More young Catholics, Protestants and Jews are marrying outside
their faiths than ever before, according to area clergy and
prenuptial counselors. With less rigidity on the part of church
hierarchies and relatives, they feel less pressure to become
"Different spokes connected to the same hub" is how Barbara and
Rick Bardle describe their dual religious practices. Barbara Bardle
and the Bardle children belong to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic
Church in St. Charles. Rick Bardle is a member of Grace United
Church of Christ in St. Peters, where he serves as president of the
church council and head of the visitation committee.
Susan Caulfield, who is Jewish, intertwines religious
traditions with her Irish-American husband, Sean Caulfield. Susan
Caulfield attends Mass with her husband at Sts. Joachim and Ann
Catholic Church in St. Charles, and he accompanies her and her
family in west St. Louis County to High Holidays services. Neither
has exerted pressure on the other to convert, and they hope to
expose their children to both religions.
Lifelong Lutheran Betty Boschert of St. Charles has raised six
children in the Catholic faith of her husband, Paul Boschert. The
Boschert children attended Catholic schools, where Boschert served
as a volunteer.
Boschert belongs to Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles.
She is busy working on the 50th reunion of her Immanuel Lutheran
School confirmation class.
Betty Boschert's reasons for seeking commonality in the
couple's religious beliefs rather than convert echoed the younger
"I'm a stubborn person. I was born and raised a Lutheran, and I
stayed a Lutheran," she said. "Paul and I have had disagreements,
for sure, but we both believe in the Lord Jesus and in the
commitment of marriage."
Dot and Jack Bizelli of St. Peter's Catholic Church in St.
Charles have been counseling engaged couples for 20 years in a
program called Two Become One. The program is a six-week
couple-to-couple dialogue between a husband and wife and an engaged
pair. They cover questions on finances, in-laws, careers, children,
and religion, with the married couple sharing their personal
Those of different faiths are encouraged to settle religious
issues before they marry, Dot Bizelli said.
"They should decide if they want their children brought up with
a smattering of both religions or one faith and, if so, which one,"
Bizelli said. "The main thing is that they don't try to change one
another or put one another's faith down."
Bizelli said that 20 years ago, families and churches were more
likely to pressure young people to marry within their faith. …