Investigation of faith formation in children of Catholic-Jewish parents

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Fri, 09/01/1995
End Date: 
Mon, 08/31/1998

Faith formation and the development of cultural identity in children of Jewish- Catholic parents is the focus of a longitudinal panel study, both exploratory and observational in nature. Study members are drawn from a group of twelve families in the Chicago area who participate in a shared Catholic-Jewish religious education program. Data include each parent's religious history and past and present religious practices, ideologies, attitudes, hopes, expectations and willingness to accept certain established rituals and rites of passage for their children or to create their own within the context of their individual family's system of faith. Monthly parent planning meetings, organized around the needs of the religious education program, are recorded and analyzed. Each child involved in the program is interviewed, and religious education class sessions are observed. The study hopes to document some of the challenges, as well as benefits, that arise in the process of undertaking this kind of collaborative, multi-cultural, interfaith, educational endeavor. In particular the study seeks responses to the following questions: are children of Jewish-Catholic marriages better off being raised in one of their parent's religions solely or in both? How is such a child's faith formed while living in an environment of two faiths? What factors influence the child's religious evolution and how? (MH)