucifxes. Ask your wife why Romans 6:23 says what it says. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through me, ask her what that means. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, there is none righteous no not one.What God is interested in is your eternal destiny's, Buddah is dead, popes have died, Jesus is alive now and forever, who is the wise choice to follow? May God open your eyes to see that death and judgement await us all, and that only faith in Jesus Christ can save us. There is no no name under heaven except the man Jesus Christ where we can be saved.

-- Jesus is the way (, October 03, 2001.

Why does this guy always insist on preaching to the choir? Isn't there any athiests out there you could bother and leave us alone?

-- Johnny B. Goode (, October 03, 2001.

Dear V,

Icons are one thing, children are the real test.

I hope you are absolutely 100% clear on how that will all work out.


-- Chris Coose (, October 04, 2001.


I totally concur with Chris Coose. I have no problems with inter- faith marriages, unless there are plans for children. I have read of studies that show that the majority (> 50%) of children from inter- faith marriages do not practice any religion after they become adults.

In answer to your original question, there is nothing in the Catholic doctrine against having other religion's icons in the house, as long as the Catholic person does not venerate them.

My guess is your fiance and his/her family is hoping you will convert to Catholicism or at the least do not want any of your future children to be confused.

God Bless.

-- Glenn (, October 04, 2001.

Dear V

Your question has been on my mind the last couple of days as I've tried to figure out what I would want to say to you. I'm not saying "don't get married", but I would advise, from a practical standpoint, to proceed cautiously. You see, marriage is hard work. It's VERY worth it, don't get me wrong, but as you enter into this process of two lives becoming one, you will have to work through many issues, and the differences in religious beliefs add a dimension of difficulty to these issues.

Well you asked for passages from the Bible or Vatican document, so I pulled out my copy of the Catachism and this is what I found:

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult 1633: In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634: Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must no be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

Also: 1637: In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: "For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband." (138) It is a great joy fir the Christian spouse and for the Church if this "consecration" should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith. (139) Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion. 138 1 Corinthians 7:14 139 cf. 1 Corinthians 7:16

Don't know if this helps or not, but I hope that it answers some of your questions.

One last thought, perhaps your fiance would agree to some pre- marriage counseling to help resolve some of the issues. Pick your counselor wisely, one who is truly interested in helping you both get your marriage off to a good start, not just a counselor who will say what you want him (or her) to say.

Well, hope this helps,


-- cksunshine (, October 04, 2001.

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