By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios
We live at a time when the Governments are encouraging mixed marriages as a means of national integration. Rationalists say that Christians are not having a universal and cosmic outlook when they forbid inter-religious marriages. Are the Christians communalistic and narrow-minded when they say with St. Paul "be not unevenly yoked" (II Cor. 6: 14)? There are many reasons for the Christian practice of marrying only Christians.
(a) Marriage is a sacrament and sacraments are not administered to the non-Christians as long as they do not join the Church. Even the Hindus have Sudhi-karma to make a non-Hindu a Hindu. The rite of initiation is practiced by all religions in one way or other to make one a member.
(b) Marriage is the most intimate bond in one's life and there should be deep agreement in the philosophy of life of both the partners, although certain different character or traits may be mutually complementary (e.g. a miser and a spendthrift). Religion is one's philosophy of life and so the partners must be of one religion.
(c) The bringing up of the children will be a problem in mixed marriages if the couple want to bring them up in the religious nurture. The child will be lost as to weather to go-to the temple or church. Family prayer is necessary in a Christian home and in mixed marriages, this will be impossible or at least difficult.
(d) Though there may be exceptions, many of the mixed marriages are ending up in separation, alienation, or even divorce. The emotional love affair that brought the couple together will not last long when the realities of family problem are faced by the couple. They do not have the anchor of a common religious faith to hold them together without a shipwreck.
(e) Every one must be loyal to the particular discipline of the church to which one belongs. Radicals who go ahead with the idealism of their individuality will soon find out that they are ostracized by their society, family, and even intimate friends. Mixed marriage does not seems to be a step to be taken to show an example to their community, for hardly anyone will follow suit except in love marriages.
(f) The tradition and long practice of the Church for two thousand years must have a strength of its own, which must be appreciated by the youth also. If one wants to marry a non-Christian, one must teach the partner the faith to which one belongs and convert the person to that faith and then have a religious wedding.
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