Father Francisco Cervantes


IT is said that love conquers all, but that thought is not in the bible anywhere. But in I Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verse 13, Saint Paul does write this: "So, faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."   Love then is the energy of the universe, the essence  of God.

HUMAN love can be the reflection of this creative energy of God, the very essence of God Himself. But human love is also flawed and weakened by sin.  With that in mind, the only love I truly trust without limit is God's eternal and truly unconditional love. So, in regards to inter-religious marriages (marriages between a man and woman with different religious beliefs, such as Christian and Non-Christian, for example), the Catholic Church, and most Christians for that matter, discourage inter-religious marriages. 

IT is the experience of the Church that inter-religious marriages have inherent obstacles that destroy marriages, such as what religious community to go to worship, what religion should the children be brought up in, and the conflict of different family traditions that are based on religious observances.  These are just some of the obstacles and conflicts that can destroy a marital union. 

I am going to say something that many don't want to hear: human love cannot overcome everything. The dictum, love conquers all, is not true because human love is flawed. Only God's love conquers all, not human love which at times can be blinded by a person's self-centered desires interpreted as love. That's why true love can only thrive when both man and woman share a common religious belief. Christians thrive with Christians, and other religious faith people thrive with their own faith traditions.

MANY ask about biblical verses AGAINST inter-religious marriages.  There is a danger of "proof-texting" (taking the bible out of context) to prove one's opinions even if those opinions are wrong. Even the devil himself used scripture against Jesus in the desert during Jesus' temptations (see Matthew, Chapter 4). 

HERE are the verses you seek to bolster our concerns about the danger of entering into inter-religious marriages.  So, get your bible out, and because of the lack of space, I am only going to give you the verses and a little commentary about it so that you see what I am thinking about when I read that particular verse:  In the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures), the prohibition against inter-religious marriages is strong because the Hebrew people of that time (and some even now) see that inter-religious marriages endangers the Jewish faith of the one who is in such a relationship:

EXODUS 34:16 
God forbids inter-religious marriages because He didn't want
their sons and daughters to be tempted to follow another
religion that worships false gods.  God knew that sometimes,
 the believing party in the marriage would be tempted to go
to the false religion to maintain marital unity, thereby
forsaking God Himself.


God is concerned about bringing other false religions
into Israel in this prohibition against inter-religious

EZRA 10:2-3 

All inter-religious marriages were dissolved in this interesting
but strange situation.  For the nation of Israel, religious unity
was more important to Israel.

NEHEMIAH 13:25-27

The prophet Nehemiah talks about the destruction that
inter-religious marriages had done to Israel and the
faith in one true God.


The prophet Malachi uses the image of inter-religious
marriages to describe the faithlessness of the people of Israel.

IN the New Testament (the Christian Scriptures), Saint Paul writes clearly about his dislike of inter-religious marriages in regards to belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.


If a man or woman loses a spouse in death, they
can marry again but only in the Lord.


Saint Paul advising his congregants to marry only
fellow Christians. But even though Saint Paul
strongly advises against inter-religious marriages,
at the same time, in I CORINTHIANS 7:12-14,
he does not condone divorce of inter-religious
marriages because as Saint Paul says it, "
For the
unbelieving husband has
been sanctified through
his wife, and the unbelieving wife
has been sanctified
through her believing husband.  Otherwise, your
children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

I know that these biblical quotes MAY NOT make a Non-Christian comfortable or peaceful about an inter-religious relationship.  But the challenges to inter-religious marriages are great. As a non-believer, there will be many obstacles to a happy marital union.  Yes, these obstacles can be overcome through compromise and through the absolute respect of each other's religious faith.  The male unbeliever may find that he will thrive with a woman who shares his religious faith, his religious values, and his religious traditions, which includes common family activities.  But let me say something that is the expectation of the Church:  We are praying that the non-Christian spouse will one day convert to Christianity.  Though not necessary for a Christian marriage, conversion of the non-Christian party is something that the Church and Christian family hopes for. 

IF you are considering an inter-religious marriage, please, think seriously and deeply about the above.  Please ask your family, even your local prayer leader, about this.  And ask your Christian partner what his/her family thinks about this.  You will then see the differences and obstacles that could destroy your marital bliss and dreams.  May the Lord guide you in all your decisions, especially the decisions that affect your destiny and the destinies of others.

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