(RNS) A Chicago man will be allowed to take his 3-year-old daughter to Catholic Mass, despite protests from the girl’s Jewish mother, a Chicago judge ruled Tuesday (April 13).
The girl’s parents, Joseph Reyes and Rebecca Reyes, were married for six years before their marriage fell apart. Joseph Reyes had converted to Judaism when the child was born, and the parents agreed to raise the girl Jewish.
However, after the couple separated, Reyes returned to his Catholic roots and told reporters he never agreed to raise his daughter in the Jewish faith, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The girl’s mother filed for a restraining order after Joseph Reyes had the 3-year-old baptized in the Catholic Church, without the mother’s knowledge.
Judge Renee Goldfarb’s 30-page decision lifted the restraining order and granted the father visitation rights, which included the right to take his daughter to church and spend time with her on Easter and Christmas.
The judge ruled that evidence did not support the mother’s claim that “doctrinal differences” would confuse or harm her daughter.
“She (Ela) is three years old and, according to Joseph, while at church she waves at the other children, looks around and giggles,” Goldfarb wrote in her order. “This court found that testimony credible.”
Although Goldfarb had hesitations about the father’s actions after the first ruling — including possible negative affects of media attention — he nonetheless was granted visitation rights. The court ruling also granted the couple the divorce they sought.
By Kimberlee Hauss
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