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Italian High Court Awards Son to Father Separated from Catholic Wife

September 24, 1969
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A Jewish father legally separated from his Catholic wife has been given custody of their son who is to be brought up as a Jew, according to a ruling by the Italian High Court. The case was the first of its kind to come before the court. The court ruled that when a couple of different faiths is legally separated, the children assume the religion of their father and must be raised accordingly.

The youngster in the case was already baptized and received communion at the mother’s request. The court decision will effect a number of Jews separated from non-Jewish wives. However, it amounts to a reversal of Jewish religious law which hold that a child’s religious identity is determined by its mother.

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