Italian bishops gave warning yesterday against Catholics marrying Muslims, citing cultural differences and fears that children born to mixed marriages would shun Christianity. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, said: “In addition to the problems that any couple encounters when forming a family, Catholics and Muslims have to reckon with the difficulties that inevitably arise from deep cultural differences.”
Cardinal Ruini, one of the right-hand men of Pope Benedict XVI, said that it was often the woman who married a Muslim man and it was she who converted to Islam. In a statement, the bishops said that if an Italian woman married a Muslim immigrant and then settled in his country of origin, her rights were “not guaranteed in the way they are in Italy or in other Western nations”. In addition the children of mixed marriages tended to be brought up as Muslims and not as Catholics. Such marriages should, therefore, be discouraged.