I'm being guilted into attending mass

Well, I’m sure that’s not the intent, but it kind of feels like it.

As some of you already know, I ran off to another country last spring and got married to a man I met on the internet. This wasn’t the intent of the trip, but it’s what happened, and we had a civil ceremony here in our apartment. This didn’t mean we were going to forgo the church ceremony though. So we’re currently arranging a co-validation in the Catholic church.

As part of that process, we have to attend pre-marital counseling or whatever you want to call it, and as part of that process I had to register at my local parish.

So, I’ve been getting church newsletters, donations envelopes, offers to take a picture for the church register, all that good stuff. Someone even came to the door and gave us a welcome package.

As if this whole wedding process wasn’t giving me enough of a headache as is.

I’ve never been a very religious person–I’m not about to leave the church because the foundation of my beliefs came from it, and it’s also a tie to my cultural heritage. But I’ve never attended mass much either (blame my mother–she rarely went and when you can’t drive yourself, it doesn’t matter what you want to do). And my husband’s not Catholic, so I wasn’t planning on asking him if he wanted to start going. On the other hand, becoming a part of the church community might be good for me, since I hardly know anyone around here. It’s a bit of an odd thought though, as it’s never really been an option for me–I went to school with a bunch of Protestants (various flavours, but very few RCs among them–they did their things, I did mine) and as I mentioned, I’m not particularly religious. Honestly, I’m a bit torn on whether I should go or not.

I’ll probably give this more thought once I have my own car.

They guilted you into going by giving you a welcome package? Damn you are a good Catholic :smiley:

For the record, I think you should go. It would give you a chance to reconnect and re-evaluate your faith.

Per the OP…

Welcome to Catholicism, dude. Only the Jews out-guilt us.

You’re an easy guilter. Welcome back to the faith.


As I said, the foundation of my beliefs comes from the church :stuck_out_tongue:

And yes I am an easy guilter. I’m even more gullible. Just ask my husband about how he proposed to light the candles on his sister’s B-Day cake without a match.

I think it helps if you think of Mass as something the Church does for you, not something you do for them. Mass is supposed to be an opportunity for you to connect spiritually with God, so if you decide to go, do it because you want to see if you can experience that connection, rather than just to help them fill the pews on Sunday. In my experience, the volunteers at parishes are involved in the areas they have the most passion for, so the people who help their parish by welcoming new members are doing it because they really love the Church, and want to bring people into that experience. So, don’t think of it as a guilt trip! Give it a positive spin, and you may find that you really get something out of going to Mass. :slight_smile:

There is a part of me which does not understand what the point of having a church wedding is, if you do not believe whatever it is that that church believes, and thinks that attending at least a couple of services is appropriate, whether or not you become a regular attender. Part of that part votes for dragging your husband with you at least once.

I’m not Catholic, but married people attending church without their spouses is not particularily weird in my experience.

If all you do is attend mass, I doubt you’d have that much likelihood of really becoming a part of the community or making friends, but your experiences may not be mine. (My experiences say get involved with a small group if you want to be involved and make friends.)

It’s very, very common, though. Lots of people who don’t attend church (or synagogue or whatever- this isn’t just a Christian phenomenon) feel the need for some sort of religious ceremony when they get married, when their kids are born, and when somebody dies. I’ve heard it described as “hatch-match-dispatch”.

Well, here’s my two cents. I am not religious. I am, however, jealous of the people that are because of the instant community. It is damned hard to make friends as a grownup. Much easier in a church. And you did say you don’t know many people where you are.

Fair enough. The purpose isn’t so much to get the marriage recognized by the church as to have a large, formal ceremony where all our friends and family can gather (I especially want to do this for my family, because they could always use a good excuse to gather–it’s fairly large and spread out). And I suppose also some sentimentality on my part, since there were a couple times in my life when I was attending regularly (and by that I don’t just mean Christmas and Easter). The legal ceremony was a bit rushed–in a way this is the ‘real’ wedding for us.

I know it’s weird, but it’s hard for me to totally divorce myself from the church. I do hold to the teachings of Christ, but there are some church teachings that I’ve always felt were contrary to the concept of Christianity.

I suppose I might as well go once in a while. Assuming I can pull myself out of bed that early on a Sunday–back home when we did go it was on Saturday night.

It could be a way to meet some people. If you haven’t been in a long time you might even get some new perspective on the mass yourself.

If the church has a Saturday mass (most Catholic churches do, right?) that might be a good one for hubby and you to attend since the crowd is usually smaller. It might give ya a good feel about the church.

Then again, what do I know. I’m as Episcopal as they come.

Anne Neville,
I know it’s common, but there are lots of things which are common which I do not particularily understand. Sports fandom, for example.

It’s just, for me, I would want a church wedding to symbolise starting my marriage the way I intended it to continue, and . . .

this is not intended as a debate, or a criticism of people who make choices that are different from mine, so I’m not going to expound further.

If your local church is ok with it, and you are not lying to them in order to get them to go along with it, go for it. Have the big symbolic celebration with all your friends and family.

And I do understand that Catholic services have a greater tendency to be cookie-cutter alike than the churches which I have greater experience with. And I can understand not being eager to get up early on Sunday morning, especially if you are out of the habit.

Hell, join the Lions or the Moose or something like that if that groks you and you don’t want to go to church. It’s that same sense of community (and bingo) but they have fish fries and lots of booze and parades and stuff that make it worthwhile. Plus their charities actually help lots of people.

It’s been my observation that the Roman Catholics – moreso than many other denominations – are really tight on the idea that getting married in the church is something for people who are a part of that church. Or at least a member of another RC parish. I’ve known a lot of RC churches that won’t let you get married in them if you aren’t a member.

So if you want to self-identify as a Roman Catholic, then you should get involved with your church.

However, if what you really want is “to have a large, formal ceremony where all our friends and family can gather” there are any number of places you can rent and people to officiate that you never have to do business with again.