Catholics ...again..

I posted a while ago in a thread about my wedding preparation… pre-cana and such…
background… I am methodist… she is catholic.

I thought it was a bit odd that the church is making my fiance sign something saying that she will promise to raise our children Catholic… but I got over it…

So last night started our seperate counseling sessions, my fiance went last night, and I am going tonight.

My fiance, looking for guidence asked the priest what to say to our children about their father being a different religion…

and his responce…

“If you pray enough, your husband will change his religion”
WTF kind of guidence is that??
all it does is place blame on my fiance if I do not change, because she didn’t pray enough!!??!!

I really don’t want to go tonight, I don’t know what I will say if he tried to place any blame on me for not being Catholic.
this is supposed to be counseling… and is that going to be his answer for everything? I should be Catholic?

It’s intolerence like that which is the reason I no longer pratice. Apologies on behalf of the faith of my fathers.

This sounds like something you and your fiancée (two e’s, unles you’re marrying another man, in which case I am surprised the priest agreed to counsel you!) have to hash out in great detail on your own.


Me, too, Jenny. Me, too.

merge, that’s no kind of advice.

IMO, if you love your fiancee, grit your teeth and take the advice you receive at the counseling sessions with a grain of salt. That’s what my ex-husband and I did, and we were both Catholic!

This is probably a “Your Milage May Vary” situation, and what you are told depends on the individual priest.

When my wife and I were in the pre-cana process, she had to agree to do “everything in her power” to raise the children as Catholics, but I was never asked to do anything, not even as generic a request as “respect your wife’s faith”, and she was never asked to pray for my conversion.

As it happens, I did convert some years later, but that was entirely my own choice, my wife never attempted to influence or encourage me in any way.

Crap, I would have left the second “s” off “unless,” wouldn’t I?

Maybe this is something you should directly address with the priest in your session. I certainly would!

First–as to the signing for the children’s religious upbringing–it makes complete sense to me. She–your fiance–is asking the church to do her a favor. Namely, to marry her in the church in a catholic wedding to a man who is not catholic. In return for granting this favor, she must promise that her faith, and the faith of her children, will be catholic.

But the pressure tactics in the counseling seem inappropriate. I’m catholic and married a baptist and we also had to do counseling but it was together, not separate, and there was zero pressure put on my fiance to convert. This seems like a case of an overzealous priest rather than a church-based policy. If I were you I’d go to your session and be honest with the priest about your feelings. Tell him what your fiance told you, and that you’re concerned that he has set her up for a lot of unnecessary dissapointment and hurt, and ask him why he would want to do that. I’m curious as to what his response to such a direct question would be.

two e’s huh? learn something new everyday…

We have gone into this and made our decisions based on what we believe is best for the children, but it is tough to play out in our heads what our children will ask us, and even more importand is if they will be satisfied with our answers…

It was just upsetting to hear that, and my fiance is feeling disenchanted.

Oh… I forgot to mention…
The wedding will actually be in my church. We will have a Priest and my Pastor. The Priest is a friend of her family.

We decided to have it at my church because I am more involved in my church, and have more of a history there.

I don’t know if I will bring any of this up tonight with the priest, I am the kind of person who avoids conflict when possible, but I will not hold back if i feel offended.

Wow, I had no idea that you had to do pre-marriage counseling with the priest if you weren’t being married in the church. Learn something new every day, I suppose. Do you also have to counsel with your pastor?

No children are the same, but I have to be honest here, I think you’re worrying too much about this particular subject. My folks were two different religions, my mom a Catholic and my dad a Lutheran. And it honestly never came up outside of us asking why dad didn’t come to mass with us a few times when we were younger. My mom just said, because he’s a Lutheran. We’d ask what a Lutheran was and she said it’s a different type of Christian and we’d go into how not all Christians are Catholic, etc.

I mean, it just really wasn’t a big deal at all. It was just “how it was” - mom was a Catholic and dad was a Lutheran and we went on about our business. I suspect it won’t be any bigger a deal for your kids unless you make it one.

Incidentally, growing up we were free to go to Mass with either my mom or my dad. Of course, we went to mass with mom since my dad didn’t go unless one of us wanted to go to a Lutheran service, which I asked to do a few times and he cheerfully took me. We all went to Catholic services together on Christmas and Easter.

So in short, relax about the kids. They’ll be fine.

I’m so sorry about that, merge. It sounds like you got a bad counselor. I would bring it up to the priest that you are upset, and not worry about conflict. Even if the priest does take offense, it will get him to think about how he counsels and possibly consider improving on it.

I’m wrestling with similar issues, being a Catholic dating a Protestant. Don’t let yourself feel pressured to convert. Heck, my whole family is a mix of Catholic, Brethren, Methodist, and more, and it was never a big issue for me when I was a kid.

I am a Protestant married to a Catholic and the blackmail his church wanted to put us through almost caused me to break the engagement. What we should have done was gone to Vegas, but what we did do was have a minister (who happens to be my dad) and a “rogue” priest who didn’t ask for anything but $400. This was to appease my husband’s mother who said she would not recognize our marriage if the catholic church didn’t. I would recommend this guy to anyone in the greater NY/LI area who is in the same boat. I found the whole concept of pre-Cannaa, promising to try to raise the kids catholic, pre-nuptial investigation so offensive and the parish priest wouldn’t perform the ceremony any place but a catholic church and I refused. My 8th anniversary is in less than 2 weeks and I’m still pissed off.

My MIL told us the pre-Cannaa was going to help us have a better marriage. I was so happy when her other son, who did all that, got divorced. I felt like I won something.

BTW, our son is being raised a non-practicing Congregationalist.

I’m sorry you got such a dud for your counseling! That was a dippy thing to say.

I’m Catholic and at times it’s hard even for me to remember that an individual priest is not speaking as the voice of the entire institution. I know it seems that way a lot, and they are certainly representatives of the Church and one would like to think that they take this responsibility seriously. But in some ways, it is like any large institution, you have some excellent people and probably more average people, and then some guys like this. It never hurts to get a “second opinion” – is there another religious at your fiancee’s church that you could speak with? I’m not suggesting to pit one of them against the other, but it might be good to see first hand that there’s a diversity of opinion and expression with the Church.

Why in the world did you pay money to some crook with a funny collar?

Given that I know several couples who were married in mixed ceremonies at Protestant churches whose marriages are recognized by the RCC (including that of at least one ex-seminarian), it seeems that it would have been simpler to just find a parish priest who was not so hidebound.

As to the pre-Cana conferences (or Engaged Encounter), that actually can be very helpful in getting some issues resolved before the wedding, but, of course, nothing guarantees a good marriage but the devoted efforts of the couple.

merge, the priest your fiancee talked to was out of line, but if he is that stupid, just nodding your head and making no commitments will get you through this with a lot fewer headaches.

I don’t think that the Catholic Church should be so insistent on raising your kids as Catholic in order to get married in their church.

I’m dating a Catholic girl, and we have discussed marriage. But I don’t want to get married in the Catholic Church because I don’t want to agree to raise my kids as Catholics (among other reasons). I don’t believe it, so why should I raise my kids to believe it? There’s nothing wrong with not believing it. And there’s nothing wrong with not getting married in the Catholic Church. The only problem is that my girlfriend loves Catholicism so much, and wants to get married in the Catholic Church, so that’s probably the only way that it would happen.

I also know a girl whose parents almost wouldn’t attend her wedding because she was converting from Catholicism to a protestant religion for her fiancee. It caused a huge rift in their family. My dad has told me that he wouldn’t attend my wedding if I didn’t get married in the Catholic Church (I was raised Catholic) and he was a huge dick about it, too.

I find it really unfortunate how divisive organized religion is. Why does it have to be so cut and dry? There’s all these restrictions and requirements. The pope is infallible? No he’s not! Please . . .

The priest who made that comment to your wife is a total dick. You may want to consider finding a priest that is cool and respectful of other faiths.

By the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone responded to my post by saying that they’re going to pray for me.

Sounds to me like the real issue is what your fiancee thinks about all this.

I don’t know your fiancee, but I’ve known many Catholics, and the vast majority of them were Catholic in name only, and didn’t seem to care about the religions of their spouses, kids, etc.

If the two of you have no big arguments on this issue, just humor the priest while he spouts his party line, then get on with real life.

If you DO have big arguments about this issue, then the priest’s opinion is the least of your problems, and you need to seriously discuss the matter with each other before proceeding with the wedding.

Yea, I guess if it’s absolutely necessary for the both of you to marry within the walls of a designated church, this might be a problem.

Here’s a question, if you have a civil ceremony, can you then raise your children Catholic? I don’t believe so. As a “Catholic”, I think that’s silly.

Lots of problems with Catholasism.

The Catholic church is very “Holier-Than-Thou” which, isn’t very Christian.

My wife’s Catholic and I’m not. We got married in a Catholic church.

Here’s how the Priest approached this little problem. He said “what you are signing is saying that you will do everything in your power to bring the children up Catholic. However, it is vitally important that children grow up with a stable marriage. So if the children’s upbringing becomes a marriage-threatening issue, it is better for the children that you remain together. Interpet that how you wish.”

Cool guy - don’t know if all priests would take that approach.

Personally, I found the bureaucracy ridiculous and offputting - if my experience with the Catholic Church was meant to be welcoming, they failed very badly.