Dual-faith marriages abound in society -- but how many of them are actually active in both faiths? When children enter the picture, parents must make choices about which denomination the family will identify as their own. Some couples are strong in both faiths and they want to carry on both religious traditions. Raising a Catholic and Baptist family, for example, may seem like a challenge, but open-minded, accepting parents can raise a family of exemplary faith by using few ground rules.
Focus On Likenesses
A Catholic and Baptist family must focus on likenesses between the two traditions. Creation, the birth, life, and death of Jesus, the Ten Commandments, and the second coming are foundations of both. Choose to focus on these. Many different ways to practice Christianity exist, but focusing on foundation of the faiths is the first step to being able to raise a Catholic and Baptist family.
Practicing both religions will take some tweaking. The Catholic tradition practices seven sacraments including the baptism of infants, while a fundamental Baptist belief is the baptism of believers. This is the first conversation to be had. Beyond baptisms, making an attendance calendar will be helpful. Decide if the family will attend the weekly Mass obligation and the Baptist services, including Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. Perhaps attending the vigil Mass on Saturday and the Sunday morning worship at the Baptist church is a good compromise. Decide if both parents will attend all services for both traditions, or if each parent will be in charge of teaching their preferred faith practice. Set such ground rules from the beginning.
Live Your Faith
Raising children in Catholic and Baptist traditions means that parents must live their faiths. As the Catholic parent, keep your Sunday Mass obligation and the Holy Days of obligation, and teach your children to understand and keep these, as well. Also, faithfully take your children to religious education classes. As the Baptist parent, attend Sunday morning services and classes, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services with your children, even when schedules get difficult. Keeping the traditions and obligations of both faiths may seem challenging, but to raise children in both faiths, it is necessary.
A day will come when your children will decide which faith draws them nearest to God. As parents, you will need to accept their choices. To proclaim the Baptist faith, one is received in the church via a born-again-baptism and outwardly accepts Christ as a personal savior. In Catholicism, the sacrament of Confirmation is the point at which a recipient seals the promises made through his baptism. According to Judy Reilly, pastoral associate at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, these are the points at which one must choose a faith path, because neither church’s doctrine will allow an individual to make both proclamations.