Evangelical Wishes to Marry Catholic

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I am an evangelical Christian dating my Catholic boyfriend for 2 1/2 years, and for a while we've been talking about marriage. His parents are very religious Catholics who often try to change my beliefs; in fact, his father is a former RCIA instructor.

We went to a priest to find out what we'd have to do to marry in the Catholic church, since the marriage wouldn't be sacramental for my boyfriend if we married elsewhere. The priest said I wasn't required to convert but that our children would have to be "exposed" to the Catholic faith. I wasn't too sure what he meant, exactly. My dilemna is that I am very passionate about my evangelical faith, and for me, raising our eventual children as Catholics is totally out of the question. How could I send my child to Confirmation classes, if I believe some of that material to be wrong? I've been searching for an answer of what to do for a while now, since I don't want to break up with a man that I love deeply, but I haven't really found anything conclusive. I wonder if it'd be okay to take our children to both Catholic mass and evangelical services, and let them make up their minds about what denomination to belong to once they are old enough. I thank you in advance for your answers.

God Bless,

Raquel

-- Raquel Batista (raquelbatista28@hotmail.com), March 28, 2004

Answers

bump

-- (bump@bump.bump), March 28, 2004.

raquel,

as is obvious to you, religion is a matter of great import when it comes to getting married and planning a future together. The priest was right in telling you that you dont have to convert in order to marry a catholic and that you must know your child will be exposed to the catholic religion.

Here's what will happen: your fiance will promise that his marraige will not pull him away from his faith AND that he will endeavor to the best of his ability to raise the children to be catholic. you will likewise promise that, while you dont have to support the catholic church, that you will not hinder their catholic education (going to mass, discussing things with their father about catholicism, etc). You may take your children to your service as well and allow them the choice, but if they choose catholicism you must not stand in their way.

I urge you, however, to take this opportunity to learn more about the catholic faith. You may find, even vicariously through your children, that the catholic church is nothing like you thought it to be. Keep an open mind about this and let your children and your husband express their faith. research and know what the catholic church is about (from catholics, not outside sources who dont really know) so that you can peacably discuss things with your husband. otherwise you will just have religious conflict tear you apart all the time.

-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), March 28, 2004.


Hi Raquel,

I was an evangelical for 20 years and coverted to the Catholic faith after spending several years studying the faith. I can tell you that I have never been so content, so happy and so blessed!

All of the treasures of the historic Christian faith are found in the Church Christ formed; i.e., the Catholic faith. Other churches have bits and pieces the Church HAS IT ALL!

God Bless,

Gail

-- Gail (rothfarms@socket.net), March 28, 2004.


Dear Raquel,

I am an evangelical Christian (officially), and God has led me to convert to Catholicism, which I hope to do soon. The Catholic faith is a beautiful one with a rich history. I invite you to create new threads about any questions or objections you might have regarding Catholicism, so that the Catholics here can give you their perspective on these things. I have done much studying of the Bible, theology, and Christian history that brought me to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is truly the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" Church of which the apostle's creed speaks.

During my 22 years as an evangelical, I objected to the Catholic Church because I did not understand her teachings. I was confused by the distortions of Catholicism that I heard from other Protestants. Please take this opportunity to address your qualms about the Catholic faith, since what you believe to be wrong may in fact be the same kind of misunderstanding that I once had. I also challenge you to pray often for God to show you His Truth, and whether it is found in the Catholic faith or elsewhere. This is what I have done, and God has been faithful in answering that prayer.

On the other hand, if you conclude that you cannot bear to convert to the Catholic faith, I would highly recommend terminating this relationship. From what you said, you and your boyfriend are apparently very passionate about your faith. If you both continue to follow your respective churches, this will drive a wedge into your relationship because of the disagreement. When the children come along and actually exist, it will be a whole new situation for both of you. This will likely cause hostility in your marriage, and may even lead to its termination. I don't mean to scare you, but I am trying to prevent this destruction from occurring.

I am all too familiar with your situation, because a similar conflict exists in my own home between my parents. My mother is Catholic and my father is Protestant, and this is creating tension in the home and driving them apart. Please do not do this to yourself, your boyfriend, or your (potential) future children.

God bless you and lead you to His Truth.

-- Emily (jesusfollower7@yahoo.com), March 28, 2004.


Is the reason you are looking at getting married in the Catholic Church because your boyfriend is passionate about his faith, or because of his parents' insistence? If it is only because of the parents, that is not the right reason to do it, and I believe it will cause conflict later....

As to sending your children to both services and letting them decide, you run the risk of a few things: 1) they choose one denomination or the other-- are both of you willing to accept their choices and give in gracefully (no hurt feelings)? 2) they refuse to be involved in any type of organized religion whatsoever, or 3) they get involved in some wigged-out cult.

I've seen scenario #2 when parents change denominations often--the child can become understandably confused or just out and out skeptical of any "formal" type of belief system.

You two need to sit down, and honestly discuss this between the two of you, without his parents or your parents weighing in. Mixed marriages can work, but one of you will eventually have to give in, and the further away the denomination is from Catholicism the harder it is....

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), March 28, 2004.



Raquel,

I have to agree with everything Emily said. Fighting over religion can tear a marriage apart.

Here is just one "for instance" if you went ahead and got married without resolving your religious differences: What would you do if your in-laws went and had your baby baptized as a Catholic while you thought they were just babysitting? What would you expect your husband to do if this happened?

I wish you the best in your difficult situation.

-- Mark (aujus_1066@yahoo.com), March 28, 2004.


mark,

thats not a problem, really. The husband will have to promise to have the baby baptised catholic, and she will know in advance about that problem. It would be stupid for in-laws to take the child for a second baptism.

-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), March 28, 2004.


I am sorry "there is only one Lord" but your post had to be deleted. You are not permitted to post to this forum and insult our Faith or our Church. Please read the "Rules of the Forum" thread for further clarification.

Moderator

-- Ed (catholic4444@yahoo.ca), March 29, 2004.


Here are the exact requirements from canon law:

Canon 1124: Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons, one of whom was baptized in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.

Canon 1125: The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

1 the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the catholic Church;

2 the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party

3 both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.

-- Mark (aujus_1066@yahoo.com), March 29, 2004.


Thank you all so much for being so helpful in your answers to my question.

In response to baptizing the children in the Catholic church, my answer might surprise you. I do not mind one way or another if they are baptized in the Catholic church as babies, because after all, they won't even know what is happening. It will create no emblem on their hearts and minds. However, I do have a problem with First Communion and Confirmation, since those sacraments obviously take place at an age where the child is old enough to understand what is being said, and by participating in these rites, the child may believe that he/she is Catholic.

I don't mind the prospect of my children eventually choosing Catholicism as conscious teenagers or adults, assuming they've been equally exposed to both denominations. I believe that is fair.

Regarding whether I'd like to marry in the Catholic church because of my boyfriend or his parents, I'd say it's because of my boyfriend, but his parents' vocal opposition to my beliefs & their efforts to convert me add to the pressure I feel. They are wonderful people, and I know they do it out of love.. but it is uncomfortable.

Pray for me,

Raquel

-- Raquel Batista (raquelbatista28@hotmail.com), March 29, 2004.



Please talk this over openly with your fiancee because this issue will not go away. My sister-in-law married a Methodist and religion is always a difficult subject with them. However, they seem to be working it out alright so far. No kids to complicate things yet, though.

I pray now for guidance from the Spirit of Truth for you, Racquel. May God's will be done and may He be glorified through you and your fiancee.

-- Andy (aszmere@earthlink.net), March 29, 2004.


Welcome Raquel,

As a 36 year old Episcopalian converting to the Catholic faith I would urge you to learn about the Catholic Church. Start at catholic.com. If you are like me, you were raised with a few antagonistic views of Catholics that were untrue. I now have my eyes open and will join the Church next month.

It is great that you have found a wonderful man to marry and that he is Catholic. It is very important that the two of you discuss issues of faith prior to marriage. If your husband to be is a practicing Catholic (unlike John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Dennis Kucinich) who is obedient to the Church you will need to attend premarriage classes and discuss what is expected of you. You need to discuss issues like birth control, raising the children Catholic, non-procreative sexual practices, abortion, baptized Catholic children attending non-catholic services, etc.

Best wishes to you.

-- David F (notanaddress@nowhere.com), March 29, 2004.


Raquel,

I am an evangelical Christian. I left the Catholic church in my mid- teens and I will never go back. I recently met a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, DEVOUT Catholic man and we even discussed marriage. We discussed this issue about raising children in both faiths and letting them decide later. I know it will create conflict in the future because I know I would influence my kids to follow my ways and my boyfriend would do the same, influencing his kids to follow the Catholic religion. It would tear the marriage apart because he and I are both very commited to our respective faiths. The ONLY solution to this problem is to marry another evangelical. Love does not conquer all and Catholics should marry Catholics and Evangelicals marry Evangelicals. There will be many other issues to resolve in your marriage and your faith is what binds your marriage, if you have confilct there, how can you overcome the other? Moreover, it would be too confusing for your children and they may end up turning their backs on religion altogether, not good. God Bless You

-- Adriana Soto (asoto426@juno.com), June 18, 2004.


Why can't you kids be both Catholic and Evangelical? You could think of it as when an African American and Caucasian marry and have kids. Their kids can choose to be black or white but they are really both and can embrase this fact. Keep praying and do you research and read the Bible.

-- Rob Bank (abank@yahoo.com), June 20, 2004.

Being black or white is a matter of genes. Being Catholic or Evangelical is a matter of beliefs - contradicting beliefs. How can you hold two sets of conflicting beliefs to be true??

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), June 20, 2004.


Raquel

I found your email on this website today by chance. I am going through the same thing as well. My Catholic boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 1/2 years. Everything in me as an Evangelical says that there are some good things going on in the Catholic church, but there is still some stuff that I have a hard time with (the pope, Mary, etc.) It took my boyfriend until just 2 days ago to figure out what he believes and now he says the Lord has convicted him to remain a Catholic. I am not sure what to do either. I would love to have someone to talk to about this that really understands what I am going through. I will be praying for you in the mean time.

In Christ,

Samantha (sharlan@academicplanet.com)

-- Samantha Harlan (sharlan@academicplanet.com), July 07, 2004.


Well, here's my point of view. I myself am a catholic. But my mother is a prespyterian, so I am already of mixed religion. But I was baptized catholic, and raised entirly catholic because my mother was never very religous and my fathers parents are devoutly catholic. But I also have an issue with an evangelical matter. I recently met a girl, and we are so ment for one another it is creepy. We are both odd individuals, and finding someone as much like ourselves again is a very low chance. But she is Evangelical. I have not met her parents, and she has not mentioned my faith to them. I dont know how they would react. I am very good friends with Evangelicals, but I dont know how they feel about marrying catholics, and I am affraid to ask. I have become more familiar with the Evangelical faith as a result, and I have no interest what so ever in converting. I am secure in my catholic faith. I may not agree with every statement the pope puts out, but it is the religion I feel the most comfortable in. I feel the safest here. It is just a really large dilemma, and I know where your coming from.

-- Taylor Betit (lotrekkie@earthling.net), October 20, 2004.

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