Italian Catholics advised not to marry Muslims
The head of the Italy’s Roman Catholic episcopal conference has called on priests to advise Catholics against marrying Muslims.
Cultural differences over issues such as the role of women and the education of children made such partnerships very difficult, said Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Vicar General of Rome.
In a document released to the conference of bishops yesterday, Cardinal Ruini wrote: "The experience of recent years leads us as a general rule to advise against or in any case to discourage these marriages.
"Mixed Catholic and Muslim couples who intend to have a family have other difficulties above and beyond those experienced by other couples, when one considers cultural and religious diversity," wrote Cardinal Ruini, who is 74.
If a Catholic must marry a Muslim, Cardinal Ruini wrote, then it is best if the couple remain in Italy "or at least in the West, which offers better guarantees to the marriage (to the Catholic part in particular)... Otherwise the majority of cases go less well when the couple transfers to an Islamic country."
Cardinal Ruini expressed his concern at a growing number of mixed-faith marriages in Italy, which he called "intrinsically fragile". According to the Italian statistics office ISTAT, there were more than 19,000 such marriages in Italy last year.
According to Cardinal Ruini, among the "delicate problems" faced by Catholics who marry Muslims are differences over the role of women and questions of education.
Another reason for not marrying a Muslim is their tendency to turn their wives into suicide bombers.