Asia – Spouses of Different Faiths: A Growing Phenomenon, Opportunities for Dialogue and Love
BANGKOK (Agenzia Fides) – Interfaith marriage is a complex reality and a growing phenomenon in Asia. It should not be demonized but deserves particular pastoral attention because it represents an opportunity for dialogue in words, love and life. A network of small family groups, focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ, living conjugal spirituality and family life in Asian countries such as India and the Philippines (started in 1956). and in many other countries on the continent.
More than 100 delegates from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam attended the movement’s recent Asian Congress held at the Pastoral Center in Bangkok, the family Focusing on interreligious dialogue in life and considering the pluralistic societies of Asia, we aimed to understand how to build bridges with people and communities of other religions, starting with family life.
In terms of the Catholic Church, a “mixed marriage” (between a Catholic spouse and a baptized non-Catholic) or a marriage “with unequal worship” (a Catholic spouse and a person of another religious belief) ) are considered a “given”, given by the Holy Spirit an opportunity to make a humble, respectful but always eloquent testimony of the Christian faith. By discovering and practicing the Christian foundations of interreligious dialogue in church traditions, scriptures, and documents, the family born of such ties “will develop respect and respect among spouses of different faiths.” We can build mutual understanding, live and fulfill the mission of the Christian family in Asia.”.
The parliament noted that the growing phenomenon of marriages between Catholics and people of other religions is a sensitive issue. This figure is similar in Pakistan and there is also the phenomenon of ‘forced marriages’ due to the kidnapping of Christian girls. It is practiced among Buddhists. In other situations, such as Myanmar, for cultural reasons, marriage between Buddhists, Christians and Muslims is still taboo. Michael Peters, an Indian theologian who has studied interracial marriages in various parishes of South India, notes that “such marriages are constantly increasing in India”, and that the Indian churches are We are open to couples who accompany us in any situation.”
According to the Missionaries of Noble Blood, the trend at the anthropological and sociological level is the result of a technological revolution that has brought about dramatic changes in the way young people build interpersonal and couple relationships in recent years. New technological tools have contributed crucially to the growth of interracial marriage and unequal worship in Asian countries. We have created a work environment where people can gather and interact.
“In this scenario, young people fall in love and religion and beliefs become less important,” said Peters. While these couples bring “great wealth to the church”, they also bring difficulties, especially in countries where religious affiliation has civil law implications. It has its own laws and customs that govern matters related to family life.
Even if in the past the churches in Asia discouraged interracial marriage, today such relationships are generally permitted, and as foreseen in canon law, couples raising children in accordance with the Catholic faith. Agreed, Catholic spouses can continue to practice their faith. Often the biggest obstacles to interracial marriage and unequal worship are the couple’s parents and relatives who are not open to this type of marriage.
A priest or a parish priest, as mentioned in a convention, may reject the church’s conditions for celebrating a marriage and may refuse to marry an unbaptized spouse, so marriages where there are differences in worship. I have been called upon to give specific pastoral assistance to families in need. Children were baptized. Alternatively, some unbaptized partners may initially agree to the terms and only refuse after marriage. Furthermore, if a Catholic spouse is a woman, she is unlikely to raise children according to her faith, especially in India and other countries where societies have patriarchal structures.
So when a child follows the religion of an unbaptized partner, how does that spouse and the Catholic community at large deal with the situation? reaffirmed its commitment to accompany couples to post-wedding meetings, to help Catholic partners married into unequal cults continue to practice their faith, and to help couples build their faith. . Deepen ties, respect each other, and live with love. The parish and community were expected to invite couples to “fraternal meetings” to listen to them and help them with their problems.
The Asian Games will encourage parish committees for families in various countries to develop methods and means of caring for such families so that spouses can understand each other, respect each other’s freedom, and respect moral values. We hope to help you understand and welcome the views of each tradition.
The phenomenon of mixed marriages and differences in worship in Asia is part of a general crisis affecting the institution of marriage on the Asian continent as well. You rarely share the same faith as your partner. Data from the United Nations Census Yearbook show that since 2005, most countries in the Asia-Pacific region have seen an increase in overall divorce rates, averaging about 25% across the region. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, November 22, 2022)