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Part of the church's worry about marriage with Muslim men is that the dominating position of the man in many Islamic households makes it impossible in reality for the wife to bring up the children as Catholics. Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish or Christian women with the proviso their children are brought up as Muslims.
Islam does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man -- probably originally for the same reason, namely that the husband is likely to take the dominant role in deciding what religion the children will take.
Muhammad said that he, as a Muslim with a Catholic wife, has personal experience of a life spent in harmony with Catholicism, and he feels that the church is making too much of the mixed-marriage issue.
"I am a Muslim, I am married to a Catholic, I have never once tried to convert my wife, she has never tried to convert me.
Catholic theologian Richard Puza, of Tuebingen University in Germany, added a few words to the debate.
He noted that regardless of the tone of the Vatican statement, the fact remains that the church does at least allow marriage between Catholics and Muslims.
We also had to agree on a "morning gift" (a gift that the husband gives the wife on the morning of the ceremony).
All I asked for was a ring, I am financially secure enough.
And Puza said, "It is perfectly clear to me that in most of the Islamic countries, rights and justice are just as paramount as with us here [in Europe]." In any event, given today's trend toward globalization and world travel, it seems that the practice of mixed marriages will continue, and increase, regardless of what religious leaders say.
Islamic scholars are expressing surprise at a Vatican statement cautioning Catholic women against marrying Muslim men.
The Catholic Church, like most major religions, does not favor religiously mixed marriages, and has set restrictions on them.
What was important to me was that our marriage be recognised by the Church.
Alexandra: We signed a notarial marriage contract and in that contract are rules as to what would happen to the children should we separate.