Baptizing children against one parent's will



I have a big problem, and I’m wondering if anyone has the answer to my question. I am Catholic and I married a JW. Before we married we agreed our children would be Catholic, and now that we married, he wants them to be JWs and he won’t let me baptize our kids when we decide to have them. :mad:

My questions is, if he’s against baptizing them, can I baptize them against his will? Or can I baptize them w/o him knowing or giving me permission to do it? I try bringing up the subject, but every time he says, “why don’t we talk about this when we have kids? I don’t want to talk about this now and argue”. I don’t know what to do. Please, any advice will help. :confused:

Thanks a million! :confused:


It sounds like the bigger issue here may be how you are going to raise your child, rather than just whether or not the child is baptized in the Church. This is a huge consideration, and one that is not to be taken lightly as you move towards parenthood. I understand not wanting to argue. Perhaps you could sit down with your husband and your pastor (and his as well) and have an open and honest conversation about what each of you wants. If you cannot agree on how to raise the children God gives you, then you will certainly have other important things to discuss and choose. Avoiding communication until later will only leave you and your husband heartbroken and in pain. Pregnancy is no time to be having heated conversations!

I have no doctrinal answers for you, but you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sorry I can’t help you more.

Abundant blessings.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante. Todo se pasa. Dios no se muda.
Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things pass away. God never changes. (St. Teresa of Avila)


Sounds to me like your DH lied to you before the marriage and had no intention of allowing you to raise your kids Catholic.

I certainly would avoid concieving until you get this issue resolved, you DO NOT want to bring a child into this fight.

And go talk to a priest. I have to wonder if your marriage is even valid.


Indeed you do. This is not merely a matter of sneaking in baptism without your spouses’s consent. It is a matter of the value sytem and faith that will govern your home and under which your children will be raised for the almost 2 decades they are with you and which will inform their values for the rest of their lives.

You need to come to an agreement about this ***before ***children enter the picture. If your spouse agreed to raise them Catholic and was either lying or never had the intention of carrying through with this pledge, it is serious enough in the eyes of the Catholic Church that you could likely have your marriage annulled.

Assuming for now that is not an alternative your want to pursue, your need to discuss this with your husband like two adults and reach a clear understanding of how the children will be raised. If he refuses…inform him that your marriage is on the line and counseling will then be necessary to resolve this. You are entitled to be firm…this is a deal breaker issue…and should be treated as such. He is a grown man—he needs to come clean with his intentions and then stand behind what he says.


what she said…


You ask the moderator to combine this thread with the one you opened on the same topic in Liturgy and Sacraments. It’ll make it easier for all your replies to be in one place. I’ve replied to you there. :slight_smile:


I have been posting on another thread.

In that thread I was directed to go to

On main page you will see a link to

I got this quote from

[]Interfaith Marriage: Marriage mates with different religions are encouraged to treat each other with tolerance and respect. Children should be given the opportunity to learn about the religious views of both parents.—1 Corinthians 7:12-14.

click here for web-page

I read that and thought of you and this thread.

Your children should be givent the opportunity to learn about Christmas and your view re: Christ. (which to me means that a Christmas tree and gifts should be okay)

I don’t know if this would help with the baptism issue, however this should help with some of the other things going on in the home.

God bless


Is your husband currently worshipping as a JW? Has his family shunned him? I think I’ve heard they’ll shun apostates. It may not be that he deceived you - it may be that there is pressure on him from his JW freinds and family that is making him worry about his own children being shunned.


In one respect, your husband is completely wrong, and that is in thinking that the right time to discuss this is when a child is already in the picture.

If you were married in the Catholic Church, you both already agreed to raise the children Catholic. If he said that at the time with no intention of following through, you may have grounds for annulment. I’m not saying you should pull out the big guns on this, but you should know that this is a big deal. He doesn’t have the option to stand in your way in terms of raising your children Catholic, including bringing them to the Sacraments. He’d be within his rights to introduce them to his faith as well, but not to actively compete or interfere with what you are called to do for them by your faith.

My husband and I are having trouble with this too. Shortly after our daughter was born, he confessed to me that he wasn’t really Catholic, although he’d “converted” shortly before we married. Yeah, he tried, he wanted to be, but he never really bought it, never could internalize it. Believe me, that’s a bad time to discuss matters, after the baby is born. We found a way to work it out, and it kind of sucks for him because the only acceptable compromise for me involved him still coming to church on Sundays (so I don’t have to take care of the child alone), not saying anything to confuse her until she’s of the age of reason, and to support what I’m still obligated to do in terms of living my life as a Catholic woman and mother (like practicing NFP, being open to more children, and teaching kids the Catholic faith–even if I’m now the only one who will do that teaching).

But I still pray that someday he’ll come to love God too and want to do all that I have to push him to do, and to do even more. Pray for your husband. Try to understand what is important to him. But then stand firm in what you believe and insist, if you have to, that he honor the promises he made when he married you (and don’t forget what you signed up for too, which is him, as a JW, and everything else that he is). If he refuses, you’ll be glad to know that before you have a newborn, stretch marks, and post-partum depression.

God bless. I’ll say a prayer for your situation. Please pray for mine as well.


O.P. said in another thread that she and her husband were married Civilly.

Either way, the fact that he said one thing before the wedding and another thing after the wedding does not bode well for the marriage. He has suddenly changed the terms that were a part of the agreement to marry in the first place. This does call his honesty into question, and, if he was dishonest, it is definitely grounds for an anullment.

To the OP: Was that marriage ever convalidated?


It’s a really big issue. Even if he agrees in the end to raise your childern catholic how true do you feel it will be? What i mean is he only going to allow it with you around or if something happens and you die will he continue to raise the childern catholic or let it slide. You have to think about your kids future souls.


Since you were married civilly and IF your marriage has not been convalidated, you cannot licitly have children anyway.

If your husband objects to raising your children Catholic or intends to undermine your intent to do so, I doubt any faithful priest would be willing to perform the convalidation.

You should get your marriage sorted out with respect to the Church before spending a half a second planning for kids. You may love your husband, but is it really worth your FAITH and that of your children?


I’m with you masondoggy.

My first impression when I read your post, OP, was to say “Run. Run far and fast. Dissolve the marriage”

Maybe not the best advice, but it IS good advice to avoid conceiving until you have a resolution. I would certainly press the issue - hold his feet to the fire about what he promised you before you were married.

My brother married a baptist who promised to raise the children Catholic and then did a 180 but waited until after they were born. She allowed them to be baptized in the Catholic church but that’s been it. It has not been pretty. A lot of heartache and resentment is still being dealt with.


Unless they got married before 1983, the non-Catholic may not have agreed to any such thing since he didn’t have to. Only the Catholic has to promise to do everything in his/her power to see that the children are baptized and raised in the Catholic faith; the non-Catholic is informed of the promise made but is under no obligation to do anything but acknowledge that he’s been informed.


**You need to explain to him that you will not feel comfortable having children with him then because it is YOUR religious belief and duty to raise any of your children Catholic. He doesn’t have to agree with you or convert, both of which would obviously be nice though. **

However, you do NOT have to have his permission to raise your children knowing the Catholic faith nor is it an option for him to ruin the marriage by disrespecting your faith simply because you refused to accept his broken promise on this issue.

If religion is an issue now, this will get 100% worse once children come into the marriage.


Vluvski, when I was young I thought I knew everything. Now that I am older and wiser, I know that there is much left to learn.


Why was this thread dug up? The original post is from over a year ago. :confused:


No idea :confused:, but don’t worry people. DH and I went to Retrouvaille for some problems we had. Thanks to Retro we were able to talk about this issue w/o arguing and finally DH came to the decision that he’d allow me to raise our kids Catholic. He said that because I am more devout in my faith than he is in his, he wants the kids to be raise in my religion, and he really wants them to be raised knowing God. So, no worries on that.

When he said that, we started TTC and 2 months later we conceived our little angel Julian. But about a month ago I miscarried him :(.

Oh, and about our marriage back in Nov last yr (when I started this thread), we were only married by a JP. Since he is a JW and cannot physically enter a church building (it’s against his beliefs :shrug: ), I petitioned for a Radical Sanation, which is a type of convalidation given to couples only in certain circumstances. Usually when one spouse is not willing to convalidate. The marriage tribunal of my diocese took a look at our marriage and the process took 4 long months of waiting for an answer from the Bishop. Once they figured out we married out of love and with the right intentions, they declared our marriage valid and Sacramental (I say sacramental because DH was baptized, confirmed and did his first communion as a child and was taken away by his mother from Catholicism at the age of 8, so it wasn’t his choice to be a JW - the tibunal, a few priests and a canon lawyer said my DH is a Catholic whether he wants to or not because he never formally renounced the faith. In the 80’s canon law changed as to how to renounce being a Catholic. You have to write a letter to the diocese where you were baptized, and DH never did that, so he’s still a Catholic in the Church’s eyes.

Eddited to add:

Because of the radical sanation, our marriage is valid since day one. Compared to a convalidation, the radical sanation makes your marriage valid since the day you married civilly. A convalidation makes it valid the day you convalidated.


Well that’s good news Yessi!

LOL considering todays PM’s and not seeing the date of your OP I was sitting here scratching my head like a monkey! LOL :eek:



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