Finding it hard to make a decision. Suggestions?

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Hi,

My name is Edward and I have been reading this thread through for the last few days, and found a lot of interesting topics, and questions that others are asking. Some of the threads are somewhat relevant to my situation, but here is where I am having a problem. First, let me start out by saying I have been a good catholic up till the time I moved ďbackĒ to FL about 5 yrs ago.

Some will ask what happen to your faith? Well I moved back into the same parish that I received communion in when I was young. Years later I had to attend 2 funerals in that same church. So in the time I lived here when I was young that was always my church I attended. When I moved back to FL I found it difficult to return to that church or go to a different one.

(Sorry about the mumbo jumbo) Now itís 5 yrs later and I am in the process of possibly getting engaged by the end of the yr to my beautiful girlfriend. The issue we are facing is she is Baptist and of course I am catholic. I know itís a sad thing that just because I am thinking about getting married this is what has been re-energizing my faith. I know how important it is to getting back to church.

Going back to the original paragraph I was a good catholic and received all my sacraments up this point in my life. I feel itís very important that I receive my next sacrament. The decision I am having a problem making is I am considering getting married in my church that I had all the previous drama in. Here is the twist my GF all of sudden has a change of faith too (She wants to start going back to her church) so itís becoming a heated discussion all the time about what church we should get married in, how are we going to raise our kids etcÖ (She already made clear she doesnít want to raise children catholic) Ŗ- Not a good thing!

I do now understand some of the rules to marring a non-catholic, which I learned from this forum. My question is can I still receive my next sacrament and have my marriage valid through the Catholic Church if I marry in her church? Do we still have to raise the children catholic? I know I am probably not going to get the answer I want to hear but itís becoming a frustrating. We have some serious conflicts of interest, which might prevent me from marrying her.

Sorry again for rambling. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

-Edward

-- Edward (iwc2002@hotmail.com), April 29, 2004

Answers

bump

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), April 29, 2004.

On the positive side: On a national average, at least 40% of Catholics marry a Christian belonging to another denomination (interchurch marriage). These marriages have their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. (From the US Bishops' site) They are also similar in some ways to marriages between persons belonging to the same Christian church. Following the national study a new, first- ever resource has been developed for interchurch couples to use in reflection and discussion about creating a joint spiritual/religious life. It is called BRIDGES (Building Relationship Interaction, Decision-making, Growth and Enrichment through Spirituality). BRIDGES can be used by individual couples or by groups, including those who are engaged, newly-married, or long-married. It is available from the Center for Marriage and Family.

On the negative side. For your marriage to be considered valid by the Church you will need to get the proper dispensations from your local Bishop. That will require you to agree to raise the children (to the best of your ability) as Catholic. I would highly recommend that you talk to your priest about this matter.

In Christ,
Bill

-- Bill Nelson (bnelson45-nospam@hotmail.com), April 29, 2004.


in short...

My question is can I still receive my next sacrament and have my marriage valid through the Catholic Church if I marry in her church?

yes you may. you'll have to have a dispensation by the bishop and MAY have to have a priest present to "Co-preside" at the marraige. i think that would be the best solution at any rate, so that you can be married under the eyes of both churches AND it doesnt set you up as willing to be pigeon holed in your faith. if she demands to be married in a baptist church, then i would put my foot down about a priest being present to assist in the marraige and working equally with the baptist minister.

Do we still have to raise the children catholic?

YOU must try to raise them catholic. you will have to promise that you will take them to mass, that you will teach them the precepts of the catholic church, and that they will be baptised in your church as soon as they are old enough to do so (VERY soon). Your wife must agree that she understands these promises on your part. Here you have a contention: most baptists dont agree with infant baptism, but you have to promise to have your children baptised. again, if the children want to get baptised again later because they want to be baptist, then thats fine and dandy, and im sure the baptists will view this baptism as a "prelim."

Essentially, you two should hash all this out BEFORE the wedding... namely, i would go for this:

1) baptised catholic as a baby. they can always get "rebaptised" in a baptist church if they choose that way.

2) They go to mass with you until they are of age to decide they do not want to be catholic (RE-- at least in their teens, but not before they develope mental maturity). Your wife may also decide to take them to whatever service she likes. (note, mass should be available on saturday evening if there is a time confliction, so that shouldnt be an issue).

3) You won't badmouth the baptist church to your children. when you explain the differences, you will do so together with your children and won't fall into useless bashing. Same thing goes for your wife when she discusses catholicism... no church bashing. Along that lines, you should read your catechism, and so should your wife. then you should go and visit/discuss things with the baptist minister and she should talk to your priest in a civil discussion of catholic/baptist beliefs and why each believe this way. if nothing else, this will deepen your understand for each other and why you believe how you do.

anything less than this, and i can see one of you getting steamrolled out of your religion, or the relationship going sour because of unnecessary religious dispute.

-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), April 29, 2004.


I think the key here is tread softly and do it with a spirit of love: for each other, and for Christ.



-- Bill Nelson (bnelson45-nospam@hotmail.com), April 29, 2004.


Hello Edward,

I am glad that both of you are pursuing Christ more fervently due to this situation. However, I would advise you to approach this relationship with extreme caution. Please talk with your priest and also her pastor about the repercussions that this marriage might have on your family life. It will likely create tension and make things very difficult.

Please also consider that leaving the Catholic Church is a grave sin, because it is the one true Church that Christ founded. Once you are in the truth, you cannot ignore it. Do not leave the Catholic Church solely for the sake of this relationship, because this will be putting your temporary life on earth above your eternal life in heaven, a sacrifice you do not want to make.

Last but not least, do not get involved in any type of premarital sexual relations with this woman, or even hint at this in your actions. Not only would this be a mortal sin, but it will make it even more complicated to work out the relationship and make sound decisions about whether to pursue marriage. It will also be something that you both will regret later on, whether you get married or not. You may lose respect from her family as well if you engage in this behavior, and this respect is extremely important to maintain, especially given your religious differences. For more information, see this page: Chastity Questions

-- Emily (jesusfollower7@yahoo.com), April 29, 2004.



P.S. Edward, I wished to add that I will be praying for you and your girlfriend, that God will guide you both into making the right decision and that you both may deal with this situation with Christian charity as Bill so wonderfully described.

May God bless you.

-- Emily (jesusfollower7@yahoo.com), April 29, 2004.


Edward,

I will also pray for you and your girlfriend.

I have a good friend who was Baptist. He eventually converted. His wife (fiancee at the time) challenged him to go to RCIA and just learn what Catholicism was about. He was surprised that it wasn't what he had been taught all his life as a Baptist. He told me that Catholics were the subject of many homilies in the Baptist church while growing up. This may be the prejudice that your girlfriend grew up with in her church.

It will take much love and patience from you to help your girlfriend to understand that Catholicism isn't the pagan religion that she might have been led to believe it is. I just wanted to pass the experience of my friend on in the hopes it may help you understand where your girlfriend may be coming from.

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


The advice you have received so far is great. Just remember that if this issue turns into a shouting match about theology, the core issue may be good ol' control.

-- mark advent (adventm5477@earthlink.net), April 29, 2004.

Hey Everyone,

Thanks so much for your replies. Paul, I like the way you put things into perspective in your post.

Emily, I fully understand your post as well. Thank you for your post as well.

Andy, I will seriously consider your recommendation. She does have a very small lack of knowledge about Catholicism. I do believe if she attended the RCIA classes it will help her understand a little more. I donít expect her to convert, but a little more knowledge then what she has now is better then NONE.

Mark, The discussion has become heated a few times, but never out of control. Thanks for the post.

Everyone again you guys have given me some great adviceÖ

God bless all of you!

-Eddie

-- Edward (iwc2002@hotmail.com), April 30, 2004.


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